1000 Miles with Sandra Rose
A thousand miles??
Yes, it sounds daunting but it’s 2.74 miles per day – every day. If that still sounds daunting break it down to 20 minutes before work, 10 minutes at lunchtime and 20 minutes in the evening. Yes, even 10 minutes walking is worth it – you will walk half a mile in that time. On the NHS website it states the health benefits of even a 10 minute brisk walk.
I’m in my 5th year of the challenge and have managed it every year. I didn’t start until March, in my first year, but I managed 1018 miles finishing up by the Rock Arch at Stourhead. This year I’m going for 1500 miles, I retired last April so I now have a bit more time. We’re so lucky to have so many routes in and around Mere and I always see something that cheers me up – this morning it was the female mallard with her three male escorts swimming down the Shreen, yesterday morning it was the tiniest of robins which flew out in front of me and darted into a hedgerow.
How do you do it and did you have help to start?
I was at Shaftesbury hospital waiting for an x-ray on my arthritic knee and picked up Country Walking Magazine (the founders of #walk1000miles concept) and saw the challenge in there. I was trying to lose weight and saw various success stories of other walkers who’d lost weight so thought “I can do that!”. I started the next day and walking really boosted my weight loss. Overall I lost 22lbs and maintained my weight ever since. I like walking on my own. I can set the route, the pace, stop when I want and if I get lost it’s down to me. Plus, despite my short legs I actually walk faster than my husband who’s over a foot taller than me! There are lots of apps which can work on your phone to keep track of how far you have walked or you can use one of the wearable fitness devices. The beauty of Mere is is that you feel safe as a woman on your own out walking. Yes, the fields can be muddy but that definitely gets your butt muscles working! You don’t need much – reasonable shoes and a waterproof coat.
Tell us more about why you do it?
On the walk1000miles website Stephen Fry described the concept as “A flawless idea” and there was a quote from a GP saying that it’s better than anything he can prescribe.
For me – partly to help with weight loss and partly for a challenge to see if I could do it. The walkers featured in the magazine I picked up did inspire me to give it a try. The health benefits of walking are really well known now. It can reverse type 2 diabetes, is good for building bone density, gives a huge boost to your mood. If you look on the walk1000miles facebook page you will be blown away by the sense of community. People share very personal stories of why they walk and how it’s benefited their lives. The kindness of other walkers – total strangers but with a common goal – reading their stories is really uplifting, especially when so much of what we see and hear in the media is negative and confrontational.
I cannot imagine living a day and not going oout for a walk. It’s a total no brainer – no special gym equipment needed, no need to plan – just put your shoes on and get out the door, it only has upsides. Once you’ve built up a bit of stamina it’s possible to walk to Stourhead in an hour – how lucky are we to be able to say that?! Plus you can go one route and come back via another – it’s the walking equivalent of winning the lottery!
Links mentioned in the interview:
Ann is 68 and has lived in our area for 21 years. She moved to Mere in September 2020.
As a long-time dog owner, she has always been a walker and is a member of walking groups such as Tisbury Footpath Club https://www.tisburyfootpathclub.org/, and has also walked with the Shaftesbury Walking for Health group, enjoying a variety of walks of different lengths on different days of the week. In the past 10 years, since back surgery and subsequent arthritis, walking has become more important in helping Ann to stay mobile – without the potential damage of impact sports such as jogging.
Dog walking twice a day, often a total walk time of more than an hour, ensures she gets plenty of exercise. It has also been particularly important during this past year with the pandemic, offering the chance to meet fellow walkers for a chat in the relative safety of the big outdoors.
Ann admits that she would find walking on her own a little strange, but encourages everyone to give walking a try. She says:
The people of Mere are particularly friendly and will stop and say hello – and usually a lot more! I’ve met lots of people through walking.
For Ann, close contact with the countryside is another important reason for getting outside, as well as seeing the local wildlife. “There are plenty of interesting little tucked away places in Mere, there is always something to see.”
Ann’s favourite walk is to head to Burton Mill by road from Limpers Hill, then walk down Burton path beside the Ashfield, crossing the river at Whitebridge and coming out in Mill Lane. From the bottom of Mill Lane she then walks along Oak Lane past the estate and home via the allotments. Ann says:
“It’s a nice walk because of the stream; there are usually lots of birds in the bushes there. The buildings in Mill Lane are interesting and we are close to the Fish Farm which is such a great place. Then around the allotments there are usually lots of dogs/people to meet. Once out in the road again it’s a very short distance to home.”