The Horrabridge Walking Group goes all out to forge friendships

A WALKING group in Horrabridge puts their best foot forward every week to strengthen their bond of friendship and benefit from the positive effect it brings to physical and mental health.

The walking friendship group was started by Horrabridge resident Jo Robinson, who moved to the village in February 2020, not knowing anyone locally at the time.

Speaking to Methodist pioneer and community worker Ali Mansfield, who is renowned for her work in the local community, the two ladies worked in tandem to put together a traveling friendship group.

Ali suggested that Jo be the group leader as she enjoys going for walks every day with her dog Pippin. They contacted other villagers to see who would like to join them. The group had formed in the fall of 2020, however, changing covid regulations and lockdowns made their rides sporadic. Now that the restrictions have finally ended, the group is back in full swing and enjoying every step.

Jo said: “It’s a really lovely friendly group, we talk about all sorts of issues we might have, relating to relationships, families and finances. Sometimes some of us have more knowledge and know some contacts that can help with various issues.

“Everything we discuss stays in the group, so we have established a lot of trust in each other. When the weather is so nice, going out for an hour’s walk can really lift your mood and it’s great for your mental health. Being able to experience it with other people makes it more enjoyable.

The group meets every Thursday morning at 9.00am for a 9.15am departure from St John’s rest area and uses many different routes around the idyllic surroundings of Dartmoor such as Drake’s Trail, the moors and around Yelverton. They walk in all weathers and all seasons; rain and mud are no deterrent.

Sue McDowell of the band said: “They’re a very relaxed and friendly band. Every week is different as we never know what wildlife we ​​will see – alpaca, dogs, birds etc. We chat with walkers, runners, cyclists and always feel energized and uplifted by the experience. We usually have a good laugh along the way.

Maria R. Newman