People are being encouraged to get outdoors and take part in free organised weekly walks in County Durham which are returning as coronavirus restrictions continue to ease.
As part of National Walking Month, Durham County Council is promoting Walk Durham, a programme which covers the whole of the county.
Walk Durham offers a variety of opportunities for people interested in walking, supporting people to take those first gentle steps through to weekly wellbeing walks.
As many people may not have been active during lockdown a series of short walks to help build confidence and fitness levels will be offered. Leaders have been fully trained and will ensure that no-one is left behind.
The programme will see the return of four volunteer-led walks in Spennymoor, Witton Gilbert, Beamish and Annfield Plain from Monday 24 May.
All walks are being held in line with current coronavirus restrictions in the interest of public safety.
Gary Lane, 57, is one of the walk leaders returning to the Spennymoor walk. He got involved with Walk Durham after identifying walking as a way of improving his own mental health.
Gary, who also enjoys cycling, said: “It has motivated me to discover more about my local area, as I am not originally from Spennymoor.
“It also helped me to meet other local people and had a positive impact on both my physical and mental health as well as giving me the motivation to undertake other outdoor activity training.
“I would highly recommend both joining the walks and becoming a leader to anyone.”
Alison Clark, Durham County Council’s head of culture, sport and tourism, said: “Walk Durham walks are a great way of improving both your physical and mental health through exercise and joining in with others. The walks are free to take part in at various locations in our communities.
“As coronavirus restrictions further ease and we get towards the summer months, there’s never been a better time to take that first step and get involved in walking.”
Anyone wanting to join the weekly walks or to find out which walks are happening in their area can visit durham.gov.uk/walkdurham.