Closer to Home Walks are a series of free community based walks provided by Closer to home walks Network with support from VAST.
Come along and join a Walk in your area.
The latest walks leaflets/timetables can be found at: http://www.vast.org.uk/closer-to-home-walks/
The Closer to Home Stoke South Trentham walking group will be putting on a taster walk of a new, gentler route on Monday 29th October, leaving from the Man in Space on New Inn Lane, (ST4 8PZ) at 10:30am.
Walk leader Alan Myatt said “This is a very easy walk for beginners or people who want a less strenuous walk. It is a cloverleaf walk combining three short (approx 30 minutes) walks to make a full 3 mile walk. Walkers can finish after each section if they wish. The walk is beside the Longton Brook, Trentham Canal and along the railway line that ran to Trentham Park, which used to bring thousands of pottery workers to celebrate Trentham Thursday.”
Guided half term family walks to award winning Trent Mill Nature Park in Joiners Square 29th October
The Friends of Trent Mill Nature Park, Closer to Home Walking Network and the Friends of Hanley Park are hosting a series of family half term walks to showcase the Britain in Bloom golden award winning Nature Park and the surrounding rivers, parks and canals.
On Monday 29th October local nature experts will be exploring the wildlife found along the river Trent, with interactive eye spy books for children. There will be two lengths of walk available, 1 ½ hours leaving from Shelton Primary Care Centre (Norfolk Street) at 2pm, and ½ an hour leaving from Eastwood Nursery (Franklyn Street) at approximately 2:45pm, and will be suitable for all-terrain buggies.
Val Platt (Chair of Friends of Trent Mill) said “The Park gives everyone of all ages a great deal of pleasure and we are proud of all our achievements. It’s a tranquil haven in the middle of Joiners Square, a perfect space for all creatures great and small.”
On Wednesday 31st October digital cameras will be available to borrow for a special photography walks, leaving from Shelton Primary care centre at 12noon. All photos will be displayed on the group’s webpage.
The walk will start from The Tollgate Squash Club car park at 1-00pm Tuesday October 30th.
Walk Leader Fred Quick said,” We have a theme every Tuesday but with this week being the school holiday, I decided to do something particularly for the children.”
After the walk we will return to the Squash Club where you may purchase refreshments and socialize with the other walkers.
As the nights get longer and the leaves on the trees turn different colours as Autumn approaches, the Closer to Home Walking Network is offering a photography competition where walkers are invited to bring along their cameras.
The purpose of this exercise is twofold. Walkers and photographers of all abilities can walk through the picturesque Birch and Weston Sprink woods to take pictures of the beautiful colours that Autumn provides and the wildlife which can often be seen in these areas. The walk also helps to improve the fitness levels of all walkers, which can only be beneficial to most individuals.
This walk is led by volunteers who walk at varying paces so it is suitable for all levels of ability, and there are free hot drinks available at the end of the walk. We look forward to welcoming you on Monday at 11am at the Weston Coyney Arms Public House car park on Monday 29th October.
The Closer to Home Walking Network are offering local residents the chance to gain useful experience and skills for the world of work. Volunteers are needed to take minutes of walk leader meetings where each group discusses future special themed walks and new routes.
Opportunities are available throughout Stoke-on-Trent, particularly in the Norton and Ball Green area, and are especially suited for residents who would like to volunteer in their community but have only limited time, as meetings are held bi-monthly.
If you would like more information about this volunteering opportunity, or any of our regular walks, you can either call the ‘Closer to Home Walking Network’ on: 01782 683030, e-mail: email@example.com or visit our website:www.closertohomewalks.org.uk
Would you like to discover the hidden green spaces in Moss Green and Bentilee whilst making new friends and helping people?
The Closer to Home Walking Network are holding a volunteer taster session on Tuesday 16th October starting at approximately 12:30 at Moss Green Community Room on Moss Green Road (inside Riverside Housing Association office), where residents can try their hand at walk leading, back marking, route planning and much more.
There will be free tea and coffee and everyone will be sure of a warm welcome.
The Closer to Home Walking Network are doing a sponsored walk on Sunday 21st October to raise money for a new playgroup in Trent Vale.
The walk meets at the Marquis of Granby in Penkhull at 1pm and will take in the village’s historic streets, recreation area and playground before returning for tea and coffee.
For sponsor forms contact the Playgroup which meets every Tuesday 9.30am at St Johns church or Emma Bellingham of “Not Just for Mums” on 07599 124374.
