Community Rail Week: Looking back at our Wellbeing and Nature Walks

Community Rail Week, sponsored by Rail Delivery Group, is an annual event showcasing the innovative projects and inspiring initiatives from across the community rail movement.

As a Community Rail Partnership, we are celebrating by looking back at some of the projects we have delivered with the aim of connecting communities by rail.

Walking for Wellbeing

In 2021, the partnership, in collaboration with Transport for Wales, Carneddau Landscape Partnership and Cartrefi Cymru, co-funded a series of ‘Wellbeing Walks’ led by Conwy Mind. Recognising the impact of Covid restrictions on local people and their mental and physical health, the walks focussed on the ‘5 ways to wellbeing’ and mindfulness. Walkers were encouraged to take part in Connecting, Giving, Learning, Taking Notice and Being Active. The surroundings suited the exercises perfectly – woodland space with nature at fingertips. The group were also strongly encouraged to share their own experiences and knowledge. This created confidence, with support given from the rest of the group through positive body language and active listening.

Participants were encouraged, where possible, to travel by public transport to and from the walks which not only promoted sustainability but also boosted travel confidence. Almost 90% of people who attended a walk felt afterwards that they were better able to get things done and had a greater sense of achievement.

This project was nominated for ‘Best Community Engagement’ project at the Community Rail Network awards, and was awarded 3rd place, a huge achievement! You can read more about the project here.

People walking together in the woods

Wellbeing Walk for Loneliness Awareness Week

Loneliness Awareness Week, founded by the Marmalade Trust, is an annual campaign which aims to raise awareness of loneliness and get people talking about it. As a Community Rail Partnership, one of our main aims is to bring communities together and support diversity and inclusion. We therefore feel Loneliness Awareness Week is an important campaign to get involved with and provide opportunities for the communities we support to come together and reduce isolation.

We partnered with walk leader, Nick from Conwy Mind’s Wellbeing Team, to lead a 5 mile circular walk on 16thJune 2021 from Betws-y-Coed railway station. The walk focused on the ‘5 ways to wellbeing’ and mindfulness. Participants were invited to join us afterwards for a cuppa and chat at the Alpine Coffee Shop.

Wellbeing through Nature Walks

 Following the success of the first Walking for Wellbeing walks, we were successful in our application to the National Lottery Community Fund to host a second series of wellbeing walks in 2022. We partnered with Carneddau Landscape Partnership and Transport for Walks to host 4 Wellbeing through Nature Walks led by Mind Conwy. We also worked collaboratively with TAPE Community Music and Film who joined the walks, taking video footage to produce 4 unique videos encouraging and motivating people to enjoy the great outdoors and all its health benefits, both mentally and physically. The videos are in their final stages of edits and we will be promoting them on our website and social media channels as soon as they go live, so watch this space. Additionally, we partnered with experts in areas such as archaeology to join the walks and talk about their field of expertise.

Walks took place from Conwy, Llanrwst North Railway Station and Betws-y-Coed railway station and Aber Falls bus station to encourage the use of public transport, promoting sustainability and travel confidence. The walks focused on the ‘5 ways to wellbeing’ with Nick, from Conwy Mind, who shared tips on planning your own walk and how you can use the 5 ways to wellbeing to connect, give, learn, take notice and be active in your daily lives.