Walking to catch up with friends
Anjum shares how walking in North London helps her keep in touch and relax
For me, walking is about spending time with my family and friends. We’ve always gone out walking with the kids, it’s a great way to spend time together and meet up with other people to catch up and socialise.
We’re lucky to live in an area with lots of fantastic parks and green spaces, so we don’t have to go far to find somewhere nice for a wander. We particularly like walking at Bentley Priory. It has lots of lovely green space, a deer park and places for the kids to play. The London Loop footpath cuts through it too, so it leads to even more places to walk.
I was born and brought up in London and the wonderful thing about it is that even though we’re in a huge city, we have so many great places to walk. We really like the walk along the canal from Camden to Regents Park, and Hampstead Heath and Highgate Woods are my husband’s favorite places to go.
I love that we have nature right on our doorstep. Standing here in the park, I can hear the cars faintly in the distance, but right now we’re surrounded by birdsong. It’s a conservation area so there are so many of different birds, in the spring it’s full of bluebells. It makes such a difference having access to that in a city.
Walking definitely became more of a thing over lockdown, and some of those habits have stayed with us. It was a way to meet up with friends and socialise, which we still do. My husband and I started going for a walk together in the evenings to catch up with each other and relax at the end of the day, something we didn’t do before. It’s nice to get my parents out for a walk too, as a way of spending time with them, to get them out in the fresh air and have a chat.
On diversity in the countryside
While we love walking and being out in green open spaces, nowadays we tend not to go too far from London. As Muslims we feel less comfortable in rural areas sometimes. We’ve had some bad experiences and noticed hostility when we’re in the countryside. A friend of mine was involved in organising the Muslim Hikers walking group, and the recent backlash against them on social media really saddened me.
Being outside, the countryside, walking - it's for everyone. I want to do what I can to show that, I think it’s really important.
Ramblers member Alan shares his experiences of walking with his son Eddie who has Downs Syndrome.
Nick looks back at discovering walking in the countryside, the lack of diversity in the outdoors, and his passion to make sure his kids enjoy the countryside.