Thousands more embrace Hill Walking

Posted by Peter Burnside on 28/04/2023
Walkers enjoying a beautiful sunrise on the Great Ridge, Mam Tor, in the Peak District. Photo: Shutterstock

Thousands more people embrace hill and mountain walking, according to new Sport England figures.

The latest Sport England Active Lives report, a survey which measures the activity levels of people across England – and the first to cover a period without any coronavirus restrictions since the pandemic – shows that hill and mountain walking has continued to grow by nearly 20,000, experiencing a larger boom than any of the other 80 sports or activities measured in the survey of almost 180,000 people. 

Regular participation in hill and mountain walking now stands at 3.58 million, up from 3.39 million last year. The figures show an increase of 40% since the data was first collected in 2015/16, when just 2.46 million reported regular participation.

The growth of hill and mountain walking was largely responsible for the overall growth of the ‘Adventure Sports’ category, which also includes Climbing and Bouldering and saw a rise from last year, with a total of approximately 2.78 thousand people now participating.

Paul Davies, Chief Executive of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), the national representative body for climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers – with over 80,000 members, said: “These figures are proof that thousands more people are discovering the undeniable mental and physical benefits of getting out into our wild spaces and that you don’t have to take part in more traditional ‘sports’ to stay healthy and active.

“This is just the start – we want to help and inspire anyone, no matter if it’s your first time or your 500th time, with the confidence and knowledge to safely take part in the activities we represent – creating a space where people belong, and where anyone can reap the benefits.

“Whilst it’s great to see the overall rise in participation of hill walking and climbing, we know there is still much more to do to ensure that our activities are accessible to all groups and communities – and this is an absolute priority for the BMC and our partners.”

The release showed the number of people walking for leisure, which boomed during lockdowns, has fallen but remains well above its pre-Covid-19 figure.

To view the full Latest Active Lives Adults Survey Report visit https://www.sportengland.org/

For advice and inspiration about getting into hill walking, or expanding your skills and training, visit the BMC Hill Walking Hub.


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