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Explore Kent Activity Map shows places for walks close to home and the Kent Connected app for walk and cycle routes during National Walking Month

New guidelines which come into effect today mean we can all get out and about for more exercise each day.

The change, as the government message moves from Stay Home to Stay Alert, coincides with National Walking Month throughout May, which aims to encourage more of us to get out walking, for both our physical and mental health.

Go for a socially distanced walk during National Walking Month
Go for a socially distanced walk during National Walking Month

But if you’re not sure where to head, Explore Kent could be your guide.

The Kent County Council-led partnership, which encourages people of all abilities to go outdoors and stay active, has created the Explore Kent Activity Map, which can show you how to find walks and open spaces close to your home.

And for National Walking Month Explore Kent has teamed up with Kent Connected – who offer green travel options – to offer walking and cycling routes on the Kent Connected app.

The free app also shows you how to make smarter travel choices like walking or cycling.

You can now take exercise more than once a day
You can now take exercise more than once a day

Explore Kent is passionate about the Kent countryside and the benefits that maintaining a connection to it can bring.

Explore Kent's Chris Walker said: “Now is a great time to use the Kent Connected app to access walks and connect with nature close to home.

Explore Kent's activity map of the county
Explore Kent's activity map of the county

“The excitement of finding a new walking route you didn’t know about provides a great mental health boost, the sound of the birds singing is therapeutic and the kids will love discovering nature and signs of spring and early summer.”

The app also has tips on encouraging wildlife in your garden and how to make natural art.

Public footpaths remain open and there are currently no proposals to close these in England, but you’ll need to maintain social distancing, and obey the Countryside Code.

But many country parks and other sites at beauty spots are still not open and car parks may not be.

The government wants us to cycle and walk more
The government wants us to cycle and walk more

Forestry England has said it is working on how to reopen its sites, which include Bedgebury Pinetum near Goudhurst, but they are not open currently, and the National Trust has not yet changed its closures which have been in place since the start of lockdown.

The Kent Connected app is free and available on the App Store and Google Play.

For further information visit explorekent.org or contact the Explore Kent team at explorekent@kent.gov.uk See their regular updates online, including virtually, on Twitter at @ExploreKent.

Explore Kent with Explore Kent's help Picture: John Miller
Explore Kent with Explore Kent's help Picture: John Miller

Here are the latest guidelines relating to exercise at a glance:

You can exercise alone or with members of your household as many times a day as you want. You should still only exercise with up to one member of your household – this means you should not play team sports with anyone who is not a member of your household.

You can now drive somewhere to exercise as long as you are with members of your household. But your journey must be done in one day and if you travel as far as Wales or Scotland the restrictions will be different.

You must still stick to social-distancing rules and stay 2m apart, but can sit in the park or public space with members from another household, if they are 2m away.

But you still can't use playgrounds.

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For more things to do during lockdown click here.


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