North Somerset Health Walks have been running for more than 15 years and welcome over 300 regular walkers each week, helping and supporting them to become more active
The walks are led by friendly, trained walk leaders and take place in locations across North Somerset. There are currently Health Walks in Clevedon, Nailsea, Portishead, Weston-super-Mare, Winscombe, Long Ashton and Yatton.
Each walk lasts no longer than one hour and can be made shorter to help people build up their fitness. The walking routes are chosen to be accessible and inclusive to as many people as possible.
Cllr Mike Bell, Deputy Leader of North Somerset Council and executive member for health, said: “Walking is a fantastic way to get more active and help both your physical and mental health. It’s something people of all ages and fitness levels can enjoy, and of course it’s completely free – you don’t need a gym membership or any expensive equipment to take part.
“Our Health Walks programme is all about people making small changes to improve their health and wellbeing. The walks offer people who are new to walking or who aren’t very active, the chance to experience the pleasures and health benefits of walking.
“The fact the Health Walks have been running for so many years is testament to our wonderful volunteers who welcome people and encourage them to gradually become more active. We’re always on the lookout for more volunteers, so if you love being outdoors and want to help other people share that enjoyment please do get in touch!”
As well as the many physical health benefits, many walkers feel it also helps with their mental health. Health Walks have also been a way for people to reconnect following covid restrictions, as Teresa from Portishead explains:
“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who organises and leads the health walks every Monday in Portishead. I lost my husband Chris on Christmas Day 2020 and we then went into lockdown for three plus months.
“I walked alone during lockdown then joined the walking group in April 2021 when Covid allowed. Walking was my way to stay ‘sane’ in my grief and joining the group was amazing. I was welcomed by everyone and I have made some very good friends who I walk with every week. The walking group was and is my lifesaver and I am sure this is true for other people for many different reasons. Long may we walk together.”
Walks happen across North Somerset at different times and days each week. For the latest Health Walks programmes go to https://www.betterhealthns.co.uk/information/healthwalks/. To find out more about becoming a walk leader contact the council's physical activity team on 01275 882 731 or go to https://www.betterhealthns.co.uk/information/walk-leader-training/.