GM Walking Festival 2021

In May 2021 we held a Walking Festival. Lots of you took part and encouraged others to #GetOutThisMay. Find out more below

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Get Out this May - the 2021 GM Walking Festival

We used a range of activity ideas for the whole month of May to inspire, motivate and encourage as many people to get out and walk in May.  #GetOutThisMay. Using 3 levels of calendars for the month, providing activity ideas as a visual prompt we hoped to encourage lots of people across Greater Manchester to walk more during May.

What did you pledge to do?  Get outside for 10 minutes every day in May? A GM Daily Mile?  10,000 steps each day in May?  45, 60 or 90 miles in May?

Tell us about it on our online form, and you too could win a £50 voucher!

Here’s some of what we found from the Festival participants survey this year:

  • 1141 downloads of festival calendars – with beginner and intermediate being the most popular (765 of those calendars – beginner = 374 and intermediate = 391)
  • 74% of respondents reported that taking part in the festival had inspired others to walk more
  • 78% of survey respondents reported at least one positive outcome, with 67% reporting two or more positive outcomes:
    • 52% said that taking part helped them to walk more than usual
    • 59% said  that taking part improved their wellbeing
    • 59% said that taking part helped them discover new places to walk
    • 23% said they co-ordinated others to take part
  • Reaching new audiences: 68% of survey respondents had not taken part in GM Walking Festival before, 41% had not received GM Walking newsletters before, and 44% had not visited the GM walking website before.

Here’s some of the inspiring photos from your walks:

We’re pleased to announce that the #GMWalkFest survey participant, chosen at random, who is the lucky winner of a £50 voucher is Deborah Cassar-Egan @inspire_me_u Congratulations Debs!

There is another chance to win a £50 voucher by telling us about your festival walking experience, see below:

“There is no doubt in my mind that walking has got me through the pandemic.  Being out in nature has helped me refresh my mind.  I felt so much gratitude having the wonderful walks on my doorstep.  The GM Walking Festival gave me a focus and challenged me to try new walks within my area.  Myself and Julie Bentley have shared adventures on our walks.  Reading peoples stories on social media and following each others daily walks inspired me to keep going.”

Debs Cassar-Egan

Here’s Debs story about why she got involved:

“In December I decided I wanted to raise money for the Creative Living Centre‘mental health charity where I work, so I decided to do a ‘Walk & Talk’ with a different person every day in January. Friends, neighbours and colleagues walked with me, and made a donation. Julie Bentley, a Bury social prescriber came along and got involved with walking every day.  We loved it so much that we decided to continue the following month, and Bury Cancer Support Centre became the next charity we supported by walking every day in Feb, calling this one ‘Feet First February’.  ‘Salute Her’ women’s vets charity, for ‘Marching into March’, then ‘Amble into April’ to support Bury Vets Cafe Hub. In May, we  joined in the GM Walking Festival to actively get others involved with mindfulness walks. I also began taking out walks with members from the mental health charity where I work, with a focus on noticing nature calling it ‘Mooching in May’. Promoting the Walking Festival calendars, plus the tools & resources helped to inspire people to keep getting out each day.”

Tell us YOUR Walking Festival story!

Let us know all about your festival walking experiences and use of the calendars. Contact us on the below form by 31.07.21 and you could win a £50 voucher!

  • (Just so we know what area you are from)
  • Do you use routes from our website? Could you add yours to our website?

Let’s Walk 2021 – Get Out This May!

We held a GM Walking Festival again in national walking month, May 2021 to help people to get outside near to where they live in Spring.

It was predominantly a selection of challenges, activities and ideas on our website which could be utilised on a #WalkFromHome, on an individual basis, and in small groups when restrictions allow. The aim was to provide something for everyone regardless of ability to walk,  levels of confidence or experience of walking and your personal motivations. So whether you’re a roamer, moocher, shuffler, strider, pusher or stepper. Lots of you joined in.

