Getting around by foot in Leicester & Leicestershire is easy, and most people would be surprised at how far their feet can take them in a short space of time.

Choosing to walk for local journeys hands you back control of your travel – you get to choose the route, what detours to make, and when to start. As a bonus, there’s never a “where can I park?” headache at the end.

Why walking is great...

  • You’re in charge. You decide which route to take, whether to stop for a coffee or run some errands along the way.
  • A reliable journey. It’s frustrating to be stuck in a queue of traffic as the time ticks by… Choosing to walk means that you have a reliable journey time, day after day. You’ll arrive at your destination feeling calm and in control.
  • Thinking time. If you choose to walk, you’ll be able to enjoy some uninterrupted thinking time. Having a stroll at lunch or marching home from work helps you to clear your head and de-stress – leaving you in a better mood!
  • Easy exercise. Choosing to walk for some of your regular journeys is an easy way to build in exercise to your daily routine. Walking regularly can build your fitness and help to reduce your risk of all kinds of health nasties such as stroke and coronary heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Use our journey planner to see how many calories you could burn if you choose to walk.
  • More pounds in your pocket. Walking is definitely the cheapest way to travel. Choosing to walk for some of your regular journeys means that you have more control over your travel costs – a few trips by car soon add up.

Check out our guides below for top tips for maximising your walk, or use our journey planner to help you work out the best route from A to B. We have lots of ideas on how you can enjoy walking and all of its benefits as part of your everyday routine.

Walking for health

Walking is a natural and easy way to be more physically active. You can be exercising without even knowing it. Start with short walks and build up slowly, with regular walks that will help improve your fitness and mood.

Strolls on your Doorstep guideSelf-guided walks

Check out our Strolls on your Doorstep series of easy-access short walks, from a stroll around a park to an easy ramble into the nearby countryside; ideal for a bit of exercise during your lunch break!

These suggested walks are suitable for a range of abilities, including some designed for people with pushchairs and wheelchairs. (All files are PDF format)

NB: the free prize draws featured in some of these leaflets have now closed. The Countryside Guide promoted in some of these leaflets is also no longer available.

The Active Travel Hinckley team have also produced a series of self-guided walks of varying lengths around the main business sites in Hinckley. These walks are designed to easily fit into your day, for example, your lunch break, to help improve your health:

Walking for health groups

Or how about joining your local health walk scheme?

  • Short, regular, local and sociable walks
  • For people of all abilities
  • Free to join
  • Led by trained walk leaders who can offer advice and support

  • wfh2013_logoWalking for Health – FREE weekly walks across Leicester & Leicestershire, led by friendly, specially trained volunteers who are on hand to provide encouragement, support and make sure no one gets left behind. Walks are short and over easy terrain. Open to everyone but especially aimed at those who are least active.

Ready to challenge yourself?

  • Walking groups in Leicester & Leicestershire – If you’re feeling ready to take on some longer and more-challenging walks, there are lots of groups across the city and county, which organise walks at least once per week, throughout the year, for all ages and abilities.
  • Running tips for beginners (NHS) – Running is free, you can do it anywhere, and it burns more calories than any other mainstream exercise. Regular running can reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also boost your mood and keep your weight under control.

Walking to work

Walking to work sets you up for the day ahead. Keeping up a reasonable pace during your walk means that you’ll be burning calories and getting in some exercise before the working day has even started.

Walking to work doesn’t even mean walking the whole way – getting off the bus a few stops early and walking for 10 or 20 minutes can give you the endorphin boost you need before you start work.

Here are our tips for making the most of your walk to work:

  • Find the best route. Do you need a direct route or would you like to take in a stroll through the park? Use our journey planner to help you find the best route for you.
  • Pick up the pace. If you’re walking for fitness, you’ll get the biggest benefit from your walk if you aim for a moderate pace – quicker than a stroll but not a jog! Imagine that you need to maintain a good pace to make sure you are in time for an appointment.
  • Track your progress. If you’re walking for fitness you might want to convert your steps into calories burned. Use our journey planner to see how many calories you’re burning.
  • Walk tall. Keep your eye out for all the changes that happen on your route – whether it’s a new shop, restaurant or café that you’ve noticed, you’ll be first to know about changes in your local area.

Walking at work

Stepping out at lunchtime is the perfect opportunity to build in some extra activity to your day – you’ll arrive back at your desk sporting rosy cheeks and feeling revived.

Have a look at our Strolls on your Doorstep and Active Travel Hinckley guides in the ‘Walking for health’ section above for some lunchtime walking inspiration.

All of the featured walks have an indication of the time they’ll take and a detailed description of the route, so you can rest assured that you’ll be back at your desk in time for the afternoon.

