Are you a walker? The South Downs National Park offers you beautiful scenery and a way to keep you healthy and fit.

Healthy Walks

Our park rangers run free healthy walks across the district.

The walks will:

  • Help you get fitter
  • Show you new areas of the beautiful Mid Sussex countryside
  • Help you to meet other like-minded people in a safe and supportive environment

Latest Updates

New Summer Programme 2021 Launched.
Please keep checking the healthy walks programme regularly for updates. Programme last updated 14th July 2021.

 

Healthy Walks Programme Summer 2021

How do I get walking?

You need to REGISTER your details to be able to attend the healthy walks, for scheme administration and track and trace purposes. You only need to do this once before you walk with our scheme.   

Registration Details

Registration is NOT a booking form for the walks, it only needs to done once and can be done by clicking on the REGISTRATION DETAILS button above.  If you have not provided your details via the website then the healthy walk leader will ask you for your name and a phone number.

Spaces are limited to 30 people, on a first come first serve basis.  A register will be taken on the day by your walk leader (register to be taken by healthy walk leader only, not to be passed around). 

COVID-19:  Please do NOT attend the healthy walk if you have any COVID-19 symptoms (typical symptoms include: high temperature, new continuous cough, loss of taste and smell).  If a walk leader suspects you are showing signs of COVID-19 you may be asked to leave.

During the healthy walk please follow the government guidelines on social distancing. We recommend that you bring your own alcohol-based hand sanitiser and face covering.  Avoid touching gates and stiles where possible. Do not share food & drink, or equipment such as walking poles.

The information above is based on government guidelines issued at the time this programme was produced. The guidelines to protect the public are under constant review. We will make changes/cancellations, without notice, to our programme to comply with the guidelines the government announce to combat the pandemic.

What are the health benefits?

These include:

  • Reducing high blood pressure
  • Lowering the risk of certain types of cancer and heart disease
  • Controlling body weight
  • Improving mental health
  • Reducing the stresses of everyday life

Walk levels

  • Level 1: 30 minutes on paved paths. No stiles
  • Level 2: 30 minutes to one hour. No more than two and a half miles on non-paved paths. No stiles
  • Level 3: Between one and one-and-a-half hours. No more than three miles on non-paved paths. Some stiles and hills
  • Level 4: One-and-a-half to two hours at the most. No more than five miles. Stiles and hills
  • Level 5: Two to three hours. No more than seven miles. Stiles, steep hills, faster pace

What to wear and bring

Please wear walking boots or stout footwear for all countryside walks. Warm and waterproof clothing may also be needed.

Walking with dogs

Well behaved, sociable dogs are welcome on our walks. The walk leader is responsible for the safety of the walkers. They may offer you advice about your dog or request the removal of the dog from the walk if it is causing a problem.

Please respect the views of our unpaid leaders and those of other walkers. Our simple guidelines are:

  • Please clean up after your dog
  • Please put your dog on a lead when requested, for example, when walking near livestock and along or crossing roads
  • If conditions are suitable for dogs to be off the lead, please ensure that they remain close to you and do not run back and forth through a line of walkers

Who leads the walks?

All our walks are led by trained walk leaders. We have a leader at the front and a marker at the back so we won't leave anyone behind!

Volunteer Healthy Walk Leaders

Mid Sussex District Council's Healthy Walks Scheme is run by the Park Ranger Service - but volunteers lead the majority of walks.

Becoming a Volunteer Walk Leader is a great way to give something back to your community whilst doing something you love and meeting new people.

What does being a Healthy Walk Leader involve?

Walk Leaders may lead as many or as few walks as they wish. Some people choose to lead one walk a week. Some once every six months. It's up to you.

Walk Leaders can set up their own walks and choose their own routes or we can supply routes for you.

Each healthy walk has a leader and a back marker. You can choose to lead a route or stay at the back and make sure no-one gets left behind. Many people start off as back markers and then become leaders as their confidence improves.

We have meetings twice a year to plan the next season's walk programme and we also hold an annual social event for volunteer leaders.

How can I become a Walk Leader?

To become a walk leader or back marker you must attend a training course organised by our Rangers. This is free of charge. Please contact the Rangers using the contact details below for more information.

On-going training and support is given after attending the course.

Walk Leader resources

Healthy Walk Register

What is the next step?

Join a walk to see how it works. When you are ready you can book a place on one of our training days.

Local walks

Take a look at the links below for walks in the local area. Discover the beauty of the South Downs, Ashdown Forest and High Weald.

The Countryside Code

Before walking in the countryside, please read the Countryside Code.

Longer walks and national trails

The South Downs Way

The South Downs Way links Winchester to Eastbourne. It's the only official long-distance trail which has the status of a public bridleway. This means it can be used by:

  • Walkers
  • Horse-riders
  • Cyclists

More information:

The South Downs is managed by the South Downs National Park.

The Worth Way/Forest Way Country Park

The Worth Way follows a 7 mile / 11km disused railway line from East Grinstead to Three Bridges near Crawley.

Combined with the Forest Way Country Park in East Sussex it offers the walker a 17 mile / 27 km route through classic High Weald scenery. It provides a peaceful setting for walking, cycling and riding.

It is also part of the Sustrans National Cycle Route from Dover to Inverness.

More information:

West Sussex County Council
The Worth Way
Tel: 01243-777620

Sustrans
Tel: 01323-849371

Forest Way leaflet

The High Weald Landscape Trail

The High Weald Landscape Trail is a 90 mile / 45km waymarked route. It crosses the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty between Horsham in the west and Rye in the east.

More information:

Kent County
The High Weald Trail
Tel: 01622-221526

Ardingly Amble

An 8 mile / 13km walk between Haywards Heath and Balcombe railway stations - including Ardingly reservoir.

Download the Ardingly Amble leaflet.

Contact us

Park Rangers
Tel: 01444-477561
Email: rangers@midsussex.gov.uk
Twitter: @MSDCrangers

Last updated: 22 July 2021