Walking groups are being reunited over the next few weeks as Walking for Health gradually returns to Warwick district.
Walk leaders have been working behind the scenes to ensure the safe return of their weekly walks, with guidance provided by The Ramblers and the national Walking for Health scheme.
Since lockdown began, Walking for Health groups ceased to meet in line with Government advice. Though daily exercise was permitted and walking is recognised as one of the best health benefits, the safety of walkers was paramount and so the walks were postponed indefinitely. Walk leaders remained in touch with their group, maintaining one of the core goals of Walking for Health: reducing social isolation. Some even took their walks virtual, with the Clarendon Park Walkers taking part in a solo walk in their local area followed by a virtual chat over coffee from the safety and comfort of their own homes.
To assist the safe return of the walks, only groups of six are permitted to walk at any one time to ensure that social distancing can be observed. Walk leaders are prioritising existing walkers at present but hope to be able to introduce more people to their groups based on future government advice. Walkers must book in advance, and must not attend if they or anyone in their household is displaying symptoms.
Karen Mitchell, Walk Leader for the Chase Meadow Meet & Walk and Rendezvous & Ramble groups, said: “We resumed our Chase Meadow walks last week, and although it was different because of social distancing and the limit on numbers, it was lovely to be able to see our regular walkers, some of whom had not met up with other people for 17 weeks. “Maximising the safety of our walker's is our top priority and we are very lucky to be able to use local parks and open spaces for our walks. This ensures that social distancing can be maintained, whilst giving our walkers the opportunity to renew old friendships.
“From 4 August we will be welcoming new walkers where you can book a place. If you’re interested or would like more information, you can get in touch by contacting the named walk leads for Chase Meadow via the Walking for Health website.” Councillor Judy Falp, Portfolio Holder for Health & Community Protection, said: “I would like to thank all of the walk leaders for their commitment and hard work, especially throughout the pandemic this past few months. I am pleased to see that, slowly but surely, we are returning to some kind of normal by making these walks – which provide exercise and a friendly conversation – accessible to everyone.”
Dates and details of which walks are starting up can found on the Warwick District Council website – www.warwickdc.gov.uk/walkingforhealth.
Anyone interested in seeing what the various walks get up to and the sights they see are encouraged to join the Walking for Health Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/221238892206331/