The Walking Festival season is now beginning in earnest, so if you fancy a day or two of sociable walking over the May bank holidays or summer months take a look at our Festival listing. Now is also the time of year when most new walking books are published, so take a look at our bookshop for new titles that might interest you.
A recent online ‘YouGov’ survey showed that 25% of adults in the UK walk for no more than an hour a week. This includes all essential walking (e.g. to work, shops, school), so for these people non-essential recreational walking is minimal. This is a worry, because the medical profession recommends that adults should undertake at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity every week and brisk walking for this amount of time would fulfil this requirement. It is highly likely that many of these people are not carrying out alternative forms of exercise and so are putting their health at risk.
Any recreational walker will tell you that walking is relaxing, enjoyable and makes you feel better. The problem for many non-walkers is knowing where to begin, and this is where ‘Walking for Health’ schemes are so beneficial. By walking with a group of people comprising others who are new to walking and leaders who can pass on their experience and love of walking the newcomers gain the knowledge and confidence to continue regular walking for exercise and pleasure either by themselves or with a group such as the Ramblers’ Association.
From 4th to 11th May the Ramblers’ ‘Get Walking Week’ is linking up with ‘Walking for Health’ to provide introductory short walks for people who would like to begin recreational walking. If this is something you would like to try you can find a local group at the following website:
By walking as part of a small group you will make new friends, encourage each other, and discover new walks in and around your neighbourhood. There are 600 local health walk schemes that run regular short walks every week. Anyone can turn up and join in – it’s free, fun and friendly.
Physical inactivity is now acknowledged as a major threat to public health, but we believe walking holds the key to getting more people active. It’s a fun, social form of exercise that keeps you feeling healthy, happy and more relaxed. And it helps to reduce the risk of a number of diseases and medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and many types of cancer, depression and even Alzheimer’s.
Do you have opinions, ideas, tips, knowledge, annoyances or anything else related to recreational walking that you would like to share with the world? If so, just email us at email@example.com and we will add your thoughts to our Walker’s Wall page.
New Weather Information for Walkers
The Met Office has launched a new service for walkers and climbers which provides summit forecasts, for over 500 hills and mountains in the UK. The new forecasts take into account the very different types of weather you are likely to experience at these locations helping walkers, ramblers and climbers plan their trip, walk or expedition.
The tailored information provides forecast information on weather, wind, temperature and visibility in easy to read symbols, with additional information on feels like temperature, humidity, UV index and the chance of rain out to five days ahead.
Unique to the Met Office the summit forecasts also provide easy access to severe weather warnings that may be in force, helping walkers prepare, plan and protect themselves from the impacts of potentially severe weather.
Derrick Ryall, Head of the Met Office Public Weather Service said: "Mountains can be inhospitable and dangerous places for the ill-prepared. From one hour to the next, from one hill to the next, they can exhibit a dramatic variation in weather conditions. These local and accurate forecasts from the Met Office allow walkers and climbers to be more weather aware and better prepared for the conditions that can be experienced in the hills and mountains of the British Isles."
The new forecasts are available at the leisure pages of the Met Office website: www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/leisureYou can also find weather forecast information here for bays and estuaries, beaches, national parks and youth hostels.
Penistone Hill Geology Trail
A new short walking route combines sculptures and geology to create a fascinating trail through a long forgotten chapter of the South Pennines industrial heritage.
The Penistone Hill Geology Trail, a short circular walk from Haworth Parish Church, tells the story of the heritage of the area through its rocks, from their formation millions of years ago to the men who quarried and mined the land to further man’s development.
A 20 page booklet written by Alison Tymon, chairman of the West Yorkshire Geology Trust and Steve Wood, a local historian, guides walkers around the two and a half mile trail taking in two quarries and various geological features as well as four sculptures by Stevan Tica. The booklet and trail have been funded through the Watershed Landscape Project, managed by Pennine Prospects, and in partnership with Bradford City Council.
“The sculptures have been carved from Yorkshire stone and are used as markers along the trail,” explained Stevan, a self taught sculptor of stone and wood.
“Two of the works illustrate the origins of the landscape; the first is of a fossilised tree stump, with a few leaves and a dragonfly to represent the material that decomposed to form coal over millions of years, and the second a river channel, which shows how water carved out the landscape.
“The more recent history can be seen in a relief carving of a horse gin, a mechanical device used by miners to bring buckets up the mine shaft to the surface. This is the biggest sculpture weighing about a ton. And also a depiction of two quarrymen splitting a rock using the plug and feather technique,” Stevan added.
Alison explained the importance of the quarries to the area. “There’s lots of evidence of mining and quarrying, which links us to our industrial heritage. But it’s more than that; these quarries provided all the stone for the mills and dwellings in the Upper Worth valleys; most of the buildings we see here today have been built of stone from these hills.
“People have always been interested in the heritage of the mills but not so much the mines and quarries that helped to build them. Now that is changing.”
And it’s not just the relatively recent past that can be revealed, Alison added: “Steve is the historian and I am the geologist. He has made the connections between quarrying for building stone and mills and I can see what life was like in this area 300 million years ago by studying the quarries; they’re very informative.”
The 20-page booklet, which brings all this knowledge together, is available from visitor centres in Haworth and Hebden Bridge and costs £2.
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