UK Government

Department of Health: WALK4CHRISTMAS

Press Release   •   Dec 21, 2009 12:07 GMT

Families Urged to Bring Back the Christmas Day Walk

The Change4Life campaign is bringing back the traditional Christmas day walk and calling on families across the country to burn off their Christmas dinner and be more active over the festive season.

If every person took to the streets, fields or beaches after their festive treats, then families in England could walk a combined 50 million miles on Christmas day alone.

But with a typical Christmas lunch of turkey and pudding clocking up almost 1,500 calories – over half of men’s recommend daily calorie intake and three quarters of women’s – Walk4Life, part of the Change4Life movement, is calling on families to bring back this Christmas tradition en masse.

According to the British Nutrition Foundation a typical Christmas dinner is 1,470 calories.

To celebrate the return of the traditional Christmas walk, Walk4Life has teamed up with The Ramblers to release the top ten English walks to inspire families to get on their feet.

They include a walk round famous London landmarks, a trek through the Birmingham bog that Tolkein based the hobbits’ Shire home on, as well as a wildlife walk in Highfield Country Park, Manchester

Public Health Minister, Gillian Merron said:

“Whatever the weather, a traditional festive walk is a great way for families and friends to avoid that sluggish feeling and have a more active Christmas.

“Being more physically active can make a real difference to your health - taking that extra walk is something we can all enjoy as a family.

“Walk4Life is part of our groundbreaking Change4Life campaign which is supporting families to ‘eat well, move more and live longer’ throughout the year.”

Tom Franklin, Ramblers Chief Executive, said:

"Winter is a great time to go walking - there's nothing like a crisp winter day and the kids will really enjoy themselves if it snows.

“But it's also important to stay active and make the best of the short daylight hours by getting out of doors, helping you walk off the mince pies and avoid the post-Christmas blues.

“That's one reason why our annual Festival of Winter Walks with Nature Valley is so popular - there are over 850 free led walks taking place across Britain between Boxing Day and 3 January, so there's bound to be one near you."

Notes to editors

1. *Based on  ONS population estimates for England and average walking distance of one mile every half an hour

2. For media enquiries only please contact the Department of Health news desk on 0207 210 5221.

3. The Ramblers is Britain's walking charity, working to promote walking and to improve conditions for all walkers. With 135,000 members in England, Scotland and Wales, they’ve been working for walkers for almost 75 years.
They are dedicated to working both for better quality walking environments and to making walking more accessible to all. Form more information about Ramblers Winter Walks visit

4. The Rambler’s top ten walks are:

• Bermondsey and the Thames in London – an hour-long walk that takes in some of London’s major tourist attractions, including Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and City Hall, as well as more local landmarks, such as the gardens of St Mary Magdalene Church.

• Moseley Bog in Birmingham – exploring the bog Tolkien based ‘The Shire’, home of the Hobbits on.

• Worrall Fields in Sheffield – a walk to explore the countryside on the city’s doorstep, with stunning views of the area.

• Highfield Country Park in Manchester – a walk through a transformed area which is now a protected habitat for animals and plants.

• Heswall Dales in the Wirral - a walk along the coast and then inland up through Dungeon Wood with its waterfalls and ancient woodland.

• Darwin Walk in Shrewsbury – follow the trail to explore the town Darwin spent many of his first 27 years in.

• Hartington in the Peak District - a walk with a view of an amazing landscape of canyons and vales and full of wildflowers, butterflies and wild birds.

• Harting Down in the South Downs – with stunning views in the new South Downs National Park.

• Beccles Marsh Trail in the Broads - a walk to explore Iron Age causeways, flood defences and dykes on the flat and wide open landscape of the Broads, including an easy access trail.

• Dawlish Discovery Walk in Dawlish - fantastic sea views as you walk along the coast.


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