Jane Murphy’s Guide to City Walks

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Take your shoes on an adventure...

We invited freelance writer Jane Murphy (specialist in writer in health, wellbeing and travel) to share some of her knowledge to help you find your perfect walking trip. Why not test them out in a new pair of Hotter shoes? Share your adventures using #HotterWalkies

 

Bournemouth

This popular Dorset resort boasts a seven-mile stretch of unspoilt beaches – perfect for a spirit-lifting stroll by the sea. You can ease yourself in by following one of the tree trails in the town’s beautiful Grade II-listed Victorian gardens. Bournemouth also boasts four chines – steep dry river valleys – the largest of which is Alum Chine, with its tropical garden and an award-winning beach down below. But if you fancy a full-on hike with breathtaking views – plus a brief crossing on the Sandbanks chain ferry – take the 11-mile walk from Bournemouth Pier to Swanage. You’ll pass the Studland Heath Nature Reserve, a World War II observation bunker and Old Harry Rocks – two stunning chalk sea stacks. Look out to sea on a clear day and you may be able to spot The Needles, three more chalk stacks off the Isle of Wight, too.
How fit do I need to be? A seafront stroll in Bournemouth can be as easy as you like, but the walk to Swanage is more of an undulating challenge.

 

Sweet dreams! A stroll by the sea will not only lift your spirits; it improves your sleep quality, too. People sleep for an average 47 minutes longer the night after a seaside walk, according to National Trust research.

Want more of a workout? Stick to the beach. It takes more than twice as much energy to walk or run on sand as it does on hard surfaces, says a study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology (https://jeb.biologists.org/content/201/13/2071).

THE SHOE: Vale GTX®

Your go-to seasonal boot is hardy and comfortable with waterproof lining – perfect for an whatever-the-weather walk by the sea.

 

Bristol


Packed with parks, green spaces and pedestrian-only areas, Bristol is best explored on foot. And you can’t walk very far in the city without stumbling across some of the world’s best street art: it’s a gigantic open-air gallery, with Bedminster and Stokes Croft among the most impressive areas for art-lovers to explore. For a different perspective on the city, follow the Bristol South Skyline Walk (http://bssw.org.uk/). This seven-mile circular trail starts and ends at Bristol Temple Meads, taking in some of the best views of the city including rainbow-painted Victorian terraces, churches and towers, and the incredible Clifton Suspension Bridge. There are a number of steep, unpaved sections but the scenery makes it all worthwhile. You’ll explore several parks, as well as Arnos Vale Cemetery (https://arnosvale.org.uk), where the self-guided walks among the ancient tombstones and beautiful woodland are well worth a detour.
How fit do I need to be? You’ll need to conquer a few hills – but with the right footwear and determination, that shouldn’t be a problem.

 

Keep it up! Maintain a steady pace throughout the seven-mile Bristol South Skyline Walk and you’ll burn up to 1,200 calories.

Keep it varied. Walking on uneven terrain, such as off-road trails, increases the amount of energy your body uses by around 28 per cent, according to a University of Michigan study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4236228/).

THE SHOE: Rapid

This stylish off-duty staple is designed to cushion the feet all day long – whether you’re clambering up hills or relaxing in a city centre bar.

 

Windsor

 

With its beautiful buildings and hard-to-resist shops, this historic market town is a real treat to explore on foot – and there are plenty of perfect-for-people-watching tea shops and pubs to try whenever you need a break. For the best view in town, though, take a stroll along the 2.64-mile Long Walk in Windsor Great Park (http://www.windsorgreatpark.co.uk). This tree-lined avenue leads from Windsor Castle to the Copper Horse statue at the top of Snow Hill, from where you can admire the famous fortress in all its glory. You may not spot a member of the Royal Family, but we can pretty much guarantee you’ll meet some of the 500 red deer that live in the park. There are plenty more trails and routes to explore, too.

How fit do I need to be? The Long Walk won’t pose too much of a challenge – particularly when you’ve got all that gorgeous scenery to distract you.

