Nine ways National Trust membership can make you fitter

Walkers and their dogs at Blea Tarn in Eskdale and Duddon Valley, Cumbria

There’s so much to do and explore at this time of year – from a fresh early morning walk through rolling hills or woodland to a run on a beach, or a bike ride through parkland or forest. Whether you want to learn a new skill, get fit or just spend more time in the great outdoors, find out why National Trust membership is your ticket to a healthier and more active lifestyle all year round.

1. You discover you actually enjoy running

Whether it’s the spectacular scenery, the easy-going atmosphere or the promise of a good cup of tea afterwards, there’s something special about running in the places we look after. Which may explain why thousands of people now take part in our regular running events – many of which are free to take part in.

Top spot: Dark Peak, Derbyshire

Running along the Northumberland Coast
Running along the Northumberland Coast

2. You decide to conquer some of Britain’s best walks

With thousands of acres of hills, grassland, coastline and forest to explore, National Trust membership gives you access to some of the most scenic walks around. Whether you’re a stroller, a strider or a hiker, you’ll find hundreds of routes on our website to get you started. 

Top spot: Blea Tarn, Cumbria

3. You get the cycling bug

Once you start exploring the network of cycle routes that zig-zag their way across the countryside, it can be hard to stop. Cruising along slow enough to appreciate every sight and sound but fast enough to feel you’ve covered some real distance, it’s a great way to get out and about.

Top spot: Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire

Cycling over Norman's Bridge at Wicken Fen
Cycling over Norman's Bridge at Wicken Fen

4. You make a splash in a kayak or canoe

Whether you’re making your way downriver or hugging the coast in search of secret coves and sea creatures, kayaking and canoeing let you discover many places that are inaccessible by land. They’re also some of the easiest watersports for beginners.

Top spot: Stackpole, Pembrokeshire

5. You hit the waves on a board

Mellow waves perfect for beginners, slow peeling breaks ideal for longboards, and even a few heavy spots that can hold the biggest winter swells… we look after many of Britain’s finest surfing beaches. So if you want to get fit while honing your beach slang, National Trust membership might just be the answer, dude.

Top spot: Sandymouth, Cornwall

Bodyboarding at Portstewart Strand, Northern Ireland
Bodyboarding at Portstewart Strand, Northern Ireland

6. You become a geocache pioneer

Can you seek out hidden treasure boxes, armed with nothing more than a handheld GPS device, a set of coordinates and a sense of adventure? A treasure hunt for the digital generation, geocaching is a brilliant way to add an extra dimension to your family days out. For a small fee, you can hire GPS trackers from many of the places we look after or download a geocaching app on your smartphone.

Top spot: Newark Park, Gloucestershire

7. You scale a vertical cliff…

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of reaching the top of a climb and looking back at the start of your route far below. For a challenging physical and mental workout, we’ve got some great places to climb.

Top spot: Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire

Tree climbing at Mottisfont, Hampshire
Children climbing a tree at Mottisfont, Hampshire

8. ….or climb a tree

For a slightly less extreme (but no less vertical) adventure, you’ll find some brilliant climbing trees dotted around the places we look after. Climbing a tree is No.1 on our list of ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’, so what are you waiting for?

Top spot: Hatfield Forest, Essex  

9. You develop a serious case of green fingers

Last, but certainly not least, National Trust membership is a wonderful way to nurture your love of gardening. And what better way to stay fit and healthy than spending more time in the garden?

Top Spot: Mount Stewart, County Down