There are other simple ways to raise your activity levels and burn some extra calories at work, even if you can’t manage to get out for a walk during lunch.

  • Take the stairs rather than the lift. If you think reaching your floor by stairs alone is beyond your current capabilities, start by going half way then catching the lift for the last leg. You can add on extra floors to your ‘walk’ as you build up your fitness.
  • Hold walking meetings. Going outside or simply strolling round the office for some of your less formal meetings helps to reduce the time you spend sitting every day.
  • Challenge your colleagues to a ‘step challenge’. Using pedometers, see who can take the most steps over a set period of time!

Walking to school or college

It might sound counter-intuitive, but cutting the car out of the school run can mean you cut out some of the stress. We can’t help you cut out the last minute panic around a forgotten lunchbox or some mislaid shoes, but a well-timed stroll to school can help everyone get to where they need to be on time. Here are our top reasons for choosing to walk to school:

  • It’s easy: most parents and children can comfortably walk 1 mile in around 20 minutes. Use our journey planner to plan your route and find out how far it is.
  • It’s educational: walking to school can help build your child’s independence, road safety and social skills.
  • It’s social: taking a walk in the morning gives everyone a proper chance to talk through what they’re looking forward to that day, or what they’d like to avoid… It also gives children a chance to meet up and chat with friends along the way.
  • It’s healthy: your children (and you!) will reap the benefits of a little exercise before school starts. Getting out in the fresh air and sunshine for at least 15 minutes at the start and end of the day will improve everyone’s chances of fighting off illnesses associated with low levels of activity. What’s more, children that walk to school tend to arrive in class much more relaxed, alert and ready to start their day.
  • It’s reliable: a traffic-jam in the morning has the potential to make everyone late – and irritable! Choosing to walk means that you can cut down on the unknowns – you’ll have a reliable journey every day.

Why not park & stride?

Parents often say they can’t walk with their children to school because they are short of time or believe they live too far away. How about talking to your child’s school about setting up a park & stride scheme?

This enables you to fit in a short walk to school by parking several streets away, perhaps at a designated car park agreed between the school and a local organisation. By reducing the number of cars parked outside the school gates, it’s safer for everyone and would be welcomed by local residents.

Download the Living Streets Guide to Setting up a Park and Stride scheme

For more information on setting up a park & stride scheme at your school:

Or set up a walking zone?

Sometimes there is no suitable location around the school to use for a formal Park and Stride scheme. If this is the case, your school could consider setting up a Walking Zone instead.

A Walking Zone sets a clearly defined area around the school. It has the same aim to encourage children and families to walk for at least part of their journey to and from school. Families who live in, or near, the Walking Zone are encouraged to walk to and from school every day. Those with longer journeys, who choose to drive, are asked to park safely outside the zone and to walk the rest of their journey.

Download the Living Streets Guide to Setting up a Walking Zone

Or set up a walking bus scheme?

walking-busA walking bus is made up of a group of children plus two or more adult volunteers – one adult acts as the ‘driver’ at the front and another acts as the ‘conductor’ at the back.

A walking bus follows a set route each day, stopping at agreed pick-up points on the way to or from school.

Children benefit from the exercise and fresh air, and get to have fun with their friends before the school day starts. Parents and carers can rest assured that their children will arrive at school safely and on time.

For more information on setting up a walking bus scheme at your school:

School and college travel plans

Find out how the City and County councils can support your school or college in
promoting active and sustainable travel.

Living Streets – Walk to School scheme

Living Streets’ year-round walk to school challenge – called WOW – encourages children to walk, scoot, cycle or park and stride to school.

Pupils record how they get to school on the WOW Travel Tracker website and those who travel actively to school at least once per week are rewarded with a themed badge each month.

Participation in WOW has been shown to increase walking rates by up to 23% and results in 30% fewer cars at the school gates, reducing congestion issues.

WOW is supported by a range of resources, including monthly curriculum-aligned learning activities and assembly presentations.

At less than £1.50 per pupil, per year, WOW is a simple, cost effective way of getting children walking to school. Find out more here.

Schools within the Leicester City boundary are currently able to receive WOW resources free of charge.

Other curriculum linked resources from Living Streets are available from TES.

More information: Katie France, Living Streets Project Coordinator – 07808 640305 or katie.france@livingstreets.org.uk.

There’s also a whole host of resources and support for schools, colleges and universities from Sustrans, a leading UK charity enabling sustainable travel for everyday journeys.

Walking for leisure

Have a bit more time? See our Explore on foot section for suggested routes for every kind of walker, from laid-back strollers to ambitious ramblers.

The city’s parks, open spaces, riverside and historic New Walk, and the county’s country parks, woodlands, historic towns, villages and waterways are best appreciated on foot.