Sefton Community Project

Once of our longest running community projects, the Active Walks Sefton project started in 2011 by Sefton Council/Public Health team. NWUK have supported the programme since it’s inception which was before the full FREEDOM programme and on line booking came into place. The Team do issue NWUK FREEDOM passports.

By 2019 the project has 12 walks a week with average attendance of approx. 200 people per week.

The team which comprises of 1 NWUK Instructor 1 NWUK Community Instructor and 19 active walk leaders offer Free to join walks, Free to ‘Learn to Nordic’ and even Free use of Nordic Poles.

Lead Instructor Georgina Morton says

“I have now trained hundreds of people throughout Sefton to Nordic walk and I still absolutely love my job. It’s wonderful to see so many people enjoying and getting the benefits of such an easy to do form of exercise.”

Wakefield Community Project

Active Wakefield is coordinated by Wakefield Council (Health Improvement department funded by Public Health). Their initial walking scheme started in 1999 for Health Walks and they introduced Nordic Walking in spring 2011 over 4 locations with support from NWUK who provided the community package which included cascade leader training and other tools such as a website. 

Now they offer 9 daytime Nordic walks and 1 evening walk – 6 of these walks are delivered by Volunteer Walk Leaders. They currently have an average of 200 individual walkers who attend their Nordic walk sessions over the 10 locations over the 5 week days.

The sessions are all free of charge and poles are provided too. They are displayed on the Exercise Anywhere portal but booking systems are managed in house due to internal complications.

There are 2 qualified staff (Jane Jukes & Jon Ainsworth) and currently 26 active Volunteer Community Walk Leaders.

Here is a quote from one of their Leaders…………………..

Out n About Summer 2019

Instructor Liz Skelcher (in the purple wig) and her team  from Nordic Walking UK Coast and Country did the St Barnabas Hospice Midnight Walk on Saturday 30th June. They walked 7, 13 or 20 miles and there were about 14 of them! Check out Liz’s moving after-walk interview on the St Barnabas Hospice FB Page  as she outlines her own cancer recovery journey


NWUK Instructor Sylvia from Chichester Nordic Walking  married walker Laz on the 20th June with a fitting salute as they leave the Church! Congratulations from everyone at HQ to two lovely people who will continue to inspire others to pick up the poles and join their friendly club! 


This trio managed to Nordic walk 26 miles along the Jurassic Coast in pretty inclement weather – an achievement in itself but even more remarkable as the lovely chap in the front is Purbeck Festival route master (and Instructor) John Challis from Dorset NW who celebrated his 80th Birthday on July 15th. The local group celebrated it with a lovely cream tea walk!

Tracey Larvin from Mercian NW took part in a very wet and muddy Bumble Bimble, a cross country run over 5 miles. She nordic walked the race and used this as part of her training plan for the three peaks challenge in July  She finished 44 out of 111 and 24th female out of 78 in 1:04 hrs which as you can see meant she continues to prove that poles provide power and you do not have to run to move fast! “Comments from the runners were very positive says Tracey “The word is certainly getting out there about Nordic Walking”.



In the spirit of NWUK meet up events, groups from Tameside and Stockport got together recently to do the Tour of Tameside whilst Mercian NW went to Liverpool to catch up with the local Instructor Carolyn and her group  for a themed Beatles walk!


Watford Nordic Walking, meanwhile raised money for the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance by joining in the very British Afternoon Tea!





We love sharing your pictures and news so please share them on our Facebook page @nordicwalkinguk and send them in to 

As a final celebration of Summer we thought we would finish with these lovely pictures of Summer Solstice walks. We actually heard of one Lady who got up at 4 am to join a sunrise walk and still managed to join another group for a midsummer night walk that evening – that’s hardcore NW dedication!

Summer kit – offers and advice

Our no.1 Summer essential has to be the waist pack, avoid sweaty backs and keep your shoulders free from backpack straps by carrying all you need on your hips!

The durable, lightweight Deuter pulse 3 has all the room you need to carry your phone, keys, drink, snack and a light layer or shell jacket. It sits really comfortably around the waist and is designed to stay in place with no twisting or bouncing. 

We love it so much that we have dropped the price to £24.95 but hurry as we only have a few of this style left – Click here to get yours! 

No 2 Summer essential has to be a decent pair of socks! We often hear people talking about wanting thinner socks in Summer or asking if they can walk in sandals with no socks. Our advice is clear, thin socks will not make your feet more comfy they are more likely to cause blisters which are more common in hotter weather due to sweat. It may seem counter-intuitive but you need socks with padded heels and layers that reduce friction and wick away sweat.

