HEALTH and social benefits of rambling were praised, as walkers tackled a series of led walks at Lydiard Park.

Dozens met at the West Swindon country park under leaden skies for the Ramblers’ annual Walk About Festival.

Grahame Lee, chairman of the Swindon and North East Wiltshire Ramblers, said: “There are many, many health benefits of walking, being out in the fresh air, seeing the countryside, seeing the flora and fauna. There are social aspects of it too. I’ve made so many friends and acquaintances through the walks.

“Today is part of the Ramblers’ national Walk About Festival. There’s walks taking place all over the country, all differing lengths and levels of difficulty.”

Mavis Edmondson, 73, from Haydon Wick, has been a member of the Ramblers for several years: “It’s part of my life. I lost my husband in 2013 and I thought, ‘What am I going to do with myself now?’

“I’d always been interested in walking. I went along to the Haydon health walk, then I joined the Ramblers.”

Asked why she enjoyed walking, Chris Topham, 69, from North Swindon, said: “It’s good exercise, fresh air and good company.”

Walkers tackled three routes. The longest was a six mile yomp to Mouldon Hill.