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Thursday, 7 January 2016

Banishing Blue Monday is the new order of the day at Cober Hill

Cober Hill.
Dubbed Blue Monday, the third Monday of January is reportedly the most depressing day of the year. This has prompted the team at Cober Hill hotel and conference centre, near Scarborough to host a week of free events to keep the blues at bay.

The five-day programme starting on Monday 18 January includes a theme every day with an uplifting topic and interactive workshops. Topics include a What’s your purpose? life coach session; Reptiles and Raptors, birds of prey and reptiles; Wheely Good cycling fun; Jurassic Jollys and unlocking secrets of team work and problem solving. All days begin at 10am with tea and coffee on arrival.

General manager Lyndsay Chamblerlain said: “Our Beat Blue Monday Week is an excellent way to banish the blues, learn a new skill that can provide self-improvement, see Cober Hill’s facilities close up and talk to us about their future plans or even experience a life-changing moment.”

Further information: tel: 01723 870310; email:

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Dales landscape could be our very own Natural Health Service, says trust

Conservation and environmental charity the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust has been researching the potential for developing a ‘Natural Health Service’ where outdoor spaces are used to improve health and wellbeing.

Just what the doctor ordered ... The Bevan Healthcare 
group of walkers at Malham Cove.

Gail Smith, a community worker at the trust, said: “We have always believed that spending time outdoors offers health and wellbeing benefits. Although it hasn’t been a main focus of our work, over the years our projects have repeatedly shown that people feel better in themselves after spending time in the Yorkshire Dales countryside.”

The Clapham-based charity has led an outreach programme for the past ten years, providing more than 7,000 disadvantaged people with an opportunity to spend time in the beautiful Dales countryside. During this time, the team says it has been amazed by the huge difference a simple day out in the countryside can make.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Best foot forward in Scarborough

Families across Scarborough are being encouraged to ditch their cars and public transport for a day and take part in the town's Four Corners Walk on Friday (23 August).

The event comprises of four guided and risk assessed walks, which will all start at 10am from the 'four corners' of Scarborough and finish at the Mere, off Queen Margaret’s Road where all walkers will be able to enjoy a family picnic with free children’s entertainment and face painting.  Each walk is expected to take between 60 and 80 minutes depending on the pace of those taking part.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Best foot forward as favourite walk gets a makeover and a new guide

It's been described as one of the most spectacular walks opening up breathtaking landscape to those who take the route – and it's now been given a new lease of life and officially re-opened.

Author John Sparshatt, ranger Ben Jackson and countryside volunteer 
Mike Barney are joined at Kirkham Abbey by enthusiastic walkers.

The Centenary Way was opened in 1989 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the creation of the former North Riding County Council.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

York challenge pedals cycling benefits

An army of workers from York hit the saddle and, collectively, notched up a distance of equivalent to five times around the world.

The 126,856 miles were covered in the York Cycle Challenge, a three-week contest to introduce people to cycling. In total, more than 14,830 journeys were recorded and 1,708 people from 71 organisations competed to clock up the greatest percentage of staff taking part.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Thirty-minute strolls: they'll walk it

First time walkers welcome. That's the message from the Hambleton Strollers who are organising 30-minute walks around Bedale, Northallerton, Stokesley and Thirsk.

Best foot forward ... leader Douglas White leads a Northallerton group.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Bike it or walk it: York's free programme offers different perspectives

You'll see more on foot
 and two weeks in York.
Cyclists and walkers can get some new perspectives of historic York with a free programme of activities across the city.

The spring bike rides and walks are led by trained volunteers.

The programme features Move More on Monday, short guided bike rides and longer ones from five to 12 miles and themed around chocolate, quirky attractions, historical villages and places of worship. 

Group walks start from 12 different meeting points in the city and take place at various times from Monday to Friday.

Longer, away-day walks are taking place in May and June.

Councillor Sonja Crisp, the city council's cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “These activities are fun, free and help you to become more active in a sociable way."

Further information: and

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Walk and talk — it's more sociable that way, say the strollers

Walk leader, Douglas White, leads a walk in Northallerton.
Walking alone can sometimes be boring – but they can be made livelier by joining the Hambleton Strollers.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Cycling and walking volunteers wanted to show off York the healthy way

Volunteers are needed for a programme of health walks and guided rides that also help show off the beauty of York.

