Recent studies have shown that fresh air and the peace and quiet of stunning countryside can be a vital tonic for many people. Getting into nature and the countryside is a great way to escape from technology and the pace of daily life. The benefits of exercise are far-reaching – from protecting against cancers, heart disease and diabetes, to building strong bones and boosting the immune system. It can ease depression, anxiety and stress, reduce isolation and loneliness and improve confidence. The Peak District National Park is often called the lungs of the country because of its central location between several cities, but why not explore the Park for your own health and wellbeing too.
- "Nature helps put some distance between the ‘noise’ of daily life and ourselves. It encourages us to look beyond ourselves. Even the simple sound of birds can be incredibly relaxing. There are many studies that confirm the multitude of benefits of spending more time in nature, including improved mental focus, reduced stress levels, reduced anxiety, improved job satisfaction."
Dr Rangan Chatterjee, Cheshire-based GP and resident doctor on BBC Breakfast
We also highlight the benefits of mindfulness in a series of public walks. Led by volunteer rangers, who are experienced mindfulness practitioners, the walks promote a deeper connection with nature and the calming influence of quiet contemplation.
- "As rangers, we can introduce people to the National Park and help them to discover the physical and mental health benefits it can bring in a safe and supported environment. We try to overcome barriers – whether actual or perceived – for people to visit the countryside and to feel comfortable in it."
Sally Wheal, Engagement Ranger
Not able to tackle a strenuous hike? No problem!
Discover some of the Peak District’s most accessible routes through our Miles without Stiles guide. Showcasing some of our finest landscapes, the routes are well-surfaced, free from stiles, steps and narrow gates. They are suitable for people of all fitness levels and those with limited mobility, including wheelchair users, families with pushchairs and the visibly impaired.
From family-friendly trails to challenging terrain – the Peak District National Park has something for cyclists of all disciplines and abilities. Get away from it all on two wheels – or three or four! We have everything from wheelchair bikes to hardtail mountain bikes, available to hire from our cycle hire centres.
In addition to our guided ranger walks, we run a number of specialist activities. For 27 years, we have organised health walks, providing a high level of support for people who would otherwise be unable to enjoy the National Park, through poor health or disability, low income, social isolation or old age. Walks take place once a month between February and November and community transport is available.
A new series of Next Steps walks will enable people to progress from health walks as their fitness improves.
Roll and Stroll
Roll and stroll are fully accessible wheelchair walks which are offered to care homes for adults with learning difficulties as well as individuals and carers. They help people get outdoors and active and give them opportunity to meet new people and broaden their experience.
Roll and Stroll have been run by Derbyshire Dales District council since 2016 and have proved very popular. Health benefits of this kind of activity and interaction are widely researched and the positive benefits for both residents and carers are huge. Until now Derbyshire Dales Council have only had the capacity to offer 1 walk per month. We have created a new partnership with Derbyshire Dales and Chesterfield Council so between us we can offer 3 walks per month.
Derbyshire Dales trialled their first dementia walk in November last year and the response was overwhelming. So, we have decided to team up with them to create a regular programme of walks to enable those living with dementia and their carers to enjoy exercise, good company and the great outdoors. Again, working in partnership with Derbyshire Dales and Chesterfield council we can provide regular walks. Access to nature and regular exercise have numerous benefits for people living with dementia as well as giving the carers a chance to get out and stay active and meet others living with dementia.
For more information please telephone 01629 816200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full programme of accessible walks is available at www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk/walkingforhealth.