Every little helps. Regular ‘incidental exercise’ that gets you huffing and puffing – even for just a few seconds – can bring significant health benefits, say University of Sydney researchers (https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2019/02/15/bjsports-2018-100397). A couple of examples? Walking uphill or carrying heavy shopping both count.

Go green. Just five minutes of exercise in a ‘green space, such as a park, is enough to significantly lift your mood, according to a study published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es903183r).

THE SHOE: Hope

A lightweight and flexible shoe that looks great with anything, from jeans to skirts – ideal if you’re heading straight from the park to afternoon tea or cocktails.

 

York

Not got long in York? Go cat-spotting in the city centre. Statues of cats have been placed on buildings around York for two centuries in a bid to frighten away rats and mice – as well as evil spirits, of course. Starting on the medieval Shambles, the Fabulous York Cat Trail (https://www.visityork.org/explore/york-cat-trail-p801381) takes in 20 of these feline beauties in under two hours. You’ll see some of the city’s top sights, including York Minster and Clifford’s Tower, too. Spending a little longer in the area? The North York Moors are a short drive away, so take the opportunity to explore a stretch of the Cleveland Way (https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/cleveland-way). This 109-mile-long trail boasts stunning coastline, heather moorlands, abbeys and castles. Whitby Abbey – where ‘a Bram Stoker’s Dracula first came ashore – is among the most memorable sights along the way.
How fit do I need to be? A comfortable stroll around the city won’t pose any problems – but conditions along the Cleveland Way can vary, so do go prepared. It’s challenging in places, but well worth it!

Pick up the pace. A brisk walking pace – just under four miles per hour – is linked to a significantly lower risk of heart disease and reduced mortality risk overall, compared to walking at a slower pace, says a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180601093818.htm).


Do it daily.
Taking regular exercise, such as a brisk daily walk, can reduce risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and 13 different types of cancer.

THE SHOE: Solar

Whether you’re staying in the city or heading out on the moors, energise your stride with this super-sporty shoe with added bounce sole technology.

 

Edinburgh

Walkers are spoilt for choice in the Scottish capital: the entire city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so there’s something amazing to see around every corner. Fancy a climb? A short stroll from the Royal Mile takes you to Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano, which sits 251m above sea level and offers incredible views of the city from its rocky summit. The climb normally takes around an hour. Or for a rewarding riverside ramble, head to the Water of Leith Walkway (http://www.waterofleith.org.uk/walkway/). The 12-mile path follows the route of an old railway line from Balerno to Colinton, then runs alongside the river all the way to Leith. These beautiful banks are home to wildflowers, ancient woodlands and more than 80 species of bird, including heron, dipper and kingfisher. You’ll also pass Murrayfield Stadium, the Gallery of Modern Art and Royal Botanic Garden.

How fit do I need to be? You’ll need a little stamina for both the Arthur’s Seat climb and the full 12 miles along the Leith Walkway. Another tip? Watch your step on Arthur’s Seat as the ground can be very rocky.

Walk and talk. Taking a walk with friends or family is the perfect way to catch up while discovering new places – and will encourage you to burn more calories. Finding a new exercise partner is the key to being more active, say researchers at the University of Aberdeen (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161004081548.htm).

Make it a habit. People who exercise for more than four hours a week have a 19 per cent lower risk of high blood pressure, compared to those who spend less than one hour a week exercising, says a study published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension (https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/news-from-the-bhf/news-archive/2013/september/exercise-benefits).

THE SHOE: Star

Shimmer and shine while you walk this winter with our statement Athleisure essential that’s packed with innovative comfort features.

 

 

 

About Jane Murphy 

Jane Murphy lives in South London with her husband Tom and a very mollycoddled cat called Sid. She loves exploring new places on foot, and never leaves home without her camera. Jane began her journalism career as a sub-editor on women’s magazines before moving on to edit websites. She has now been a freelance writer – specialising in health, wellbeing and travel – for more than 10 years.

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