The city council is keen to meet demand for its growing number of walks and cycle rides held regularly across York each week.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Stroll on! Packed programe of walks, talks and music set for Dales again

A week-long programme of walks, talks and music to celebrate the landscape between Settle and Carlisle is to run again, this year, organisers have confirmed.

Organisers are building on last year's success.
Ride2stride was held for the first time, last year, by a small group of volunteers who brought together under one programme a range of events put on by organisations already active in the Yorkshire Dales.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Dalby Forest: a wheely good idea for shaking off the winter blues

On yer bike!

That's the call from the Forestry Commission which has thrown down the gauntlet for folks to shake off the winter blues and get on two wheels and onto its award-winning trails.

And it says North Yorkshire's Dalby Forest is a must.

Simon Hodgson, the organisation's chief executive, who is a keen road and trail cyclist himself, reckons the commission offers the best singletrack trails in the UK with unbeatable scenery.

He said: "Whether you want rugged wilderness or serene vistas of English countryside, all our cycle tracks are set in beautiful natural surroundings even when you are close to towns and cities.

“We have many award-winning trails which are suitable for beginners to world class bikers so everyone has the chance to enhance their cycling skills by progressing from one track to the next.”

The commission says Dalby Forest is a must for the expert rider. It has England’s largest trail centre and offers a wide range of tracks, including an award winning course used for the British Cycling National Cross Country Series and Cross Country World Cup. It also encompasses Dixons Hollow Bike Park which ticks all the freeride boxes from elevated north shore structures to 4X descents.

Most of the commission' cycling sites offer showers, bike washes and a bike hiring facility.

For regular thrill seekers, the organisation recommends investing in a Discovery Pass that’ll save time and money. It offers advantages such as free parking and discounts in our shops and cafés.

For more information, visit

Thursday, 27 December 2012

County offers outstanding walks and rides to burn off Christmas calories

North Yorkshire offers some of the best landscape and fresh air for burning off a few calories from the Christmas pudding and chocolates, say county chiefs.

The county council is reminding residents — and potential visitors — of the many opportunities for walking and riding from short strolls to strenuous mountain bike rides. Its website offers a set of free leaflets and guides that can be downloaded.

Here are just a few of its festive recommendations:

  • A three-mile gentle stroll from Middleton Tyas;
  • An eight-mile off-road bike ride from Bank Newton, along tracks and the Leeds-Liverpool canal towpath;
  • A six-mile circular walk from Northallerton to Romanby, then across fields to Ainderby Steeple and back;
  • A ten-mile strenuous off-road and on-road mountain bike route from Lofthouse in Nidderdale;
  • A 3.5-mile easy walk alongside the River Rye from Helmsley;
  • A nine-mile ramble from Selby, along the canal towpath and returning along field paths and woodland tracks.

The guides and maps can be downloaded form the county council website here

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Forests are perfect fit for wellbeing

With one of its woodlands within a thirty minute drive for most of us, the Forestry Commission believes it has the antidote to the excesses of Christmas and the winter blues.

The organisation is urging individuals and families us to make a resolution to get fit in the forest.

The commission draws upon studies that show that a quarter of the British population is now classed as physically inactive, putting the risk of developing cardiovascular disease even higher than before. Just by increasing our exercise levels by one per cent would prevent more than a thousand premature deaths caused by the disease each year.

Vitamin D deficiency and the children’s disease Rickets is also on the increase due to the lack of time they spend in sunlight.

For much less than the price of a single monthly gym membership, an annual membership pass – the Discovery Pass – offers free parking at Forestry Commission woodlands and discounts off shopping and activities on and off site. A pass also entitles discounts off Go Ape and breaks at Forest Holiday cabins.

The commission says spending time in natural surroundings is also highly beneficial to our mental well-being and has been scientifically proven to calm children who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Further information about its local woodlands and events is available at

Friday, 14 December 2012

Yule sleep better this way: Skipton experts give their Xmas tips

The North Yorkshire-based Sleep Council has come up with a sleep survival plan for getting through the festive food, drink and telly fuelled marathon that lies ahead.

According to experts, the nation’s sleep routine will be thrown into turmoil during the 11 day festive break.

Speaking at the Sleep Council's Skipton offices, Jessica Alexander said: “The Christmas break gets longer each year which is tremendous in many ways, but it can play havoc with sleep routines.

