At Walking Pace we love walking. We create walks and write, read and talk walking – a lot!

But, if you don’t want to walk, then that’s fine with us.

“But walking gives so many benefits.” Of course, the benefits of walking are well known. But so are the benefits of going outside, experiencing nature and awe.

Walking is only one way to connect to nature and we know that different cultures and communities access the outdoors in different ways. Factors such as age, life stage, ability, motivation, economics and opportunity also affect how, when and why people access the outdoors.

Mother and daughter sitting outside

Take a walk along Dovedale in the Peak District National Park on a sunny weekend afternoon you’ll notice children playing in the river, teenagers running up and down Thorpe Cloud and multi generation families having picnics, talking, relaxing and having fun.

So, who has got it right? The family spending an afternoon of quality time together at a beauty spot? Or the solo hillwalker yomping along Dovedale as part of a 15 mile hike.

Well, both can be right – and so can everyone in-between (and beyond.)

Short walks are fine. Long walks are fine. But one does not necessarily lead to the other. Short and easy are not less worthy than long and technical. And just sitting in the outdoors is also fine! There is much to gain from being still in nature.

Just sitting outside

How can the outdoor sector value and become more representative of the diverse ways individuals, families and communities experience the outdoors? How can we break free from the harder, higher, longer, faster is better mentality?

For some people walking is an entry point to the outdoors. Some may be encouraged into walking through other interests such as history, art or wildlife. For others, their entry point to the outdoors may be a few metres from the car park, bus stop or their home.

Organisations promoting walking do a great job getting people outside, but a variety of entry points to the outdoors should be encouraged – including some that do not involve going for a walk at all. And if walking becomes a natural progression for some participants then great. But if not, then coming back for more of the same is also fine.

At Walking Pace we care about whether people could go walking or wheeling if they wanted to – and we aim to inspire people to do so. But we acknowledge that starting points vary, as do needs and wants.

We want everyone who wants to walk or wheel to feel confident and to be safe. And that the infrastructure and furniture meets their needs. That they find their inspiration and motivation get outside. That they can access good walks on their doorstep or can travel to the places that inspire them. That the barriers to the enjoyment of walking are overcome.

Do walk. Don’t walk. It’s up to you. Just enjoy being outside.

(p.s. in my next blog I will probably be back to banging on about walking – but I absolutely will take ‘no’ for an answer.)

One comment

  1. I agree. I do a lot of walks but when not leading I’m looking around at nature, views, etc. I now encourage people to stop for a break, chat, have a drink, enjoy their time.

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