With the arrival of the good weather, we look at the options for guided local walks to get you venturing deeper into the countryside. Most are free and they are a great way of keeping fit, discovering new places and making new friends.

Many walks take place on the same day and time each week all year round, so you can find one that fits in with your routine and make exercise part of your lifestyle, and the routes tend to change so that there is plenty of variety even if you attend the same one each week. The walks are a great chance to meet people and a way to strike up a new friendship, especially if there is a chance to stop and have a chat afterwards over coffee or lunch. Most take place Monday to Friday, during the mornings or afternoons – but there are a few evening and weekend walks too.

Arlesey Walk for Health 

This is our most local group and meets every Thursday morning for a circular walk of an hour to an hour and a quarter. Eight of their twelve regular routes start in Arlesey; the others start in Stotfold. The group has members from Arlesey, Stotfold and Fairfield and is mixed ability. Walks are led by Peter and Beth Overfield, who you can contact on 01462 815672 for more details about walk times and where to meet. 

Hertfordshire Health Walks 

These walks are led by friendly, specially trained volunteers who provide plenty of support and encouragement and make sure that nobody is left behind. They are open to everyone, and whatever your level of fitness there will be something for you. 

Walks are graded so that you know what to expect, from 20–30 minutes on flat and even ground (First Steps) to 90 minutes or more with possible steep inclines and stiles (Grade 4 or 4+). Each walk comes with a key explaining where to meet, whether there is public transport available to get there and even if the walk is buggy friendly.

Walks take place Monday to Friday and the North Hertfordshire programme includes walks in Letchworth, Hitchin, Ickleford and Baldock, often starting and ending at a pub so that there is somewhere to continue the conversation over a drink or lunch if you like. There are even a couple of evening walks starting at 7pm for those who are not free during the day. All walks are free and no booking is required – you can just turn up!

To find out more visit http://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/healthwalks or call 01992 588433. 

Central Bedfordshire Health Walks

CBC has a programme of walks similar to the Hertfordshire ones, which you can find listed on http://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk. They are spread across Central Bedfordshire and Bedford, with just a few local to Fairfield – so for those wanting to stay closer to home the North Hertfordshire programme might fit the bill better.

Letchworth Arts and Leisure Group

The LALG has several walking groups aimed at different levels, including some that meet at the weekend. There is a small charge to join (from £5 per family for the rest of the 2018–19 season, which ends on 31 August), but membership also comes with various discounts at Letchworth businesses which could easily earn you your fee back if you shop local. Drop in to see them at Fairfield Community Hall  on 18 May (see p3 for details) or visit http://www.lalg.org.uk to find out more.