Wild Walks – ‘adventures for children to take their adults on’ – are short walks of about 2km. They can be transformational; fostering friendships and helping children and families enjoy, socialise and play in their local green spaces every day. The aim is to create an environment where children feel they have permission to play outdoors, connect with nature and have fun!
The Wild Walks programme first began in 2015. In 2018, with support from Hackney Council we were able to fund regular monthly walks. It was amazing to see how quickly our community grew and how much families were getting out of the experience.
By walking through the world at a child’s pace; experiencing the stillness in a wide open place or a dramatic sky spread across the evening, we could let go of our daily stresses, and feel the reward of time spent in nature.
We could all see how a little bit of outside time every day helped us keep healthy, feel good, learn, act and be connected.
Wild Walks are free to attend. Any parent or carer is welcome to come along with their children, whatever their background or experience of the outdoors.
A year of Family Wild Walks
In 2019 we did at least one Family Wild Walk a month, helped by the generous sponsorship of the Arc’teryx Piccadilly Store team. With up to 40 people on some of the walks, more than 50 families joining us over the year and our online community has grown to over 60 members. Many parents told us that since getting involved they now go outdoors far more regularly.
'I’m an Outdoor Person now', said one young person last year.
A parent told us: 'This has encouraged us to get outside more often - we try every day - and to explore the local green spaces in and around Hackney. Even though we grew up in Hackney I realised I hadn't taken my kids to some long forgotten areas and we have discovered others such as Wick Woods. Outdoor People also provided us with some waterproofs for the kids so we can go out in wet weather which is not something I would have considered before but we have got out in the rain a few times and the kids love it!'
What's happening in 2020?
In 2020, we were planning to merge our Wild Walks and Family Camping experiences, to create a year-round Outdoor Families programme, making it easy for people to get outdoors regularly. Through our Wild Walks Volunteers programme, funded through Hackney Council, we’re optimistic we’ll be able to double the number of Wild Walks we offer, so people can join us every fortnight.
Here are our volunteer Wild Walk Leaders out on their training walk in February:
However, following the restrictions introduced to combat the spread of coronavirus we've put the programme on hold. We're working on plans for later in the year, when it may be possible to restart Family Wild Walks in a slightly different format.
To join our Wild Walks newsletter or private Facebook group or to find out more about getting involved email firstname.lastname@example.org.