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Health Walks for HEAL

As part of our new Green Recovery Challenge Funded project, HEAL (Health and Environment Action Lancashire), we are working with partner organisations to deliver over 80 health walks in Lancashire by March 2023. Health and wellbeing data for Lancashire has been analysed to highlight the areas most in need of increased access to natural spaces and physical activities. The HEAL project seeks to deliver a range of activities. These include the formation of three community micro nurseries for trees, footpath creation, wetland creation, an education programme, tree planting, and health walks.

What is a health walk?

Avenham Park, Preston is on the route of one of the planned health walks
Avenham Park, Preston is on the route of one of the planned health walks

Our programme of health walks will begin in November. Initial plans focus on Colne and Preston. These areas stand out as areas in need of access to physical activities which do not have a health walk scheme. The walks will allow us to engage local residents in gentle exercise whilst familiarising them with green and blue spaces in their local area. Walking regularly provides numerous benefits to health and wellbeing. These include increasing physical fitness, reducing the risks of certain health conditions, reducing stress, preventing depression and improving sleep. This is in addition to the benefits of walking sociably in a group setting. This type of walking can help form friendships, increase confidence and encourage participants to meet and walk more regularly.

To deliver the health walks, we will be working with partner organisations including social prescribers from local GP’s practises. These partners will refer patients to the service. The walks will start with gentle 1 mile routes and, if suitable, will progress to 2 and 3 mile routes. Participants who have found the walks beneficial may then choose to find a local walking group with more challenging routes.

The local rivers will, of course, feature in our health walk routes where possible; helping us to reconnect Lancashire residents with the natural spaces on their doorsteps and the calming, restorative effects of water.

Discover more about the HEAL project by clicking here.