Residents are to be helped to discover the beautiful countryside and nature on their doorsteps through a new book of 13 guided walks [https://www.gmwalking.co.uk/bury-self-led-walks].
The compilation of self-guided walks in each of Bury’s six townships was launched this week by Bury Council together with a small group of walk leaders and community volunteers.
They met at Burrs Country Park to enjoy a 2.5 mile walk alongside the River Irwell, with views of the East Lancashire Railway.
Bury Council has worked with local walking group leaders to compile two recommended routes for each of Bury’s six townships.
There is also an additional town centre walk around heritage and cultural attractions, to celebrate Bury’s Town of Culture status.
Each walk has an easy to read illustrated map and simple step by step directions. They are between 1.7 miles and 3.5 miles in distance and should take between an hour and an hour and a half for most people.
The nature walks include circuits along the River Irwell at Summerseat, Prestwich and Radcliffe, Elton reservoir; as well as from Greenmount, and through Chesham Wood and Ainsworth Wood.
The town centre walk takes in the East Lancashire Railway, Transport Museum, Robert Peel statue, The Rock, Bury Market, Kay Garden, the Fusilier Museum, Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre, the Victoria Wood statue and The Met.
The number of people walking regularly leapt up during the coronavirus lockdown as people took advantage of their daily exercise slot to explore their local areas.
Now community leaders want to support people to continue to keep active and enjoy the parks, green spaces, rivers and open areas that are close to where people live.
The booklet is particularly aimed at people of any age who would prefer to walk with friends or family at a time suitable to them, rather than as part of an organised event.
Brian Oseman, from Bury, is one of around 10 health walk group leaders who helped to choose the routes in the booklet.
He said: “These are all tried and tested routes selected from our favourite walks. There are wooded areas, rivers, lakes and points of interest along the way and they are suitable for most people.
“It was lovely to see so many families out walking during the lockdown period and these walks are an ideal way for them to keep discovering the local area.”
David Haywood, from Elton, also used to lead the health walks before the covid-19 pandemic. He said: “Sometimes we had more than 20 people taking part, which is quite a large group, so it will be great for more people to discover these walks by themselves using these maps.
“I hope it will mean that more people can discover what is on their doorsteps. People say to us that they have lived in an area all their lives and never seen the places they discover on foot.
“Walking and being outside in the fresh air also brings great health benefits, and they are all places you can get to by foot without a car or bus.”
Cllr Lucy Smith, cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said: “We’re very lucky in our borough to be close to many green spaces, parks, hills, rivers and reservoirs on our doorstep.
“We planned this booklet before the Covid-19 pandemic, but taking daily exercise during the lockdown has been a great pleasure for many people and we want that to continue.
“Stepping out for a walk is good for our physical and mental health and it’s something that can be done by most people with no more equipment than a pair of sturdy shoes and a coat in case it rains.
“We hope people will explore these walks time and again and make walking outdoors part of a healthier active lifestyle that everyone within the communities and neighbourhoods of Bury can enjoy.”
Printed booklets will be available to collect from Bury Town Hall and from local libraries and leisure centres when they reopen.