Best feet forward: Invitation to join healthy HEAL walks in Preston's Avenham Park

The Ribble Rivers Trust is inviting Lancashire residents to join a series of health walks in Preston and Colne.

By Fiona Finch
Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 1:18 pm
Helen Smith, Community Projects and Activities Officer for the Ribble Rivers Trust
Helen Smith, Community Projects and Activities Officer for the Ribble Rivers Trust

There will be fortnightly walks in Preston' s Avenham Park as part of a new project called HEAL (Health and Environment Action Lancashire).

The first took place this week and others will follow at 10am on January 24, February 7 and 21 at 10am from the Pavilion Cafe.

Organiser Helen Smith, the Trust's Community Projects and Activities Officer, said members of the public do not need to book a place, but are invited to meet at the cafe.

The city HEAL:walks will see participants walking by the River Ribble, starting in Avenham Park, Preston

She said: "These gentle and accessible walks are perfect for local residents wanting to increase their physical activity and meet new people."

HEAL is being funded by the Green Recovery Challenge Fund and the Ribble Rivers Trust is working with partner organisations to organise and deliver more than 80 health walks across the county by March 2023.

Helen sai : "With its close proximity to the River Ribble Avenham Park offers the perfect location for Ribble Rivers Trust to reconnect residents with the natural spaces on their doorsteps and benefit from the calming, restorative effects of being by water."

She continued: "The health benefits of regular walks are well documented and include increased physical fitness, reduced risk of certain health conditions, reduced stress levels and improved sleep. During a health walk, this is also coupled with the benefits of walking sociably in a group setting which can help form friendships, increase confidence and encourage participants to meet and walk more regularly."

The River Ribble at West Bradford, near Clitheroe - this area offers abundant walking opportunities too

The Preston health walks, which start as gentle one mile routes, will progress to two and three miles as appropriate. They have been arranged in partnership with Preston City Council.

The HEAL (Health and Environmental Action Lancashire) project's aims to connect local people, especially those with long term health conditions, with nature across the Ribble, Lune and Wyre catchments while protecting species and creating and restoring habitats.

Helen said: "The HEAL project will deliver a range of additional activities including the formation of three community micro tree nurseries, footpath creation, wetland creation, an education programme and community tree planting. This Lancashire-wide project aims to improve health and wellbeing of communities most in need by improving access to natural spaces and encouraging physical activity."

In Colne the Trust has worked in partnership with the Pendle East Neighbourhood Team and the HEAL walks will be on January 17, January 31, February 14 and February 28, starting from Colne Health Centre at 10 am.

For more information about HEAL see here or

*The Ribble Rivers Trust is an environmental charity which was set up in 1997 to protect and restore rivers, streams and watercourses within the River Ribble catchment and raise public awareness of the value of local rivers and streams. The catchment includes the rivers Hodder, Calder and Darwen.

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