Please be sure to follow the latest UK Government guidance to understand what you can/cannot do during Covid-19-
Some of this guidance states that you can exercise or visit a public outdoor space; this should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space):
You can exercise or visit a public outdoor space (UK Govt guidance to meeting others)
-with the people you live with
-with your support bubble
or, when on your own, 1 person from another household
Further UK Govt guidance on outdoor sport and education can be found here.
Tees Valley walking routes and maps
We have put together details of self-guided routes around the Tees Valley as well as details of where to get hold of rural and urban folded walking and cycling maps for each of the 5 local authority areas:
- Redcar & Cleveland
Darlington walking maps
Darlington has over 300 km of public rights of way, ten local nature reserves, seven formal parks, three community woodlands and numerous other open spaces.
River Tees Heritage Trails - Darlington
There are eight walks along the River Tees in Darlington, listed below.
These trails run along the River Tees in Darlington and vary in length and difficulty from 1km to over 10km.
- Piercebridge circular walk map and instructions (1km)
- Low Coniscliffe to High Coniscliffe circular walk map and instructions (11km)
- Broken Scar circular walk map (2.9km)
- South Park to Snipe House Pond map (3km)
- Hurworth, Croft and Stapleton circular walk map (9.6km)
- Hurworth Rockliffe circular walk map and instructions (7.6km)
- Low Dinsdale, Girsby and Sockburn circular walk map (9.2km)
- Middleton One Row / Low Dinsdale circular walk map (6.2km)
For more walking ideas, you can view a list of parks in the area here:
Darlington's Parks and Green Spaces [external link].
Hartlepool walking maps
For walks and walking activities in Hartlepool, please visit Walk in Hartlepool [external link]
Here you will find links to a number of walking route maps [external link] for scenic routes in and around Hartlepool from a 2.5 Park to Park route to 6.5 mile figure of eight from Coal Lane-Stotfold Moor-Embleton.
Large folded walking and cycling maps for Hartlepool including the north and south cycling routes are available from Tony Davison, Sustainable Travel Officer at Hartlepool Borough Council (01429) 523 259.
Middlesbrough walking maps
Parks in Middlesbrough are a good place to start walking. You can also download some great walking maps and circular routes around Middlesbrough from the Middlesbrough council website [external link].
Should you wish to walk further afield and get away from roads, finding your own way the Council has information on Public Rights of Way on their website [external link].
Redcar & Cleveland walking maps
For walks and walking activities in Redcar, please visit this is Redcar & Cleveland [external link].
Stockton-on-Tees walking maps
For walks and walking activities in Stockton-on-Tees, please visit The Hub in Stockton [external link]. Here you will find a selection of self-guided maps for walking routes in the area, great for weekend walking.
Stockton Council have produced a booklet on walking and cycling in Stockton-on-Tees
Wheelchair accessible walks in the Tees Valley
For more information about wheelchair accessible walks in the Tees Valley, please visit Accessibly Countryside Tees Valley [external link]
South Durham walks
County Durham has some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain. Here are some of our walking routes; please contact us for printed copies.
Bishop Auckland walks
- Bellburn Wood (Bishop Auckland) [pdf]
- Brack's Farm Circular (Bishop Auckland) [pdf]
- Etherley Park (Bishop Auckland) [pdf]
- Stan Laurel Circular (Bishop Auckland) [pdf]
- Town and River Wear Circular (Bishop Auckland) [pdf]
Newton Aycliffe walks
- Simpasture Nature Walk (Newton Aycliffe) [pdf]
- West Park Boating Lakes (Newton Aycliffe) [pdf]
- Woodham Burn Circular (Newton Aycliffe) [pdf]
- Newton Aycliffe to Shildon Rail Station [pdf]
- Moor Nature Reserve Circular (Newton Aycliffe [pdf]
Find out more about walking in County Durham on these sites
Walking in Durham [external link]
Durham County Council countryside events and guided walks [external link]
National trails and walks
- There are 15 National Trails [external link]. Walkers can enjoy them all, cyclists and horse riders can enjoy the Pennine Bridleway and the South Downs Way, as well as sections of the other Trails. In total, England and Wales have around 2,500 miles (4,000 Km) of National Trail.
