Dorchester Strollers Fresh Air and Friendship
Ron Kirby of the Dorchester Strollers reveals how the town's inhabitants are getting fit as a fiddle in 2012
Fresh Air and Friendship
Ron Kirby of the Dorchester Strollers reveals how the town’s inhabitants are getting fit as a fiddle in 2012
Do you know where Ratty’s Trail is? Or Rabbit Lane? Or, perhaps, The Bund? Well, these are all little known paths in Dorchester. They’re the kind of paths you would learn about if you were a member of the Dorchester Strollers. “Many people who have lived in Dorchester for years won’t have heard of the scores of paths, rights of way, bridle paths and the quirky-named lanes and passages which abound in the town,” says Sue Blake, Secretary of the Strollers.
The Strollers organise regular local walks for people in the town and surrounding villages - on Mondays, Tuesdays and some Thursdays - starting at different venues in Dorchester. Occasionally there are walks on Sunday afternoons and on summer evenings in local countryside. Leading each walk are trained walk leaders who know the area like the back of their hands and have a wealth of knowledge about the area, making the walks a really interesting experience too.
Each time we do a walk there is a half-hour option for those who wish to walk at a slower pace, or are just getting used be active again and an hour long walk to suit those who wish to do that bit more. There are no membership fees to join the Strollers and no fees to pay for the walks.
The group arose from the Government-backed ‘Walking for Health’ initiative launched in 2000. Its aim was to encourage more people to become physically active in their local communities by offering regular short walks over easy terrain with trained walk leaders. There are now over 600 local schemes running across the country, catering for over 75,000 regular walkers.
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The Dorchester Strollers has been established for eight years and is run entirely by volunteers. One of the aims of the Strollers is to encourage people who have been inactive to gradually increase the amount of exercise they do. “We cater for all abilities and Strollers find that walking is good for weight control, staying active and it’s also good for the heart and improving blood pressure,” says Sue. Not only do walkers get fresh air and exercise, they also make new friends. “The walks are good social occasions, especially for people who live on their own. People enjoy having a natter at the end of each walk with other like-minded people over a cup of tea at one of the town’s cafes,” she adds.
Many of the Strollers become walk leaders or, if they are not initially feeling confident, they can opt to be back markers on walks. All receive special training, which is free. Playing the role of a walk leader or a back marker keeps your mind alert and you enjoy good exercise and it’s fun. If you are new to Dorchester then joining the Strollers is a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and discover new places.
For more information about The Strollers call Sue Blake on 01305 263 759 or visit the Walk for Health website at wfh.naturalengland.org.uk