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Great walks are only a train ride away
Railwalks

Guest author,  Kieran Seale, explains how the new Railwalks.co.uk website is getting people walking, with the help of Britain’s rail network.

I have always enjoyed walking in the countryside.  So when Covid hit and I realised how much it meant to me, I thought I would try to discover some new walks.  

As I walk mainly in the Chilterns (north west of London), I thought I would find a book of walks to do there.  I don’t own a car, so I looked for a book of walks from train stations.   

I didn’t find any! 

That experience led me to setting up a site showcasing the many options for walks in the Chilterns.  And I was delighted earlier this year to be asked to get involved in a national initiative to encourage people to use the rail network for recreational walking.  

The site – railwalks.co.uk – aims to show people how easy and enjoyable walking by rail is to do, and to provide materials to help people to do it. 

At Railwalks we aim to collect walks from railway stations and make them as widely available as possible. That involves creating new walks from stations and using existing walks to create a national network. 

Of course, there are many sites that already exist promoting walks – of which New Forest Walks is a great example.  

The national park has the South West mainline running through it, so a walk through some of the country’s most beautiful ancient woodland is only a couple of hours train ride away from central London.

Stations such as Brockenhurst, Ashurst and Sway are great starting points for circular routes. Or you could hop off the train at one station and enjoy a walk to the next.

We hope that by creating a single, national site we can bring websites such as this to greater attention.  

We were very pleased to have our site featured in The Guardian recently. This has generated lots of interest from people keen to walk using trains: 

As well as linking to sites such as New Forest Walks, we hope that people will record and upload their favourite walks to our website, and help to put together a national network for everyone to enjoy.   

Whether you come to our site to look at walks created by others, or to upload your own, we look forward to seeing you. 

Let’s get walking! 

Kieran Seale is one of the founder members of railwalks.co.uk.

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