Ramblers Cymru is encouraging us to put our best foot forward and get outdoors to improve our mental health and wellbeing.
Supporting the Welsh Government and Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board (CTMUHB) Help Us Help You Campaign, the organisation urges residents of Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, and surrounding areas to explore the picturesque paths, forests, coastal routes, and valleys that connect the region.
Ramblers Cymru Engagement and Communications Manager Brân Devey hopes people will join one of several local walking groups or meet safely outside with friends and family to combat isolation…….
“Being active every day has been tough during this period, and for some it is a case of starting again, building confidence and literally putting one foot in front of the other.”
“With the NHS under increased strain during the winter months it is important to be extra careful when out walking, to wear the correct footwear, wrap up warm and take the necessary equipment – know your limitations.
“And from a mindfulness and mental health perspective it is vital we keep active; going for a walk does the world of good and you can do so from your front door. It costs nothing and everyone has their own Everest, whether it’s a local mountain, a national park or coastal path.”
Originally from Bethesda, Snowdonia, but now based in Cardiff, Brân added……
“Walking side by side with others where possible is a great way to share any problems you might have, to ask people how they’re doing and show you care, which could be crucial at the present time.
“All of this will help ease some of that pressure on our hospitals and GPs, but it doesn’t have to mean over-exertion. Enjoying the sights and sounds of the local area – the peace and tranquillity – will all play a part in helping you to relax.
“And in the CTMUHB area there are so many amazing places to visit, from the Coast Path to the Brecon Beacons, and the popular Bunny Walks in Llantrisant we helped set up with the Community Council and Taff Ely Ramblers group volunteers.
“As an organisation we have seen so many benefits, with people venturing outside with their family or ‘bubble’ to take a walk when they might not previously have done so. That’s one habit we hope to see continue because it does make a huge difference to health and mindfulness.”
Brian Morgan, chair of Taff Ely (Llantrisant) Ramblers reinforced the message, he told us……
“There is no downside to going out and having a good walk, except perhaps the cold weather at this time of year!
“Our group is primarily made up of people over 60 but we have a few younger members and the enthusiasm to get back together and out rambling again after lockdown was incredible, we all could not wait to do so and welcomed some new people as well.”
“Walking is good for you physically and mentally, you can make new friends, see amazing parts of this region and there are endless benefits.”
Paul Mears, Chief Executive of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board echoed those words……
“Even a short walk or physical activity outdoors can make a big difference in improving our wellbeing.
“Across this region we have so many beautiful walks of varying lengths and difficulty levels, so there is something for everyone. And as Brân says, taking a stroll will do the world of good in clearing the mind and introducing feelings of positivity while also having a positive impact on the heart, blood pressure and in supporting healthy weight management.
“It’s the perfect way to self-care and has been a lifeline for many families and individuals throughout the pandemic.”
Visit HERE for more news and information from Ramblers Cymru, as well as details of walking groups and routes in your area.
If you are feeling low or struggling, contact the CALL Helpline for confidential listening and emotional support. Lines are open 24/7 on 0800 132 737 or text ‘help’ to 81066.
Getting outside with the kids is a brilliant way to reconnect with South Wales and enjoy family time, away from the confines of our homes. Turn it into an adventure, they’ll love it.
And if you’re looking for a few ideas of places to visit Ramblers Cymru have give us a few suggestions.
FIVE WALKS YOU COULD TRY
Y Garth Mountain
A relatively easy hike to the summit offering stunning views over the Vale of Glamorgan.
Llwyn Onn Reservoir
A 4.5km loop trail located near Aberdare, Rhondda.
These include the Llantrisant Circular, the Caerau and Hen Felin Wynt.
Wales Coast Path
While following the Wales Coast Path, you’ll discover a nine-mile section that runs through the Vale of Glamorgan. The Church, College and Lighthouse feature amidst amazing scenery, nature reserves and ancient churches.
Bryngarw Country Park
With over 100 acres of meadows, mature woodlands, and garden, Bryngarw is a magical place to visit, from the floral tranquillity of the Oriental Garden to the banks of the River Garw.
For more information and further details on these locations, visit HERE.
You can send images of your favourite walking and beauty spots in the CTMUHB area to HERE. Please include details of why you chose it and how other people can get there. A selection of them will be shared on social media.