More than 120 volunteers from all over Wiltshire attended a special walking event and lunch in Lockeridge near Marlborough on Friday (2 February), to celebrate their work as Get Wiltshire Walking walk leaders.
The day began with a chance for the volunteers to meet and chat, before a short speech from Chris Williams, portfolio holder for communities, who is a keen walker with the Ludgershall Get Wiltshire Walking group.
The volunteers were given an update on the focus of the Get Wiltshire Walking project and the 2018 challenge walks, before setting out on a walk into Westwoods, then back to Kennet Valley Hall, Lockeridge, for lunch.
John Thomson, cabinet member for leisure, said: “Get Wiltshire Walking is a wonderful initiative, but without the time, support and local knowledge of the 162 fantastic volunteers, it would not be sustainable, or have the capacity to grow.
“These people give up their time for free to help people in their local communities they plan and provide a comprehensive weekly schedule of organised walks for people of all abilities, throughout the county.
“Not only do these valued volunteers help to combat social isolation, their dedication and time is also helping to improve the health and wellbeing of many people in Wiltshire.
“Our county has some outstanding scenery, and walking is a great way to explore local areas. I urge anyone with an interest in walking, or the countryside, to find out more about their local Get Wiltshire Walking group. Walks are free and everyone is very welcome.”
There are currently 26 weekly led walks in 18 locations throughout Wiltshire; each of the 26 walks start at the same venue on the same day and time every week, and routes vary from week to week.
Walks are tailored to three different abilities:
•Strider walks keep a continuous pace and last between 60 and 90 minutes across variable terrain and may contain some gradients.
•Stroller walks last between 45 minutes and an hour, with regular pauses and on variable terrain.
•Starter walks last around 30 minutes and are on flat, stable terrain with frequent pauses.
All walks are open to anyone who is independently mobile and able to meet the physical demands of the walk, and after the walk many groups have coffee and social time together. Unfortunately, dogs are not permitted on the walks.
Find out more about walks in your area at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure-cycling-walking-and-running