Residents of all ages from across Coventry are being given the chance to explore and enjoy the Sowe Valley Footpath as part of an ambitious community relay walk on Saturday 23rd June 2012.
The 11 mile walk is being organised by the Sowe Valley Project (coordinated by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust) and Coventry City Council’s Healthy Walks Team as part of the celebrations for London 2012. The relay walk is one of 44 projects in Coventry to be accredited the London 2012 Inspire Mark which is awarded to recognise projects that help maintain the key values of the Olympic Games.
Over 800 walkers will take part in the relay, with 200 walkers per relay section. The walk, it is hoped, will inspire people to get out, get active and walk more regularly in the green spaces the city has to offer – not least the Sowe Valley Footpath. The health benefits of not just walking but also of being outdoors and enjoying nature are now well documented and the two projects behind the walk are keen to promote these messages.
With so many great opportunities for walking across Coventry both with the healthy walking groups and independently, this event will bring together so many people to walk the Sowe Valley, many of which will go on to walk more in the future. Walking for just 30 minutes per day at a moderate intensity can really help your general health and well-being and this relay walk is a great, fun way to introduce people to walking.
The relay walk will start in Whitley, in the south of the valley, in the morning and end 11 miles north at Longford Park, close to the City of Coventry Stadium, in the early evening. Walkers will get to explore lovely wild, green sites along the walk including Whitley Grove Wood, Stoke Floods Local Nature Reserve and Wyken Croft Nature Park bringing them closer to the natural spaces and wildlife which is on their doorstep.
Time has been spent working with the local community to improve the river valley for both people and wildlife, installing new way markers, cleaning up the river, planting trees and putting up bird and bat boxes, introducing new people to the valley and encouraging people to get out and enjoy it more.
The relay walk has been planned with everyone in mind, from those who walk often to those who are new to walking or who don’t walk much at all. All of the relay sections are between 1.5miles and 3miles long and details about the terrain and buggy and wheelchair accessibility are all available.
Residents interested in taking part in the Sowe Valley Relay Walk or who wish to find out more are being invited to visit and sign up online at www.coventry.gov.uk/sowevalley or telephone Warwickshire Wildlife Trust on 024 76 302 912 from 10am on Friday 20th April 2012.
There are also a number of ‘warm up walks’ in the run up to the relay designed to get people who have signed up to get ready for their section – the dates for these can be found at www.coventry.gov.uk/sowevalley
The Sowe Valley Project was awarded a £211,512 grant from Natural England’s Access to Nature Programme, funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s £25m Changing Spaces programme. This programme will see many other green spaces across the UK transformed and many more volunteers giving their time to make a positive change for their area.
The Sowe Valley Project has also received funding from the Environment Agency, BKW housing consortium (Bovis Homes, Keepmoat Homes and Westbury Partnerships) and kind donations from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust members. It is also supported by Coventry City Council.
The Coventry Healthy Walks Project has received funding from the Coventry Health Improvement Programme (CHIP) and Coventry Primary Care Trust.