Tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m Jen, the Walk Leader for Changes Bristol weekly Walk & Talk service. I’ve worked for Changes Bristol, a mental health charity, since January 2021 and started leading the walks last year. I was delighted to get the opportunity to do this as I know how much our members get out of them and I love walking myself, so it feels like a real treat and at the same time a very important service.
Tell us about your favourite Bristol walking route and why you love it so much.
My favourite place to walk in Bristol is Snuff Mills. I’m very partial to rivers and trees and love that you often get a fleeting glimpse of kingfishers or spot herons. I’m really looking forward to warmer weather when we’ll start to reintroduce it to our walking rota. I used to live just around the corner and would go there most mornings, now I live outside of Bristol but try to visit as often as I can.
Tell us about your walking group.
Our walking group was set up during lockdown for people who didn’t feel safe to join our in person support groups or didn’t want to go online and instead wanted to get outdoors with like minded folk in an informal but held space. They became really popular very quickly with members reporting increased wellbeing and more positive mental health, growing sense of community and new relationships, getting to know Bristol in a new way and enjoying the gentle exercise and fresh air. Luckily we were able to secure funding to continue the walks post lockdown and they are still very popular, with a core of group members joining regularly, and many others who drop in and out.
How can we join your walks?
Our walks are free to join and we just ask people to sign up as a member to Changes Bristol. We then send out a weekly bulletin saying where the next week’s walk will be and give detailed instructions on how to find us. We run two circular and accessible walks weekly on Wednesdays from 10:00-11:00 and 11.30-12.30, with a break to stop for drinks and refreshments at a cafe. Members are welcome to join for both or just one of the walks. We rotate between several locations – Harbourside, Brandon Hill, St George Park and Windmill Hill City Farm during the winter, and Snuff Mills and Eastville Park in warmer months, as well as some bespoke events including a walk in Ashton Court for the Bristol Walk Fest (Wednesday May 17th 10:00-12:00).
We hope to see you on a walk soon!