May's 'Walk in the Woods' month in The Mersey Forest brought together over 60 guided woodland walks taking place across the region to encourage residents to get out and enjoy the many benefits of green exercise.
The Mersey Forest's dedicated mini-website promoting the range of guided walks on offer was named Digital Campaign of the Week by the national Third Sector magazine, and linked in with key local initiatives including health walk groups and Liverpool's Challenge, the campaign to help residents lose one million pounds of weight.
The month of guided walks - from an ascent of the highest point in Merseyside, Billinge Hill, to wildlife-focused dawn chorus walks - formed part of the national Walk in the Woods campaign, coordinated by The Tree Council.
The walks in The Mersey Forest area were organised by a wide range of partners including the Forest's seven local authorities, the Forestry Commission, local Primary Care Trusts, the National Wildflower Centre, Frodsham Town Council, Cheshire Wildlife Trust and local community groups.
The importance of getting people to use their green spaces for exercise is well documented. Research shows that as well as being beneficial for our mental health, green spaces can help reduce the 'health gap' between rich and poor, with a particularly strong impact on reducing heart disease and strokes.