The Ramblers – helping everyone enjoy walking in winter

The Ramblers are launching a Walk in Winter campaign to encourage people to walk safely near them to enjoy the uplifting boost of walking in nature - on their own, with family or friends, or their dog, using the online Ramblers Routes collection of walks.

Millions of us have found comfort in walking and nature this year, and being able to walk in nature-filled green spaces close to where we live has proved more important to us than ever following the COVID-19 lockdown. Recent research for the Ramblers by YouGov found that 78% of people said they intended to walk more than they did before when lockdown restrictions have ended. 

In the meantime, whilst the days are getting shorter, winter walking can be a great way to blow away the cobwebs, enjoy some magical seasonal surroundings or take a break from preparations for the coming festive season. The Walk In Winter campaign is running to encourage and support everyone to find their feet and enjoy the mood-boosting, uplifting joys of getting out walking in winter. 

If you’d like to get out walking locally with family, friends or a canine companion, why not check out Ramblers Routes? It’s an easy-to-search collection of well over 3,000 walks across Britain: it's available online and via our app. 

All walks of under three miles in the Ramblers Routes collection are freely available for anyone to access. The rest of the collection is fully available to Ramblers members; an annual membership costs very little, and there are concessionary rates available: membership could make a great festive gift for a loved one, or why not treat yourself?  

Get out walking with the children

Once you’ve introduced children to walking the hard part can be keeping them interested. Exercising the family dog is a simple way to add something different to a walk but there are plenty of other easy – and free – ways to make a walk special. 

Games of I-spy, collecting objects, treasure hunts or even fancy dress can help liven up walks for disinterested children. You could also consider incorporating local attractions or adding a picnic to your walk so they have something extra to look forward to. 

Here are three easy ways you can look after your mental health this winter season:  

1. Go on a mindful walk  

We often rush in everyday life and forget to fully experience the present. Being mindful means noticing what is around you, reflecting on how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking about. Walking is a perfect moment to be more mindful and take in everything you are seeing, hearing, feeling, touching and tasting along the way. Focus on your breathing and take in the fresh air around you.  

2. Get outdoors at regular intervals  

Even if you can’t go on a long hike, make sure to step outside regularly during the festive season. Walk to a nearby park or do a round of the garden. There’s nothing like being in green spaces for clearing your head and helping you feel calmer. Make sure to suggest a family walk too – subject to local pandemic lockdown restrictions.  

3. Walk and talk  

Walking and talking come very naturally together and walking with others can make us feel more connected to each other. Sometimes the best way to deal with stress is to talk it through with someone else. It’s also often easier to talk when you’re not sitting still. So, why not grab a friend or neighbour during the festivities and head out for a ramble! (Subject to local pandemic lockdown restrictions. 

One of the most important things to remember for winter walking is always wear the correct clothing and footwear for the weather and conditions underfoot. 

Happy winter walking! 

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