- The England Coast Path [external link] will be the newest (and longest) National Trail when it is complete in 2020.
- Download 'The Best Trails in England and Wales' [external pdf] leaflet to find out more about the National Trails.
Walking organisations promoting walking and walkers:
- In England the agency responsible for promoting access to the countryside is Natural England [external link].
- Ramblers Charity [external link] offers hundreds of group led walks across the UK every week
- The British Mountaineering Council [external link] walking, hiking and mountaineering information
- British Walking Federation [external link] organises walks for people of all ages and abilities
- Long Distance Walkers Association [external link] (assists walkers on long distance trails)
- Nordic Walking [external link] specific type of walking, site offers classes and groups across the UK
Walking for Health [external link] promoting walking in England to improve health. Run by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer support and offers around 3,000 walks a week by specially trained volunteers.
Walk 4 Life [external link] Walk4Life is all about helping people move and walking is a great way to start. Almost everyone can do it, anywhere, at any time, and it’s free!
Walk Unlimited [external link] formerly Walk England, a social enterprise that aims to get everyone in England walking.
Accommodation for walkers includes:
Inactivity is thought to kill as many people as smoking. Using walking to travel rather than drive is an excellent way to stay healthy and happy, and it’s so easy to fit into your day.
Whether you're aiming for health benefits or to lose weight, walking can be done for almost every local journey, at any time – for free and at any age. What's more it’s also great for the environment!
1. Forget 10,000 steps, just leave the car at home
Forget treating walking as a mountain that needs to be climbed. Recent research has revealed that three 10 minute walks may be more beneficial for you than 10,000 steps per day.
Simply replacing three short local car journeys each day with a walk is an easy way to do this.
Why not start with one journey you usually do by car, whether for the school run, shop, club or work? Swap the car for your feet and build up from there!
2. Walking can be fun!
To make walking to get to where you want to go more fun for children then why not take a break along the way at a playground, for a picnic or turn your walk into a scavenger hunt.
If you want to build your fitness up and meet new people in your area how about joining in an organised walk? Or take part in one of the guided walks on offer from River Tees Rediscovered [external site]. We have compiled a list of guided walks and clubs to help.
3. Save money and time by walking
Walking is free. You don’t need any specialist equipment, just comfortable shoes. Swapping the car to walk the school run, for example, could save you almost £400 per year!
By walking short distances instead of driving or taking the bus, you not just save money on tyres, fuel and tickets, you’re combining exercise into your regular journeys.
Regular brisk journeys on foot, that raise your heart rate, could solve the problem of not having enough time to exercise and the guilty feelings that come with not going to the gym.
4. Health benefits and weight loss
It might be obvious, but walking has big benefits to your health. Whether you are worried about improving your or a loved one’s heart health, weight loss or improving your bone density [external link] short brisk walks, more often can help you achieve this.
- Just three brisk 10–minute walks a day, an approach known as the ‘Active 10’ is thought to have a big impact on fitness levels [external link].
- According to medical research, regular walking lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, enhances mental well-being [external link] and helps prevent osteoporosis.
- People who walk regularly tend to be happier, laugh more and have reduced stress levels.
- Women over 50 who walk regularly were also found to have a lower weight [external link] than women who don’t.
5. Build brain power and concentration
Walking focuses the mind and improves concentration levels.
Children who walk or cycle to school [external link] are more alert and ready to learn than those who are driven there.
Walking releases endorphins which refresh your energy levels. Local journeys or the walk home from work at the end of a long day provide a great opportunity for mindfulness [external link] giving you a great mental boost!
6. Protect the environment
Walking doesn't pollute. By replacing shorter car trips to the shops, school or work with a walk you will reduce your carbon footprint and improve life in your part of the Tees Valley by reducing traffic noise and congestion levels.
7. Discover your town
Walking is a great way to take advantage of local facilities and attractions. Local shops help to support the local economy and walking to the shop, cinema or out to eat can be much less stressful than driving.
By getting out and about, you create more opportunities to meet your neighbours and build community ties.
Walking cities [external link] have been found to be healthier, more profitable and more attractive places to live.
