One-in-four Britons walk less than five miles a month

One-in-four Britons walk less than five miles a month

Almost a quarter of the population walks less than five miles a month, a survey has warned, and is missing out on some secret and spectacular sights that can only be reached on foot.

Nearly one in four adults said they rarely went for walks, while 17 per cent never venture more than 500 yards from their car.

The findings, from a poll of 1,000 people, were released by the National Trust as it highlighted a list of walks which can only be reached on foot and which all offer a hidden gem or “unique experience” at some point.

The list, selected by experts at the charity and published to celebrate the launch of the annual Great British Walk festival this weekend, is topped by a trek along the White Cliffs of Dover.

“Secret discoveries” along the way range from a viewpoint few would otherwise reach to the story of an old legend and a newly accessible coastal path.

It also includes walks at Dunstanburgh Castle on the Northumberland coast, Trelissick Garden in Cornwall and Erddig Hall near Wrexham in Wales.

The White Cliffs walk allows visitors to travel a new route to the South Foreland Lighthouse, which offers a previously hidden view. At Erddig, a love story between two of the property’s family servants has been brought to life in a walk taking in rarely visited parts of the estate. Walkers are invited to retrace the footsteps of where the lovers met and see, through various mementoes, how their romance blossomed.

The walk near Malham Waterfall in the Yorkshire Dales includes a secret cave that, according to local legend, was the home of the queen of the fairies.

It is hoped the new routes will galvanise adults and children to get out into the open more frequently and for longer periods after the trust’s study found that just 7 per cent of the population walk more than 50 miles per month, while almost two fifths walk only five to 10 miles a month.

More than a fifth have abandoned a walk half way through, and more than a quarter admitted using public transport or a car to complete a walk.

Nine out of 10 adults agreed that children walk less now than they did themselves when they were young, while more than half said they wished their children got out and walked more.

A study of almost 7,000 primary school pupils published last week found that half of all British seven-year-olds were not doing even the minimum recommended one hour of exercise each day.

Alex Hunt, from the National Trust, said: “The Great British Walk is all about celebrating the outdoors and discovering new places on foot. There is something magical about walking somewhere new and uncovering its story, and the Great British Walk is the perfect way to join in and discover something new.”

By Rosa Silverman

The Telegraph, 29th August 2013

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