National Walking Month 2023 runs throughout May and aims to get people swapping short car and public transport journeys for a quick stroll to improve moods, reduce pollution and more. It’s an admirable idea, but why not go one step further with some more adventurous ideas?
In this article, we’ll explore five unusual mini-breaks and days out for you to try this May. From hiking up mountains to glorious walks along the coast and city explorations, why not #WalkThisMay?
When is National Walking Month?
National Walking Month runs every May, and the whole point is to help everyone feel better, exercise more, save money, and pollute less.
Walking is said to be the best form of exercise as it’s low impact and accessible, and it also improves cardiovascular health and bone strength and can contribute to weight loss and improve mental health.
Many of us walk to work and school, which is great for us and the environment, but it might be time to shake things up this May and make the most of the bank holidays to walk on the wild side. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
1. Head to your nearest city
We’ve all been on holiday and clocked up an impressive number of steps while trekking around the local town or city, haven’t we?
Yes, a day out in your nearest large town or small city may require an initial bit of car or public transportation, but once you’re there and exploring the High Street and local attractions, walking is by far the name of the game.
To make the most of it, why not plan your day with attractions, restaurants, and sights in a nice circular route to and from your car? Or consider a walking tour instead – many cities have tour guides available or free pre-planned routes you can download and follow through the streets.
2. Visit the closest National Park or Area Of Natural Beauty
We’re lucky in the UK that we have a huge amount of green space available for us to explore. From the 15 national parks to the 34 Areas Of Natural Beauty and our local forests and woodland.
While a stroll through your local park is all good, why not take it further by jetting off to the closest national green space and having a long hike? Try trekking up Kinder Scout in the Peak District or exploring the Canonteign Falls in Dartmoor. You could even make a weekend of it in North Norfolk and traverse the entire coast on foot via the well-known coastal and clifftop path!
3. Try Geocaching
Geocaching is kind of like a global treasure hunt. The idea is you search for a listed GPS-coordinated site and find the ‘cache’ once there. You can then take something from the cache and replace it and/or log your find on the geocache website or app you’re using with any comments you have. The Geocaching Association of Great Britain has loads of guidance on getting started.
All you need to do is sign up to the website or join the app, input your location, and start searching. The most commonly used website is Geocaching.com or their App, and it’s free to sign up.
4. Find a new local walk
You may take regular walks around your local area already and might find yourself bored with the same routes, so why not see if you can find a new one? Exploring new paths or courses can help you stay engaged with walking and continue to build your stamina for longer walks.
Walking Britain has a handy map-searching function to help you find new walks local to you. Depending on where you are, little or no travel may be needed to get started!
The OS maps website and app are great too. Plus, you can adjust the search results based on your activity. For example, if you’re walking, running, cycling, horse riding, paddling or more.
5. Do a mystery treasure trail
This one is a bit like geocaching but is more mystery-based, with local attractions and clues to follow. This is one for the family to get involved in.
Some local authorities have family treasure hunts set up across the area to help people get out and about, but there are also Treasure Trails online. Simply input your location, and it will deliver the closest trail for you to purchase and download.
You could also DIY this idea with a sort of cross-city scavenger hunt with well-known artwork, signs or graffiti located all around that your family members have to collect pictures of to win!
Walking around your local area or going further out is great to do all year round, not just in May. So, why not give one or two of these weird ideas a go throughout National Walking Month, and leave the remainder for the rest of the summer? No matter what you choose to do, you should enjoy it, so get planning and get excited to #WalkThisMay.