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Walking for health

walking for health

Walk and talk health w​alks are short weekly walks designed for people who wish to gain the benefits of regular exercise, whilst talking to like-minded people. Led by trained volunteers, these Borough-wide health walks are free, friendly and fun.

Benefits of regular walking

Our bodies are designed to move, and regular walking is one of the most important things you can do to keep healthy. Walking at any pace can provide the following benefits:

  • Halve the risk of heart disease
  • Improve muscle strength
  • Improve levels of cholesterol
  • Reduce weight and maintain your weight loss
  • Helps to reduce the risk of developing diabetes
  • Reduce the risk of bowel and colon cancer
  • Relieve depression and anxiety
  • Helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis and improve co-ordination and balance

Brisk walking can improve the functioning of the heart and lungs and reduce blood pressure. Why not walk your way to health? 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise (including walking), on five or more days a week can yield many health benefits.

Walking in groups can reduce anxiety, depression and loneliness. It can also promote friendships, increase confidence, self-esteem and vitality, boosting your quality of life.

Walk programme

Why not join in one of the following weekly ‘rain or shine’ led walks, all year round? For more details, please call 01706 751190.

In the interests of safety NO DOGS please (except for guide dogs).

Weekly timetable of walks

  • Hollin and Hopwood Woods – Meet Mickey, Jack, Gale, Aileen and Mavis at Hollin EMB office on Nowell Road, Hollin Shopping Precinct, Hollin, Middleton M24 6FL. Free car park, bus stop close by. Starts at 9.30 am for a half hour walk and at 10.30 am for a one hour 15 minutes walk through the woods.
  • Syke Circular Walks – Meet Bernice, Barbara or Margaret at Syke Methodist Church, Syke Road, Rochdale OL12 9TF. This particular walk is longer, with more hills than our usual walks. Starts at 1.00 pm for a two hour walk. Toilets are available.
  • Cutgate, Bamford and Norden – Meet Barrie, Barbara, Bernice or Jim at Edenfield Road Surgery, Cutgate Shopping Precinct, Edenfield Road, Cutgate, Rochdale OL11 5AQ. Slower pace walking group. Starts at 10.00 am, walking for approximately two hours. Free car parking and bus stops in front of surgery.
  • Castleton Community Centre – Meet Aileen or Gale 10.00 am at the rear of Castleton Community Centre, Manchester Road, Castleton. In their rear car park for one hour walk around Castleton using lanes and the Canal towpath. Toilets and parking available.
  • Hollingworth Lake – Various routes. Meet Maureen, Tony or Aileen in front of Hollingworth Lake Visitors Centre, Littleborough M1 1HW. The two hour walk leaves at 2.00 pm. This walk is a little quicker than our other walks and uses the surrounding hills and moors. Pay and display car parking, toilets and cafe available.
  • Roch Valley or Crimble Circular, Heywood – Meet Bill, Josie or Mavis in front of Queens Park Cafe, Queens Park Road, Heywood OL10 4UY. Choice of walks start at 10.00 am for either the one hour walk through Roch Valley or Crimble, or join the group walking around the park. Both meet up in the cafe afterwards if you would like to join them. Toilet facilities, refreshments and children’s play area in park.
  • Smallbridge Clinic Circular – Suitable for prams. Meet Emma, Jim, Mickey or Rachel inside Smallbridge Clinic, Steven’s Square, Smallbridge, Rochdale OL12 9SA. The one hour walk sets off at 10.30 am for various track and pavement routes. Toilets in clinic.
  • Syke Circular Walks – Meet Barrie, Barbara, Jim, Margaret or Bernice at Syke Methodist Church, Syke Road, Rochdale OL12 9TF. This particular walk is longer, with more hills than our usual walks. Starts at 10.00 am for a two hour walk. One walk is a level walk and one uses the hills surrounding Syke. Toilets in clinic.
  • Alkrington Woods, Middleton – Meet Jack and Margaret for a one hour walk through Alkrington Woods and back. In dry conditions, suitable for prams. Meeting at 10.00 am outside Comple@t Internet Cafe, Midway House, (next to Tesco), Middleton Centre M24 1AF. Meet under the walk through.

Wheelchair accessible route

This is taking place on Mondays, initially for 8 weeks from Monday 15 May. Meet at 10am at Broadfield Park, Sparrow Hill/Vicar’s Drive entrance, at 10am.  This walk is especially suitable for people who require very gentle exercise, on a wheelchair accessible route, and more social involvement.

Poor weather plans

Please note, health walks taking place in the winter may be cancelled or re-routed if surfaces are considered too dangerous due to ice, deep snow or mud. In poor weather conditions, a water proof coat and walking boots or similar hardy footwear is advisable.

Nationally accredited

Your local health walks scheme is one of over 350 nationally. Walking for Health has been awarded: ‘Accredited Scheme’ status as we have proven that our walks are safe, well led and well organised.


Would you like to become a volunteer walk leader within your community or workplace? We are looking for volunteers aged 18 or over, who have an interest in walking and who wish to help others benefit from regular exercise, to help lead and organise health walks we offer across the borough.

All volunteers need to attend our one day ‘Volunteer Walk Leaders’ course before leading a group. Further ongoing support is available from our health walks co-ordinator. The free courses are also open to people wishing to lead health walks within their own community group.

For more information, please contact


01706 751190

Phone: Monday-Friday 9am-4.30pm.

Volunteer and Network Co-ordinator
Suite G2, Lock 50
Oldham Road
Rochdale OL16 5RD