Popular health walks in Weymouth that had to be axed due to Covid restrictions will be returning this month – along with new seated exercise classes for residents with limited mobility.

Weymouth Town Council said its weekly health walks will return on May 6 as Covid restrictions continue to ease, with a number of new routes drawn up and social distancing measures in place.

The Weymouth Health Walks scheme offers residents of all walking abilities the chance to meet safely with others and benefit from fresh air and gentle exercise, using local parks and open spaces.

The walks were initially paused in March 2020 due to the first national lockdown before resuming in September that year.

They were then paused again in November because of the second lockdown. Despite the second lockdown ending on December 2 2020, Dorset went into strict Tier 2 restrictions meaning the walks could still not resume.

Walk leaders have been working behind the scenes to ensure the safe return of their walks on Thursday, May 6, including planning new routes along the Promenade, Radipole Park Drive, and the Radipole Nature Reserve.

A new free seated exercise class will be launched on Wednesday, May 19.

Through the Keep in Touch project, staff and volunteer leaders said they have been keeping in touch with many residents to keep them motivated and connected while the walks have been cancelled.

Town Clerk Jane Biscombe said: “Maximising the safety of our walkers is our top priority and we are very lucky to be able to use local parks and open spaces for our walks. This ensures that social distancing can be maintained, whilst giving our walkers the opportunity to renew old friendships. The new free seated exercises classes are a wonderful addition to the many activities that are being planned in Radipole Park & Gardens.”

Councillor Gill Taylor said: “We are resuming our walks in May and although it will feel different because of social distancing and the limit on numbers, it will be lovely to be able to see our regular walkers, some of whom have not met up with other people for nearly a year.

"We want to support our community by getting people out and about together in a safe manner, as this was highlighted as a great need whilst we were delivering the Keep in Touch project.

“The new seated exercise classes are another way of making sure that we are inclusive of all our community and take into account all abilities. As we age it can be extremely difficult to find motivation to keep fit. Seated games that involve exercise are great fun and always involves laughter. Even if you are a bit shy you soon make friends with everyone in the group. If you can’t move around freely chair-based exercise is perfect. Everyone is welcome along and if you have a carer they are also invited to join in.”

Walkers must book in advance and must not attend if they or anyone in their household is displaying symptoms of Covid. To book your place, please contact the bookings manager by phoning 01305 239314 or emailing healthwalks@weymouthtowncouncil.gov.uk.

If you would like to know more about the seated exercises classes, please phone Jackie on 07857 927190.

For more information email office@weymouthtowncouncil.gov.uk