Whether you view it as a way of keeping fit, a way to socialise, a way of seeing nature or a mixture of all three, walking is just about the easiest and cheapest form of exercise around. Arm yourself with some sturdy walking shoes or boots, comfortable clothes and a waterproof, and you’re ready to tackle everything, from an inner-city stroll along a river, to the blustery tips of the Peak’s biggest hills. It's no surprise that Sheffield is spoilt for choice when it comes to walking groups. Here are a few of them.
Peaks of Colour
Set up by Evie Muir to give people of colour a safe environment in which to enjoy walking in and around Sheffield, POC was inspired by other outdoors organisations that are by and for people of colour, such as Black Girls Hike, Steppers, Muslim Hikers and Black Men Walking. As well as this, the group was inspired by the act of “radical self care”, created in response to the amount of research suggesting that spending time in the outdoors has huge benefits for both your physical and mental health.
Sheffield Walking Group
The tagline ‘The walking group for people in their 20s and 30s’ says it all really. The group’s activities are divided into three main categories: walks, socials and weekends away. Walks take place in and around Sheffield and The Peaks, with weekends away normally further afield in the UK. The social calendar is a busy one, too, with special events aimed at welcoming new members to the group.
Sheffield 40s Walking Group
Set up in 2007, this group has over 220 members who regularly meet to walk in the Peak District and further afield. Like to 20s and 30s group, the 40s group regularly arranges weekends away throughout the UK. Although the group is aimed at people in their 40s, anyone over the age of 18 can join. It’s not even necessary to live in Sheffield to be a member.
Step Out Sheffield
An award-winning community of volunteers leading Health Walks across Sheffield. Step Out Sheffield's walks are free, fun, friendly and run every week (including school holidays) – perfect to help you get active and meet new people. With 25 taking place each week across all areas of the city, these short walks are ideal for people new to exercise or just beginning to get active again after recovering from surgery or illness.
If you enjoy walking, but don’t like the clock-beating, target-setting side of the sport, then Sheffield Shamblers could be just what you need. The group is ideal for people who like leisurely walking, or for those who aren’t experienced but want to keep fit. The walks vary in location, difficulty and length, with Wednesday Health Walks lasting over an hour and being three or four miles long. On Sundays there are longer walks of up to 12 miles, while every other Saturday sees comfortable six-mile walks.
With walks on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and occasional trips on Thursdays and Saturdays, this popular group is remarkably active. The group walks in most directions out of Sheffield, with many routes taking in the stunning scenery of the Peak District. Routes range from short hour-long strolls to more strenuous walks of up to 15 miles. New starters can try two or three sessions before signing up.
Sheffield CHA Ramblers
The group offers Thursday and Saturday walks throughout the year, as well as ‘Plus Walks’ of 10 to 14 miles and shorter ‘Ambles’. The website has a useful table explaining exactly what you can expect from each type of walk, while there’s a calendar of forthcoming events.
There are a number of walking groups in the Sheffield U3A (University of the Third Age) group, including two ‘Dippers’ groups. The first, Dippers I, meets every two weeks on Monday mornings, to enjoy walks of between 4 to 6 miles and to have a lunch stop in a pub or tearoom. Meanwhile Dippers Too covers meets fortnightly and covers distances of from seven to 10 miles over differing terrain.
Peak and Northern Footpaths Society
Based across Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Lancashire, this group promotes the interest of footpath users. The charity is made up of people with a common passion for walking, with volunteers helping flag up areas of footpath which have become blocked or overgrown. The group organises walks throughout the north and welcomes new members and volunteer inspectors.
Halcyon Rambling Club
Founded in 1927, this long-standing rambling club celebrated their 90th birthday in 2017. Focusing mainly on the Peak District, walkers meet for a full-day walk every Sunday and Wednesday morning rambles (followed by an optional pub lunch) every two or three weeks, throughout the year. From April/May to August there are short walks on Friday evenings, usually ending at a pub. You can try out a walk before becoming a fully-fledged member.
Run Talk Run Sheffield
Run Talk Run is a weekly 5km gentle jog, and Walk Talk Walk is a weekly walk. Before every meet there is a window of time to meet the other participants and say hello to the Leader. It's alright if you're a little anxious and quiet - we all 'get it' in this community. The leader then explains the logistics of the route (reminding the group that the run is gentle and that there is no pressure to "keep up"), and that at the forefront of our meet-ups is support... this really is a safe space to talk about how you're really doing.