Short healthy walks have been introduced across Rossendale to encourage people to take the first step towards a healthier life.

Co-ordinated by Rossendale Leisure Trust, Ramblers Wellbeing Walks offer a series of short and friendly walks over easy terrain at a steady pace. The walks range from short 10 minutes to 90 minutes and all are free to attend with several being held at the same location each week and all connect to bus routes.

On Mondays there are walks in Edenfield and around Cowm Reservoir in Whitworth while on Tuesdays, the walk is at Marl Pits on the running track. Leisure Trust project officer Julie Holden said: “We are working with Jo Tomlinson who manages the Health and Wellbeing team at RLT and the idea is to introduce low level walks.

“We currently have about seven or eight walks which we will be building up and I am looking for more people to take part in walk leader training.”

Several volunteer walk leaders have already been trained and are now leading activities in their own areas. Participants get fitter and they do not have to buy expensive equipment or pay a membership to participate.

Jo, who is also Lancashire and South Cumbria Primary Care Training Hub Health and Wellbeing Champion Lead for Pennine Lancashire, said: “We have five health coaches in Rossendale: Jodie Potter, Julie Balchin, Juliet Murphy, Ann-Marie Fuller and Shirley Sadler.

“Their remit as health coaches is to work in conjunction with the nine practices in the Primary Care Network area across Rossendale East and West assisting patients with lifestyle choices.”

The health coaches bridge the gap between the community and the GP and are based in the practices to help with people’s wellbeing, weight issues, diabetes, COPD and other issues. Up and Active also delivers exercise on prescription as an alternative to medicine and an incentive to make lifestyle changes.

Jo said: “We are just looking for people to become slightly more active than they are now, and by taking part in these walks they are taking that first step.

“The feedback we have had from people who have taken part is really great.”

As well as the Ramblers Wellbeing Walks, further walks are provided Rossendale Ramblers, Empowering Walk Club, Abigail’s Trains and Newground Together and for more information and contacts for on all the walking groups in Rossendale visit