Local health walks tread new ground

Winchester Health Walks has joined forces with local Countryside Rangers to provide Health Walks with a difference. The new walks, which take place at Farley Mount, are designed to inspire more people to enjoy exercise and enjoy the local countryside.

Natural England’s national Walking for Health initiative, of which Winchester Health Walks is part, has helped to create more than 590 local Health Walk schemes across the country. Winchester Health Walks started 18 months ago, and has grown from one weekly walk to four (with a fifth walk starting at the end of May).

Recently, Winchester City Council’s Active Lifestyle Officer and Neighbourhood Wardens linked up with Hampshire County Council’s Countryside Rangers to arrange bi-monthly Health Walks at a local beauty spot called Farley Mount. The most recent walk, which attracted more than 25 walkers, took place at Crab Wood - an ancient woodland nature reserve within the Country Park.

Winchester Health Walks Coordinator, Lydia Lockhart, said “As well as providing walkers with a new area to explore, it also gives them a chance to learn a lot about the area from the Countryside Rangers. This partnership activity also benefits the Rangers themselves, as it helps to promote an understanding and interest in the land that they manage.”

The Health Walks, which take place every week, are FREE and anyone is welcome to join in. Each walk lasts an hour and is led by a trained volunteer walk leader. It offers a chance to become more active, socialise, and enjoy the local surroundings. No booking is required, just turn up.

The weekly health walks take place at the following times

Mondays - 10.30am - meeting at Winchester Tourist Information Centre (opposite the bus station)

Wednesdays - 9.30am meeting at the old Friarsgate Surgery (behind the bus station)

Thursdays - 10.15am meeting at The Square, Bishops Waltham

Fridays - 10am meeting outside Costa Coffee, Weeke

A new Tuesday walk will start in Sutton Scotney from 25th May, meeting at the Coach and Horses pub at 10.45am each week.

For more information about the Health Walks please contact Lydia Lockhart on 01962 848 725 or llockhart@winchester.gov.uk