“Over indulgence during the festive period along with a change to the usual bedtime routine can lead to many people finding their sleeping patterns out of sync.”

It’s hard to avoid the many temptations that the party season brings but the organisation has come up with the following tips to help lessen the impact:

  • Try, as much as possible, to keep regular hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, all the time, will programme your body to sleep better.
  • Create a restful sleeping environment. Keep the Christmas decorations to the other parts of your home. Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep and it should be neither too hot, nor too cold; and as quiet and dark as possible.
  • Creating a perfect sleep environment means ditching tellies and all other technology from the bedroom too. For more information on how to get your bedroom ‘sleep ready’ visit
  •  Make sure your bed is comfortable. It’s difficult to get deep, restful sleep on one that’s too soft, too hard, too small or too old. It should also be as big as possible so your partner rarely disturbs you. If it’s not – or if your bed is seven years old or more, then it could be time to hit the sales on Boxing Day and buy a new one!
  • Take more exercise. Regular, moderate exercise such as swimming or walking can help relieve the day’s stresses and strains. But not too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. A good brisk walk is ideal to stop you feeling sluggish after a hefty Christmas dinner.
  • Don’t end up compensating for lack of sleep by going too heavy on stimulants such as caffeine in tea, coffee or cola especially in the evening. They interfere with falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Have a hot milky drink or herbal tea instead.
  • Don’t over-indulge on turkey, mince pies and mulled wine. Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, can play havoc with sleep patterns.  Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but will interrupt your sleep later on in the night. It is hard in the party period but try to swap to water a couple of hours before bedtime.
  • Keep some ear plugs handy to block out the sound of your partner’s alcohol or feast-induced snoring.
  • Try to relax and insist on some ‘me time’ before going to bed.  Have a warm bath, listen to some quiet music, do some yoga - all help to relax both the mind and body. Your doctor may be able to recommend a helpful relaxation tape, too.
  • Resolve arguments before bed. Ongoing conflicts are not conducive to putting you in the right frame of mind for sleep.
  • If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again then go back to bed.
The Sleep Council is funded by the National Bed Federation trade body and aims to raise awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep to health and wellbeing.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Making the most of your sleep-in

The team at Skipton-based Sleep Council has come up with top tips to create the right environment in which to make the most of National Sleep-In Day this Sunday (28 October) when we get an extra hour in bed.

The organisation says there are five key ingredients for creating the perfect sleep environment: temperature, light, distraction, comfort and relaxation.

Sleep Council spokesperson Jessica Alexander said: “Creating and maintaining the perfect sleep environment is an essential part of achieving the best possible quality sleep which is vital for health and wellbeing.

"Public health campaigns constantly remind us about the essentials of good diet and exercise but there’s no advice about sleep.”

The Sleep Council has teamed up with sleep expert Kathleen McGrath to create an interactive, online tool at which allows users to see, at-a-glance, the effect changing different elements in a bedroom can have on sleep quality.

A perfect sleep environment should be:

Just the right temperature – between 16 and 18 degrees centigrade. Feeling too hot or too cold in the night can lead to restless sleep and wakefulness.

Kept dark. Light is a common sleep ‘robber’ so investing in a good pair of well lined curtains which keep the light out and the room dark can be really helpful.

Free from distractions. So lose the laptop, the mobile, the computer games, the television and anything else that is likely to distract from the serious business of sleep!

Comfortable. And central to comfortable is a good supportive bed – the bigger the better (for less partner disturbance) and as good as the budget can stretch to: we spend a third of our life in bed so why compromise on the cost of a good night’s sleep?

Relaxing. The bedroom should be an oasis of calm and tranquillity – uncluttered and devoted to the land of dreams.

The Perfect Sleep Environment micro-site is also accessible through the Sleep Council’s website and provides an opportunity to Ask the Expert questions about concerns with sleeping. Users simply click a link, leave their question and a trained professional will be in touch within 24 hours.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

When it comes to being green, York folks show they can walk it

York residents, workers and schoolchildren have spent the past three weeks walking enough miles to take them from Land’s End to John O’Groats almost twenty times as part of the city council's green travel initiative.

The results from the York Walking Challenge, part of the i-Travel scheme, show that the annual event clocked up 16,962 miles on foot, the equivalent of burning off 2,950 muffins and saving 2,934 kg of carbon dioxide.