How to start walking
Regular walking is a great base for a healthy lifestyle. By building up your fitness it makes it easier to pick up other forms of exercise.
Read our top tips on how you can get started today:
1. Start off small
Fitting walking into your daily life is as easy as putting on a jacket, a pair of shoes and stepping out of the front door. Start off small and build up slowly.
Recent research has shown that three 10-minute walks a day can actually be more beneficial for boosting your fitness levels than worrying about the number of steps you’re taking. [external link]
Think about using your feet as a way to travel:
If you’re going local, why not walk? Almost half of all journeys are local journeys are under two-miles, eight out of 10 of these are by car! Trips to the local shop, post office or school are perfect opportunities to leave the car at home.
Some ideas for fitting walking into your usual routine:
- Can you walk to work?
- If you take the bus to work or college, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way
- If you have to drive, park further away from the building
- See how far you can walk to and from work or college and take public transport the rest of the way
During the day:
- Instead of emailing or phoning a colleague in the same building at work, walk to their desk and speak to them face-to-face.
- Use the stairs instead of escalators or lifts. Did you know that taking regular walks and using the stairs can actually help increase your bone density, helping to stave off osteoporosis?
- Go for a lunchtime walk with friends or work colleagues; or choose a place to buy your lunch that's a little further away.
You could also try using a fun app to track how much you walk, track your progress or keep you entertained.
2. Set goals
The health benefits of walking may not be immediately obvious to you, so why not monitor your progress over time? Set yourself targets and as you gradually begin to build up the pace and distance that you are able to cover, you will see your fitness level improve.
- Monitor how far you walk daily with a pedometer and set yourself targets
- Keep a fitness journal [external link]
- Try including regular walking trips into your routine, such as walking to work once or twice a week instead of driving or taking the bus
- Time how long it takes you to walk a regular route and see if you can reduce it
3. Make the change for good
Walking can be a fun and enjoyable experience if you approach it in the right way:
- If you don’t enjoy walking long distances then walk little and often.
- If you’re uncomfortable walking late in the evening and you want to walk to work then try walking there and taking the bus home. Or try walking at lunchtimes first and build in local walks at the weekend.
- If you find walking boring then take a friend along. Once you’ve found a walking pace and style that’s right for you, you will be more inclined to keep it going.
4. Be safe
Whether you’re planning on going for a short walk to the shops at lunch, a five mile hike in the countryside at the weekend, or you’re making your daily evening commute home, there are some basic safety precautions you can take to make sure you stay safe when you’re out and about:
Plan your route:
- Always ensure that you know the way and stick to well used and well lit walking routes, particularly if walking alone or at night. Be prepared to change your route if you feel unsafe for any reason.
- Make sure someone knows where you are and when you expect to be back. Carry a mobile phone, map and some change for public transport with you if possible.
Prepare for the weather:
- Take a sensible approach to the weather. Check the forecast before you set out and dress accordingly. You should always have:
- a waterproof jacket and sensible walking shoes,
- but you may also need a hat and gloves if it’s cold,
- or sun cream if you’re going to be outdoors for a long time.
- Make sure you have plenty to eat and drink. Even if you’re just out for a short walk, carrying a bottle of water can ensure you stay hydrated.
- If it is icy you can follow our tips for walking in ice and snow to help you avoid slips and falls.
Our favourite apps for walkers
Mobile apps are a great way to track and find walks in your area and even keep you entertained while you are walking.
Here are a few ideas for online walking apps that can:
- Track miles walked
- Monitor your health
- Show walks in your area
Walkmeter Abvio [external link] uses GPS to measure the distance of your walks and hikes and continually records your time, location, distance, elevation, and speed.
Map my walk England [external link] a pedometer app that maps your route, as well as showing you walks and walking groups in your area.
Pacer Pedometer [external link] an activity tracker that can track weight and blood pressure as well as setting specific walking goals
The Walk [external link] A 500 mile thriller where every step counts. It's time to walk for your life
Apps for hikers:
Mudmaps [external link] provides maps for hikers, helps keep you on the right path.
Treasure maps for your phone:
Treasure trails has a variety of maps to buy that offer treasure hunts, murder mysteries, spy missions in your area.