The calendar downloads below have ideas to help provide interest for local walks #WalkFromHome

You can continue to mix up any of the ideas and suggestions throughout the year, or create your own!

GM Walking Festival May 2021 Calendar – The ideas on these calendars can be used at any time in the year, and the options to choose from are as follows:

  • BEGINNER – Short walks ideas for those new to walking, or people wanting to improve or start re-building their fitness gently
  • INTERMEDIATE  For people who walk fairly often and in their everyday routine
  • EXPERIENCED For people who walk a lot for leisure and their daily routine
  • BLANK VERSION A calendar for you to add your own #GetOutThisMay ideas!

We have also put together some hints and tips, suggestions and links to help you get the most out of your GM Walking Festival Calendar:

  • HINTS AND TIPSto support you on each day of the GM Walking Festival Calendar

What to do next?

  • Print out a calendar to stick on your fridge
  • Or save a copy to your desktop on your computer
  • Print out or save the Hints and Tips pages, or bookmark this page to refer to daily

GM Walking Festival Calendar for beginners

Download Beginners Calendar

GM Walking Festival Calendar for intermediates

Download Calendar

GM Walking Festival Calendar for experienced walkers

Download Calendar

GM Walking Festival Calendar - Blank for you to add your own ideas

Download Calendar

Hints and Tips

We have provided information below to support you on each day of the GM Walking Festival Calendar 

1st May

Get out there! Start as you mean to go on.
For most people 2 miles will take about an 40 minutes, 5 miles a little over an hour and a half.

The Let’s Walk Festival is here! Find tips, ideas and inspiration for every day in May #GetOutThisMay

2nd May

Invite someone else to walk with you and you both benefit!

Don’t know where to go?  GM Walking has worked with Go Jauntly to generate over 25 routes across GM. Find them here

3rd May

Making a social arrangement is a good way to get motivated

Could you go on a picnic, family treasure hunt or other social activity?

4th May

Walk a target number of steps today. Goals and targets can help keep us focussed or challenge us.

5000 steps about 2.5 miles.  10,000 steps is about 5 miles.

Use a phone to count steps. Or download the Fitbit App Mobile Tracker to help keep count of steps.

5th May

Spend some time outside, walking or  playing, people watching, appreciating your surroundings and getting some fresh air

Being outside more can help us get to know our local area.  This activity sheet has some questions that can help us find out more about what’s outside our front door.

6th May

Make walking a part of your daily routine. Pop to the local shop by foot rather than in the car.

Walking to the shop saves the hassle of finding somewhere to park!  It could be time away from the family, or time to think.

7th May

Variety is the spice of life.

What did you discover when you walked the opposite way round your route?

8th May

Use a walk in the woods to learn more about wildlife and nature.

We have wildlife and nature apps to help identify trees, flowers and birds:

Or why not try our nature bingo sheet to give a focus to the search.

9th May

Let’s make walking fun and inspire others!

Take a photo of something blue. Share your picture on Facebook or Twitter tagging us @GMWalks and adding #GetOutThisMay and we’ll make a collage.

10th May

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week.  Walking is a great way to help wellbeing, through the Five Ways to wellbeing.

We have lots of ideas for noticing what’s around you on your walk.

Why not try this Bingo sheet to help spot things.  Or notice sights, sounds, objects and feelings.

11th May

Walking can help lift our mood, feel more energised or de-stress. Start the day off with a walk to feel great.

Notice how you felt before and after your walk.  Record this each time you walk using our diary sheet 

12th May

Connect with others on your walk today

Connecting is one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing:

Take a look at our 5 Ways to Wellbeing Poster for ideas.

13th May

Mindfulness walk – how did it feel?

Mindfulness; notice your heart rate, your breathing. Try this sensory walking resource on your walks.

14th May

Music relaxation – headphones and escape

Relax with a podcast, an album. Here’s a link to our podcast blog

15th May

Walking by water can be very relaxing.

