May is National Walking Month when like-minded people are doing their best to coerce, encourage and inspire everyone to get out a do some walking. We are not necessarily talking about long distance footpaths or treks up Snowdon or Scafell Pike. It is about getting everyone out doing as much as they can, even if that is to walk ½ miles to the local shops.
There are many good organisations out there that specialise in short walks, long walks, walks for beginners and walks for the absolutely terrified! I am going to list just a few of those that do great work, almost entirely by volunteer staff and across the whole of the UK. Hopefully there will be something close to you that you can take part in.
Walking For Health
Walking for Health is England’s largest network of health walks with over 375 active schemes, helping people across the country lead a more active lifestyle. We’ve done this with great success for over 14 years, improving the mental and physical well-being of thousands of people.
1,800 weekly walks are supported by around 8,300 friendly, specially trained volunteers who are on hand to provide encouragement and support, and make sure no one gets left behind. Every week we reach on average 24,000 walkers, supporting them to experience the benefits of getting and staying active.
For over 85 years Living Streets has been a beacon for walking. In the early days our campaigning led to the UK’s first zebra crossing and the introduction of speed limits. Today we face new challenges, but our work is as important as ever.
Our work to bring walking back and local projects deliver real change to overcome barriers to walking and our ground breaking initiatives such as the Walk to School campaign encourage millions of people to walk. Here you can see what we’re doing across the nation and find out more about the ways we can get people walking.
The Ramblers is Britain’s leading walking charity helping everyone across the country enjoy walking, for health, pleasure and happiness, whether they are just starting out or already an enthusiast. We do this by promoting walking and working to protect and improve the places where people walk.
The Ramblers are dedicated to ensuring that everyone can enjoy walking everywhere, and so we work hard to keep the footpath network clear, secure better access to open land and the coast, and protect the outdoor environment.
Long Distance Walkers Association
The LDWA is an Association of people with the common interest of walking long distances in rural, mountainous or moorland areas. By joining the LDWA, you will meet other like-minded long distance walkers and gain access to information on walking events and long distance walking routes all over the UK.
There are currently 43 local groups and being a member of one of these is great fun! Indeed, without them the LDWA would not exist. Local groups host regular group walks led by one of their members and some also organise social events and longer trips.
Numerous Charity Walks
British Heart Foundation – Take on a walk or trek in a scenic location and help fund life saving research. We organise walks and treks across the UK and also overseas challenges. Join our charity events and help us beat heart and circulatory diseases step by step.
Walk For Parkinson’s – This UK-wide series has walks for everyone. You’ll need to head to the Parkinson’s UK website to scan through when and where your local event is, since each of them puts on walks of different lengths. None of the hikes is very long though, so you can gather together a crew of all ages and fitness levels, and be sure that everyone will get through it together. £10 plus fundraising, parkinsons.org.uk
Cancer Research UK – Charity walks. Shine Night Walk. Our night time walking events across the UK, lighting up the city to beat cancer. Kilimanjaro Trek. Join Team Cancer Research UK for an experience of a lifetime and experience the stunning scenery of Africa from the world’s best vantage point. Thames Path Challenge. Relay For Life.
Do It For Charity – Doing a charity walk is a fantastic way to support your favourite charity whilst getting active in the outdoors!! Doitforcharity.com lists all kinds of walking events from UK charities so you we hope you will find what you are looking for
MacMillan – It’s your walk so when and where you go is completely up to you. You can take on a solo challenge or team up with friends. Or you could even organise a big walk and get your whole community involved. Every mile you walk and every pound you raise will help people affected by cancer to take back control of their lives.
To mention just a few!
The few organisations and charities that I have mentioned here are but a mere scratch on the surface. There are numerous groups and organisations out there that are just waiting for you to call. Check out your local Council Offices or Library for smaller local groups.
Even if you do not want to join up with one of the many groups, then at least take the time out to walk to the shops or walk the kids to school. Make it a family affair – you never know you might just start to like it!