Charter for Walking Neighbourhoods

Neighbourhoods that are green and walkable promote good physical health, mental health and wellbeing. They help combat poor air quality and encourage people to get outside and be active.

A walking neighbourhood is a safe and welcoming place to be a pedestrian. Residents have easy access to streets with plantings and a variety of green spaces - from community gardens and allotments, to pocket parks and city farms. Networks of green walking routes connect people from their doorsteps to the places they want to go


This Charter sets out five things that councils can do to create walking neighbourhoods:


1. Make neighbourhoods green

Target: Everyone has access to high-quality green space within five minutes’ walk of their doorstep. 

Action: All development and transport infrastructure schemes make a positive contribution to the overall local resource of high-quality, accessible green space. There is a clear plan for monitoring and addressing ‘green poverty’.

2. Create a network of green walking routes

Target: A network of green walking routes connects people to the places they want to go.

Action: Pavements and public spaces are planned as a network for walkers. Council policies on planning, health, transport and economic growth directly contribute to the delivery of green infrastructure. All development schemes incorporate ‘green infrastructure’ as an integral design component at the pre-planning stages of development.

3. Prioritise pedestrians

Target: Walking is the easy way to travel around towns and cities. 

Action: Transport and infrastructure developments put the needs of pedestrians first. Measures to address the issues that discourage people from walking are in place, including a default speed limit of 20mph, well-maintained and clutter-free pavements, convenient road crossings and a prohibition on pavement parking.

4. Promote walking

Target: People are encouraged and supported to get walking.

Action: Local government and partners from the health and voluntary sector have a plan to get more people walking. Partners work together to commission led-walks, develop promoted routes, ensure good signposting, host community walking festivals and other local events and activities. 

5. Reclaim places for communities

Target: Green routes and spaces are designed with communities and open to all.

Action: Green spaces are public, inclusive and accessible to all. Voluntary groups, community groups and residents are involved in the design and maintenance of local green spaces. Residents are empowered to take ownership of public spaces, e.g. through support for new street plantings or temporary street closures for community events.

Wildflower meadow with a signpost

Make Neighbourhoods Green

Discover what we mean by our first Charter ask "make neighbourhoods green" by exploring case studies of places & projects which have ensured everyone has access to high quality green spaces.

A woman walking along an urban path with a garden wall and shrubs

Create a Network of Green Walking Routes

Discover what we mean by our second Charter ask "create a network of green walking routes" by exploring case studies of places & projects which have built a network of green walking routes connecting people to the places they want to go.

A large group of people walking along a street

Prioritise pedestrians

Discover what we mean by our third Charter ask "prioritise pedestrians" by exploring case studies of places & projects which make walking the easy way to travel around towns and cities.

A group of people outside Plaistow Library

Promote Walking

Discover what we mean by our fourth Charter ask "promote walking" by exploring case studies of places & projects which encourage and support people to get walking.

Path protectors

From walkers to photographers to micro adventurers, find out why people want to keep paths open, and let us know why you want to protect paths.

If you are a councillor or resident in England or Wales, this campaign is for you! Our Charter for Walking Neighbourhoods is here to help councils across the country make their neighbourhoods better for walking.

Scotland has devolved powers in many of these areas: find out more about Ramblers Scotland and if you'd like to improve places for walking, why not have a look at the proposed strategy for Edinburgh City Centre's transformation? If you think that any of the ideas could be used in your own town or city, you could contact your local councillors to tell them about it.