JAYNE Noble likes nothing better than walking in the fresh air, enjoying the Yorkshire scenery.

“I also like the peace and quiet of the countryside and the opportunity it gives me to socialise or to walk alone when I choose to,” she says.

“We are very lucky living in Bradford as we have so many beautiful places to walk on our doorstep. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal offers easy walks and close by we have Shipley Glen and Baildon Moor. Bronte country is not too far away and offers more rugged landscapes, and we can walk over the moors to Ilkley. My friends who visit from the Midlands are envious of the countryside on my door step and the closeness of the Yorkshire Dales.”

Jayne is a member of the local walking group CHA, which is more than a century old. Founded in 1903 it holds public transport and coach rambles across the North of England.

“In many walking clubs car ownership is essential, but not in ours,” she says. “ As well as local walks we run coach rambles which give easy access to the north of England, so you can walk in a different area without parking problems. We also run club weekends and holidays.”

CHA organise walks every Saturday and Sunday. “All our events have at least one guided walk and on Sunday we have three- easy, moderate and harder,” says Jayne. The club is very friendly and sociable and caters for everyone by providing different levels of walks.”

Jayne’s fitness has improved due to regular walking. “I am pleased that I no longer have aches and pains at the end of a ten-mile walk. My ability to walk up hills has definitely improved, but it is also good for my mental health as it helps to clear my mind and a good walk seems to put everything in perspective.”

Fellow club member Ray Wilkes, who like Jayne is on the CHA committee, loves walking for a variety of reasons. “The scenery mostly, changing seasons, and the sense of achievement. In nearly 60 years of walking I have walked more than70,000 miles and walked round most of Britain, around the coast and in every English and Welsh county. It is a huge bonus that walking is good for my health.”

Bradford is one of the best cities for walking, he adds, because it contains a wide variety of countryside, woods, a canal, valleys and moorlands. “It is also fairly easy to get by train and bus to the national parks.”

Recently Bradford CHA teamed up with another voluntary group, the Peak and Northern Footpath Society (PNFS) to introduce more footpath signs across the Bradford District.

“We have sponsored three signs and we hope to sponsor more in the future,” says Ray. “The Peak and Northern Footpath signs are very attractive and are quite common in the Peak District, but there are only a few in West Yorkshire.”

Peak and Northern Footpath Society, a charity, was founded in 1894 to fight the closure of footpaths by moor owners, then later by water authorities flooding the upper Derwent, west of Sheffield.

The society has been campaigning to protect paths using legal action if necessary since its formation in 1894. It works across Cheshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Staffordshire, West and South Yorkshire. It has erected hundreds of iconic signposts and many bridges.

“Bradford City Council have been very helpful to both groups and this is greatly appreciated,” adds Ray, whose wife Jackie is also a member of CHA, serving as Sunday rambles secretary.

Four towns and villages in the Bradford district are members of Walkers are Welcome, a countrywide, community-led network of accredited towns whose purpose is to develop and promote walking.

The network aims to encourage walkers by providing information on local walks, ensuring that footpaths and facilities for walkers are maintained, improved and well signposted and promoting the health benefits of walking. It also encourages the use of public transport.

Last year members celebrated their tenth anniversary with an event at Hebden Bridge - the first town to receive Walkers are Welcome accreditation in 2007. Since then more than 100 towns and villages in the UK have received it.

Christine McCabe, chairman of Bingley Walkers are Welcome - which was established in 2015 - says that people who attend the group walks regularly have been amazed at how they have discovered parts of Bingley which they never knew existed, such as back snickets and ginnels.

“We organise monthly walks on the second Sunday in every month meeting outside Bingley Arts Centre at 10am. The walks last around two hours and are always in the Bingley/Harden/Cottingley/Crossflatts area.”

Walks attract between 15 and 30 walkers. “We are supported by the local medical practices and believe that walking has both physical and mental health benefits,” adds Christine. “We have found that many single people come on our walks and indeed friendships have been forged.

“Some walkers have encouraged people to join other groups such as pilates, choirs and other walking organisations such as Walking for Health.

“As well as promoting and encouraging the health benefits of walking, our Walkers are Welcome status helps to boost the local economy by attracting visitors and increasing footfall. You can easily recognise a Walkers are Welcome business as they display the logo in their windows.”

These can commonly be seen in cafes, pubs and shops.

“We ran a walking festival last May which was attended by about 150 people of all ages including children and we are holding another one this year. We have had stalls promoting the group at Bingley Show, Bingley Canal festival and numerous other local events. We also have links with Bingley Green Dog Group.”

Vice chairman of Baildon Walkers Are Welcome Chris Grogan speaks of the long distance trails that begin in the area - the Dales Way from Ilkley to Bowness-on- Windermere and A Dales High Way that starts in Saltaire and ends at Appleby.

“Thousands of walkers who set off on them both each year and bring much income to the district,” she says, adding that a special 28-mile walk linking the local Walkers are Welcome areas has been created.

“Long distance walks can challenge you. People come for a holiday and stay at various places as they walk the route.”

She adds: “Walking has so many benefits - it is terrific to be out in the fresh air, meeting people, chatting if you want to. There is a big loneliness agenda at the moment and walking can help to address it.”

One of the best-attended events on the group’s calendar is the Toddlers Toddle, for mums and their children. “It is great to start young,” says Chris.

*Visit bradfordwalking.org; pnfs.org,uk; meetup.com/Bradford-CHA-Walking-Club; bingleywalkersarewelcome.org.uk; baildonwalkersarewelcome.org