On National Walk to Work Day (5/04/2019) Oxford City Council highlights figures that show more than one in four (25.9%) Oxford residents walk for travel – to work, school, shops or suchlike daily.
This is the highest percentage in Oxfordshire. Three in five (60.2 percent) do so at least once weekly.
Cherwell (14.7 percent), South Oxfordshire, (13.7 percent), Vale of White Horse (13.3 percent) and West Oxfordshire (17.1 percent) all trail behind in walking for travel, with Oxford being also slightly above Cambridge (24.6 percent).
The figures come from the latest data available from the Department of Transport (see notes).
However, if walking for leisure is also included, the people of Vale of White Horse are the most prolific walkers countywide, with 84.9 percent walking at least once a month, with Oxford coming a close second at 80.7 percent.
In fact Oxford residents lag behind all others in the county when it comes to walking for leisure, with just 61.2 percent doing so monthly, compared with 67.4 percent in South Oxfordshire, 67.3 percent in the Vale, 65,1 percent in West Oxfordshire and 63.2 percent in Cherwell.
With so many parks and open spaces in the area, Oxford City Council set up its Oxford Health Walks programme to encourage those who rarely walk for their own physical and mental benefit to take part. More information on the initiative can be found here.
Oxford City Council owns eight large parks within the city, and also manages over 900 acres of countryside and nature reserves.
Evidence by GreenSpace, the national charity which works to improve parks and green spaces, shows a brisk walk every day within a local green space can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes and diabetes by 50%.
Walking can improve self-perception, self-esteem, mood and sleep quality. It also reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.
Oxford City Council Executive Board Member for Healthy Oxford, Councillor Louise Upton is calling on Oxford residents to match their walk to work with a ‘walk to play’.
Councillor Upton said: “While Oxford is leading the way on Walk to Work day, we should be matching that with ‘walking to play’. With so many wonderful parks across the city, it’s easy to enjoy the great outdoors right here in Oxford – and I’d encourage everyone to do so. We have some wonderful hidden green corners where you can forget that you are in the middle of a city. Take a stroll down Lye Valley and hear the birds singing, go for a calming walk along the canal, or feed the ducks as you amble in to town from Marston across the river Cherwell. I guarantee you will feel better afterwards!”.