The North Downs Way walking holiday
Description of The North Downs Way walking holiday
This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetWe organise walking holidays using local products, local people and local accommodation providers. This means that customers can have evening meals, on site or in walking distance where locally sourced and produced food is provided. Since 2018 we have reduced our carbon footprint dramatically by providing information on small, independent lunch stops on or close to the trails, instead of delivering lunches directly to walkers. We have continued to monitor our own use of transport and now offer information packs which are sent by post, rather than 'meet and greets' with our customers.
Our information packs are in 100% recyclable folders, and we use 100% recycled and recyclable packaging for postage.
Our accommodation providers are small independent inns, hotels or guest houses. In 2006 we applied for assessment under the Green Tourism Business Scheme and have been accredited as a Silver Award holder since. We are one of a few tour operators in the south east of England to gain this award which has played an important part in how we, as a locally based rural business operate sustainably within the local environment. . We have always promoted even on our earliest brochures 'discover Kent, its people and their history'. It is the everyday relationship between the local suppliers and producers that is at the heart of an area's local history.
We benefit from solar energy for our office environment, and have reduced the need for face to face meetings by use of video and phone conferences.
Walk Awhile encourages customers to consider and identify wildlife on different stages of the route. We actively support a 'leave no trace' policy. The majority of our customers arrive in the County by public transport and then spend their holiday on foot. To this end we provide a briefing paper on how to access the County by public transport available on our web site, we also offer information about the history of sites of local interest along the trail a resource which is available to anybody regardless of whether they choose to take a holiday or not.
PeopleWe aim to work closely with members of the local community in the Kent Downs AONB, the National Trails' Organisation and the Chilham Local Business and Retail Group. This group encourages tourism within the Chilham area based upon the collaborative network of local businesses within the village ensuring a exceptional experience for the visitor.
In 2011 we published a book, "The Pilgrims' Way - The Fact and Fiction of an Ancient Trackway" (Derek Bright, The History Press). From the Neolithic through to the Victorian pilgrimages, this book has brought together the historical and archaeological evidence connected to the Pilgrims Way, an important local tourist attraction running through the Kent Downs. We are able to share the research and findings in the book with our customers to enhance their experience. Through this publication we have supported the Canterbury Arts Festival and the Explore Kent Walking Festival offering walks within the local community. We have supported a volunteer to train as a walks leader for the Walking for Health initiative and participate in the Kent Greeters workshop. Through working with the University of Kent presenting a talk to students on the Contemporary Issues in Tourism Module we have been able to highlight the way in which we operate as a small family run local business in conjunction with other businesses that are part of the local economy. We have participated in the Green Pilgrimage project, and provided walk leaders for Canterbury Pilgrims' Festival. We are members of Visit Canterbury and have attended workshops and networking meetings with other local businesses.
Walk Awhile has 20 years of experience of offering our holidays along well researched routes. We encourage customers to visit local attractions, which are sustainable and organic and to understand the local history that accompanies them. We work with Kent Downs AONB who are supporting local tourism through the Interreg Experience project, to develop low-environmental impact tourism experiences. Lonely Planet took this into account in making its award to the Kent Heritage Coast for 2022, and noted the AONB for commitment to sustainable tourism. Finally we have produced our own audio guides to offer a commentary on aspects of the local history associated with the area that are not always so accessible in mainstream guidebooks.