Volunteer retires after 20 years of leading free walks for Chichester District residents: Chichester District Council
HeartSmart walks are run by Chichester District Council’s Wellbeing team and offer a free, healthy and social way to enjoy the natural beauty of the district and further afield, including the South Downs National Park.
One of a team of volunteers, Anne Adamson has been a HeartSmart walk leader for two decades. The programme encourages people of all fitness levels to get out into the fresh air and meet new people.
Anne retired from her much-loved volunteer role at the end of January with a two-hour walk from Emsworth to Westbourne. “It is always nice to meet new people and I’ve certainly met lots as a walk leader,” says Anne.
“Very often, people don’t see the potential of the area they live in and they are surprised when these wonderful views roll out in front of them once we start walking. You really do have to walk to really appreciate the countryside.”
The walks start from various points across the district such as Chichester Canal and Chidham Peninsular. They vary in length from 30 minute walks of just a mile for beginners, to much longer walks across the undulating South Downs — ensuring there is something for every fitness level.
A big part of the walks is the social aspect which, coupled with the walking itself, provides a big boost to wellbeing. Anne says: “I have happy memories of people who have walked with me for many years and have become good friends who I now meet for coffee.
“The walks are a great source of social interaction and you come back having laughed a lot and feeling very refreshed. The HeartSmart walks have added an extra dimension to my life and the lives of hundreds of other people over the past 20 years.”
Volunteers are the backbone of the healthy walks programme and they have enabled Chichester District Council’s Wellbeing team to arrange up to ten walks a week.
Councillor Roy Briscoe, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Culture at Chichester District Council, says: “Anne is a great example of how our community can come together to improve lives.
“Thanks to her dedication as well as the efforts of all our walk leaders, our HeartSmart programme has helped hundreds of people, especially during the pandemic, to get outside and explore our fantastic district and to meet new people.
“The walks are especially good if you are not too sure where to go, or perhaps feel nervous about stepping out on your own.”
You can view details and book a place on any of Chichester Wellbeing’s wide range of walks. Alternatively, you can call our team on 01243 521041.