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New year, new walks

PUBLISHED: 10:11 02 January 2016

Walking helps combat a wide range of diseases

Walking helps combat a wide range of diseases

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Hertfordshire Year of Walking officer Rukia Augustine introduces new walks for a new year to help you keep that fitness resolution

Teddy - the inspiration behind the Borehamwood walksTeddy - the inspiration behind the Borehamwood walks

Teddy’s Trails

As part of the Hertfordshire Year of Walking, Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council has launched Teddy’s Trails – 18 downloadable walking trails around the south of Hertfordshire inspired by an enthusiastic dog.

The trails use bus routes from Elstree and Borehamwood railway station out into the surrounding countryside and villages, from where walkers follow routes of between three to eight miles back to the station using the guides. These follow rights of way and paths through the beautiful green spaces of Hertsmere.

The trails come recommended by Teddy, a fox terrier, who has been a resident of Borehamwood since his puppyhood. His owner, John Cartledge, has put these trails together, taking in the best views and landmarks and providing information on history and scenery along the way.

With all the film studios in the area, these walks are not short on stories about actors and directors who lived and worked in Borehamwood and Elstree. For example, did you know Richard Attenborough, Richard Murdoch, Kenneth Horne, Norman Wisdom, Anona Winn and Audrey Hepburn (who sold the programmes), took part in an ‘all-star midnight matinee’ in 1951 to raise funds to buy the 17th century Manor House in Borehamwood’s Allum Lane for use as a community resource? Or that a large warehouse visible from outside Borehamwood and Elstree railway station was the Whitehall Film Studios, an early home of ‘talking pictures’? Its soundproofing was inadequate to mask the noise of passing trains, so a member of staff was employed to sit on the roof and warn of approaching trains by telephone.

The trails are easy to download and get going. Visit elstreeborehamwood-tc.gov.uk or pop into the town council offices to get a copy.

Walking resolution

Make a new year’s resolution that you can keep. Walking at least 20 minutes per day really isn’t that hard to do. Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, maintain a healthy weight and become fitter. It’s underrated as a form of exercise, but walking is ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels who want to be more active. Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers.

The best way of sticking to a resolution is to make a habit of it. Fit walking into your day. Walk to the shops instead of driving, take the stairs, head out for a walk first thing in the morning – it’s amazing how different the world looks at this time of day. Set up a regular walk with friends or encourage the family out at the weekend with a promise of a visit to a café. The walking you do will quickly add up to the recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise recommended by the government’s chief medical officer.

Hertfordshire Health Walks are regular led walks of various grades from gentle 20-minute strolls to 90-minute faster walks. There are more than 60 walks a week across the county, so there is a good chance there is a walk at a time and location to suit you.

Our newest walks are in Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield, exploring Sherrardspark Woods, the Commons Nature Reserve, Stanborough Park, Hatfield town centre and Ellenbrook Fields. We hope soon to add Welham Green too. The walks are led by trained volunteers and are varied and interesting. Many walkers stop for refreshments afterwards, so they are a great opportunity to meet new people and make friends.

For more information and to download a programme for your area, visit hertfordshirehealthwalks.org or call 01992 588433. You can also sign up to the Herfordshire Year of Walking at hertsdirect.org/walking and receive monthly bulletins on upcoming events and a six-week walking programme to help build your fitness.

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