A nature walk is a walk through nature that is specifically designed to guide individuals. Most nature walks consist of marked stations that indicate natural, technological, or cultural interests along the trail.
Why do people take nature walks?
Research into nature walks have shown that spending more time in nature have lowered stress levels. Those who embrace the natural environment around them were found to have better mental health and lower depression levels. Regular nature walks can help to lower your blood pressure, as well increase brain function.
Although it is possible to go for a walk at the gym, walking in nature can encourage you to become more present in the current moment. It is also a great way to exercise as it feels more natural to us. If you are new to nature walking, it might be an idea to take along a map with you to ensure that you do not get lost along the way.
It raises environmental awareness by using imaginative ways to interact with nature. Along walks you will find information boards, photos, maps and regular maintenance. These can help you throughout the trail by providing information and guidance for your whereabouts.
Where to find nature walks near you
There are many books on the subject of nature walks. One of the best I have come across is 100 Nature Walks a delightful book that is an inspiration for anyone wanting to explore the natural world on foot.
iFootpath is a website and an app that provides walking guides. Enter your location or the name of a trail and it will provide you with directions and tracking. You can favourite your most enjoyable nature walks as well as save them to your device. It is available on iOS and Android, or free online.
MapMyWalk is a free app for both iOS and Android. You are able to track your walk to keep it documented, allowing you to compare your walks. Additionally, you can share your route with friends, gathering support and motivation from other app users. They also have a blog which contains articles about fitness.
On iOS and Android for free, this app records every step you take. Place your phone in your pocket and walk your favourite nature trail. It tracks your walking, helps you to set yourself goals and presents you with achievements.
This app is advertised as being the most advanced app for walkers, hikers, runners, and cyclists. It was designed for mobile use on iOS and for Android. It records workouts and allows you to analyse charts comparing your workouts.
This app allows you to find new walks and update your progress on your current ones. It records the distance you walk and has a build in social feature that allows you to share your progress.
Another reason for going on nature walks is to spot and discover the vast amounts of wildlife. If you know what kind of wildlife you are looking to see, it can always make the experience more exciting. Doing research of the area or using the photos and information boards along the trail can help you to spot exciting nature scenery along the way. However, it is important that you ensure you respect the animals and keep your distance.
Taking a camera with you can make the experience memorable. Capture nature by taking photos along the trail and document your findings. Walking along the trail quietly can increase the amount of wildlife you see. If allowed, it might be worth taking some food and sitting on a designated space along the trail and watching the wildlife whilst you rest. An excellent companion to any wildlife walk is the Pocket Nature Wildlife of Britain: A Unique Photographic Guide to British Wildlife a beautiful book that is a must-have on any country walks.
Consider the Countryside
Most, although not all, nature trails take place throughout the countryside. Therefore, it is important that you respect it. Consider the wildlife as well as the local community around you. Do not litter or intentionally leave behind any of your belongings when you enter a nature trail. If you take pets along to a pet friendly trail, then ensure any mess they make is cleared up and properly disposed of. Do not vandalise any of the signs, photos or assisted posts within the trail as this may cause disruption for those being guided through.
It is also important that you stick to the trail and you do not wonder off into unguided spaces. Nature walks are often well maintained making them safe, however it cannot guarantee your safety if you leave the path.