Trekkers from Wigan borough have embraced the great outdoors as part of an exciting new project to promote the health benefits of a walk on the wild side.
Outdoor champions with Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles stepped out for a nine-mile yomp from Astley Mining Museum to Wigan Flashes at the launch of the Carbon Landscape project.
The Wigan crew were part of a larger, 30-mile, walking relay that started in Warrington, went through Salford and finished at the Flashes to help raise the profile of the natural beauty of the landscape.
The Carbon Landscape is a £3.2m Heritage Lottery-funded project which aims to restore some of the area’s ancient landscapes that have been transformed by industry.
The project area covers former coalfields to the north and west and mosslands and riverside environments to the south, providing a combination of peatscapes and brownfield sites.
The three main areas are the Flashes; the Mosslands; and the Mersey Wetlands Corridor.
The scheme is a partnership between many different organisations and is managed by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust based in Wigan.
It’s aims are to promote the restoration of natural areas that have been transformed by heavy industry and to encourage more local people to get out and appreciate them.
Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles sports engagement officer Richard Smith said: “We are helping to get more people outdoors and active in the Carbon Landscape and have a whole range of different activities lined up for people to enjoy.
“It’s a stunning environment right on our doorstep that a lot people don’t know about or appreciate.”
“Getting outdoors and active has so many benefits - walking is a great form of exercise. It can also help to relieve stress and get people to relax.
“We have a range of different activities including guided walks, group walks and dog walks.
“They all take place in our area of the Carbon Landscape.”
Striding out at the launch event were Inspiring healthy lifestyles Outdoor Champion volunteers who were keen to promote the benefits of Nordic Walking.
Outdoor champ Roger Norcross, 74, said: “In Nordic Walking you use two polls to support and guide you as you go.
“It’s a great gentle form of exercise that helps to keep your body moving and your joints in working order.
“When you’re out and about you are learning to appreciate the natural landscape. You find out a lot about the nature and history on our doorstep.”
While fellow Nordic Walking fan Angela Dunn added: “This type of exercise is great for anyone and has so many benefits.
“Walking in a group you make all sorts of new friends so it’s particularly good for anyone who wants to meet people.”
Inspiring healthy lifestyles provides a range of health walks through the Carbon Landscape most weekends and during the week. All the events are free and can last anything from 20 minutes to two hours.
For more information, visit
http://www.inspiringhealthylifestyles.org/wigan/active-outdoors/walking/ or call 01942 488 481.