Greater Manchester has many rivers, canals and lakes with excellent footpaths

Take a look at some routes ideas on

16th May

Share your photos on Facebook or Twitter tagging us @GMWalks and adding #GetOutThisMay 

Who can help you find something unusual or striking? Get others involved to discover & take notice

Send us your picture of something orange and we’ll make a collage

17th May

Get outside and walk with someone else today.

Arrange to knock for a friend or meet them half way? They’ll probably enjoy spending time walking and chatting with you.

18th May

Need some ideas and tips sheets to help inspire you?

Living Streets have created a family resource to help make the walk to school more interesting.

We also have tip sheets on our GM Daily Mile toolkit to help people of all ages get out each day.

19th May

Take a different route. Walking is a great way to explore and discover, even in your local area.

There are apps to help you plan out new routes. We have a Planning a Walking Route guide here

Or try our GM Short walks on the Go jauntly app

20th May

Greenspace day

Enjoy being close to nature.

Take the kids to park after school and make time to play and have fun.

21st May

For Individuals, Family & Friends, Community Groups & Organisations, or Workplaces

The GM Daily Mile Toolkit is available for all to use, to help you walk a bit more

22nd May

Walking uphill can really help leg strength and fitness.

Don’t forget to admire the view!

23rd may

Share your photos on Facebook or Twitter tagging us @GMWalks and adding #GetOutThisMay 

Send us your pictures of something red we’ll make a collage.

24th May

Walking from home provides familiarity. Choose to take the time to appreciate your local area

Notice the buildings, gardens, road names? Dates on buildings? Your favourite tree?

Not sure where to go?  Try a route where you can only go forwards or turn left (or right?)

25th May

It’s all about you!

Get outside in your own way today, however you like!

26th May

A break between different times of the day is a great time to walk.

Get outside to clear the mind after work. Build up an appetite before tea, or help your meal be digested.

27th May

A brisk walk of 10 minutes or more provides mental and physical benefits!

Don’t forget to warm up first. Great for the heart, lungs, muscles and producing feel good hormones!

28th May

Have you enjoyed the Let’s Walk Festival?  We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Take a walk then share your thoughts. Please fill in our GM Walking Festival survey here.
PRIZE DRAW – £50 voucher of your choice

29th May

Where do you want to go?  The shop, the library and park?  The church, post office and field? Who knows the way?

Local landmarks – what’s in your area?

Church, monument? Park? Hilltop/ Riverside café?
Route planning apps  – Try Walkmeter GPS or MapMy Walk app. Ideas can be found here

30th May

Share your walking pictures, adventures, feelings and discoveries with friends, family and colleagues.  Don’t forget to share with us too! On Facebook or Twitter tag us @GMWalks using #GetOutThisMay

Need motivation for next month? – see the GM Daily Mile Toolkit for progress trackers, diaries etc

31st May

Get out and have fun on Bank Holiday Monday!

There are tips, ideas and suggestions for places to go –  all on

We hope you have enjoyed the GM Walking Festival 2021

Let us know by filling in this short survey, for the chance to win a £50 voucher of your choice! Click here to enter

Here are some of your fabulous walk photos from October 2020

Download image

Don’t stop me now, I’m havin’ a good time!

Don’t stop now – if you’ve been bitten by the walking habit and had a great time then you can find route ideas here and walking inspiration here

If you’d like to feedback any comments about the Let’s Walk Festival or just want to say hi to our lovely team, stay connected and follow us @gmwalks or drop us an email at

Stay safe and carry on walking!

Follow us on social media to keep updated:


Most popular activities - October 2020

During the Let’s Walk Festival October 2020, there were 19 activities on offer to appeal to the motivations of the participants. The most popular goal was 10,000 steps per day, followed by Mile A Day. People also chose car swaps, walking commutes, photography walks and greenspace walks. What could you do to #GetOutThisMay?

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