Be sure to make sure that shorter socks are high enough to prevent heel rub too. We love the pink Lorpen shorties (black also available) which have a great heel tab and supreme fit. For the ultimate performance on longer walks or challenge events we don’t think you can beat this ultimate trail sock which is padded in all high friction areas and fits perfectly with no seams or bunching – find out more and see a video about the socks here 

Finally, apart from water and sunscreen there is only one more essential we would never be without and that’s a tick card. The grass is long, the bracken is full and the ticks are waiting for a lovely warm host to brush past.

Try to avoid bites by covering legs in high risk areas, using a good spray like SMIDGE  ( we love this handy travel size)  and checking regularly. If you do find one, use your tick card to remove it and be vigilant with checking the bite site and your health in general. If you feel unwell or the bite gets a red ring around it, it is advisable to get checked out by a Doctor asap. Lyme Disease which is carried by Ticks is very unpleasant but can be treated is caught early enough so prevent, check and get checked where necessary!

It looks like some real heat is coming our way this week so try to avoid walking in unshaded areas, in the middle of the day or without access to proper hydration. If you are on medication, it’s worth remembering that heat can affect it’s effectiveness too and that its far more sensible to reduce your mileage or go out in the early mornings/ later in the evenings than to not complete a walk for any reason! We have been trying out some amazing cool towels recently and can recommend them as a great way to stay cool whilst walking or to freshen up afterwards. Search ice towels on line to get the right one for you.

Above all …… enjoy the Summer and make sure your poles get out there too!



Post walk cool downs – why they are worth the time

In our last issue we explained why NWUK Instructors insist on warming you up and mobilising your joints before you set off. This time we thought we would explain why they ask you to stretch and cool down after every walk.

We know you have busy lives and often want to dash off at the end of the walk but if you want to stay mobile and minimise aches and pains – a proper cool down is essential

The purpose of cooling down is to actually allow your heart rate and breathing to return to normal levels and to decrease joint or muscle soreness. It also helps you to relax and feel the after exercise benefits rather than being rushed, hot and bothered. Miss it and you will tighten up and regret it the next day

So why is it important to slow the heart rate down gradually? Cardiovascular exercise increases your heart rate quite substantially and its really good for you to do this but if you stop suddenly it can cause  lightheadedness or a feeling of faintness. This is because blood can pool in the lower part of the body and the major muscles and not be equally circulated to important areas like your brain!
Your breathing will also have become deeper so a gentle phased cool down helps to return to its usual rhythm. Just as you would not expect to sprint off without warming up, you should take a little time to allow your body to transition between the exercise state and normality in order to help it improve functionality and reduce stress on your system.


Mass stretch at the Purbeck festival

It’s the same with muscles and soft tissue. Thinks of an elastic band that has been warmed and stretched and then suddenly plunged into cold water. It will tighten up and shorten which is exactly what your muscles do when they have been working hard UNLESS you take time allow them to flush through the lactic acid produced during exercise. The stretches your Instructor will guide you through will keep the muscles long and avoid straining of the tendons and ligaments which will cause joint stiffness.
Many Nordic Walkers comment on how they have gained flexibility and mobility since they took up walking with their poles but its important to appreciate that these benefits are more likely to be down to your Instructor who insists that you prepare before the walk and ease down gently towards the end.
So next time you pick up your poles whether with a group or on your own, take a few minutes to be kind to your body!




We are delighted to announce that GRUB’S SHOES have joined forces with Nordic Walking UK to take the Purbeck Nordic Walking Festival to another level! With over 150 walks over 3 days to choose from, this amazing event certainly calls for good walking shoes and since our reviews on the GRUB’S DISCOVER shoes last year (see here) we can’t think of any shoe brand we would rather have at the event!

NWUK Members have already been enjoying a discount on the shoes which really do combine comfort with durability whilst also aiding good NW technique. To get yours before the event log in to your members area to get the code. The festival Host team love them and have been snapping them in all the iconic places (such as Corfe castle pictured here) as they put the miles in to  check and plan all the routes. Come and join us in Dorset this September but HURRY as tickets are selling fast! 


Fill your boots with our friends at GO Outdoors!

From now until 9th July you can use your member discount on top of the 20% Brand Event and Sale items in store only. Find your nearest store here –>

*Excludes multibuys, bundles, Gift Cards, gas hire charges and concessions inside GO Outdoors stores.

