In our survey this week almost 60% of the 1,119 children who took part told us that they never or rarely take a walk in the countryside. If you are one of them then have a think about what you might be missing…
Many children read stories about walking in the countryside that paint a completely false picture – walking boots and blisters, soggy wet clothes, mile after mile of featureless peat bogs and backpacks that make life a misery.
The reality is usually quite different – beautiful landscapes, meandering streams, clear blue skies and warm sunshine along with animals, birds, trees and butterflies that you never see in a town or city. For an inspirational story about a girl who “wasn’t a walker” but became a convert, see the Foot Trails website.
If you are new to country walking then probably the best place to start your Internet research is the Walking Page on the National Trust website because these people think of everything! You can read about top accessible walks, woodland walks, challenging walks, autumn walks and even dog walks.
If you are a more experienced walker who thinks that a walking holiday would be fun then here again the National Trust website provides some great advice. The fabulous pictures on the website can’t fail to stimulate your interest in the countryside and encourage you to get involved.
I know, I know – you’re thinking here comes the boring bit! Personally I think that the main reason to walk in the countryside is to enjoy it BUT there’s no doubt that walking is exceedingly good for your health as well. Walking for Health on the NHS website will point you in the right direction and as they say “Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier”. But I’m sure, you knew that already!
Admittedly it might be difficult to go for a true 'countryside walk' if you live in London but you are amongst the luckiest people in the country because you have on your doorstep the wonderful Royal Parks.
Did you know that the perimeter of Hyde Park is over four miles? Take the walk around the park and see the Serpentine, Diana Memorial Fountain, Speakers Corner and the Rose Garden. Take a detour to one of the quiet places and marvel at the amount of flora and fauna – there’s more to Hyde Park than just the ducks!
The Royal Parks cover over 5,000 acres and provide charming walks where you will see hundreds of interesting buildings, statues and memorials. Over £15 million is spent on the upkeep of the parks every year and they are all there for you to enjoy absolutely free of charge.
The Ramblers (formally known as the Ramblers Association) is an organisation that was set up more than 70 years ago and they still campaign for the rights of walkers in the countryside. On their Home Page there is a box where you can insert your postcode so that you can find groups of ramblers within your area. Most groups arrange regular walks in the local area where you can meet like-minded people whilst enjoying sights close to home that you never knew existed.
If you are really adventurous then the website for you is Mountain IQ. There is no better place to learn about fabulous places to explore and even if you never go to there it’s still fun to read about them!
The survey question this week was “How often do you go for a walk in the countryside” and these are the results from 1,119 children:
|Frequency of Walks in the Countryside||Percentage|
|Once a month||5|
|Twice a month||5|
|Once a week||8|
|Twice a week||6|