North Ayrshire is packed with a variety of greenspaces whether it be beaches, woodland, hillside, riverside and many more. These natural environments are the perfect back drop to explore your local area. Walking in these beautiful landscapes are a great way to get physically active and maintain good mental wellbeing.

We know that walking helps reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and many other conditions as well as maintaining a healthy weight.  It can also help to improve our mood by reducing anxiety, depression and helping us sleep better. Walking can also help the environment as the more we walk, the less likely we are to take public transport or drive, which reduces harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

Best of all it is a FREE activity that can be enjoyed by building it into your daily routine.  It is also one of the easiest forms of physical activity that you can start on your doorstep, enjoy alone, with friends or as part of an organised group.

Always ensure when you are participating in any group walking activity that you have:  comfortable footwear, you are wearing clothes suitable for the weather and you have checked with the walk provider any additional requirements before attending.

If you want to know more about Health Walks, general information on the benefits of walking can be found by visiting Paths for All.

A number of maps can be found for local walks in North Ayrshire via the links below.

Often we don’t know what we have on our doorstep, but participating in a led walk will allow you to explore more and meet new people.

Walks are usually led by a volunteer and will have a designated start/finish point, some walks may require you to take public transport to an agreed meeting point to begin. 

Ramblers are local people who enjoy walking and protect the places we all love to walk. Most groups organise regular walks led by local experts. You’re very welcome to try walking, or to get involved in looking after paths and green spaces and opening up new places to explore. The local group for members of the Ramblers within North Ayrshire is the Cunninghame Ramblers.

The Trinity Active Travel Hub offer a range of walks for people to enjoy Guided walks – The Trinity.

KA Leisure offer a range of led walks for people to enjoy Walking Opportunities - KA Leisure.

Health Walks are usually under an hour long that ease you in to physical activity in the natural environment along an easy route with a warm up and cool down. They are supportive and social experiences,  helping to introduce you to new people.

There are many health walks across North Ayrshire led by a number of partners, KA Leisure have also introduced 1-2-1 Supported Walks and Doorstep Walks for those who need additional input to get started.

If you want to see a list of Health Walks run by KA Leisure in North Ayrshire then please follow this link.

There you will find the following:

  • Local Health Walks
  • Volunteer Led Walks
  • Walks Delivered by the Active Lifestyles Team
  • 1-2-1 Supported Walking
  • 1-2-1 Doorstep Walks
  • Photography Walks

The Trinity Active Travel Hub also offer a range of health walks via their Stroll With It Programme, utilise this link to find out more.

Trinity Active Travel Hub - Stroll With It Irvine

Originating in Finland, Nordic Walking has become more popular locally.  It is a low impact exercise using specialist walking poles that incorporates arm movements which gives you a full body workout.  Nordic walking groups usually provide equipment for attendees so booking is essential. 

Similarly to other walks it is a fun and social activity that allows you to meet like-minded individuals locally.

Walks are roughly 45 minutes to an hour and consist of:

  • A brief introduction
  • Warm up
  • Nordic walk
  • A cool down

 

If you want to know more about Nordic walking or to see a list of Nordic Walks run by Trinity Active Travel Hub then please follow this link.

Trinity Active Travel Hub - Nordic Walking

Mindfulness is about being able to experience the here and now, being present/conscious in the moment and not allowing your mind to wander or be distracted by other influences or thoughts.

Mindfulness – take some time out, stand or sit and listen to the sounds around you, what can you smell? What can you see?

Enjoy the sounds and colours of the season emerging around you.

Meditate and listen to natural sounds available online e.g. flowing water, birds tweeting, wind, and rustle of leaves.

Listen to some mindful forest walks or podcasts that tell stories about nature, habitats, landscapes and our native species at NatureScot.

Heritage Walks are all about exploring the rich history of North Ayrshire. Helping to educate on preserving and understanding the historical buildings or monuments in North Ayrshire and their importance in adding character to the towns. It is as with other walking activities a great way to get physically active and socialise as well as being a unique learning experience.

If you visit North Ayrshire Heritage Trails you will find trails for Ardrossan, Cumbrae, Irvine, Irvine Harbourside, Kilwinning, Largs, Saltcoats, Stevenston and West Kilbride.

You can also download the North Ayrshire Council Libraries App whereby you can gain access to the heritage trails.

If you would like to consider becoming a volunteer walk leader or start your own led walk but need some advice and support, speak to colleagues at The Trinity Active Travel Hub or KA Leisure to access a suite of training and support.

You can contact the Trinity Active Travel Hub on email: thetrinity@north-ayrshire.gov.uk

You can contact the KA Leisure Active Lifestyles Team on email: activelifestyles@kaleisure.com

What is Orienteering?

Orienteering is an excellent way of exploring local greenspaces that is good for your mind and body and is suitable for all ages and fitness levels who compete simultaneously, making it fun for families and attracts people who haven’t thrived at “traditional” sports.

The aim is to follow special markers or control points on an orienteering map, on a route which has been planned for it's interest and challenge.

Orienteering is an adventure game, and the only sport which is simultaneously a mental and physical challenge.

There are are a couple of videos below which give an impression of Orienteering and many of the health benefits of taking part. orienteering.

Where can I go orienteering?

Orienteering can take place anywhere from urban environments in Irvine town centre to more natural environments like Eglinton Country Park and everywhere in between including forests, parks, school playgrounds, and more.

There are several orienteering courses set out in Eglinton Country Park. Details here  

If you like the idea of permanent orienteering courses the British Orienteering website has a page showing many others around the UK.

What do I need?

Orienteering kit comprises of appropriate outdoor gear for different weather. As a newcomer, just be dressed ready for an outdoor activity prepared to run or walk as you choose. It is good to have sturdy shoes with some grip like walking shoes although trainers you don't mind getting muddy are fine at first.

Ayrshire Orienteering Club

A great way to get started in orienteering is to contact your local club, to find out what is happening near you and have a go. The local group for people in North Ayrshire is the Ayrshire Orienteering Club (AYROC) who have everything from events, information for beginners, coaching and much more.

For more information on AYROC you can find out how to contact them here.

What is Orienteering

Permanent Orienteering Courses

Finding a new way to train the brain: Orienteering