Saturday, 23 January 2021

New walks book designed to help families stay active

New walks book designed to help families stay active

A NEW book has been produced with walks in South Oxfordshire for people to enjoy during the second coronavirus lockdown.

It was edited by Penny Snowden, who founded Active Leaders, a leadership course for young people, and researched by Amanda Watkins-Cooke, who helps run the course.

The pair’s first book, called Summer Fun, helped families throughout the first lockdown between March and July.

This primarily focused on walks and activities within Sonning Common but the follow-up, called Explorers’ Walks Around the Chilterns, focuses on a wider area.

Mrs Snowden, of Kennylands Road, Sonning Common, said: “The book gives people short, medium and long walks from about eight to 11 miles.

“It’s a bit more restricted now because of lockdown but we have included all the coffee shops on the routes. We have also included the history of each place and some activities as well. People are saying ‘thank you’ that there is something that families and children can do to stay active now that sports have been cancelled.”

The women explored all the routes themselves when they researched the book, which took about two months to complete.

Mrs Snowden said: “Amanda did the bulk of the mapping work using the Footpath app. We split the routes between us and persuaded friends and family to do each one with us.”

Mrs Watkins-Cooke’s husband, Howard, took all the photographs used in the book.

The first book was funded by the parish council but the money was paid back through donations. Active Leaders has self-funded the follow-up, which is available from local businesses including Carl Woods Butchers and Heath & Watkins in Wood Lane, Sonning Common, the Herb Farm in Peppard Road and Sonning Common garage.

Mrs Snowden said: “We wanted the book to be easily accessible. Businesses within Sonning Common have a box of books to give away and then people can donate if they want.

“These businesses are pleased to have something else to offer their customers.”

She added that although the book was not created with a second lockdown in mind, its publication was “incredible timing”.

Mrs Snowden said: “The first book was in spring time so for this one we had to keep in mind that it would be more muddy.

“It has been a great thing to do — it’s a very positive project and we are all about keeping people active and having fun.”

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