Explore health routes this Walk to School Week

North Oxfordshire families are invited to discover the benefits of walking this Walk to School Week, 20-24 May.

Published: Thursday, 16th May 2024

the Green Star Shape Trail in the Grimsbury area of Banbury
Run by the charity Living Streets, the national week aims to educate pupils about how being active on their way to school helps improve their health, happiness, and the local environment. 
Cherwell District Council is encouraging them to use its health routes, created in Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington, as part of their daily walk to school.
Nicola Riley, Assistant Director of Wellbeing and Housing Services, said: “Building more physical activity into our daily routines is one of the best choices we can all make for our long-term physical health and wellbeing. Childhood is the best stage of life to establish healthy habits, and we know that children who have active lifestyles find it easier to concentrate at school too. 
“We support Walk to School Week because of the benefits to individuals and also the environmental impact. We know that traffic emissions, the biggest single source of carbon dioxide in Oxfordshire, peak at school pick-up and drop-off times. Working to reduce this is an important element of our climate action programme.
“The addition of fun and accessible health routes in the busiest areas of the district is a significant part of our mission to make Cherwell a place where it’s easy to make healthy choices. I hope lots of young people enjoy following them this Walk to School Week.”
Sustained exposure to air pollution is bad for the lungs, heart, and blood vessels and is linked to a number of cardiovascular diseases and cancers.
To help reduce these risks, Cherwell’s first health routes were built in Bicester, with NHS England funding connected to the Healthy New Town programme. There are three 5k routes to follow, designated by eye-catching blue lines.
Banbury’s health routes are known as Shape Trails, with three routes of varying length marked with signs and colourful shapes on the ground. There are also playful illustrations adorning the trails and workout prompts.
Kidlington has five zoo-themed walking trails and three Explorer Routes, including a new seven-mile circular walk encompassing Begbroke and Yarnton.
Guides to all the routes are available on the council website, and further health routes are planned for Heyford Park.
There is also a Park and Stride route in Banbury for parents and pupils of Hanwell Fields Community School, designed to encourage people to walk from nearby parking spots to prevent cars from gathering at the school gates.
Walk to School Week is organised by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, as part of their National Walking Month campaign each May. Participating schools receive classroom packs filled with activities to complete on the way to school and in the classroom.
Find out more about Walk to School Week by clicking below. 

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