This report presents the results of the evaluation of the national Walking for Health programme, undertaken by Ecorys UK and Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia between 2014 and 2016. The aims of the study were to provide evidence of the programme’s impact on health and wellbeing and to identify lessons learnt to support on-going development and improvement. The evaluation focuses on the first three years of the Ramblers and Macmillan partnership that has hosted Walking for Health (2012-15).
Established in 2000, Walking for Health is an England-wide network of health walk schemes that delivers free, regular, short group-walks that are open to all. The programme aims to reach people who are currently inactive, or who need support to remain active, to improve their health and wellbeing.
The aim of Walking for Health is grounded in a strong rationale, based upon evidence of the importance of physical activity in reducing long-term health risks and the potential for physical activity to help people living with and beyond cancer. The programme also strongly complements the growing body of evidence highlighting the benefits of physical activity for personal wellbeing and overall quality of life. Within the range of physical activities available to local communities, Walking for Health meets a specific need for accessible opportunities to participate in moderate physical activity, which allows them to raise or to maintain their activity rate to meet the Government’s recommended level.