Chilterns AONB ready as Public Health England warns middle aged people to get walking

Organisers of September’s Chilterns Walking Festival (16 September – 01 October) have responded positively to a warning that high levels of inactivity may be harming the health of middle-aged people.

Officials at Public Health England (PHE) said that activity tails off from the age of 40 onwards. They urged people between 40 – 60 to start taking regular walks, stating that as little as 10 minutes per day will make a significant improvement.

The Chilterns Walking Festival 18 day programme of walks and activities is designed to encourage exploration of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and its 2000km of routes and over 200 promoted trails, while promoting health benefits.

Chilterns Conservation Board’s People and Society Officer Annette Venters said “The festival encourages new and novice walkers to discover the countryside in the care of experienced local guides, removing any fear factor about getting lost. Our spring event showed 16% of walkers were new and we want to build on that, using this fantastic resource, which is easily accessible for over 10 million people. We believe that walking in groups is also sociable and can play a part in mental as well as physical well-being”.

PHE claims that 41% of middle aged people do not manage one brisk 10 min walk per month, and that there would be a 15% reduction in the risk of an early death from at least one brisk 10 min walk per day. The organisation also hopes that getting this age group active will have a knock-on effect among those who have children.

Details of all 60+ walks, events and activities are available on the website, Most are free of charge, and must be pre-booked. There are family-friendly and dog-friendly options, as well as accessible walks for wheelchair and buggy use. For more information go to