Behind the scenes of our new video: What is Slow Ways?


Slow Ways’ new promotional video asks viewers to #GiveaHike.

In the video, titled What is Slow Ways, walkers and wheelers from around the UK are seen making journeys to help verify the Slow Ways network around the UK. The video features feet-first walking clips sent in from across the community, including one that looks rather wet. We also sent filmmaker Jason Brooks to film smiling faces walking through Bristol on Winbri two, and we sent Mark Davenport to film wheelchair users from the Experience Community wheeling along Marsla one. You can watch it for yourself below, and we’ve also got Slow Ways’ Lara to tell us more about the Bristol shooting day.

Experience Community were very involved in the very early days of Slow Ways, advising on the grading system that we have in place.
The canalside route of Marsla one has rough bits and slopes, but the group knew it to be accessible to them and their Mountain Trike wheelchairs. This is a perfect illustration of how important it can be to have prior knowledge of a route; not just for this group, but for people with all sorts of access needs. Thanks to people all over the country reviewing and surveying Slow Ways, you can find out what routes will likely work for large dogs, muddy days, pushchairs etc.

Lara Kramer
Slow Ways Partnerships Lead

After booking the filming day for early March, I just had to cross my fingers for good weather. I travelled up to Bristol from Cornwall the night before in the torrential rain: the forecast was not good. I imagined myself chasing a six-foot-seven filmmaker with a flimsy waterproof and tarpaulin.

In the morning, I traipsed around Bristol city centre shopping centre in Supermarket Sweep style. Armfuls of all of the umbrellas in sight amused the checkout staff at T.K.Maxx, while the hunt for lanyards had me begging phone shop staff to rifle through under the counter.

We had chosen to walk a part of Winbri two, which my colleague and I had walked just a few weeks earlier. We had really enjoyed the walk and commented on what a great route it was for taking in different landscapes, from grimy flyovers to a countryside estate. The walk briskly picks up pace approaching Harbourside so it seemed fitting to use it as a good example of a Slow Way, and it also happened to be a pretty accessible and flat route too which assured suitability for the wheeler in the group.

We were expecting 12 extras to come along and join us for the filming day but with a series of drop outs in the 24 hours before, and one young man who just forgot, we were down to seven. A stroke of luck: the rain had stopped and it looked like following the film maker with a waterproof wasn’t going to be needed!

We set out along the harbourside, making easy conversation as we went whilst Jason ran circles around us with his gimbal camera. The group consisted of extras, facilitators, a newbie to Bristol, a recent film graduate and a University researcher, but everyone had the joy of walking and being in the outdoors as a common thread.

As we walked and talked our way to the Cumberland Basin, we forgot about being filmed and eased into our new walking group status, frequently swapping lead walkers and shapeshifting to suit the landscapes and the requests that we were getting from our Director. This made for a fun time getting to know each other, which was a good reminder of how walking in a group of relative strangers can be such a delightful, levelling and enjoyable experience.

A quick stop for coffee and cake at Ashton Court gave us all the chance to refuel before turning around and walking back to our original destination. On the return journey, the sun shone and it was as if we floated back to base camp. Aside from a moment where Jason got stuck on the wrong side of a fence with his camera, the whole filming day went without a blip and everyone involved enjoyed the day immensely.

The group are considering doing something similar again, and with Bristol so close to being verified, it would be great to organise. We wish to thank everyone who was involved in making the Slow Ways promotional video: namely Jason, who did a fantastic job filming, editing and animating the film. We are delighted with the result.

Ready to #GiveAHike yourself? Sign up today. You can also download the iOS App.

Slow Ways
Slow Ways is an initiative to create a national network of walking routes connecting all of Great Britain’s towns and cities as well as thousands of villages. It’s designed to make it easier for people to imagine, plan and go on walking journeys, walking further and for more purposes.