To view the route map, along with points of interest and pictures, visit http://www.closertohomewalks.org.uk
The Closer to Home Walking Network are launching a new weekly walking group from Shelton Primary Care Centre in Hanley with a special photography walk on Wednesday 3rd October. Digital cameras are available to borrow and all photos will be displayed on the group’s webpage.
Walk leader Jeff Glass said “Not many people realise just how much there is to see along the canal and in Hanley Park.”
The group will meet in the main downstairs reception of Shelton PC Centre on Norfolk Street every Wednesday at 12noon, and offers a great opportunity for local residents to make new friends, feel better and enjoy some quality time away from the bustling city.
If you would like more information about this walk, or any of our regular walks, you can either call the ‘Closer to Home Walking Network’ on: 01782 683030, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website:www.closertohomewalks.org.uk
The Closer to Home Walking Network are inviting community groups and volunteers interested in helping local residents to discover the hidden green spaces on their doorstep to a Community Development Day on Wednesday September 26th at the Dudson Centre, Hope Street, Hanley, starting at 10am.
As well as VAST’s workshops and speed surgeries on issues as varied as funding and on-line social media, local groups can find out about the support and funding on offer to residents who want to help set up local walking groups to ensure the people of Stoke-on-Trent feel better and be more active more often.
Penny Harrison, of the Friends of Hartshill Park, said “It has been very successful for both sides working together as its encouraged more use of the park and the walking groups have enjoyed visiting these quite green areas.”
To book to enjoy this day, please call VAST on 01782 683030
The Closer to Home Walking Network and Burslem Park are holding a coffee ‘afternoon’ and walk in conjunction with Macmillan Cancer Support’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. Macmillan Cancer Support are asking people across the UK to hold a coffee morning, where donations on the day are made to Macmillan.
It will take place prior to the regular Burslem Park walk at 2pm on Friday 28th September. People can meet in the park pavilion (opposite the bandstand) for a free tea or coffee and chat about the walks and changes to the local area.
All money raised goes to MacMillan Cancer Support to fund their working providing medical, emotional, practical and financial support for those affected by cancer.
The walk starts from the car park at Ford Green Hall, Ford Green Road, Smallthorne, Stoke-on-Trent ST6 1NG. After walking through part of the Whitfield valley Nature Reserve, we pass by the disused workings of the Whitfield colliery before heading down lanes and accross fields to Knypersley Reservoir. A walk around the reservoir and through Greenway Bank Country Park will be followed by a break for lunch at the Visitor Centre (toilets available). The return journey again follows lanes and country tracks until we rejoin the Route 55 cycle way at Brindley Ford. This takes us back through the Whitfield Valley Reserve, though we now follow footpaths rather than the cycle way on our return.
The walk is approximately 8.75 miles in length and includes some inclines/declines, stiles, steps and uneven, terrain (one or two parts may be a bit muddy after rain).
Walkers are strongly advised to wear appropriate footwear and to bring a waterproof, something to eat and something to drink.
If anyone has “had enough” at the six mile point, they can catch a bus at Brindley Ford, which is on the A527 Biddulph Road.
Do you love chatting to local people and making new friends? The Closer to Home Walking Network need volunteer walking buddies to welcome new members to their regular walking clubs and help them feel at home.
The Walking Network leads 40 walks a week, one every morning and afternoon throughout Stoke-on-Trent, so there is bound to be a volunteering opportunity on your doorstep at a time to suit you. The volunteer positions are completely flexible so you can give as much or as little time as you like on days to suit you.
Regular volunteer Mary Maddox, of Dresden, said “Being a volunteer gives me a great sense of satisfaction to know that I’m helping people. The best part for me is the social side and making new friends.
The Closer to Home Walking Network will be celebrating mapping out their 200th route on the Weston Sprink walk on Monday 17th September at 11am with a walk leaving from the Weston Coyney Arms, on Weston Coyney Road.
Like many of the walks, on dry days the Weston Sprink walk takes in Stoke’s beautiful woodlands, and now thanks to these new mapped routes, on rainy days they take in paved greenways and cycle routes, ensuring the residents can enjoy green yet mud-free routes whatever the weather.
All two hundred routes, along with photographs, are available at http://www.walk4life.info, an interactive website which allows walkers to track their progress, set goals and share their favourite walk routes.
Local historian and walk leader Reg Edwards will be leading a heritage walk around Hartshill cemetery and surrounding greenways on Sunday 16th September, meeting at the Marquis of Granby in Penkhull at 1pm.
