u3a members are gearing up to get involved with Slow Ways. It’s a national initiative to create a network of reasonably direct, safe and accessible walking routes between cities, towns and many villages. Slow Ways aims to encourage people to walk more, further, and for more purposes. In 2020, volunteers – including u3a members – mapped out over 7,500 Slow Ways routes across Great Britain. Now the routes are drafted the challenge for 2021 is to review all 100,000km of them! 

Slow Ways from Greenwich

There’s an open invitation to u3a members, groups and regional networks to explore the Slow Ways website (or nominate someone in a u3a group to do that) and choose one or more routes to walk and check. As well as walking groups, any u3a group and member is welcome to use Slow Ways to connect across a range of projects and with each other.

How can u3a members and groups contribute?

  • Use and explore routes
    • Choose and walk a Slow Ways route, for recreation or other reasons.
    • Sign in to the website to use a Journey Planner and create Waylists.
  • Help to create a trusted national network of walking routes
    • Review a Slow Ways route, including comments, star rating, an option to ‘verify’ a route, photos (see ‘How to review a Slow Ways route’).
      Collectively review a route – leave a single review capturing group feedback, or leave several reviews showing individual reflections.
      ‘Swarm’ – choose a place or an area, and review all its Slow Ways routes.
    • Add a Slow Ways route, if needed.
    • Review a Place (See ‘How to survey a Place’).
    • Survey a Slow Ways route in detail, looking at things such as accessibility, stiles, path quality, gradients etc. – this requires online training (See ‘How to survey a Slow Ways route’).
  • Make u3a links
    • Use Slow Ways in u3a settings, contexts and with u3a activities and projects.
    • Create a ‘Slow Ways Voices’ film.
    • Share what you do locally, on social media using #SlowWays and @u3a.

Resources to support u3a members and groups

u3a inspirations

  • Browse a list of walking-themed books prepared by Jo Livingston of Bexley u3a.
  • View some ‘Slow Ways Voices’ – why not add a u3a ‘voice’?
  • Take and share Slow Ways photos, from a u3a angle.
  • Share a blog about exploring Slow Ways, in a u3a context.
Image credit David Lintern/Slow Ways