South Somerset volunteers set to lead the way with new health walks

Following a free training event organised by South Somerset District Council, newly trained volunteers will be able to lead walks across the district.

The popular Health Walk leader training day was fully booked and volunteers received information on everything they need to know to lead a successful walk – including details on risk assessments, route planning, first aid and the benefits of exercise.

SSDC Healthwalk

Catherine Devonshire, Healthy Lifestyles Officer at South Somerset District Council, explained more about the benefits of health walks, “An extensive new review by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support concludes that, “Walking works. It makes people happy, keeps everyone healthy and can even save your life.”

“Health Walks are very popular locally with our Walking for Health accredited scheme going from strength to strength in recent years. The scheme – which is run by South Somerset District Council – now offers 16 regular walking opportunities in the district and has more than 50 active volunteers.’’

Fran and Cheryl from Ryalls Park Medical Centre in Yeovil attended the training and will now go on to lead health walks. Cheryl explained more about why they attended the training, “As Health Coaches, we are always looking for different ways to support our patients and encourage them to become more aware of their own health and wellbeing.

“As part of a new initiative by the Health Coaches, we will be starting gentle, weekly health walks for those people who would like to get together for some fresh air and exercise in a sociable way. The training helped us to gain information and ideas about what might constitute a good health walk, some of the issues that people might be concerned about that could prevent them coming on a walk and how to reassure and encourage people to try.’’

Councillor Sylvia Seal, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at South Somerset District Council said, “This recent review into walking underlines the importance of our support to Health Walks in South Somerset. Our walks create more opportunities for people to exercise in their local community and provide a low cost easily accessible activity.

“The walks in South Somerset are sustainable and enable people to explore their local countryside whilst becoming more active and sociable in a safe environment. I must thank this new batch of volunteers for supporting our scheme.’’

To find out more about health walks in South Somerset visit To find out about the next Health Walk Leader training course contact Catherine Devonshire on 01935 462347.