A NEW walking group has been specifically created to meet the needs of older walkers living in the Otley and Ilkley area.

The Lower Wharfedale Ramblers (LWR) already has four groups catering for different levels of fitness and distance. However, the committee recognised that many members, as they grew older, wanted to keep walking but were less able to cope with long distances, steep climbs and stiles.

The co-ordinator of the new group is Angela Pearson, an experienced walker, who lives in Addingham. Angela said everybody understands the benefits of fresh air and exercise for older people, but there is increasing evidence that it also helps reduce the risk of dementia. “We wanted to do something to enable our ageing current members to keep walking but also encourage new members who may be put off by the traditional images of walking only being for the young, fit and able,” added Angela.

Two of the founding members are Judith and Roger Charnley from Burley-in-Wharfedale. Both have been keen walkers all their lives but with a combined age of 168 years, they felt it was time to slow down a little. Roger said the new group is ideal for both of them, recognising our physical limitations but at the same time enabling us to continue walking in a friendly, social group.

The new group walks once a fortnight but this will become weekly as the group grows. Each walk is local, between three and five miles in length, over moderate terrain and established footpaths, always ending with a cup of tea and a chat.

All walks have experienced leaders and guarantee ‘nobody is left behind’. Potential joiners can come on up to three free walks to make sure it’s right for them.

People interested in joining this new group, can contact Angela at pearson@amanda2912.plus.com who is happy to also answer any questions on clothing, footwear, travel or equipment.