Amber Valley Walking for Health.
WELCOME TO OUR SPRING NEWSLETTER
Hope you all enjoyed the previous edition of our newsletter before Christmas, some of the stories within were published Nationally by the Ramblers which is fantastic publicity for the Amber Valley Scheme.
We’ve been really busy over the last few months and this edition contains lots of walk leader and walker stories, along with other interesting information and features on what's happened so far this year. Including our Easter “get together walk
We also have a new Facebook page - Amber Valley Walking for Health.
Waingroves Woodland Walk
For our last two walks at Waingroves we have had beautiful weather which was perfect for enjoying the snowdrops and crocuses and then the daffodils. This month we spotted the first of the bluebells and are hoping for a glorious display of these on our May walk. It is interesting to see the changes in the woodland between visits though not everyone appreciated the frogs chorus that we were treated to in March! I'm still waiting to spot a woodpecker, they taunt us as you can hear them tapping on the trees but can't see them….One day perhaps. Jean
Amber Valley Health Walks is your local Walking for Health scheme. Our walks are free, fun and friendly – perfect to help you get active and meet new people.
If you’d like to take part, all you have to do is come along to the start point of one of our walks a few minutes early, so that one of our trained walk leaders can take your details. Then you’re free to take part in as many walks as you like, as often as you like.
If you are interested in becoming a walk leader or volunteer please register your interest with Amanda:
Somercotes Walking Group
In nearly 12 years of the Somercotes walking group, the 23rd of February was the first time we had had to cancel a walk. We felt it was unsafe to be walking in the very strong winds and rain brought to us by storm Doris. However, we were not totally defeated, we went to Jacksdale where we should have been walking, and five very brave souls did a short walk anyway. The rest of us spent a very pleasant morning in the garden centre. The beautiful colours of the spring plants soon cheered us up and there were plenty of lovely things to look at in the gift section. We then went to the coffee shop, where we enjoyed coffee, scones or cake and chat. A very pleasant morning, much better than sitting at home watching the storm.
Heanor Walking Group - Walk Planning
How easy is it to plan a walk? It seems simple enough – you just need to find a few decent paths to walk on and organise for your group to turn up on Tuesday afternoon (or whatever day it is) and off you go. However, to devise a walk that is safe and enjoyable takes a bit more thought. Firstly, in order to comply with Walking for Health guidelines, as a rule of thumb, walks need to be between 2.5 and 3 miles. Then ideally, at the start of the walk (and the finish, because they are usually the same place!) there needs to be decent parking and this should be free if possible. We need to avoid stiles, mud, livestock and steep slopes. Busy roads can be crossed but are best avoided, if possible, for obvious reasons. Ideally walks should afford access to snowdrops and daffodils in spring and bluebells and rhododendrons later on. The cherry on the cake (in every sense) is calling at a café or pub at the end of the walk for refreshments.
In the Heanor area we are blessed with an excellent variety of walks on our doorstep and we have 24 on our programme at present. We are always looking for new walks and work is progressing on new paths near the Visitor Centre at present so we hope to incorporate these into our future schedules once they are officially open.
We recently undertook a new walk incorporating Shipley Lock and the wind turbine nearby, (which is visible for miles around) using the Erewash canal towpath and part of the Erewash Valley Trail. The walk ended with refreshments at the Bridge Inn where we were made very welcome by the staff. With this in mind, I have been trying to find other walks in the area. Riding round on my bike and having discovered paths alongside the old Nottingham canal (part of which is now a nature reserve) I have discovered a couple of very promising walks.
One of these would provide good views of Bennerley Viaduct and the other would take us through the nature reserve, over the railway and back up the Erewash canal. These are work in progress at the moment as they need to be fine-tuned, as per the criteria outlined above. They are also subject to the completion of the work on the railway bridge near to Ilkeston football ground, but we are hopeful that 2017 will be another successful year for our group with a few more new walks to look forward to.
Our spring “Get together Walk”
in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support Friday April 21st at Lea Gardens 10.30am
52 walkers and 3 leaders met at Lea Gardens near Crich, it was great to see so many of our regular walkers and new walkers and many of our walk leaders from our Amber Valley walking groups. The weather was perfect , the scenery spectacular, we ambled around the area admiring the lovely cottages and the house where Florence Nightingale resided, across the fields and along the canal and admired the ducks and the cute baby lambs, the walk was 3.75 miles and weÂÂÂÂ enjoyed a picnic and the delights (especially the cakes) on offer at the Tea Rooms were you can sit and view the amazing and splendid gardens and see the Rhododendrons in their splendour, it’s a walk I would love to do again and will definitely attend the Lea Gardens walk which runs every Saturday during the summer and meets at the tea rooms at 10am (and to sample more of the amazing cakes on offer) a thoroughly enjoyable day and to top it all we raised £105 for Macmillan Cancer support.
