Ramblers recruit Stevenage MP for 10th anniversary walk

The group checks out the new footpath it helped to install around Knewbworth. Left to right, Patrici

The group checks out the new footpath it helped to install around Knewbworth. Left to right, Patricia Segui, founder member of Stag Walkers, Stephen McPartland MP, Nicky Philpott, Ramblers director of advocacy and engagement, Rebecca Dawson, char of Stag Walkers and a trustee of The Ramblers. Pic Stag Walkers - Credit: Archant

A young ramblers group celebrated their 10th anniversary with a special birthday walk on Saturday.

Mark Westley, a Ramblers volunteer, points out the new path on a map, to Nicky Philpott, Ramblers di

Mark Westley, a Ramblers volunteer, points out the new path on a map, to Nicky Philpott, Ramblers director of advocacy and engagement. - Credit: Archant

They were joined by Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland who wanted to find out more about the many benefits of walking and the importance of paths and green spaces in Hertfordshire.

Mr McPartland and walkers from across the county joined members of Stag Walkers in Rabley Heath for a six-mile walk around Knebworth Park, including a stretch along a newly-created public footpath.

The young ramblers group was formed in 2007 by a small group of walkers in their 20s and 30s. It has grown to more than 90 members who live across Hertfordshire, central and south Bedfordshire and parts of South Cambridgeshire.

Patricia Segui, a founder member of Stag Walkers who led the anniversary walk, said: “Walking works to prevent physical and mental health problems and offers an effective, low-cost solution to many of the problems that people in their 20s and 30s face. We are leading increasingly stressful and sedentary lives behind desks and computers as we work long hours Monday to Friday while building our careers.

Stag Walkers with Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland

Stag Walkers with Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland - Credit: Archant

“Regular walking can reduce the chances of developing depression by up to 30 per cent, alongside reducing the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and some cancers by between 20 and up to 50 per cent.

“Walking with a group can also alleviate the loneliness and isolation often experienced by people moving to a new town or village without a network of local friends.”

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The anniversary walk highlighted the importance of the area’s beautiful outdoor spaces.

Part of the walk took in a newly-created footpath around the western side of Knebworth Park which replaced two paths which were difficult for walkers to use and were previously closed.

The new path inside Knebworth Park

The new path inside Knebworth Park - Credit: Archant

The new path means that people can enjoy a circular walk on public rights of way around the park. Ramblers’ volunteers worked with Hertfordshire County Council and the Knebworth Park estates to install the path.

Mr McPartland said: “I had a great time meeting members of Stag Walkers and ramblers from across Hertfordshire. It was encouraging to see so many people enjoying the fantastic countryside on our doorstep. We are lucky to have an excellent network of well-maintained local paths, which walkers can enjoy.

“I would urge local people to get out and enjoy the wonders of walking. It is a fun, low cost and easy way to spend time outside.”

Stag Walkers offers regular local walks of varying lengths and an exciting social programme and welcomes young people to join.

Signage along the new park in Knebworth Park. Pic: Stag Walkers

Signage along the new park in Knebworth Park. Pic: Stag Walkers - Credit: Archant

To find out more, visit stagwalkers@gmail.com.

Members of Stag Walkers and Ramblers walking along the new path. Pic Stag Walkers

Members of Stag Walkers and Ramblers walking along the new path. Pic Stag Walkers - Credit: Archant