PEOPLE in Herefordshire are being urged to walk more and reclaim the county's roads from the cars.

Joannah Weightman, chair of the Bodenham Ramblers group, said she felt nostalgic for the coronavirus lockdowns when she saw more people than usual walking, cycling and riding around the country lanes between Hereford and Leominster.

She said see saw singles, couples and small families, in happy social bubbles, beaming at each other as they took their daily exercise and enjoyed a "tantalising glimpse of a potential post-pandemic pedestrian paradise" – but that has not happened.

In fact, recently published research showed almost a quarter of adults in Herefordshire took a short walk less than once a month last year.


Sport England's annual Active Live Survey asked 633 Herefordshire residents between November 2019 and November 2020 how often they took a 10-minute walk, for either leisure or travel.

The results, published by the Department for Transport, show just 78 per cent walked at least once per month for any reason – which was unchanged from the year before.

The proportion of people who walked for leisure – for recreation, health, competition, or training – once per month rose from 68 per cent to 73 per cent.

But the same figure for walking to travel – such as commuting, visiting a friend, or going to the supermarket – fell from 37 per cent to 32 per cent.

"Walking outdoors is not just a right it’s vital," Joannah Weightman said.


"Whether, with a group of fellow ramblers, following a well-researched route along local rights of way or simply pacing to the village post office and back, a stroll outside keeps us fit and sane.

"Besides, walking is an essential means of transport, surely we should be able to walk instead of having to go everywhere by car."

But she admitted that living in rural Bodenham meant it was not feasible to set off from home and walk everywhere.

She said "enormous farm vehicles and speedy cars" prevented villages from walking country lanes.

"As climate change demands we do things differently, now is the time for walkers to reclaim our rural roads and enjoy a greener, healthier and more peaceful pace of life," she added.