New rural HQ for Team Foot Trails

New rural HQ for Team Foot Trails

HQ, recycled coffee cups, sign

Our new HQ sign is made from recycled coffee cups

Friday 28 September 2018, a mixed group of people gathered on the Fonthill Country Estate in deepest rural Wiltshire (South West England) to celebrate the last decade of Foot Trails, the opening of our new HQ and to look forward with us to the next steps (excuse the pun!) for Foot Trails.

Everyone present had a connection to Foot Trails. Our trusted drivers who provide your transport drop offs, teams who accommodate our guests at our handpicked country inns, previous and current staff, advisors, designers, accountants, trail volunteers and more. More than we can mention here.

16 years ago I decided to start a new company, Alison Howell’s Foot Trails. Why did I do it? I love the English countryside, and I felt strongly, and passionately, that there was something missing. I believed we needed a company focused on sustainable rural tourism and an organisation to provide inspiration, encouragement and support to enable people to be able to explore this beautiful place on foot.

I was deeply frustrated by the reputation and image walking and hiking had at the time in England and not impressed with the lack of authenticity in tourism. My upbringing in farming taught me we need to respect the landscape and work in harmony with it.

Ready to go!
Team Foot Trails boots in our boot room.

National Trails existed, but I felt passionate about helping people get off the beaten track, away from crowds and discovering what rural South West England is really all about. And Foot Trails was born.

It was a steep learning curve and in the years since, I moved our little company and our family to the city of Bath, creating new trails with David my husband. Until, earlier this year we made the heartfelt decision that Foot Trails needed to be back to where it belongs, in the country.

We were delighted to find a converted agricultural building back at Fonthill.

Here in our new HQ the team remain committed to what we do best.
Creating, innovating walking trails and immersive experiences that take you off the beaten track and through the best of South West England’s countryside, villages and historic sites. Foot Trails provides an alternative to mass tourism and to off the shelf packages.

I’ve always believed that the best travel experiences are thoughtful, considered and enable you to experience things which are authentic and genuine. Places, people and sites you will likely never have discovered on your own. I train all my team this way.

For me, personally, Foot Trails has been a journey of highs and lows. I have faced crippling deep depression and periods of anxiety that have left me struggling, but, the vision I have for Foot Trails has carried me through, along with the love of my family and support of my team.

The values we hold dear are – respect – heart – simplicity – inspiration – service

So, on Friday, when the team (David, Deborah, Suzy, Ben and Vicky) and I planted our little oak tree – I was so honoured to think of all our guests, friends, colleagues and partners who have, and do, contribute to the success of Foot Trails.

“From small acorns oaks trees grow.”

Please enjoy these beautiful photographs captured by Jon from David Wiltshire Photography from the day – and thank you once again, sincerely and from my heart, for your support and interest in Foot Trails.

by Alison Howell Founder & CEO

For more photographs from our new HQ Launch and setting and Team Foot Trails planting the Oak Tree please visit www.facebook.com/foottrails 

Bubbles with our team, past and present, trusted drivers, handpicked country inns, volunteers, colleagues and partners.  

Team Foot Trails plant an oak tree in the grounds of the Fonthill Country Estate. “From small acorns, oak trees grow.”

David Howell and Alison Howell get ready to cut Foot Trails walking boot cake at the launch. 

Alison speaks to guests to celebrate successes of the last decade and look forward to ambitious plans for the future of Foot Trails.

David Howell greets and welcomes guests

Inside Foot Trails new HQ on the Fonthill Country Estate

Team Foot Trails (left Ben Dickins, centre Deborah Deering and right Suzy Fox-Woloszyn)

Speaking to guests. “From small acorns oak trees grow”

Cutting the cake!

Foot Trails Victoria Goodrwight (right) offers canapes from our neighbours at The Riverbarn Cafe to guests including Foot Trails Volunteer Trail Guide Lynn Bann (left).

Awards and accolades for Foot Trails world class walking trips on display in reception

Guests sample real ale from neighbours Keystone brewery and enjoy elderflower presse and bubbles

Alison Howell (centre) talks with Claire Margetts (Great West Way) left and our drivers

Alison Howell (right) is talking with Jullia Killick CBE (left) Foot Trails Volunteer Trail Guide

Guests explore inside Foot Trails new HQ

Guests enjoy looking at one of Foot Trails Walk & Explore Boxes

Alison walks and talks with guest Kate Sibley (far left) and Sue Bush (second left) Foot Trails designer and Barrie Jenkins (right) Foot Trails accountant

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