Our favourite local walks
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and making time for a short walk can be a positive way to help boost your mental wellbeing. We thought we’d celebrate the power of local walks by asking some of our colleagues at Paths for All to share their favourite doorstep walks.
Communications and Marketing Officer Steven immerses himself in nature to unwind and provide a space for creative thinking.
‘Lungs full of fresh air, solace in solitude and an immersion in nature are just some of the pleasures I take from walking. In March, I discovered a local circuit from Newport-on-Tay, to Tayport and back through the Scotscraig Estate to Newport. I enjoy the brisk walk by the river, through woodlands, farmlands and villages.
‘Walking two or three hours a day is also my primary form of fitness. It keeps me fit, active and provides valuable headspace and clarity to think. I use the time to reorganise my thoughts after a busy day or switch off with a good playlist or educational podcast. In truth, some of my best creative ideas are explored whilst walking.
‘But wherever I can connect with the natural world whilst outdoors, I’m truly at peace.’
Rona, Manager and member of team Scrambled Legs, described having a hidden gem on her doorstep.
‘One of my favourite local walks is to Black Devon Wetlands Reserve. It is a hidden gem that many in Alloa aren’t aware of. My loop starts and finishes in a woodland, past the hill with the Clackmannan Tower, then through fields across the carse with wide open space. At this time of year is filled with the sound of skylarks, curlews and oyster catchers. One of the highlights is getting to the bird hide in the reserve at the ponds, there are always swans and other water birds to look at. The peace and quiet, range of landscapes, big skies and the song of the skylarks always helps me decompress and enjoy my walk and the link with nature.’
For Community Paths Development Officer Rachel her local walk is an opportunity to get lost in nature.
‘My favourite local walk in Perth is an uneven, often muddy little trail along the side of the River Tay. It’s a bit hidden, unknown and rugged; and is a great place to go to escape the busier paths / walks of the town, as well as escape from day-to-day life. My dog adores it as she can smell the otters and beavers and many other wildlife scents. It’s full of the sights and sounds of nature, and allows me to clear my head, to be active, and to lose myself in the great outdoors for a spell.’
Development Officer Paulina’s local walk is a seaside stroll that helps de-stress and clear the head.
‘There are many lovely walks in Edinburgh but my favourite has to be Portobello. It is also my go to route on days when I find myself feeling a little overwhelmed or stressed. Whenever I feel my thoughts starting to race in my head, I know that taking a slow stroll along the Portobello Promenade is just what I need. It’s a charming classic Victorian promenade stretching along two miles of sandy beach. I sometimes like to take a short break, sit on one of the benches and enjoy my surroundings listening to the sound of waves. It’s amazing how just a few minutes of gentle movement and fresh air can help.’
Technical Officer Graeme told us about his wanderings with walking buddy Willow.
‘Having a dog means that my every day includes “walkies” with Willow the Westiepoo and there is no shortage of lovely walking routes within easy reach of my home. It should be straightforward to pick a favourite then but this seemingly simple task had me stumped as our walks take us through parkland, across open fields, alongside busy roads, through housing schemes and towns, around lochs and reservoirs or through quiet woodlands. Turns out, I like them all as each one fills my mind with the sights, sounds, smells and feel of that place and, in doing so, brings a very real sense of contentment and peace. Worries are displaced, for a while at least, like rain when swimming in the sea.’
Emma, Smarter Choices Smarter Places Senior Development Officer and member of team Fast and the Four of Us, described finding peace and an opportunity to connect with nature in a busy suburban park.
‘My favourite local walk can be found tucked away in a corner of Rouken Glen Park, East Renfrewshire.
‘It’s a busy local park bursting with amenities from cafes and play areas to the outdoor gym and tennis courts – even an Indian restaurant. A fantastic local resource but perhaps not high on the list for those looking for a less manicured experience? Think again…
‘My usual walk here is a circuit that skirts the top of a dramatic gorge looking down on the Auldhouse Burn, passes a tumbling manmade waterfall at its tip and then meanders along the burn’s edge on the other side of the gorge, perfect for the little ones treading about in their wellies.
‘I can walk to this absolute gem in the midst of suburbia and the park is also easily reached from Whitecraigs train station or on the Number 38 (B, C, E) bus.’