06 Sep 2018
Figures released by the Department of Transport show that St Edmundsbury has had one of the five largest increases in the country of adults walking at least once a week.
The figures, collected through the 2017 National Travel Survey, show that people in St Edmundsbury on average walked 10.1% more in 2016/17 than the year before. Women are a little more likely to walk, and to walk further than men.
Cllr Jo Rayner, St Edmundsbury Borough Council Cabinet member for Leisure, said: "I am delighted with this result not least because one of our priorities is for resilient families and communities that are healthy and active. The borough has some very special landscape and heritage, ideal for regular walking, and rewarding in terms of mental and physical benefits."
As well as providing Green Flag accredited parks and open spaces, St Edmundsbury supports opportunities to get together to walk, with events like the Suffolk Walking Festival, (Parkrun which can be run, jogged or walked) and the Health Walks Programme.
Cllr Rayner said: "Walking may well be the most accessible form of exercise and while it requires little kit, I believe initiatives like step counting could be a factor in the overall increase seen nationally. I think the thing that has made a real difference in West Suffolk is our joined up approach of working with health, the voluntary sector and other agencies. The more normal it is to walk each day, the more people will do it. So congratulations to everyone regularly out there, and if you are not, why not give it a go?"
Another great way to start walking/running in Bury St Edmunds is to follow one of the four 5km circular signposted walking/running routes available, all of which are free to use and easily accessible.
The recent launch of the latest route to be developed by Abbeycroft Leisure was in Southgate and it was made possible with locality funding from Councillor Richard Rout and a grant from Suffolk Community Foundation’s Suffolk Fund.
Stephen Singleton, Chief Executive at Suffolk Community Foundations said: "With the increase in demand on ever smaller amounts of funding, the combination of joined up working and encouraging people to live active lives that promote stronger physical and mental wellbeing is what really made makes this project stand out with our grants panel."
The free to use routes are designed for maximum accessibility and convenience to encourage a broad range of participants and groups, particularly those who would not normally take part in organised physical activity, by being able to walk or run the route on any day of the week at any time of the day.
The routes in the Bury St Edmunds area are: Moreton Hall, Southgate, Northgate and St Olaves, Westgate
Maps of the routes can be found here http://acleisure.com/health-wellbeing/runwalk