Free group walks around Hackney and beyond
Join a free walking programme to get active while enjoying the outdoors, and discovering the history of different areas
ACCORDING to NHS recommendations, we should all aim to walk 10,000 steps a day. Do it briskly, and you’ll burn around 400 calories. The trouble is, most of us only manage between 3,000 and 4,000...
That’s where Walkingtogether comes in. A programme of free walks starting from different locations across Hackney, it aims to get people outdoors, exercising gently and improving their health. The walks vary in length and difficulty and are suitable for all ages. All you need to take part is a pair of comfortable shoes. Remember: those boots are made for walking…
It might look a little unusual, but the Nordic Walking technique of using poles to exercise the whole body is highly effective. Using 90 per cent of the skeletal muscles, it burns up to 46 per cent more calories than ordinary walking. It can even lower the risk of chronic illness and is an ideal form of exercise for those with joint problems or wanting to tone muscle and lose weight.
Walks start and finish at the bottom of Springfield Park at Leaside Trust, Spring Lane, E5 9HQ. The group departs at 2pm and finishes at 3.15pm, every Wednesday, between 16 November and 7 December. Walking poles are provided.
Every week, walks take place in parks across the borough. Varying in length from half an hour to an hour, they are run by trained leaders and are great ways to meet new people and socialise, as well as exercise.
London Fields walkers, on the other hand, meet on the steps of Hackney Town Hall (E8 1EA), on Wednesdays, at 12.15pm. Under the guidance of Lynne Thorburn, they stroll for 45 minutes at a moderate pace.
Did you know that Hackney Downs was first preserved as parkland back in the 1860s? Or that it is an impressive 40 acres in size? Every second Thursday of the month, a walk takes place around the park, so you can explore all of this. The group meets at the park pavilion (E5 8NP), at 11am, and goes for a slow paced, 30 minute stroll led by Cliff Gully.
If that inspires you to take a step in the right direction, there’s more. Monthly themed walks are taking place from November through to March next year. As well as good exercise, these are organised in order to explore the history of a new area, starting and finishing within easy reach of public transport to make things easier, and led by a knowledgeable guide. Each walk begins at 11am and takes one-and-a-half hours to complete. Just remember to book as places are limited.
Kings Cross is the destination for the first walk of the series, which takes place on 19 November. Walkers will be invited to explore connections with historical and fictional figures from Harry Potter to Queen Boudicca.
Next up it’s Westminster, walking past iconic sights including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament on 10 December. Hear how Winston Churchill fears no pigeon…
On 29 January, the walk winds its way to Wapping, home to sailors, pirates and boatloads of maritime history. Then it’s off to Whitechapel on 5 February for tales of Jack the Ripper and the Krays, before working its way to Hoxton on 11 March for pleasure gardens and radical politics.
Finally, on 18 March, the walk returns home to Green Flag award-winning Springfield Park. Once occupied by the Romans and Saxons, today it is home to a wide range of wildlife. So go on, take a walk on the wild side…