The walk takes in around fifty graves including the grave of well-known GP and previous Mayor Dr Spark, as well as many nearby historical sites such as the workhouse and cottage homes in St Christopher’s Lane and the site of a chartist riot on Thomas Ward Place. All walkers will receive a free information leaflet detailing the route and the various historical sites, and there is an option of two route lengths, with a longer route taking in the beautiful recreation ground.
Local historian Reg Edwards said “The health benefits of walking are noticeable and walking around the local area opens our eyes to the history right under our feet.”
The Closer to Home Walking Network is starting a new fortnightly walking group around Ford Green Hall Nature Reserve and Chatterley Whitfield, leaving from the car park on Thursday 6th September at 2:30pm, and every first and third Thursday after that. This is in addition to the popular weekly 1pm Sunday walk, which has inspired local resident, Tom Rooney, to capture the beautiful scenery in paintings.
Tom Rooney, of Ford Green Road, Norton, said “Since I’ve retired I’ve started doing a lot of drawing and painting inspired by the walks because there is such lovely scenery, particularly around Ford Green and Chatterley Whiftfield Nature Reserves. I love the way that the site used to be a railway line with a slag heap at the top and it has now been totally transformed into this beautiful countryside.”
Anyone who would like to be inspired by the beautiful scenery on their doorstep can join the Closer to Home walking Network at Ford Green Hall this Thursday at 2:30pm.
Local walking network group Closer to Home is now being managed by VAST the charity that supports voluntary and community organisations across Staffordshire. Closer to Home is a walking network offering free walks for all ages and abilities across the pathways, waterways and roadways of the Stoke-on Trent area.
In addition to the general walking groups there are specialist walking groups which cater for those who may not feel totally confident at an early stage to join a general walking group. The specialist groups cover walkers from a variety of backgrounds including those with learning and physical disabilities, mental health issues, families with young children and from a cultural background that prevents joining a general walk. Many of these groups welcome new walkers who may feel the need to join such a group others however are closed walking groups but by contacting Philip Shemilt the Network lead for specialist groups you will be given details to help you make contact. Phil’s mobile is 07535134285 and he will be more than happy to talk through any questions you may have. In the longer term if and when the specialist walkers feel confident to join the general walking groups then they will be given every assistance, encouragement and support to do so. The Network’s aim is to contribute towards the city’s drive to encourage more people, to become more active.
VAST welcomes the new organisation which was previously managed by The Federation of Stadium Communities as it compliments another of it’s projects, The Lifestyle Programme, a GP referral scheme offering opportunities to learn more about healthy eating and physical activity. The two organisations can work hand in hand to help motivate people into accessing a healthier lifestyle and the Lifestyle Programme has two walking groups who walk on a regular basis throughout the City.
Andrew Thompson from VAST says “We are delighted to be hosting the ‘Close To Home’ walks project, and feel that VAST are ideally placed to grow and develop the project alongside the Lifestyle Programme, to better enhance the health offer available to the residents of Stoke-on-Trent. This initiative is another successful example of an innovative and responsive health improvement opportunity provided by the Voluntary & Community Sector across the City.”
Over the past year, the Closer to Home Walking Network has seen local people volunteer over 2,500 hours of their time to lead and support these free walks every morning and afternoon in Stoke-on-Trent. This included Demetris Prasatzis from Burslem, who wanted to embrace the Olympic Legacy without leaving his home town.
Demetris said “I wanted to get involved in the Olympic games so I went online and found a local opportunity of becoming a walk leader. I was particularly interested in supporting local heritage sites like Ford Green Hall and Chatterley Whitfield to encourage more people to use it.”
Every day volunteer walk leaders like Demetris are helping Stoke-on-Trent residents to discover Stoke’s beautiful green spaces and feeling the sense of achievement in helping someone take their first steps into a more active life. But more are needed , particularly in Trent Vale, Meir and Bentilee, to help Stoke celebrate the Olympic legacy and become a healthier and more active city. Opportunities are flexible and new volunteers can give as little or as much time as they want.
If you would like more information about any of the current walks you can either call the ‘Closer to Home Walking Network’ on: 01782 683030, e-mail: email@example.com or visit our website:www.closertohomewalks.org.uk
Following the £33,000 lottery-funded restoration of Hartshill’s Con
vent Pools (featured in the Sentinel August 20th) local residents can now enjoy guided evening walks around the renovated heritage site with local historians and park experts.
