Forestry Commission logo

Get nordic walking at Haldon Forest Park

This news story is now over a year old and information may no longer be accurate or up-to-date. It might also contain obsolete links.
Please use our search link on the left to look for more recent information.
Nordic Walking event

Looking for a new way to get fit and healthy in 2011?  Enjoy the great outdoors and meeting new people?  Then Nordic Walking could be for you.

Qualified Nordic walking instructor Fiona Swann will be offering sessions at the Forestry Commission's Haldon Forest Park from the end of January, where people can come along to learn the technique. 

This popular fitness technique incorporates specially designed walking poles to work the upper part of the body as well as the legs whilst walking, making it a full body work out.  It was first developed in Finland in the 1950s to help cross country skiers maintain their fitness.  Suitable for people of all abilities, it is recommended by fitness experts and health professionals because it is simple, highly effective and affordable.

By using the specially designed poles, people can use all the major muscles in the body to burn up to twice as many calories as ordinary walking, even though the poles make it feel easier by propelling the walker along! 

The poles also reduce the pressure on the knees and joints and the gentle upper body movement is great for easing back and neck pain too. It’s so effective that it is being used for weight loss, rehabilitation and sports specific training all the over the UK and those that have tried it all agree that being outdoors was energising and that they felt fantastic afterwards!

After an initial session, people can sign up to regular walks with Fiona’s groups.  She says:

“Nordic walking is such good fun and is an excellent way to improve health and fitness. 

“I am offering initial induction sessions where people can come along and have a go – it is suitable for all but you do need to learn the technique.  If people enjoy it they can then join one of my regular weekly groups, which at Haldon will be on Saturdays and Wednesdays.  It is a great social activity and by coming to regular sessions people can develop their technique, strength and fitness.  At Haldon, there is the added bonus of a beautiful setting to walk in.

“The first session is on Saturday 29 January and people can book or find out more by calling me on 01626 890120."  

People can also find out more on the Nordic Walking UK website  Further information about Fiona’s sessions are also available on the Forestry Commission website


1.  There is something for everyone at Haldon Forest Park.  It is 3.500 acres of woodland, owned by the Forestry Commission, just fifteen minutes from Exeter.  It is open every day and there are a range of walks and all ability trails, cycling trails as well as a wide range of events.  Rangers are on hand daily to give advice and ensure people get the most out of their visit.  In addition Forest Cycle Hire is based at Haldon, hiring out mountain bikes to visitors and facilitating groups of cyclists in the forest.  Haldon Forest Park also hosts Go Ape, an award-winning high wire forest adventure course of rope bridges, tarzan swings and zip slides in the tree tops.  The Ridge Café is open at Malden every day serving a range of delicious, locally sourced food and drink.  The site is also home to the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World, an innovative organisation, which uses the arts to explore new understandings of our place within nature.  They hold regular exhibitions and run educational events.

2.  The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment.  Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.  Further information can be found at

Media Contact:  Kirstie Smith, Communications Manager, Forestry Commission on 01392 834249.