Exploring your Surroundings for National Walking Month

National Walking Month is usually the perfect time to get out and about and discover new inspiring places – but this year is looking quite different with a lockdown in place and advice to stick to your local area for one daily walk. This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy yourself while sticking to a route that starts at your front door! Here are our top ways to enjoy your local area safely and responsibly…

Pssst…All of the photos in this article have been taken by members of the Joules team on their daily walks!

Look for Local Footpaths

You may have only taken a stroll along the pavement of your neighbourhood, but a daily walk gives the perfect opportunity to take the road less traveled, so to speak. Public footpaths are always marked with signs – sometimes these are just little yellow arrows on a wooden post, so have a look for these when you next go for your walk. There are also lots of apps and websites that show you where your nearest footpaths are too, so you can plot out your journey beforehand. This might be the best approach to take, as most footpaths are quite long and may take you out of your area, which is not advised.

Be safe, be responsible:

Make sure you always stick to designated footpaths that are in your local area – never enter unmarked farmland as this can disturb livestock and damage crops. Be very vigilant when using turnstyles and gates and think about how many people will have touched this before you. Do not touch your face and wash your hands thoroughly when you get home. If you see someone else walking along the footpath, give them a wide berth and stay at least two metres away.

Appreciate your Surroundings

How well do you actually know your area? You’ve probably walked or driven through it a hundred times before, but haven’t actually stopped to learn about and take in the place you call home. Try and do a little research before your next walk – are there any stories about the buildings near you, or the local church? If you live in a newly-built area, try and spot the little bits of nature that are creeping through the paving stones. Can you spot any wildlife?

Be safe, be responsible:

Respect people’s private property – don’t trespass onto anybody’s land (including gardens or driveways) and don’t go anywhere you feel like you shouldn’t. Some churches have closed their doors to the public during lockdown, so stick to open footpaths and be mindful of graveyards. They’re an interesting way to learn about the history of your area, but they are still a place for people to grieve.

Document your Walk

A simple walk becomes a lot more meaningful when you make an account of it. Try keeping a diary to pencil down your thoughts, feeling and things you’ve noticed on your walk. If you like to spot birds, note down which ones you’ve seen and try your hand at drawing them. You can also pick wildflowers you find along your way and press them as a keepsake to stick in your diary. When you look back at this strange time, it will give you a positive memory to reflect on every time you look at it.

Be safe, be responsible:

Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually not illegal to pick wildflowers, but be mindful. You should never uproot a plant, so only pick petals or stems, and don’t take anything from anybody’s garden or from a place where plants have been grown for the community to enjoy. If you’re unsure, don’t pick it. Also be careful of disturbing local wildlife – just watch and listen from a distance.

Have a brew with a view

To make your walk even more enjoyable, you can pack up a flask of hot tea (or coffee, or hot chocolate!) and find a nice spot to enjoy it. Sometimes we think too much about counting our steps and measuring our distance when out for a walk, but it’s important not to forget about the mindfulness element of our daily strolls. Find a secluded, scenic spot and sip away. Take a moment of stillness and just enjoy the outdoors. You can count your steps when you’re done!

Be safe, be responsible:

It’s best to avoid local parks and spaces that are likely to have a lot of people walking about. Also be careful with public benches and seating areas that a lot of people could have used and touched. As always, wash you hands and your flask thoroughly when you get home and be particularly mindful about touching your face when drinking. If you’re bringing a disposable container, bring your rubbish home with you.

1 Comment

  • Julia Paton

    01.05.2020 at 06:19 Reply

    Hi I’m reading this at 6 in the morning I’ve been awake since 4. I go for daily walks around my local area which is in the Cotswolds. I know I’m lucky to have such beautiful countryside on my door step. It’s been lovely over the last month to see the forest come to life and turn from brown to green. The blue bells, and wood anemones are stunning. The beautiful shades of green that are appearing every day give me such pleasure. Not to mention the lambs everywhere. We have so much to be thankful for. This period of time has given us time to look and see things that we perhaps wouldn’t usually take so much notice of. Thank you for your lovely photos x

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