NWUK membership

Not a member? You can sign up at Click ‘Join’. If you have a Nordic Walking UK Freedom Passport you can get the first year’s membership Free (subject to £2.50 p&p). Enter the Freedom code from your Passport in the discount box at Membership Step 1.Don’t have a Freedom Passport? Search for classes or an instructor near you on On completion of a Nordic Walking UK Learn to Nordic Walk course with a Nordic Walking UK instructor you will be awarded a Freedom Passport with a unique Freedom code.

Call 0333 1234540 for more details or go to

On top of the World – Helen’s story

“On top of the World,” well at least the London 02 Arena!!!

This is me after being a member of Mercian Nordic Walking for just over 2 years. I originally joined after trying a “taster” session. This was followed by a training course and obtaining a passport which qualifies me to walk with instructors/groups in other counties and countries. What a great way to enjoy different experiences as a day trip or holiday.

I often reflect on how unfit I was and what I have been able to achieve through the concept of Nordic Walking, fitness and social activities. Previously I belonged to a local gym but was not sufficiently committed to exercising indoors to improve my fitness and therefore make anything like the best use of my monthly subscription. As soon as I joined Mercian Nordic Walking, I cancelled it and have not looked back since. Exercising outdoors is so effective and enjoyable (even in bad weather) due to group support and great banter. Who needs gym equipment when you can use your poles, isobows, park railings, benches and low fences for example?
I have found Nordic Walking (NW) to be a tremendous total body workout as it engages 90% of the body muscles but in addition I have benefited to a very great extent from additional muscular strength and endurance (MSE) training, cardio vascular (CV) exercises and latterly isometrics. I have come to realise how important exercise is per se but more so as we age. It is amazing how quickly muscles can weaken affecting posture and balance with aches and pains developing. A recent video of a trekfit activity I was taking part in, showed me running “knock- kneed’ ( I was so embarrassed) which I later found out is apparently due to weak ankle muscles. I hasten to add that we are always asked if we are Ok with social media and without this video I wouldn’t have known I had muscle weakness. Following a visit to an osteopath, who happens to be a NW instructor, I was recommended strengthening exercises using a wobble board. In addition I found an interesting article in a health magazine for ankle strengthening exercises as practised by ballerinas!! Oh to be a fly on the kitchen wall to see me using the work surface as a ballet barre whilst waiting for the kettle to boil!!! but the exercises are working.
With Mercian Nordic Walking we have a tremendous team of instructors, and walk leaders led by Ian Northcott, who all get to know their clients/capabilities and fitness goals. When I took up the sport, it was then Ian who primarily assessed my fitness. He inspired me to realise the benefits to my health and well-being by gradually introducing me to longer and more challenging walks, trekfit, MSE and CV exercises. I was never put under any pressure to do so but the more I have experienced the benefits of feeling fitter, the more I have wanted to do and Ian’s encouragement, support and enthusiasm is awe inspiring.
Diet is also very much part of my fitness and feeling good: statement of the obvious I hear you cry. Like most of us I am sure, I enjoy a glass of wine or two, or a gin and tonic but don’t need either. I have also reduced my meal portion sizes and snacking between meals. It is amazing how much energy is required to burn just a small amount of calories. Climbing to the top of the O2 only burnt 450!!!! insufficient, I fear, to negate the coffee and cake I had afterwards!!!

Earlier on this year, I went to one of Michael Mosely’s road shows and am now interested in different types of diets and eating patterns. Do I really need to eat breakfast everyday for example.
I digress a little but I wouldn’t have evaluated my lifestyle without the concept of Nordic Walking, health and well being: the best thing I have done for years.
Thanks to Ian and his team for all their enthusiasm for the sport, support and amazing number of walks/activities available each week via Mercian Nordic Walking and now in conjunction with the other NWUK Midlands groups.


