Go walking! Ballymena and the surrounding area certainly has no shortage of places to go walking either on your own, with friends or as a member of a walking group. Why start walking?
- It’s healthy! A 30 minute brisk walk burns off anywhere between 90 -200 calories and can reduce the risk of having a number of health issues like diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure & heart disease.
- Walking gives you an opportunity to properly enjoy the countryside rather than speeding past it in the car.
- It’s a great time to get away from the business of life and get your head cleared.
- Meeting up for a walk with friends or a walking club gives you time to chat and catch up.
Where can you walk around the Ballymena area? Obviously there’s many miles of roads and footpaths but if you want to get away from the traffic and enjoy some peace and quiet here’s some of the places you can go walking.
Closest to us here at the Ballymena Today offices is the Lisnafillan Walk. At just under 3.5km this walk follows the River Maine for quite a bit and takes you on a circular path around the Gallaher/JTI site. Parking is available at the public car park in Galgorm.
Another option is the Riverside Walk which is a flat point to point path starting in either Cullybackey or at the rear of Galgorm Resort & Spa. It’s 3km from one end to the other and again the majority of this route follows the River Maine. Horses and their riders also have access to most of this path.
Closer to Ballymena are the Ecos trails. You’re likely to meet a few cyclists on these routes and look out for some amazing wildlife around here too. Lots of parking available at the Ecos Centre.
There are lots of other paths and trails in the Borough from the Buttermilk Bridge walk in Broughshane and while you’re there you could also enjoy the circular walk up and around Slemish, or make your way to Portglenone for a choice of trails through the forest there. Click here for a great Facebook page to keep you informed about walking throughout all of Northern Ireland.
So if this has whetted your appetite to go walking and you need some gear to make it more enjoyable you could give Outdoor Adventure on Church Street a visit, where Roy and the team will get you sorted. The essential items are going to be a waterproof jacket and a supportive pair of walking boots or shoes. Outdoor Adventure stock jackets from the leading outdoor clothing suppliers like North Face & Jack Wolfskin, prices starting at £94.99 and shoes or boots from Merrell, Hi-tec & others. A pair of good socks will help and you can support local industry by buying a pair of Bridgedale socks manufactured in Newtownards. If you’re intending to walk in all seasons and all weathers Outdoor Adventure can supply everything from thermal underlayers, mid layers eg fleeces or body warmers and as we’ve said a good waterproof jacket for the outer layer. A good selection of hats & gloves are available to keep you warm in the colder weather and lots of other accessories like walking sticks, day bags, flasks etc. Check out Outdoor Adventure’s website here or their Facebook page here
Once you have the gear you need to stay safe and comfortable, walking is a very inexpensive hobby and a healthy one at that. We hope we have encouraged you to get out of the house and enjoy our beautiful countryside around Ballymena and go walking!