Now that the lockdown restrictions have gently eased on taking exercise in England, then National Walking Month is the perfect time for us all to get out and about and take the time to discover our surroundings.  Clearly, we still need to adhere to social distancing guidelines and it’s important to respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but wherever we are, we can all take this opportunity to enjoy the beautiful countryside that’s on our doorstep. Here are our top tips of getting out and about and keeping as safe and responsible as we can be …

Your right to roam...

How well do you actually know your area? We’re probably all a little bit guilty of driving here,  there and everywhere before the lockdown, and not really taking any great note of what’s actually on our own doorsteps. There are lots of public footpaths and permissive footpaths that give us the opportunity to take the road less travelled, so to speak. Public footpaths are always marked with signs so have a look for these next time you go out and about. There are lots of apps and websites too that help you find your nearest footpaths too, which makes it so much easier for you to plot out your journey before you leave the house. 

It’s also a good idea to start small if you’re not used to hiking and walking long distances.  Select a walk that’s a little bit shorter than the distance you can normally walk on a level paved surface and then take it from there. Depending on the route, walking can include a wide range of different terrain including uneven ground and steep hills so best to start small and build up. 

Be safe, be responsible:

It’s probably best to stick to designated footpaths that are in your local area and not to enter unmarked farmland and private property.  Also, be careful when using turnstiles and gates...basically, anything you have to touch.  You may see someone else walking along the footpath, so give them a wide berth and stay at least two metres away.

Rain or shine…

Before you set off it’s always a good idea to check the weather, dress accordingly and pack what you might need.  It will make sure that you don’t get caught out...too wet and you’ll get very cold and drenched or too hot and you may get sunburnt.

Your footwear and dressing right is key to comfort.  Also, apply the layer...layer...layer... technique and you can outsmart the weather and easily adjust your temperature and for the weather.

Be safe, be responsible:

If you’re going on a long walk then seasoned walkers recommend it’s always best to skip wearing cotton… it gets damp and stays that way leaving you feeling clammy and can rub and feel very uncomfortable.  Instead go for synthetics. 

Every journey tells a story...

Going for a walk by yourself or with family becomes a lot more meaningful when you really take the opportunity to document it.  Look at the views...take your camera to snap away or take some amazing videos. Pick some wildflowers and take them home to flower press...documenting memories and keepsakes can really make a big difference in challenging times like this and gives us something positive to look back on. 

Be safe, be responsible:

Believe it or not, it’s not actually illegal to pick wildflowers, but having said that we need be mindful...obviously please never uproot a plant, so only pick petals or stems, and don’t take anything from anybody’s garden or from a place where plants have been grown for the community to enjoy. If you’re unsure, don’t pick it. Also be careful of disturbing local wildlife – just watch and listen from a distance.

Brew with a view…

Pack up your flask and some tasty treats for the family and find a nice view to enjoy it. It’s really that simple!  Just take a moment to sit back and relax and enjoy the peace and stillness of being in nature. 

Be safe, be responsible:

Be careful of public benches and seats as a lot of people could have touched and used them. As always, when eating and drinking make sure your hands are clean beforehand and thoroughly wash your hands and picnic containers when you get home. Oh, and of course leave no trace...don’t litter...bring your rubbish home :)

Wherever you are, beautiful scenery is never too far away for you to explore. At this time of year the bluebells are really stunning, gorgeous shades of green that are appearing everywhere, cute little playful lambs...the countryside is bursting into life with wonderful colours and wildlife. This period of time in our lives has given us time to really look around and see things that perhaps we wouldn’t usually take so much notice of. 

So it’s now up to you...set off from your home on foot, or jump into your campervan for a jaunt and enjoy what the great British countryside has to offer.  

Don’t delay, now’s the time to dust off your walking boots and get planning your next hike to celebrate National Walking Month :)

Pssst…All of the photos in this blog have been taken by members of the Kiravans team on their daily walks!