Sarah’s story – Cancer recovery with poles

When regular Norfolk Nordic Walker Sarah told her Instructor Rebecca Wheatley about her reasons for taking up Nordic walking, and the positive effects it has had on her post cancer recovery, she asked her if she would like to share her story as a testimonial to the power of the poles. Below, in her words, is her story:

“Post Cancer ……. Start Nordic Walking! 
3 years ago I underwent invasive treatment for breast cancer which left me fatigued, tired and suffering from aching joints long after the treatment had finished.
The NHS stance on post cancer treatment is a good diet, maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise.
18 months post treatment I was still feeling tired with persistent aching joints, so when I saw Rebecca’s advert for a Nordic Walking Taster Session I went along. Not being one for the gym or swimming pool this was the ideal exercise. After I gained my passport I signed up for my first walk at the beautiful site of Caster St Edmunds. 3.5 miles later I was exhausted but thoroughly enjoyed myself, so much so 6 months later, a lot of training, wonderful walks and a huge amount of encouragement from Rebecca and the rest of the team I participated and completed my first ever half marathon on the North Norfolk coast.
As part of my treatment I had my lymph nodes removed from under my arm and after a bout of cellulitis I suffered from mild lymphedema (which left untreated is irreversible). Nordic Walking is encouraged by lymphedema therapists and the Big C and in the year that I have been walking my lymph fluid retention has dropped from 21% to 7.5%.
Now I regularly walk 3 times a week, I’m fitter than I have been in a long while, I can walk up a hill & talk at the same time without getting out of breath! I’ve seen parts of the Norfolk countryside I’ve never seen before and have met a wonderful group of walkers. Whatever the weather we laugh, we chat we have fun!
If there is anyone in the same or similar situation I would say – “don’t think about it – do it!” Rebecca will take you through the training and recommend the right walks for your ability encouraging you with a huge amount of enthusiasm along the way!”

Rebecca, says
“Huge thanks to Sarah for sharing her journey. Hopefully her testimonial might strike a cord with anyone who may be in a similar situation but unsure of where to turn. It’s always empowering to know collectively we are more than just walkers who belong to an outdoor fitness club. We are also a supportive community of lively, spirited souls who enjoy fun, banter and a good laugh too – the best therapies of all!”

If you hail from Norfolk you can find Rebecca’s walks here – if you are from elsewhere in the UK you can find your local group but popping your postcode in here 

Don’t put it off, pick up some poles today!

It’s Warming up outside but are you?

Are you somebody who embraces the warm up exercises at the beginning of a walk or more likely to be grumbling ‘get on with it’ under your breath? YES, our Instructors know that some people just can’t see the point of what seems like a lot of twiddling, circling and stamping BUT there are actually several good reasons as to why, at NWUK, we always start our classes with them.

There is actually a proven process that will prepare a body for exercise, paying attention to the joints, muscles and cardiovascular system. Here’s why …………..

REASON ONE – Lighting your internal fire!

If you try to push cold muscles you are at risk of injuring them and if you don’t allow your body to heat up gently, you simply won’t get the best out of it for the whole walk which in turn will reduce the potential exercise benefits such as weight loss and tone. Your Instructor is trained to gently increase your heart rate in order to literally ignite your cardiovascular system and wake everything up effectively. As well as being advisable for your heart, lungs and blood pressure, this increase of blood flow will raise the core temperature and make muscles, ligaments and joints more relaxed and ready to work

REASON TWO – Joint Mobilisation.

Our joints are surrounded by soft tissue called the synovial membrane, which produces a fluid that acts a bit like oil in an engine, allowing your bones to move past one another more smoothly. Exercise in general encourages circulation of the fluid but before you start putting any pressure on the body its essential to first ease the joints into action and easing out any stiffness. This is where the ‘circling’ comes in – your Instructor is gently taking the joints through their range of movement and preparing them for the walk ahead. This will not only make you more comfortable on the walk but help prevent injury too. In fact good ankle mobility contributes to better balance and fewer falls so don’t skip this vital element of your class. Hip and knee mobility also improves comfort, performance and more crucially, reduces the risk of injury – so go on… enjoy the wiggling drills and feel your body thank you for it!

REASON THREE – Flexibility

Once your core temperature has been raised and the muscles and ligaments are more pliable, your Instructor will incorporate actions that mirror the movements likely to be contained in the walk or session. This type of stretching activity is known as dynamic stretching and is very different from the type of long cool down stretches used for conditioning at the end of a walk. Flexibility is the key to good mobility in older age and that exercising without including it  will actually make muscles shorter, tighter and more prone to damage.

Once your Instructor has fully prepared you for the start of your walk, they will set off at a gradual pace and ensure that you are fully ready to go before tackling any strenuous elements such as steep hills, workout drills or faster pace ‘gear’ work. You will also notice that they start to ease off before the end of the session too in order to prepare you for the cool down which we will cover in the next NWUK newsletter.

So next time you are willing the Instructor to stop ‘walking on the spot’ and get out on those trails, maybe spare a thought for how they are there to help you get results, avoid injury and learn how preparing your body well is a crucial part of being active..