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Walking is a free and easy way to be active and stay healthy. Portsmouth is an ideal city for walking and has the highest walk to school rate in the country, with over 70% of children walking to school every day.
In addition to the historic waterfront and coastline, Portsmouth boasts a wide range of parks, gardens and open spaces to walk in. From beautiful formal parks to small pocket parks and informal wildlife havens, it’s easy to walk away from the busy city streetscape into greener surroundings.
There are plenty of ideas for walks below, whether using the services of a walk leader, or following trail maps.
Portsmouth healthy walks
Healthy walks are free volunteer-led walks, which take place throughout the week at different locations across the city. There are a variety of walks to cater for all abilities and many are buggy friendly. Children who are not in buggies can attend, as long as they are accompanied and able to walk the distance. See the brochure in the documents section below for more details, including walk distance and times.
A printed brochure is available. To request a hard copy please call the Independence and Wellbeing Team on 023 9284 1762, or to download click the link in the document link at the bottom of this page.
Guided city walks
Discover Portsmouth on foot. Visitor Information Service offers a programme of guided walks, so you can enjoy the tourist sights while getting fit.
This group offers short strolls to places of interest around Portsmouth for people living with dementia, recovering from stroke or brain injury, or with other vulnerabilities, along with their carers.
They meet at the John Pounds Centre, Queen Street, on the first and third Tuesday of every month at 1pm, with the walk starting at 1.30pm. The walk is free but the group often stops for tea and cake at the end, which requires payment.
For those who are looking to join in with longer and more challenging walks, the Portsmouth Ramblers offer moderately paced 5 to 9 mile walks on Saturdays, with faster paced 1 to 15 mile walks on Sundays. The group also run short Friday walks and some extra Saturday walks to more distant parts in the summer months. Most walks have a pub/café either at the end or at lunch time.
For more information and contact details visit: www.portsmouthramblers.org.uk
Other local organisations offering walks:
In addition to the beautiful coastline with views to admire in all directions, Portsmouth boasts a wide range of parks, gardens and open spaces to walk in, which are valued by the many thousands of people who use them every day. Both Victoria Park and Southsea Common are listed on the Register of Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England
Milton Park, Baffins Pond and Hilsea Lines have won prestigious Green Flag awards – a benchmark of a quality park or green space. From beautiful formal parks to small pocket parks and informal wildlife havens, it’s easy to walk away from the busy city streetscape into greener surroundings.
You can download below a list of all the parks and open spaces in Portsmouth, as well as two tree trails for Victoria Park and Milton Park.
Hilsea Lines Wildlife and Military History trail leaflets are also downloadable below if you’d rather take part in a nature walk, they are organised by Hilsea Lines Ranger Service and Friends of Portsdown Hill.
This route runs for a total distance of 12 miles from Alice Holt Forest near Farnham linking villages and towns in east Hampshire. It runs south across the South Downs to the final 5 miles which is within the city boundary of Portsmouth. The route gets its name from the journey of the oak grown at Alice Holt to dockyards such as Portsmouth for medieval ship building. This route enters the city at the south eastern corner of Portsmouth at the Hayling Ferry and continues in a westerly direction along the coastline of Portsea Island finishing at the Historic Dockyard.
This is a 60 mile walking route linking Milford on Sea with Emsworth Harbour. Much of this follows the coast of Hampshire including the city of Portsmouth. The route begins in the city at the Gosport Ferry and follows the seafront through old Portsmouth and continuing east along the promenade. This rounds the island and runs along the eastern side of the island north toward Farlington marshes. The route continues past the marshes, out of the city and toward Emsworth.
This 155 mile route follows the footsteps of the Pilgrims who made the long journey to worship in Normandy and those who wished to come to worship at the shrine of St. Swithun, the former teacher of Alfred the Great. This enters the city of Portsmouth from the north and travels south alongside the carriageway toward Hilsea and then follows the coastal route along the western side of the island, through Tipner and Stamshaw to reach the end of the English section at the international ferry port.
This route is a 70 mile walk that runs between Emsworth to Walbury Hill in Berkshire. The section of this route that runs through Portsmouth follows Portsdown Hill Road east west taking in the spectacular views of the city from its highest point.
Living Streets offers tips to increase how much you walk each day with the aim that you do at least 20 minutes every day.
Active10 launched by Public Health England, is a free App that can help monitor how much you’re walking and provides tips on how to fit bursts of brisk walking into your day.
The British Heart Foundation has a great booklet on walking. It describes how to keep your heart healthy and happy by walking your way to fitness. Whatever your age, size or physical condition, you are likely to benefit from being more active. See the documents section below.