It's national 'get moving week' and if you're feeling inspired this weekend we've got some brilliant short walks to enjoy around Swindon without breaking lockdown rules.

Whether it's a new priority to get out and move your body, be it because of working from home and being sat down all day or escaping the house for a moment alone, away from home schooling - exercise has become our solace. 

The benefits of being active far exceed just the physical changes your body may see. 

The emotional benefits of getting outside in the fresh air and enjoying some gentle exercise can make a huge difference to our mental health, especially for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in the winter months. 

SAD is a form of depression that comes and goes with the season. As the sun sets and stays down, so does a person's mood.

However exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that reduce pain and increase feelings of well-being. In addition, exercise increases your metabolism, which helps to improve your energy levels.

Due to the national lockdown gyms are closed and we are only permitted to leave the house for essential shopping or once daily for exercise. 

You can exercise in a public outdoor space: 

- by yourself

- with the people you live with

- with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)

- in a childcare bubble where providing childcare

- or, when on your own, with one person from another household

You don't need to start running marathons or doing circuits, but a gentle 30-minute walk is enough to see positive changes in both your mind and body whilst adhering to lockdown rules.

Here are some of our favourite walks to enjoy in and around Swindon:

Lydiard Park:

Swindon Advertiser: Lydiard Park. Picture by Dave Evans

Lydiard Park. Picture by Dave Evans

The first of our favourite walks has to be Lydiard Park - with more than 200 acres of parkland to enjoy there's something for everyone whether you want to walk for 30 minutes or a few hours. 

The glorious parkland has stunning countryside views, a Georgian Manor House and the famous lake as well as a walled garden to roam around so you can see something new everyday if you fancy it. 

Toilet facilities are available Monday to Sunday between 9am and 4pm and enhanced cleaning will take place twice a day.

Parking is £2 for two hours or £4 for the whole day. 

Shaw Forest: 

Just off Mead Way in West Swindon Shaw Forest is a great walk for families and dog walkers with lots of woodland and meadows to run around.

There are a variety of paths to take which really allows you to choose your own route and set your own pace - we recommend a daily walk of 1.5km which takes approximately half an hour.

If you are driving to the forest follow the postcode SN5 7EX however you should not travel outside your local area, but you can travel a short distance within your area to exercise if necessary.

The Ridgeway:

Swindon Advertiser: Eleanor Dodson took this picture during a walk on The Ridgeway

Eleanor Dodson took this picture during a walk on The Ridgeway

Iconic with walkers across the country, The Ridgeway is the oldest road in Britain and runs from Cornwall to London, passing through the rolling Wiltshire hills. 

For at least 5,000 years people including drovers, traders and invaders, have walked or ridden The Ridgeway. 

If you live close enough to the Ridgeway then this is an ideal place to walk as the vast greenery is superb for reducing stress and building fitness as the path has a range of inclines. 

The easiest place to join the path is at Barbury Castle, the first of a series of Iron Age forts along the Ridgeway - there is free parking and no toilet facilities along this route. 

Town Gardens:

For those of us living in the town centre, the Town Gardens in Old Town is a tranquil space to enjoy a daily walk.

The manicured formal gardens have a stunning bandstand, rose garden, and woodland which is home to an abundance of wildlife. 

All of the paths are flat and concreted making this a great route for those of us with pushchairs or wheelchairs. 

Parking is available on Quarry Road, follow the postcode SN1 4EN. 

Coate Water:

Swindon Advertiser: Coate Water by Laura Nottage

Coate Water by Laura Nottage

One of Swindon's favourite walks has to be Coate Water. 

This huge fishing lake is a beautiful walk to enjoy any day of the week, however the route is not lit so make sure you visit with plenty of daylight hours to spare. 

The full walk is 1.7 miles which can take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half to complete depending on your pace and mobility. 

Ideal for your little ones, the lake is home to a variety of wildlife including ducks, geese and swans. 

There is carparking on-site starting at £1 for two hours, follow the postcode SN3 6AA. 

Let us know how exercise has benefitted you in the comments.