One thing we’ve all been able to do over the last year, is go for a walk close to home. The benefits of walking, on both our mental and physical health are well known and much talked about, and our team here at Healthwatch Northumberland have been sharing photos and stories of local walks and what they mean to us.

As it’s #ActiveApril and #StressAwarenessMonth, we’d like to share some of these walks with you. As the lockdown restrictions ease and we’re able to travel a little bit further afield, we can explore more walks across our region. Share your photos with us on Instagram using the hashtag #HWNlandWalks.

The team live across Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle.

Engagement Officer Helen says “Northumberlandia is one of our favourite places to walk, it lifts our spirits and really clears away the cobwebs, especially on a blustery day. Getting to the top of the viewing platforms is an exciting challenge for kids and alongside the interesting woodland sculptures it means there is less grumbling about going for a walk and the added bonus of amazing views!

Derwenthaugh Country Park is another favourite as our dog likes to swim (provided there are no ducks and swans about!) there are some good size hills to run up and down for the kids and a few scenic resting places.”

Communication and Marketing Assistant Laura contributed the photo of horses grazing in a frosty but sunny field between Crawcrook and Wylam.

Independent Board Member Mike enjoys walking along the track up from Humbleton near Wooler, heading toward Cheviot. He told us “While assessing a Duke of Edinburgh expedition one year I said they would probably see no one; using this track they saw 40 people within the first hour. My credibility went out of the window. However recently it has been empty of visitors.”

Tim, who is our Engagement and Insight Officer says “My regular lunchtime walk is a short 1km circuit from my house round Gallowsbank Woods area. It only takes about 15 minutes but is a great way to stretch my legs having been sat working at home all morning.”

Volunteer Officer Emma says “I’ve loved watching the seasons pass in Broomleyhope Wood, Stocksfield this past year. There’s something deeply reassuring about nature carrying on as normal.”

Corbridge is the stomping ground of Chair, David, who told us “Even when there is snow on the ground, spirits are lifted when walking by the banks of the River Tyne’.

Our Communication and Marketing Officer Claire also enjoys walks in and around Hexham, and sent this photograph of tree carvings at Dukeshouse Wood.