Countryfile star joins Faygate couple for walking initiative

Julia Bradbury with Durrants Village residents Roger and Margaret Chaplin
Julia Bradbury with Durrants Village residents Roger and Margaret Chaplin

A couple from Faygate were joined by TV presenter Julia Bradbury for a countryside walk on Thursday September 6 which was held with the aim of promoting an active retirement.

Roger and Margaret Chaplin who live at Durrants Village joined residents and staff from six other later living villages across the UK which are all operated by Inspired Villages Group (IVG).

Roger said: “The walk with Julia seemed a good opportunity to meet some other inspired villagers, as well as Julia herself.

“We really enjoyed meeting her and found her just as friendly as she appears on screen.”

The event launched an initiative from Inspired Villages to encourage countryside walking, through walking guide pamphlets set to launch at each of their villages in the coming months.

Starting at Great Alne Park in Warwickshire, residents were led by Julia Bradbury on a three mile walk through the countryside, where she took the time to chat to residents, as well as CEO of Inspired Villages, Jamie Bunce.

Discussions included what the company is doing to change the face of ‘later living’ and how Inspired Villages is helping residents to enjoy an independent retirement.

The halfway point was celebrated with a beer tasting at a local brewery, and the walk ended with a pub lunch where residents shared stories about being part of an inspired community and their favourite walks.

Roger added: “We have been doing quite a bit of walking around Horsham, both with other villagers and the local U3A, and we were impressed with the lovely countryside in Warwickshire - almost as good as the Horsham area.”

Julia, who is best known for her time as a presenter on the BBC’s Countryfile, as well as presenting Watchdog and ITV’s Britain’s Best Walks, also has her own website charting good walking routes across the country, The Outdoor Guide.

Julia said: “This was a fabulous day to be involved in and I am proud to be part of such an important initiative.

“Walking is a great way for people to ease into exercise, explore their local area and get to know new people.”

The walk marked the launch of Inspired Villages’ latest initiative, individual walking guides for each village, to encourage an active and social later life.

The walking guides will chart local walking routes and will be launched at each village in the coming months.

Jamie Bunce, CEO of IVG, said: “The Inspired walk was a fantastic day and we were delighted that Julia could be part of it.

“Our local residents and those who travelled from our other villages throughout the UK enjoyed it immensely.

“The event was part of our drive to help combat loneliness. It’s predicted that between 2008 and 2033 there will be a 44 per cent increase in the number of 65-74 year olds living alone across the country, and research shows that being lonely can have a negative impact on physical and mental health.

“The Walking Guides endeavour to facilitate living younger longer and to encourage our residents to explore the attractive surroundings of their new homes.”

“Our vision is to make a big impact on major issues such as health, care and loneliness. Our unique later living accommodation and communities are centred on the philosophy that adventures, good health and happiness don’t stop in retirement.”