The Closer to Home Walking Network is leading a fortnightly evening walk leaving from the Noah’s Ark Pub on Hartshill Road at 7pm on Monday 3rd September, and every 1st and 3rd Monday throughout the year.
Walk leaders Reg Edwards and Penny Harrison from Hartshill said “The pools were created in the 1880s and the nuns of the convent called them the “picturesque glen.” Now the Friends of Hartshill Park have not only improved the access to the pools but have also tried to recreate this place of quiet contemplation. The pools are now a quiet countryside haven in the heart of the city.”
Walkers can also receive free maps and leaflets to take away detailing the wildlife surrounding the pools and a photographic record of its transformation.
This easy 45 minute walk is suitable for families and all levels of fitness, and begins at Costa Coffee at The Odeon, Festival Park, before winding its way along the canal towpath towards Etruria Industrial Museum, Etruria Park and back to the start.
Reg will walk and talk along the route pointing out historic points of interest. He said: “The walk along the Trent and Mersey Canal from Festival Park has many points of interest on its route, from the Roundhouse at the former Wedgwood factory, now home to The Sentinel newspaper, Summit Lock, the highest point on the Trent and Mersey Canal and onto Etruria Park, which is toa memorial to Francis Wedgwood, son of Josiah, a pioneer of photography.”
The Etruria Heritage Walk is one of a pair of Bank Holiday heritage walks. The London Road Centenary heritage trail is on Saturday August 25th, and will leave Sainsburiy’s cafe in Stoke at 10:30am.
A special historic London Road walk is taking place Bank Holiday Saturday, 25th August. Points of interest along the walk include; the statue of Colin Minton Campbell, Minton House, the Old Library, Portmeirion Pottery, London Road Bakery, The Villas, Newcastle Canal and many more. There is a free heritage leaflet with more details which will be given to walkers.
Volunteer Walk Leader Chris Lewis said “The majority of people just have no idea how full of interest London Road is. Most pass through by car, on their way to somewhere else, missing all the unusual and unique buildings. This route also includes green areas and many mature trees, providing walkers with a lovely relaxing and refreshing walk.”
The walk will begin on Saturday, 25th August, leaving Sainsbury’s cafe at 10:30am. The walk will take about two hours but shorter options are available. This is part of a series of bank holiday heritage trails. Its partner is the Etruria Heritage walk, leaving Costa Coffee Festival Park at 3pm on Sunday 26th August.
Eddie Izzard’s national campaign Join in for Sport is throwing open its doors in Stoke-on-Trent this weekend to encourage local residents to keep the Olympic spirit flowing. For those not quite ready for a gold medal in the track or field events, the Closer to Home Walking Network is welcoming new members to try their free health walks for complete beginners.
Walkers can meet at 2pm at Westport Lake visitors centre cafe on Saturday 18th August or at 1pm outside the Marquis of Granby in Penkhull on Sunday 19th August at 1pm. Both walks are almost completely flat, take under an hour and all walkers can receive a free map and information leaflet exploring the nature and history of these areas.
Walk leader Sylvia Hill from Penkhull said “I have thoroughly enjoyed it being part of the Closer to Home walks, I feel a lot fitter in myself and I’ve got out a bit more and met some interesting people.”
Closer to Home Stoke South Group have organised a sponsored relay walk in aid of Donna Louise on Sunday 12th August, a date chosen to celebrate the London Olympic marathon. Everyone is welcome to join us for all or just part of the route. The starting point is from the Belgrave Medical Centre (ST3 4LR) and the route will take us through Longton, Heron Cross, Blurton, along the Trentham Canal, through Newstead Woods and back to the bandstand in Longton Park (a total distance of approx. 10 miles.) If you feel you are unable to take part any donations would be appreciated.
The aim of the walk is to cover 90% of the walks which Closer to Home Stoke South walking group lead on a weekly basis.
The Closer to Home Walking Network are hosting a fascinating heritage trail around the paths and greenways of Newchapel. The route takes in St James Church, Newchapel’s old schools and the site of James Brindley original model lock, which is now proudly displayed at London’s science museum.
Anyone wanting to try the new route can pick up a free self-guided leaflet from St James Church, which includes a map, photographs and a wealth of historical information, or can join the regular heritage walk which leaves from St James Church on Saturday 11th August at 10am. This friendly 1 hour walk takes in not only Newchapel’s heritage sites but also its beautiful greenways and hidden paths, with spectacular views as far as Mow Cop. What’s more, all walkers can enjoy a free tea and coffee at the end of the walk.
