Save the world: walk everywhere!

April 29, 2019 7:18 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Wainwright did it. Clare Balding does it. Huge numbers of people armed with poles and flasks make it their main leisure pursuit. In the UK, we simply love walking! It’s reckoned that 9 million of us walk the 150,000 footpaths in this country every month (and they’ll all say hello as you pass them). No matter how dull a particular bit of suburbia, you’ll find a series of footpath signs, maintained by a dedicated local group. No matter how rugged a particular bit of mountainous terrain, you’ll find an online guide to tramping right across it.

What's your favourite UK walk?

Walking is fantastic exercise for all ages and abilities. It can be as gentle as you wish, or as challenging. Oxygenating your blood, stretching your cramped limbs and quite literally broadening your horizons, walks in Britain range from a pleasant, flat stroll along a seaside promenade to the ups and downs of several hundred miles of long-distance moorland footpaths. You really don’t need any particular equipment to do it (Wainwright himself used to walk without waterproofs, in his ‘second-best suit’ and stout shoes) and in all honesty, except for those walks far off the beaten track, you’ll be well able to manage without an OS map, a compass or a bar of Kendal mint cake. Right now, as the days lengthen and springtime spirits rise, it’s the perfect time of year to get properly outside.

It’s National Walking Month in the UK this May. We’re a staff of keen walkers anyway at Naturally Good Food – so we thought we’d share some of our favourite walks with you. And we’d like to know what the favourite walks of our customers are!

National Walking Month 2019

Here are five of our staff top walks to set you off:

Captain Cook’s Monument to Roseberry Topping (North York Moors): for a majestic sweep of moorland and plains, reaching right across to the sea in one direction and the Yorkshire Dales in the other. A walk that will fill you to the brim with scenery, giving you something for your spirit to sip on in the humdrum of everyday life.

Langton Matravers to Dancing Ledge (Dorset): a walk of pure glory on a summer’s day, through wheatfields to the pure blue of the sea, up and down slopes and one perilously steep cliff, finishing with a wild swim in a hole blasted right out of the rock.

Anglesey: Porth Wen, along an exhilarating stretch of coastline, dotted with inlets, to the fascinating disused brickworks. Scenery and history combine, exercising your imagination along with your legs.

The White Peak: the less well-known lower half of the Peak District has a gentle beauty. Walk from Ilam down the River Dove, crossing over to skirt back round to Thorpe Cloud – a small hill that punches way above its weight.

The Quiraing on the Isle of Skye: looking out over mountains on one side and the sea and islands on the other, it’s a true breath of fresh air through your psyche. Dramatic and wild, with pinnacles, cliffs and secret plateaus, it’s nevertheless on an easy and easy-to-find track.

Stuck for ideas in your local area? Or visiting a new place and want a good guide? The completely free resource Walking Britain has over 20,000 pages of information, with suggested walks all over the country.

Walk to school

Later this month, it’s also Walk to School Week. It’s clearly not possible for every child to walk to school, but it’s a good initiative nevertheless, planting the seed of walking – and of making this part of your everyday life – in children’s minds.

Walking to school is particularly important in terms of air pollution. The areas immediately surrounding schools have been found to have some of the highest levels of air pollution in the country, partly due to all those cars dropping off and picking up. Some schools have found imaginative ways to get round the problem: operating ‘park and stride’ systems outside of the main school area, for instance, or setting up a ‘walking bus’, with children walking in groups from their homes.

Walk in your sleep

There’s one last Maytime walking day to mention. May 5th is International Dawn Chorus Day, where thousands of people get up early to walk, sit and appreciate the dawn chorus of birds. If you’ve ever slept out in a tent in the countryside, you’ll know just how spectacular (and indeed, noisy) this can be. A member of our marketing team, Carolyn, takes part in this every year. Here’s what she has to say about it:

‘I’m lucky to have an amazing RSPB nature reserve close to where I live, called Coombes Valley. It’s a mix of woodland and streams where migrating flycatchers, redstarts and reed warblers stop off to breed in spring and early summer. In winter, you can spot redwings, fieldfares and winter finches.
The RSPB wardens run Dawn Chorus Walks, which start at 4am (eek!), but it’s so worth it to be able to hear the birds in full song, claiming their territory, searching for partners and generally celebrating life. Well, that’s what I like to think they are doing…
If you get chance to go on a guided walk like this, then I’d say grab it. The wardens really know their stuff and will explain the different calls and songs as well as help you to spot the birds hiding away in the tree tops.’

Our walking snacks

Whether you’re walking to school, to the ends of the earth, or to a concert of blackbirds, remember that no-one gets to the top of a hill or the end of a long-distance footpath on good intentions alone. You’ll need something to sustain you – or to reward yourself with, at the end. Click here to see our packs of trail mix and our energy bars. Or you might like to make your own energy bars, balls and mixes, with our oats, grains, dried fruit, nuts, seeds and cacao?

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This post was written by Yzanne

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