A total of 1,533 miles was clocked up by 11 York workplaces led by insurance organisation Aviva, who managed to maintain an average of 24.7 miles per person in their team.

Participants from across ten York areas took to the streets to total 339 miles. The most active team was Haxby and Wigginton with an average of 45 miles walked per person. Thirteen schools took part to record a total of 15,090 miles walked or scooted to school.

Councillor Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: "Well done to everyone who took part and helped add to this impressive final total. Walking has lots of health benefits and is easy to fit into your daily routine, so it’s great to see that so many people got involved in the challenge."

Residents can continue with walking for recreation with a number of organised walks in and around York to participate in. More information can be found at

Monday, 15 October 2012

Stroll on! Hambleton walkers celebrate tenth birthday

Hambleton Strollers are celebrating their tenth birthday.

The walking group runs regular walks around the district’s five market towns. Walks are led by volunteers, take around an hour long and are geared towards everyone.

The group marked its tenth anniversary with a stroll followed by a birthday cake and a tribute to original co-ordinator Marian Archer who set up the Walking to Health programme.

Walk coordinator Paul Fisher, who now looks after the programme, said: “Walking is particularly suitable for people with health problems – heart conditions, depression, asthma, Type II diabetes and certain cancers – which can all be improved by taking regular exercise.

“Routes are generally on level surfaces in towns and villages – using field paths when the weather is suitable. And everyone is welcome to join the walks – especially older people and those who would like to find new friends and new places to go.”

To find out more about Hambleton Strollers led walks in Bedale, Easingwold, Great Ayton, Northallerton, Stokesley or Thirsk contact Paul on 01609 771624 or

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Best foot forward as city guided walks are announced

Details of City of York Council's autumn guided walks programme have been published.

Leaflets publicising the initiative are available online or from pick-up points around the city including local libraries, leisure centres, doctor surgeries and the Visit York office on the corner of Lendal and Blake Street.

The volunteer-led walks around York range from 30 minutes to two hours.

The programme also offers tasters in Nordic walking, which uses special poles to enhance walking style, with an upper body technique similar to that of cross country skiing.

Councillor Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “Walking is a great way to make the most of York’s beautiful surroundings whilst gaining all the benefits of exercise. Our walks are supported by trained leaders with a range on offer for different abilities, so everyone can take part.”

More details about the walks and rides can be found by contacting Sarah Prescott by email on by phone on 01904 553377 or by going to

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Club launches to create nifty fifties

A new club has been launched to get Hambleton folks over the age of fifty exercising.

More than a hundred people turned up to an engAGE roadshow in Thirsk to learn about what support and activities are available locally.

Organised by Age UK North Yorkshire, the event saw 35 organisations attending including the Hambleton Strollers, Thirsk Tourist Information, North Yorkshire County Council, Sowerby Flower Club and Thirsk U3A.

Sheila Smith, from Northallerton,  became the first person to sign up for the district council’s new 50+ Club.

The club, which is free to join, provides offers and discounts at the authority’s leisure centres in Northallerton, Thirsk, Bedale and Stokesley as well as giving access to information on a range of activities specifically for the age group.

Further information is available by contacting Lisa Wilson on 01609 767149 or by emailing

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Stroll on! These short walks around Hambleton are good exercise

Two more starter walks have been added to a programme to encourage people to take to the streets of Hambleton for exercise.

The short 30-minute walks around Northallerton and Thirsk, which have been organised through the Hambleton Strollers ‘walking for health scheme’, are designed for people who want to take up walking but don’t think they can manage one of the one hour sessions.

The extra walks have been added following the success of the introduction of short walks around the district.

Coordinator Paul Fisher said: “Walking is very good for managing many health conditions and these walks will give you a taste of what walking with Hambleton Strollers is all about.

“We never leave anyone behind and as everyone is a  first timer  it will be easier to join the group.”

The new walks take place from 9.30am on Tuesday September 18, starting outside Mayford House Surgery, Northallerton and  on Wednesday  September 19, from Thirsk Tourist Information Centre.

Hambleton Strollers is holding its annual meeting at Northallerton Methodist Church at 2pm on Tuesday October 2. There will be refreshments and a short demonstration walk. And the organisation is appealing for new leaders. The next walk leader training course takes place on Thursday  September 27