The Love Exploring app has come to the Black Country's parks and open spaces to encourage more people to take up walking for fun.
In partnership with Walsall Council, Dudley Council, Sandwell Council, City of Wolverhampton Council and WM Network, Active Black Country are developing walks, cycles routes and discovery games to feature on the app.
Free to download, Love Exploring provides ideas for places to visit, family activities when you get there along with suggestions on trails and guided tours round the parks and open spaces.
The Black Country programme has been made possible through support from Transport for West Midlands' Active Travel Fund grant.
With the current Covid-19 pandemic, getting outside and being active has ever been more important for both health and mental wellbeing. During the first lockdown Active Black Country undertook research into the impact of COVID-19 on activity habits and found that 53.5% of respondents who previously described themselves as Inactive had increased their levels to Fairly Active and of all the new habits picked up during lockdown, 23.6% of respondents indicated they’d like to continue walking in one form or another.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: "Exercise is so important to both people’s physical and mental health, and the ongoing pandemic and current national lockdown has served to highlight that.
"The Love Exploring app, which features trail guides and interactive maps, is a brilliant way to encourage more people to get physically active, and I am delighted we have been able to roll it out in the Black Country at such a critical time.”
Ian Carey, Director Active Black Country said: "The Love Exploring app is perfect encouragement for families, and individuals, to get out and get walking during this second lockdown and beyond.
"The benefits of being outdoors and being active are so important, especially at the moment, for both our physical and mental well-being. The app can provide you with trail guides with interactive maps providing information about the park or open space as you walk and for families there are free games designed to surprise you along the way.”
The Black Country parks currently available on the app are:
- Silver Jubilee Park, Coseley, Dudley
- Walsall Arboretum
- Swannies Field, Walsall
- Willenhall Memorial Park
- West Park, Wolverhampton
- Sandwell Valley Country Park
- Warrens Hall Nature Reserve, Sandwell (Bumble Hole Local Nature Reserve in Dudley)
Since the Black Country locations were added on 23 October the app has recorded 1,515 uses across the area. Download the app here.
Please be safe when visiting parks and open spaces.
If outdoor gym or play equipment is available for use, please use it responsibly and follow Public Health England guidance on hand washing.
Please don’t visit these spaces if you’re suffering with symptoms of coronavirus.
Please keep your distance if you’re walking or on a bike, staying at least 2 metres away from other people.
Please check and follow the current restrictions for mixing outdoors.
Find out more about the Love Exploring app here: https://www.activeblackcountry.co.uk/love-exploring