What should I wear? 

Trainers are ideal when the ground is dry. If you don’t have any, then walking shoes are fine, but not walking boots. Your feet need room to spread in the shoe and have a flexible sole for correct foot plantation. Don’t buy anything new, just use what you have at home and then we can advise you what to look for in a perfect trainer If you wish to purchase some.

Always choose layers. Our groups are not about the latest fashion or looking great in coordinated clothes, we wear clothes that are comfortable and protective.

A clothing range with our logo on will be available this year (2017), but you are not expected to buy anything, but the range will be available to purchase for those who wish to.

Base layer – that wicks sweat away is perfect as the first layer as it keeps the skin at a constant temperature. Other materials can absorb sweat resulting in you become very cold when your body temperature drops as you cool down. You can get some garments that have anti-bacterial properties, so your sweat does not then turn smelly. These come as long or short sleeved and are great for all weathers.

Mid layer – This layer provides the insulation and it needs to be breathable. This could be a fleece, a gillet, or something similar. It should not be bulky but should be made of a material to keep you warm.

Top layer – Windproof/waterproof. Needs to be breathable. This layer keeps the wind and rain out. This layer should be big enough to go over your other layers and allow you to move your arms freely. If this layer is compact enough to be stored in your back pack, as you get warmer, this is perfect! If it’s tied round your waist, it will irritatingly get caught up with poles.

Trousers – Ideally made of material that dries quickly. Should be comfortable enough to walk in – not too tight anywhere. Material like jeans and heavy cotton, jogging bottom are not suitable as you can get uncomfortable and should be avoided.

A pair of cheaper walking trousers will be a good choice. There are some available for about £20 in local outdoor shops.

What should I bring?

A small back-pack to go on your back to safely carry your keys, mobile, drink etc. NOT a handbag that hangs to your side. Please choose a bag that has good fitting straps, not one that has strings that drop down your shoulders, as this is very distracting you for when you are trying to learn the technique.

Please bring your glasses, if you need them, to fill out your health questionnaire.

You may want to bring a cap/hat/gloves (these will need to be thin). A Pac-a-Mac is a great investment, as we never know when it will rain which can be popped in your back pack. We can get caught out on spring days.

Where do we meet?

All listed on Website under Directions. These are the most popular ones.

Foster Hill Road car park -This is located behind Robinson Pool. There are two car parks and it is the furthest one away from the pool, near the children’s play area. There is a Pay and Display ticket machine. (You may need your glasses to put your registration number in the machine.) It is free for three hours, but you need a ticket to prove when your three hours ends. I usually park near to the ticket machine.

The Pavilion Café – Located in Bedford Park. Best parking place is on the road on Park Ave, near tennis courts half way down, or Foster Hill Road car park. We will meet you outside. It is a popular place to stay for a cuppa, so you may want to bring some change with you.

Addison Park – The Big House – Located in the park. This can be accessed by Hillgrounds Road. Take a first left off Hillgrounds Road (Spring Road traffic lights) toward the Addison Centre. Travel very slowly past the A-centre along the tree lined avenue. 5mph speed limit. You will see a big house and a public car park there.

Priory Country Park – The main car park – on the grass. As you pull in, there is flag pole in the centre of the car park in a circle of grass. Opposite there is another patch of grass. These two are the meeting places. Anne’s group meets at The Totem Pole

Great Denham – Regular walks start from The Bedford Golf Club, Carnoustie Drive. Car park to the right

Mowsbury Park – Wentworth Dive entrance (near café) As you drive in you will notice the car park is split in to two parts by a hedge. Please meet at the one nearest to the house (first part.)

Do I need my own poles?

All poles are provided for Technique sessions. You will not be required to buy your own poles at this stage.

You may buy poles through NWWU if you want to. A regular order is placed if enough peole want to order them.You pay then for them and I get them delivered to me to save on postage. Please ask your leader when next Shop and Drop is scheduled. You may hire poles in the meantime for £1 per walk. Please wait before you buy your poles.

I have had a shoulder problem; will Nordic Walking aggravate it?

This will vary from person to person. Nordic Walking technique does involve swinging from your shoulders, with every step (typically, 1,000 swings each side, per mile). For some conditions this will help provide much needed mobility, for others it may aggravate it. It will only be you who can say if this activity is helping or not, but if you have any concerns please ask your GP first. If after one session it has aggravated an old injury, please listen to your body.

I have heard that the poles are great for many conditions, when will I start to notice the benefits?

Some people will notice the difference after just one session. If you have any lower body joint problems, Nordic Walking can be very beneficial as the poles take the weight off lower limbs.

For others it can aid you to walk faster and further, with a much better posture. Most people will feel a benefit of some kind, after a short time.

Arriving on time

Please arrive 10 minutes before the advertised start time. This gives you a chance to chat and be mentally prepared for the session. Please give yourself enough time to park, as some meeting points can be busy at various items (Foster Hill Road can get very busy due to kids swimming lessons.)

Please do not request we wait for you or ask if you can catch us up, as this is not possible. You need to arrive in good time to get your poles, and participate in the warm up. If you are struggling to get to a session, on time regularly, please speak to the leader and we will see what can be done or choose a different session. If you have your own poles and have pre-paid, then arriving at the beginning of the warm up, will be accepted, occasionally, but is not ideal. If you need poles, then it is disruptive for other group members, if the leader to has to return to the car for poles for you and it causes discontentment for those who have arrived on time and are ready to start.

PARQ – Health Questionnaire

All walker are required to complete a basic health questionnaire. Please declare any injuries /conditions to ensure we are informed. These are then stored in a locked cabinet. When you buy a card you will be required to put any conditions and medications on the back. Please carry this with you. It is your responsibility. Thank you for your co-operation

Please remind the instructor of ongoing injures. Ie: “My knee is playing up today, can I take a shorter loop,” etc. WalkBedford sees you as an individual, you will form a good relationship with the instructor due to small groups. You are not just a number and we encourage you to communicate with us if you have a new injury, or an old one playing up. If you don’t feel yourself, do not try to do what you normally do, take a short cut, don’t do the hill so many times etc. Take it at your own pace. Only you can feel what is going on in your body so please communicate that with your instructor, for the best exercise outcome possible.