"STAND and deliver!" These words may well ring out on Bromyard's lively streets on Sunday, April 22 when a highwayman will be lurking for the grand opening of the town heritage trail.

Professional enactor Paul Mackintosh has been a great success at other events run by the Milestone Society.

Bromyard Mayoress Jan Scrine, a founder member of the society, says "We were banned from Stratford-on-Avon town centre last year, because they said his weapons were too real!"

Paul's character is based on John Nevison, who lived in Yorkshire in the 1600s and preyed on coach travellers in the Midlands as well as in his native county. He was supposed to have made the famous journey from London to York in a single day, usually attributed to Dick Turpin. King Charles ll called him 'Swift Nicks' for this feat and the nickname stuck.

The highwayman is one of the roles Paul takes into schools to make the past live in a fun way - he will be dropping into St Peter's Primary School and Brockhampton Academy during his visit to Herefordshire. He also starred in the society's recent video explaining imperial distance measurements to youngsters, with accompanying educational resources, on teachthehighwayman.co.uk. His day in Bromyard is funded by the Heritage Lottery, as part of the Town Trail Project." As we've done elsewhere, the purpose of the trail is to promote sustainable tourism, using history to bring jobs as well as to tell local people more about their town's past," says Jan.

Interpretation panels have been commissioned for the town's car-parks, to tell visitors what they can see; the parish church dates from Norman times and the variety of secular buildings from the 1400s, from black and white half-timbered inns to Georgian and Victorian frontages.

But while Bromyard has retained the unspoilt charm of a traditional Herefordshire market town, visitors love its quirky independent shops as well as the friendliness of its cafes, restaurants and pubs. "Not a multiple chain retailer in sight - the nearest is the local Co-op supermarket." points out the Mayor, Councillor Fred Clark. He is sponsoring a car treasure hunt with historical clues around Bromyard Downs as part of the grand opening of the heritage trail; further details of the programme of events are given on the town's new website visitbromyard.org.uk.