HUNDREDS of children across the area have swapped a ride in the car for a walk in the fresh air to mark the annual Walk to School week.
Across the county, more than 90,000 school pupils have signed up to take part from schools across the area.
Pupils from Castle Primary School in Portchester were among those taki ng part.
Year 5 teacher Christine Barker has helped promote Walk to School week.
She said: ‘We support Walk to School Week because we are a healthy school and we are encouraging children to exercise and reduce the pollution in the local area.
‘There’s an incentive with the stickers and the book too.
‘If they enjoy walking to school they might start taking it up regularly.
‘A lot of them are local children anyway but where they come from further afield we have encouraged parents to park in the precinct car park and walk down.
‘So you can still walk some of it. It avoids congestion around the school during the day as well.’
The scheme encourages parents and children to take the opportunity to try walking to school and put into practice good pedestrian road safety behaviour.
Walk to School Week is the initiative of national charity Living Streets.
According to the charity, parents who walk with their children say they find the journey to school less stressful.
They also find that their petrol bill goes down, their children perform better at school and both they and their children feel healthier and fitter.
Staff and pupils at Emsworth Primary School are also supporting it.
Amanda Shepherd, deputy headteacher at the school, said: ‘We have supported it every year.
‘It’s to encourage children to be active.
‘We do support a healthy lifestyle.
‘It’s an opportunity to try and emphasise to parents and their children – if you can walk to school, that would be fantastic.
‘If you can leave your car at home it will have an impact on the environment. That’s the message we give to children.’
In Fareham, 8,435 signed up, with 5,995 in Gosport and 7,705 in Havant.
All children taking part in Walk to School Week will receive a log book, certificate and stickers.