BEYONDER supporters are being asked to help spread the word about the magazine as part of an August What’s On promotion.
The outdoors magazine was due to launch its What’s On pages properly in April – but the March lockdown stopped people from going out for more than a short exercise walk each day, and meant most attractions having to shut their doors to the public.
Now that museums, zoos and country parks across the Chilterns are beginning to open their doors again, The Beyonder is starting to boost its coverage of local attractions.
Editor Andrew Knight said: “We’ve done what we can to highlight virtual open days, online classes and other things that people could do from their own homes, but it’s exciting to see some of the region’s main attractions opening their doors again.”
But the magazine doesn’t want to encourage visitors at any cost – and has been happy to see the slow, incremental growth of its small Facebook group and Twitter following.
“We’ve seen such an increase in littering, fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour since the end of lockdown that the last thing we want is for the Chilterns to be swamped with selfish visitors who don’t care about our local landscape,” said Andrew.
“It’s been important to us that those joining the Facebook group or following us on Twitter share our love of the countryside and desire to look after it.
“We want a lively following of families who appreciate the natural world and want to do what they can to protect it.
“Tourism is important to our economy, but it has to be responsible. We want visitors to our parks and special places who are anxious to protect the environment for future generations too.”
The Autumn motto is “The adventure starts here” – which reflects the fact that the What’s On pages already provide a one-stop guide to dozens of local attractions, many of them free.
From nature reserves to country parks, steam railways to palaces and zoos, the site allows visitors to click through to the home websites of key attractions, including woods, parks and gardens open for charity under the National Gardens Scheme.
The site also includes more than 100 features covering different aspects of local life, from the area’s history and heritage to the wildlife of the Chilterns.
Reviews focus on TV programmes and books which focus on nature, along with local artists and photographers capturing the beauty of the local landscape.
There’s even a page with links to attractions slightly further afield, like Chartwell, Legoland and Hever Castle.
Says Andrew: “The original idea of the website was to offer a perfect starting point full of ideas for families looking to get out and about in the area.
“The focus is on enjoying the great outdoors and we’ve tried to focus on free options wherever possible, given how expensive it can be for a family of four to visit a major attraction.”
Now the magazine is calling on its friends to help spread the word about the site, to encourage more contributions from fellow outdoors enthusiasts and to appeal to advertisers.
Says Andrew: “Getting the site to this point has been a labour of love over the past two or three years and we’ve met some wonderful people along the way and discovered a great deal about the area.
“Now we want to spread the word to find more like-minded Beyonders – and of course that includes business like pubs, farm shops, vineyards and bookshops that share our interests and values.”