Ramblers Wellbeing Walk leader Tracy Shahir wanted to celebrate International Women’s Day with a women’s only walk on the 8th March. Due to unexpected snow the walk had to be rescheduled to the 18th May. Thankfully, the sun shone on the group of 31 women who joined Tracy for the walk around the War Memorial Park in Basingstoke.

The group gathered at The Orchard, home to Basingstoke Voluntary Action (BVA). Before leading the group round the park Tracy began with a few inspirational quotes from historical female figures to celebrate IWD. Tracy is just one of Basingstoke Voluntary Action’s wonderful volunteer walk leaders for The Ramblers Wellbeing Walks. The Ramblers Wellbeing Walks programme is delivered nationally, with Basingstoke Voluntary Action being one of many partner organisations, and their committed, fully trained Walk Leaders, who helped deliver the 80,000 walks delivered between 2022 and 2023.

Wellbeing walks are between 10 and 90 minutes long and are suitable for all abilities making them perfect for those who want to start walking and stay active whilst being part of a group making the walks safe and enjoyable. This walk was organised by Tracy and Jan – another amazing BVA volunteer, both of whom are part of a team who ensure the wider wellbeing walks programme remain an excellent community engagement and participation initiative offered by Basingstoke Voluntary Action.

The women attending the walk on May 18th were from a variety of backgrounds, amongst the group was the National Women’s Register group who came by public transport to join the walk as part of their own walking initiative. Penny from the group, spoke of how wonderful it was to be part of such a lovely well organised event. Others in the group joined with the aim to get out and get active, and one member new to the area felt it was a great opportunity to network and to discover new local walking routes.

Midway through the walk, the group enjoyed a quick break at the Incredible Edible Community Orchard. This innovative, local initiative was created by the Incredible Edible North Hampshire local volunteers to encourage free fruit picking within the local community, and the group enjoyed exploring the variety of fruit trees before continuing the walk.

The women’s only walks are an opportunity for women to feel safe and reassured being surrounded by other women in a group. A couple of women described how good it felt to be outside again after being isolated due to Covid, and how being able to socialise with others was important for their mental health and wellbeing.

The walk finished at The Orchard’s Community Café – who kindly provided refreshments for the group, the women enjoyed tea and cake in the sunshine while getting to know one another. The group celebrated Tracy’s efforts and all participants had a wonderful time with many saying they couldn’t wait to attend future walks.

BVA currently holds a women’s only walk every other Saturday morning in Basingstoke, if this walk or any other Basingstoke Ramblers Wellbeing Walks are of interest, or you would like to sign up to become a walk leader, then please be sure to contact walks@bvaction.co.uk or see our website for more information.

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