Set yourself New Year goals and go walking

STRIDING OUT Tony Harrison leads the South East Hants Ramblers on a five-mile hike around Purbrook Heath. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (133640-1)
STRIDING OUT Tony Harrison leads the South East Hants Ramblers on a five-mile hike around Purbrook Heath. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (133640-1)
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DETERMINED walkers are burning off their Christmas dinners as part of an annual keep-fit festival.

The Ramblers South East Hants Group went on a five-mile stroll around Newlands Farm, Purbrook Heath, as part of The Festival of Winter Walks, on Saturday.

The annual initiative is part of a national drive by The Ramblers’ Association which promotes a love of walking and encourages new members to sign up to local walking groups in time for the New Year.

Gill Florence, of Hayling Island, is the group secretary for The Ramblers South East Hants Group.

She said: ‘The aim of the festival is to have fun, short walks to encourage new people to join and to enjoy walking.

‘It’s a time when people are making new year resolutions to try more exercise, and people are at home so they have time.

‘It seems like a good time to have a little push and encourage other people to enjoy walking.’

A series of other walks are happening as part of the festival and a schedule of when they’re happening is on the right of this page.

Each event is free and open to everyone.

Many of them are short and family-friendly, although there are others designed for more experienced hikers.

Many are under five miles and some are only open to people in their 20s and 30s.

Gill, who has been a member of the group for 15 years, said the festival is a success every year.

‘It’s a bit of a social thing, you make friends and meet people and have a chat,’ she said.

‘It’s about enjoying being out in the fresh air in the countryside, having a nice walk.

‘We like to think we are a very welcoming group.

‘At the beginning of a walk we see if there are any new members and introduce them to everyone.

‘The festival is specifically designed for new people coming along.

‘Anybody can come and they don’t have to sign up until they have done two to three walks.’

To find out more about The Ramblers South East Hants Group and locations and dates of walks, visit ramblers.co.uk/walksfinder

THE WALKS

Wednesday, January 1

Start time: 11.45am

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 7 miles

Meet at The Slip car park just south of The Avenue, Stansted.

Wednesday, January 1

Start time: 12.45pm

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 4 miles

Meet at Catherington Down car park. Walk via Hinton Daubney and Stubbins Down. Ten minute coffee stop only.

Saturday, January 4

Start time: 10am

Grade: Leisurely

Distance: 5 miles

Starting place Memorial public car park in Southwick.

Meet at Cosham station at 9.30am.

Sunday, January 5

Start time: 10am

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 13 miles

Starting place: Old Winchester Hill car park in Meonstoke

Sunday, January 5

Start time: 1.30pm

Grade: Leisurely

Distance: 6 miles

Meet at the Kidmore Lane car park in Denmead.

The walk will go via Hambledon.