National Parks Week: 25 - 31 July

Published: 21st July 2011
North Craven Strollers enjoying the Yorkshire Dales National Park
There are ten National Parks in England - beautiful areas of mountains, meadows, moorlands, woods and wetlands. In all of them there are health walks to be enjoyed.

The National Parks are special areas of protected countryside that everyone can visit. They offer great opportunities for long-distance walks but, as the WfH schemes below will testify, they are also wonderful locations for short, led health walks.

Exmoor (Somerset)

Wild red deer and the native Exmoor pony are just two of the delights that make Exmoor special.
South Molton Striders offer occasional health walks on Exmoor.

Dartmoor (Devon)

The largest and wildest area of open country in Southern England.
Plymouth Step into Nature works in partnership with the National Park.

New Forest (Hampshire)

A unique landscape of majestic woodlands, rare heathland and spectacular coastline.
New Forest Healthy Walks organises a range of health walks around the Forest.

South Downs (West Sussex)

A diverse landscape with many bustling towns and villages.
Adur Health Walks offer many walks in this area of outstanding natural beauty.
East Hampshire Walking to Health puts on six weekly walks in the heart of the South Downs National Park.

Broads (Norfolk and Suffolk)

A special landscape of shallow lakes and rivers, renowned for wildlife.
Central Norfolk Health Walks
offers Broadland walks all through the year.
North Norfolk Fit Together offers a programme of health walks in the Broads National Park.

Peak District (Derbyshire)

Stunning scenery forged by nature over millions of years and covering an area the size of Greater London.
Matlock/Derbyshire Dales Health Walks
offer led walks in the south peak area of the National Park.
High Peak:Walks for Health offer led walks in the north peak area of the National Park.
Age UK Cheshire East works with the National Trust to hold health walks around the magnificent Lyme Park estate which lies within the National Park.

Lake District (Cumbria)

A place of mountains, lakes and thriving communities.
Walking the Way to Health Kendal & Staveley offers beginners walks and more challenging ‘mini fell walks’ in the National Park.
Patterdale Health Walks - an independent health walk group - is based in the Lake District National Park and offers one walk a week for local people and tourists

Yorkshire Dales (North Yorkshire)

Outstanding scenery, a range of wildlife habitats and a rich cultural heritage.
Skipton Craven Walks is a small volunteer-run health walk group that arranges some of its walks in the National Park.
North Craven Strollers holds regular walks in the Yorkshire Dales.

North York Moors (North Yorkshire)

A beautiful landscape of stunning moorland, spectacular coast, ancient woodland and historic sites.
North York Moors National Park Authority Health Walks offers several health walks a month in the National Park. 

Northumberland (Northumberland)

England’s most tranquil place where dramatic hills and sheltered valleys stretch from Hadrian’s Wall to the Scottish border.
West Northumberland Health Walks  puts on a few walks in the National Park and is involved in the Walk to Wellbeing project - a joint venture with the Northumberland National Park. As part of this, WfH volunteer walk leaders lead slightly longer walks within the National Park boundary.  These walks are targeted at existing health walkers, providing the chance to experience the National Park and, it is hoped, encouragement to return in the future. 

This is obviously a progression activity for health walkers. It has proved to be a great collaborative project and the walkers have loved it.
Alison Carter, Lead Adviser, WfH Newcastle

The CARAD group also offer a walk around Rothbury and there is a volunteer-led health walks group based in Wooler, both of which are in Northumberland National Park.

Walkers from North Norfolk Fit Together enjoying the Broads landscape and sunshine.
Health walkers with Age UK Cheshire East prepare for a walk around the magnificent Lyme Park estate in the Peak District National Park
Kendal & Staveley health walkers in the Lake District National Park
Patterdale walkers organise weekly health walks in the Lake District National Park
North Craven Strollers enjoying the Yorkshire Dales National Park
Petersfield Walking for Health group (part of East Hampshire Walking to Health) enjoying the spectacular views across the Meon Valley in the South Downs National Park