Over the summer months, Life Projects clients and staff have enjoyed a weekly Walking Group exploring the countryside around Bath.  Walking, talking and being in nature tick a lot of boxes for improving our physical and mental health.  Even short bursts of ten minutes of brisk walking increase mental alertness, energy and positive mood. Participation in regular, physical activity can boost our self-esteem and can reduce stress and anxiety. Being in nature and green spaces also has a similar positive impact on our mental wellbeing. But best of all is the chatting along the way.

One of the walkers who came each week said, “I enjoyed the walking, the company and having someone to talk to and the countryside.  And the weather was on our side.”

Meeting at the Gateway Centre, Paul Solly, Lifeline Manager, put on his community bus driver’s hat and drove the group to that week’s destination. The walks were not far outside of the city but that is the beauty of Bath and the surrounding countryside! You don’t have to venture very far to be fully immersed in the great outdoors. The walks were in Southstoke, Tucking Mill and Wellow, St Catherine’s Valley and Sally in the Woods.

One participant said “Having the bus take us out into the countryside was great. I couldn’t have afforded the bus fare to get to such places and get to experience the countryside as we did on the walks. I got to see new and beautiful places. It was so peaceful.”

Also, when we didn’t have the bus, we explored the river path and city parks and appreciated the green spaces right on our doorstep. “Just being out in the quiet and green was wonderful. I wish we could do it every weekend.” 

Sue Fourie, our Life Projects Manager, observed that “most people had at some stage in their lives been on a walk but not for many years. The Walking Group brought people back to what they had done in their past and reminded them that they could do something that they enjoyed that cost nothing and that made them feel better. By walking we get fitter in the body, mind and spirit.”

What next? We plan to continue with the group walks once a month, hiring a bus and taking people to new and different places.  

Some of the Walking Group will be taking part in the Bath Marches on 18 September as part of the Genesis Trust team. Starting at Bath Recreation Ground, the 9 and 15 mile circular routes explore the stunning countryside to the north of Bath. If you would like to join us please see the Bath Marches website www.bathmarches.co.uk for more information about the event and contact Hilary.long@genesistrust.org.uk for the code to sign up to walk with Genesis Trust. We would love people to come and walk, talk and be in nature with us that day!