The Walking for Health (WfH) programme was the largest led walk intervention of its time and one of the largest public health interventions for physical activity in the UK. It aimed to encourage people to take regular short walks in their local communities, in order to increase their levels of physical activity, improve their health, and connect them with their local environment.
Initially set up in 2000 by the Countryside Agency, ownership of WfH transferred to Natural England in 2006. From April 2009 Natural England – working in partnership with the Department of Health – embarked on a three-year expansion programme for WfH which aimed to increase participation fourfold.
This Research Report examines the demographics of participants in Natural England’s Walking for Health (WfH) programme between April 2008 and March 2010. The report is based primarily on the data of around 50,000 participants held on the WfH Database, but also draws on other related research.
The purpose of this report is to provide a clear and detailed picture of who took part in WfH, in order to inform the delivery of future led walk interventions aimed at tackling health and physical activity issues. It also provides evidence on the demographic impact of the first year of the WfH expansion programme.