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In October, Wallsall was proud to host the UK women’s cycling tour event and able to showcase some of the wonders of the geopark.

At Walsall Council, we were keen for the event to focus on the wonderful green spaces in the borough which cover over a third of the area.

Many of the green spaces are geopark sites such as Barr Beacon and Walsall Arboretum.

A picture of women cyclists taking part in the women's tour

The highlights from the Women’s tour showed these areas off in all their glory.  

This promotional opportunity has really shown the country that parts of the geopark are not wall-to-wall housing and industry and there are some very attractive parts of the Black Country to visit.

Our geopark has a perfect opportunity as part of the 17 UNESCO sustainability goals to promote active travel and encourage more cycling within the geopark area.

The women’s tour will help to promote active travel encouraging more people to take up cycling on short journeys such as the daily commute and shopping trips. This will help ease the pressure on atmospheric pollution, creating healthier environments for local people and encouraging people to take up cycling as part of a more active lifestyle for health.

Cycling for leisure can also be promoted through the work of the geopark. As part of the lead up to the event the organisers Pennine Events contacted loads of community cycling organisations, asking them to come down to the start and finish to support the riders, and to promote the work of these cycling organisations in the Fanzone at Walsall Arboretum and at the finish at the Council House.

Big screens were set up in the Arboretum and the town centre to follow the race and this was another great opportunity to promote cycling and walking for health in the borough.

It is really important that we take every opportunity possible to promote the sustainability goals developed by UNESCO, especially following the recent COP 26.  Encouraging residents to walk and cycle more will help us all do our little bit of local action to reduce global warming.

Liz Stuffins

Walsall Health Spaces Development Manager