A Flintshire group that aimed to help residents get a bit fitter has celebrated its 10th birthday.
Members, family and friends of Broughton and Bretton Community Walking Group met at the Offa’s Dyke pub this weekend to mark 10 healthy years of trekking together across the county.
The society was set up on January 11, 2008 as part of Groundwork Wrexham and Flintshire, a community support organisation, and at that time was only known as a small group aiming to promote health in the village.
On a Friday afternoon, small weekly walks were organised primarily intended for people who were currently inactive and wanted some “stimuli to getting a little fitter and healthier,” according to walk leader Mal Brown.
Over the past decade, the group have taken some big steps towards becoming an important part of people’s lives.
Mal, from Broughton, said: “The group is open to anyone who feels that a bit of walking will do them good. This is a very active social group and occasionally coach trips are organised.”
From a handful of walkers to dozens of members, the group now enjoy organised trips across Flintshire, Cheshire, Wrexham, Conwy, and the Wirral, taking in the various sights – and delicious meals – of the region.
Mal explained the growth of the group: “After an initial six-week introduction to walking in 2008, the group became reliant on walk leaders from Hawarden to take them on their weekly walks.
“Shortly after, Broughton acquired two of their own walk leaders, who went through training and first aid.
“In the latter part of 2008, the Broughton group was self-sufficient and able to conduct walks with their own walk leaders who are still leading the group to this day – along with one new leader, who has recently joined the team after training.
“When Lottery funding ceased to support Groundwork, Community Walks came into being and we applied to the local council for some help in funding the new venture.
“It was then that the name ‘Bretton’ was added to the group name to fall in line with the local councils name and funding was approved.”
Community Walks is an organisation consisting of a dedicated team of volunteers and trustees, who are now self-financing thanks to a grant from Flintshire council to promote free led walks across the county.
Mal added: “From then on the group has gone on and made significant strides in promoting walking within the community.”
Walks are now held in Broughton on Tuesdays, at 10.15am, and are mainly for the less active or those in need of exercise to aid recovery, to adopt a healthier lifestyle, or sometimes after surgery on a joint replacement.
It is a “purposefully slower walk” which lasts aprproximately 30-40 minutes with rest periods if required.
On alternate Wednesdays, at 10.15am, a more demanding walk of around 60-90 minutes are held in places “further afield” such as the Wirral and Chester.
The yearly walk in Llandudno in the summer months is one of the group’s most popular walks, and members enjoy refreshments including lunch in a local cafe at the end of the walk.
Friday sees the group on the normal community walk at 1.15pm, around the village or in any of Broughton’s surrounding villages. Refreshments are offered at the Offa’s Dyke pub afterwards, and Mr Brown expressed his thanks to the staff for their support and help over the many years and walks.
All walks with the Broughton and Bretton Community Walk Group begin at the Offa’s Dyke pub, on Broughton Hall Road. Sensible footwear is required and warm clothing in the winter, and children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.
Further information can be obtained from Roy on 07759991338, or from Avril and Mal on 07761246431, or by emailing e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Walks are also taking place in Hawarden, Shotton and Kinnerton and for further information on these village walks, contact Colin on 01244 534637, or Jean 07850 577471.