You could be a Wednesday Doorstepper, or a Tuesday Trundler.

Many of us could do with getting fitter and living healthier, but we don’t all have the time, the energy or the inclination to join a gym or work out every day.

But a walking scheme is a gentle way to get exercise, it also offers the chance to make new friends.

This month is National Walking Month and Carlisle Doorstep Walks, is marking the occasion with a drive to get more people involved.

Run by Carlisle City Council, there are a variety of walks, all taking in different routes and locations around the Carlisle district.

The Wednesday Doorstep walks range in length from just half an hour to 90 minutes and now attract upto 50 people at a time.

They stick to pavements and pathways, taking in places such as Linstock or Rickerby Park or West Walls in Carlisle.

By keeping the walks short, new walkers and those with long term health conditions will feel more confident getting started.

The Tuesday Trundles are slightly more challenging with distances of three and a half to five miles.

Janet Dutton originally joined up to get fitter – now she is one of a team of volunteers who organises and lead walks for others.

The 67-year-old was just getting ready to lead a Tuesday Trundle group around the Port Carlisle area when she spoke to the News & Star.

The Trundles are almost as popular as the Wednesday walks – Janet took 42 walkers round Gelt Woods in January.

She said : “When we first moved here eight years ago, I tried to climb a hill and had to stop three times.

“Some friends introduced us to this scheme and now I can walk up a hill without stopping.

“I have got fitter and made some lovely friends.”

The Trundlers range in age from people in their 40s upwards. The oldest is 90.

The former head teacher, who lives in Carlisle, added: “You get fitter, which is why I recommend it.

“It does not matter how slowly you start, you will get fitter, you will lose weight, it is good for your heart and it is good socially, it is a very friendly group.

“You can always stop. I always say there is always something to look at.”

Aileen Sykes, is a volunteer helper who takes part in Wednesday Walks and Tues Trundles.

She got involved with the scheme through organising walks for her Women’s Institute group.

“We can get upto 50 people on the Wednesday health walks.

“They go round places quite accessible in the city with stops to talk about points of local interest or history.

“You always learn something on the walks, which I think people like.

“You don’t have to go into the Lake district for a lovely walk, there are some beautiful places within half an hour’s walk from Carlisle.

“It is about finding the quiet parts of Cumbria outside the Lake District.”

“Both types of walk end up being social things, people meet up afterwards and go for a coffee or a spot of lunch.”

The 61-year-old, who lives in Carleton, Carlisle, is a keen walker and member of the Carlisle and district Ramblers group.

She says: “For people new to the area, the walks are a real help because they don’t know people or the area.”

The walks don’t only help improve physical health, they can boost mental wellbeing as well.

Aileen adds: “The social side is really important for people’s mental health.

“When my father was dying, walking in the Lake District was a life saver for me.

“Talking to people about other things takes you out of the situation and helps you cope.”

As well as helping to overcome personal issues and crises, the walking groups can help prevent people from feeling isolated.

Emma Dixon Emma Dixon, scheme coordinator for Carlisle Doorstep Walks explained: “One old gent who joined with his wife really relied on her to organise things, but she passed away.

“He came to the walking group after her death and said he would not have been able to cope if he had not come to the group.

“It got him out of the house and into the fresh air and around people.”

Aileen says: “When people get older, they often lose a partner and if they have been keen on walking, they lose confidence to go out on their own, this is especially so with women who feel safer walking in a group than on their own.

“Men come along because it is a social thing, but because it i a walk it makes it a bit different to just having a chat.”

The walks started in 2000 with between six and 12 people venturing out on a morning route.

Gradually it became more popular and an afternoon session was added, then a more challenging walk on a Tuesday.

Miss Dixon recalls: “I went out with a flask of tea and one of coffee and a packet of biscuits as a bribe to get people to come along.

“Now they come rain and shine.”

Now there are around 400 people on the mailing list for the walks, and new recruits are always welcome.

Miss Dixon says: “The walking scheme has just grown and grown in terms of numbers and success.”

The walks have become so popular that there are a series of evening walks being offered this summer, starting in July.

The next walks planned are:

  • Heysham Park, Carlisle, May 24
  • Heads Nook, June 7
  • Summer surprise, June 21
  • Finglandrigg Nature Reserve July 5 (suitable for pushchairs)

To find a short walk near you go to or call Carlisle Doorstep Walks on 01228 817158 or visit for local programmes.