Ten great reasons to walk in Winter

It’s winter and snow has started falling already. Even though it is a little chilly outside that is no excuse for not getting outside and going for a good long walk!

  1. Vitamin D – Whatever time of year it is, rain or shine, your body needs a little Vitamin D. Did you know you get Vitamin D even though the sun isn’t out? Without it, your body can’t regenerate skin and absorb calcium to make strong bones so when you get injured you don’t heal easily and quickly. All you need to do is to get outside two or three times a week.15499431823_dea83cfd5e_b
  2. Walking is good for your little grey cells – as Poirot would say. Did you know walking can increase your mental fitness in addition to your physical fitness? A recent UK study told us that whatever your age you can improve the impact of ageing on your brain. So get up and start moving, you could be one of the lucky few that retains your marbles.
  3. It kick-starts your immune system – Winter is the worst time for getting sick. Whether you get the flu or a runny nose, I can guarantee you won’t be able to shake it off quite as easily as you would in the Summer. Walking boosts oxygen levels and blood flow to the brain and  makes you more resistant to infection by giving your immune system a boost. A little fresh air in your lungs doesn’t hurt either!
  4. Walking in a Winter Wonderland – If you’re lucky enough to live in a Winter Wonderland then why are you not out enjoying the view? Make sure you wrap up warm and stay safe because ice is slippery stuff! We don’t want too many broken legs this Christmas!^5BCA306788E3DBE91172353E1054BA483BF0A1C82A61E03628^pimgpsh_fullsize_distr

  5. Walking improves your mood – Ever had that thing where you’re arguing with someone and you storm out of the house, go for an hours walk (sometimes longer), come back and you feel fine? Walking releases serotonin – the happy hormone – into your body relieving you from stress, and helping you feel a lot better generally. So if you’re overworked, tense or just need a little energy don’t pop a pill, go for a thirty minute walk and I promise you, you’ll feel a lot better.
  6. You’ll burn more calories – Winter walking is more difficult than walking along a pavement or field in Summer. Walking through the snow requires a lot more energy and thus you burn more calories. It helps keep your fitness up during the Winter months and builds up your walking stamina.
  7. Make new friends – Walking doesn’t have to be solitary, it can be social too. If you own a dog then you know how much attention your four-footed friend will get on a walk. If you’re not then there are plenty of websites you can sign up to where you walk somebody else’s dog for the day. Borrow my Doggy is a great example of this. If you don’t like dogs or this just doesn’t ring your bell (you prefer humans to canines) then there are plenty of walking groups you can join. Find a group near you at: www.ramblers.org.uk.^7413F13DB94E296EEE0CF43385CD33E0A6B0A6EDD44DE49404^pimgpsh_fullsize_distr
  8. Just as good as running – Maybe you don’t need to drag yourself out of bed for a run every morning. Walking is safer than running in the Winter and, according to US researchers, just as beneficial if you follow their instructions. They say that rather than the intensity of your workout it’s the energy expended that counts.  So next time you go for a walk, rather than wandering along keep it brisk and you could be lowering your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Sound good? Sounds good to me!
  9. More inspiring than the gym – Not only is it more inspiring but results from studies show that it is in fact better for you. Well, no surprise! Adults who walk at a brisk pace for more than thirty minutes a day tend to have slimmer waists and a lower BMI than those who use the gym. Breathing in all that fresh air has to be good for you in more ways than one and a definite improvement on the alternative.
  10. You’ll live longer – Sitting and working at a computer all day long is generally accepted to be detrimental to your health. Too many deaths in Western countries are contributed to lack of exercise and obesity. You only need to walk briskly for twenty minutes a day to reduce chances of an early death. So why not start today?

Purchase one of our local area walking maps here or at your local retailer and start walking. What are you waiting for?



A puppy for Christmas, a companion for life


Thanks to PhotoPin and Flickr for providing this photograph

Looks adorable doesn’t he? And you may be hankering after a puppy for Christmas yourself… but the Christmas season is the worst time to introduce a puppy, or even a full grown dog, into a new home.

A new dog shouldn’t be a surprise! Christmas time is a more chaotic time than usual and your usual routine has gone out the window. A puppy needs to be able to trust it’s new surroundings to settle in easily. So although the idea of receiving a puppy on Christmas Day is very exciting, it is a lot of stress on the dog and when taken into consideration, more practical to plan the event in advance with the children. It can still be just as thrilling – just different and most importantly less stressful on the puppy.


Make sure everyone understands the consequences of introducing a dog into the family. While puppies are cute and cuddly they don’t stay cute and cuddly for long. It also involves a lot of work and if you as parents have handed over the responsibility to your children make sure they understand what they’re in for. How to prepare and details on more puppy madness can be found here.

Is it worth it? Dogs are famous for their loyalty, companionship and intelligence. Once you’ve won a dogs heart you’ve won it forever. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to train and care for a puppy properly then you have a dog for life.

Please consider carefully before taking the final step and bringing that lovable ball of naughtiness home with you. Remember, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.

3 best Winter walks in Devon!

I was in Scotland a couple of years ago, torn by the part of me that just wanted to go out and explore and the more sensible half that said I’d just end up in a bog (a rather more frequent occurrence on Dartmoor).

So are you here on holiday, or just looking for a new take on your New Years walk this holiday season? I can help! I live in Devon and having lived here for most of my life can give you, in my opinion the 3 best walks in the county.

Now, in no particular order…

  • Circular walk in Teign Valley

The Teign Valley is gorgeous in any season and this walk is popular with both locals and tourists given it’s stunning location. It’s simple, short and sheltered for the most part so you don’t have to worry about the wind in your face. Plus you can finish up in Castle Drogo (the local National Trust property) for tea. Always good in the wintery months when it’s a bit nippy outside!

Teign Valley walk

Explore the Teign Valley Gorge

  • Circular walk from Woody Bay to Heddons Mouth

You have to include a good coastal walk if you’re talking about a ramble in Devonshire and this walk has a coastline to die for! Barely a stones throw from the dramatic Valley of The Rocks, it takes in part of the South West Coast Path and did I mention the Roman fort and breathtaking view?

Heddon's Mouth  Woody Bay walk

Ramble round Heddons Mouth & Woody Bay

There’s always the Hunters Inn or a National Trust cafe at the halfway point if you’re flagging, both of which are lovely places to stop for a light lunch. To shake things up you could start at Hunter’s Inn (as you may have noticed from our map there is parking at both points).

  • Circular walk through Wistmans Wood to Crockern Tor and back

For those fond of myth and legend this is the walk for you. It is an atmospheric place and well worth a visit even if you don’t believe in the legends as it is a beautiful wood and lovely tor. Locals won’t go near it once the sun has set and travellers swear they’ve heard howling of hounds at night. If they tell the truth then possibly the legend of the hell hounds and their master, the cranky Dartmoor spirit ‘Old Crocken’ is true.

Wistman's Wood  Crockern Tor

Discover the real Wistman’s Wood & Crockern Tor

If the woods are just a bit too mysterious for you then you can always pop back to the Two Bridges Hotel for a cream tea. The best in Devon I’ve always thought! If you’ve had better please do let me know – I’m always on the lookout for a good cream tea!

At the end of this week I’ll be posting best three walks in Cornwall. If you are Cornwall based and have a favourite walk please send photos in with the name of the trail and your pictures could be featured in the blog post :).

View all of our Devon Around and About maps.