Walking is the oldest and most natural form of physical activity that can be done anywhere, at any time. Fancy equipment is not necessary, injuries are rare and walking can be sociable and fun! The following page offers some tools, tips and advice to help people to get started.
The Universal Design Walkability Audit Tool was developed as a collaboration between the National Transport Authority, Age Friendly Ireland, Green-Schools and the National Disability Authority’s Centre for Excellence in Universal Design. This Audit will be used to capture the existing conditions of a specified walking route in relation to its walkability.
Walking tips and resources
Discovering new walking routes in your local area or perhaps to travel on your route to work or college can be quite adventurous and help encourage you to walk more throughout your day.
Tips and resources to help plan a walking route
When planning your walking we recommend carrying out some research beforehand to ensure you get the best walking route and experience possible. This will go a long way to ensure walking can be a sustainable mode of transport and enjoyable form of exercise in your daily routine.
We recommend looking into the following;
- Can you create an interesting walking route around your local area by finding linked pathways or passages between housing estates, local parks and main roads?
- Does your local park or sports ground have a walking route or network of paths that can be incorporated into your walking route.
- Do you live near any roads or lane-ways that are quiet from traffic and are safe to walk on?
- Ask people from your local community about their walking routes and perhaps they can share their experience and provide some great local tips.
- For help in choosing the shortest route from A to B covering most built-up areas, you can use the Transport for Ireland Journey Planner.
Slí na Sláinte Walking Routes: There are over 250 Slí na Sláinte walking routes around the country, all waymarked and great for getting out for a sociable walk and talk with family and friends. For more information visit Irish Heart Foundation, Slí na Sláinte Routes
National Looped Walks and Forest Trails: There are over 175 National Looped Walks developed throughout Ireland, ranging from short strolls to longer walks. There are also over 250 forest walks developed in forest sites around the country. For more details visit getirelandwalking.ie, coillte.ie and irishtrails.ie
Be comfortable and safe while walking
- Wear comfortable footwear and clothing – a few thin layers suitable for different weather conditions can be better than one thick layer. This will allow you to stay dry from the rain, layer up if you are cold or shed a layer when you get warmed up from walking briskly.
- Carrying an umbrella that is light in weight or perhaps a small umbrella that can fit into your pocket can be an extra addition to the rain.
- Carry a mobile phone with you to keep track of your time, or tell someone where you plan to walk and for approximately how long.
- Carry a small amount of money with you, just in case you need it.
- Be visible – wear a high visibility vest or armband. Particularly if you are walking in the early morning or late evening so you can be easily seen by other road users.
For more tools and tips for getting started, looking after your health and keeping safe while walking you can visit Irish Heart Foundation, Get Ireland Active, Get Ireland Walking and Road Safety Authority.
Mind your local environment
When out walking remember of dispose of rubbish properly – take it home. Be considerate of others, including other people who use the route, or live on it. To find out more about promoting the responsible recreational use of the outdoors, visit leavenotrace.org.
Smarter Travel Step Challenges
The Marchathon and Walktober fun team-based step challenges run in March and October, respectively, and are open to staff and students of workplaces and third level campuses who are partners of the Smarter Travel Workplace & Campus programme. Teams compete against each other from across the country to place on our Leaderboards. For more information and previous challenges please visit www.stepchallenge.ie