Walking for all

The North Devon National Trust is working to develop an inclusive walking programme that will help to open up the North Devon coast for everyone, working closely with partners to ensure that we remove as many blockers as possible to get people out and enjoying the countryside.

We have started to offer walks in partnership with One Ilfracombe, an organisation that aims to deliver programmes and services to the people of Ilfracombe, making them more accessible to everyone in the community. This partnership was invaluable to these walks as One Ilfracombe was able to provide transportation. These walks were aimed at those over 55 who are less able to access and participate in outdoor activities. They were held at stunning National Trust locations that are unfortunately not easily accessible by public transportation. Offering these walks allowed people to get outside who might not otherwise be able to, including those with degenerative conditions.

We’re also offering drop-in walks at various North Devon National Trust properties, led by an enthusiastic team of volunteers. We hope that after regularly attending our walking sessions people will gain the confidence to head out solo and explore further along the coast and into the countryside. The walks are a great chance for people to meet and have a chat (and a cup of tea afterwards if you fancy it) and many people come back week after week.

Our wonderful volunteers come from all walks of life and have varying degrees of fitness and experience in the outdoors, but all have a passion for helping people access the beautiful North Devon Coast.

And there is still much more in the pipeline, working with Active Devon we’re developing ‘NatureFit’ (a new National Trust offer) directly aimed at helping people who want to improve their fitness and enjoy nature at the same time. We will be offering 2 groups, one aimed at complete beginners and another aimed at intermediates.

Also look out for ‘Couch to Coast’, working with One Ilfracombe and the South West Coast Path, this twelve week programme will see participants progress from their first steps out onto the trails to walking 5km, people will come to this programme through One Ilfracombe working with Social Prescribers and might be many participants first ever experience of visiting a National Trust place. All the walks meet at a bus stop, ensuring that those reliant on public transport can still attend.

Walking is proven to improve fitness, mental wellbeing and is a great way to socialise. We hope that our new programme will mean that more and more people come to love North Devon’s beautiful countryside as much as we do.

If you’d like to attend a walk take a look at any of our ‘What’s on’ sections to our websites. If you’d like to know more about volunteering with us please email northdevon@nationaltrust.org.uk