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Walking to work or school

Walking is a great way to discover more about an area, improve your fitness, protect the environment and save money.

Discover the benefits

The benefits of walking include:

  • health - regular walking can reduce the risk of many health problems such as coronary heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, anxiety and stress
  • quality of life - walking can improve weight control, stamina, energy, confidence and life expectancy
  • convenience - you can walk to most places at any time; you can also start slowly and build up gently
  • cost - walking is free and you don't need specialist equipment

The Ramblers' website has a section on their Get Walking Keep Walking programme, which includes a 12-week walking plan and information on walking in cities throughout England.

Staying safe

There are a few simple rules for walkers that can keep you safe. You can find out more from The Highway Code, which contains rules for pedestrians. There is also detailed information on road safety on the Think! Road Safety website.

Hedgehogs, the road safety website for children, explains the Green Cross Code.

Finding the time

If you live in or near the countryside, you may have plenty of opportunities for walking. In a town, such opportunities may be limited, and you may need to make more of an effort to find the time to walk. Wherever you live, try to build walking into your normal everyday routine. For example, you could:

  • go for a walk at lunchtime - this can give you an energy boost for the afternoon
  • walk to school instead of driving
  • get off the train, bus or tube a stop earlier than usual
  • walk to the newsagent or post office instead of using the car
  • walk up flights of stairs, rather than use a lift

Walking to school

Walking to school improves children's health and allows them to travel independently - but their safety and security is paramount. For children who do not want, or who are not ready, to walk to school unaccompanied, there are a number of alternatives. The Walking Bus scheme, for example, enables children to walk to school in safe, supervised groups (see below for more information). 

If it is too far to walk, your child may be eligible for free transport to school. The education and learning section of this site has more details of free transport schemes for school children.

For tips on how to stay safe while walking to school, visit the Tales of the Road website.

Walk to School Campaign

The Walk to School Campaign encourages pupils to walk to school more often. The campaign, which is supported by the Department for Transport, includes the popular Walk on Wednesday (WOW) initiative, which helps to promote regular walking among pupils.

Children, parents, school teachers and community leaders can also take part in Walk to School Week, usually held in May, and International Walk to School Month, which usually held in October. These are great opportunities to get involved in events that promote the many benefits of walking.

Walking buses

The Walking Bus concept is a new, safe, healthy and environmentally friendly approach to walking large groups of children to and from school.

Each walking bus has an adult 'driver' at the front and an adult 'conductor' at the rear. The children walk to school in a group along a set route picking up additional 'passengers' at specific 'bus stops' along the way. The bus runs in all weather conditions and everyone wears a reflective jacket.

Each walking bus is different, as they are developed to suit the needs of children and their parents. Some schools have a number of walking buses, whereas others only have one. Some walking buses operate only on certain days, while others operate only in the morning or afternoon.

Why not set up a walking bus at your school?

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