Walk Leader Debra Roughton said “When I walk regularly it does help with my fitness and stamina and I’ve seen a few places that I wouldn’t otherwise have found.”
So if you’ve ever wondered who Thomas, Samual and Mellor street were names after, come and join the Newchapel walkers on Saturday 11th August.
The Meir Greenways walk now takes place every fortnight, every 2nd and 4th Friday at 2pm from Meir Primary Care Centre Main Reception, with new routes that have been planned out for variations to existing walks. These include visits to Weston Woods, the site of the Meir Aerodrome and Longton Park.
There are many benefits for walkers which include improvements to health and well-being, meeting new people and increasing self esteem, preventing diseases and relieving stress, and of course it is free with a low risk of injury. On this walk there is excellent scenery, for example parkland, woodland, wildlife and wild flowers, and it is well organised and volunteer led. The group is friendly, and this walk is open to all ages and levels of fitness.
The Closer to Home Walking Network are proud to announce they are now more than 3000 strong. Many of the walkers are seeing improvements in the health and social life, not to mention their new found love and appreciation for the parkways walkways and greenways that would otherwise be forgotten about.
David Zygmund, became our 3000th walker when he joined the weekly Monday morning Weston Sprink walk, which leaves the Weston Coyney Arms at 11am. Davis said “I saw the Weston Sprink walking group advertised on a poster in the library and was quite eager to join to improve my health. When you come back from the walk you really feel the benefits of using the body and I feel blood filling up my muscles. As well as the gentle exercise, my favourite part is chatting to new people at a leisurely pace and helping to pass the time.”
For all people who are interested in walking there is free tea and coffee provided on completion of the walks at Weston Sprink, Abbey Wood and Meir Greenways. There are many benefits for walkers which include improvements to health and well-being, meeting new people and increasing self esteem, preventing diseases and relieving stress, and of course it is free with a low risk of injury. On each of these walks there is excellent scenery, for example woodland, wildlife and wild flowers, and they are well organised and volunteer led. Each group is friendly, and these walks are open to all ages and levels of fitness.
“Cotswold Outdoor are now offering 15% discount to all Closer to Home Walking Network existing walkers and any new walkers who join our free health walks and complete their 8-week walking plan. The 8 week plan is a commitment to walk 8 times in your first 8 weeks with us, which studies have shown is the length of time necessary to make a lifestyle change that sticks.
This discount is on top of the walking group’s existing 10% discount offer with the Trentham Gardens branches of Rohan and Trespass for walkers who complete 4 walks.
Adrian local marketing representative from Cotswold outdoor Bridgemere said “it’s fantastic that we can offer support and be involved with the Closer to Home Walking Network and help local people to get out and use the open spaces we are blessed with in Stoke on Trent and the surrounding areas. Walking is a brilliant way to increase fitness, help towards a healthy lifestyle, meet new people and enjoy the outdoors!”
Did you know the artist John Constable lived at Fenton ? This and other fascinating facts will be divulged on the walks.
The walks are perfect to get out into the fresh air for a couple of hours and meet new friends.
A variety of starting points are offered around Blurton and Longton and all walks start at 10.30am. Sensible shoes and a brolly are advised, sun cream optional !
The 50 Closer to Home walking groups will be stepping out to mark the 2012 London Games with a special Olympic relay walk. After each group completes its walk, an Olympic torch baton will be handed to a representative of the next group to walk until the groups have covered the whole city. The Olympic Relay is timed not just to celebrate the games but also love park week and will give residents a chance to explore the beautiful parks and greenways which make Stoke-on-Trent the greenest city in the UK.
The free-to-join walking network has already begun its Olympic themed walks when their walking group took the torch along their Berryhill fields route on Monday 9th July. This symbolized the yellow ring. Over the next week walkers will then take the torch through Hanley and the West of the city. This walk will represent the black ring. The walk will take place on Saturday 21st July. The Torch will then be passed on to walkers from the Whitfield Valley and Norton walk whose walk will represent the green rink. This will take place on Sunday 22nd July. The torch will then continue its Olympic journey when it’s passed to walkers from the Tunstall and Burslem group. Their walk will take place on Tuesday 24th July. They will symbolize the red ring. The final leg of the relay will take place on Sunday 12th August. Walkers will take the torch through Longton, Blurton and Trentham.