A big thank you to Peter and Dawn for leading the group, Graham from British Nordic Walking who brought his Belper group along and everyone else that made donations and joined us for this wonderful walk.
Nordic Walking Belper Group
I don’t think that I need to tell anyone in the health profession about the benefits of walking. Nordic Walking, however, gives a whole new range of benefits as can be borne out by the Nordic Walkers that walk from The Fit Pit in Belper on Friday mornings at 10am and from Ripley Leisure centre on Thursday evenings at 7pm.
All of them started off by having a few doubts but still came along and tried it out, some had difficulties with the correct technique/coordination but all soon mastered it.
They realised that when they use the poles they become like a 4-legged animal and the effort is spread over into the upper body as well as the legs. It’s a bit like using a cross trainer but you are out doors and your scenery is changing as you move along.
Everyone knows that to get out of Belper you either have to go along the A6 or you walk up hills. Nordic Walking makes negotiating the hills slightly easier because of the use of the poles. You can easily hold a conversation as you go along as some of my walkers can testify.
During the drier months, we go across farmer’s fields using the public footpaths and obeying the Country Code but as the weather worsens during Autumn and Winter we spend more time on the roads.
On average, we cover 3 miles in the hour and manage to conduct warm up exercises (necessary to help avoid muscle & joint injuries) and cool down stretches that are intended to help to avoid muscle soreness a day or 2 day afterwards.
The Belper group, as with all Nordic Walking Groups are welcoming, chatty and love a little joke and laugh, sometimes at my expense but I sometimes return the jesting.
Come along and meet us, FREE tasters are organised from time to time so just ask. Keep walking & smiling.
WE NEED YOUR HELP ….
If you'd like to help out on our walks, but don't want to be a walk leader then taking on a walk assistant role could be for you. Particularly on larger walks, it can be great for walk leaders to have a helping hand in welcoming the walkers and making sure that the paperwork is all completed efficiently. The responsibilities of these assistant roles can vary from scheme to scheme and could also include some elements of administration or promotion, particularly if this is also something you're interested in.
Volunteer walk leaders
Walking for Health wouldn't exist without our fantastic volunteer walk leaders, who lead health walks taking place around the country. As a volunteer walk leader, you would be helping people in your community to get active and healthy, providing vital support that they otherwise might not get. As well as ensuring walks are friendly, safe and well run, walk leaders are also our ambassadors for walking, their scheme and Walking for Health - showing people that walking really can make a big difference to their lives. (You will need to attend one days full training run locally).
Walking health walk routes beforehand (“recce-ing”) to make sure you know them.
Welcoming walkers to the walks, particularly new walkers.
Giving a brief talk before the walk to make sure everyone is prepared.
Making sure paperwork like registration forms and registers are completed. Leading and managing walks, usually jointly with other walk leaders (including “back marking or “middle marking” as well as leading at the front).
Making sure walks are welcoming, friendly, enjoyable and safe, following our best practice guidelines and the requirements of your scheme.
Trouble shooting and dealing with problems on walks, with the support of your scheme coordinator.
Providing information about other walks offered by the scheme and basic information about how to keep active.
Attending occasional walk leaders’ meetings and refresher training.
Staying in touch with the latest news and guidance from your scheme and Walking for Health. In addition, depending on how your scheme is run, you could also be asked to help your scheme coordinator develop and risk assess new walking routes.
The main skill we need from our volunteer walk leaders is clearly demonstrated enthusiasm for walking and its benefits!ÂÂÂÂ In addition, we love our leaders to be:
Friendly, welcoming and empowering with good communication skills
Observant and sensitive to the needs of others
Knowledgeable about the basics of the benefits of walking and physical activity
Reliable, punctual, honest and well-organised
Able to work independently but with guidance and support Confident at speaking in front of small groups
Able to take control and be assertive when needed
Full training with a nationally recognised and well respected scheme.~
Ongoing support and guidance from your scheme coordinator and Walking for Health.
Access to Walking for Health resources and equipment to help you fulfil your role.
Opportunity to develop your leadership, people management and other skills.
Opportunity to meet new people including like-minded volunteers.
Opportunity to discover more of your local area and spend time in the outdoors.
Opportunity to be more physically active yourself.
What is the time commitment required? Most walks are short (around an hour or less) so including travelling, preparation and paperwork leading a single walk close to home typically takes around 2.5-3 hours, plus recces and occasional meetings and refresher training. Typical schemes expect their leaders to attend at least one walk a month, depending on the programme and the numbers of leaders they have.