Living Streets is one of the key partners that have come together to form the Greater Manchester Walking Voice, working to create the conditions for a culture where walking is the first choice for short journeys. 

Louise Robbins from GM Walking, part of the GM Walking Voice, shares some of the work happening in Greater Manchester to encourage residents to walk more during the lockdown. 

Louise Robbins

Exploring the local areas across Greater Manchester


For the past five years, as part of National Walking Month, Greater Manchester has held a walking festival throughout May to celebrate walking, places to walk and people to walk with.

This year’s festival planned to showcase the joy of walking and community organisations, with regular walking groups having planned walks to bring their community together and enjoy being out in the local area.

Covid-19 and the restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus put a stop to the 2020 festival. However, the work to encourage people to get out and walk every day has continued at a pace. 

Using the initial Government advice to exercise once a day as a platform, we have been keen to encourage people to walk more as part of the Greater Manchester movement to #KeepGMMoving.

In Greater Manchester we are fully embracing National Walking Month and urging people to #WalkThisMay (and June and July…)

Louise Robbins

Keeping your walk fresh

There are routes in all areas of Greater Manchester hosted on the GMWalking website to help people find new places to walk.

We have encouraged people to explore their local area and share their photos from their walks close to home using the @GMWalks social media channels. We’ve had people sharing photos of the views, the spring wildlife and bloom and interesting facts about their places.

Ideas about making walks fun or competitive have emerged from clubs, friendship groups and organisations seeking to engage with their local community.

Suggestions include taking photos from a walk around a specific theme (for example a colour or a letter of the alphabet) and collecting fallen leaves, twigs, petals etc. to make some nature-based art.

Some of the organisations that applied for grants to organise led walks during May and the lockdown period have adapted their ideas and produced resources that can be used anytime to help broaden the appeal of walking to children, families or people with particular needs.  Some of these stories can be found on the GMWalking website.

Looking ahead to a time when restrictions on movement are adapted further, GM Walking and the GM Walking Voice are keen to support people to maintain new walking habits and develop them into routines for walking to school, walking to work or to the shops as well as for leisure.

We are currently seeking to understand what support people need to walk more often under these new circumstances and we intend to hold a virtual GM Walking Festival in October 2020 to #KeepGMMoving beyond lockdown. 

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