Drawing out a love of walking

Well-known artists have been inspiring Edinburgh residents to walk and cycle more through a series of revealing local walks.

Judith Lamb is pictured leading a foraging walk around Portobello's coastline

Throughout 2019, artists including Alec Finlay and Suzanne Parry, have been working alongside Art Walk Projects to help people living in East Edinburgh and Musselburgh to rediscover their local area and re-think taking their car for short journeys.

With funding from our Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund, a series of artist-led walks, cycles and community engagement events were delivered in local areas to devise routes through hardly-used habitats, intersecting urban with nature, presented in a fun and informative way.

A printed and online ‘Footprint’ map pulled together the information - from the artists’ routes to community mappings, to cycle shops, train lines, cultural events and festivals, as well as the marking of greenspaces and other heritage sites.
Residents in Gilberstoun estate on the edge of the city spoke about their re-engagement with their local area. A typical place for car use and driving short journeys, many participants said it made them reconsider their habits of always taking a car.

One said:

It was wonderful to take part in Suzanne’s first event collecting our own sounds during an initial walk of this route. I really enjoyed meeting new people and exploring my usual neighbourhood in a completely new way. It was great to see my usual locality through another’s eyes and it was great to feel the sounds I collected on my phone were later used in the finished soundtrack.

More participants said they realised the benefits of regular walking and others said the project motivated them to walk more regularly. 

Those with physical or health limitation said they realised the importance walking even a small way if they could and that a walk didn’t need to be a special day out.

After taking part in the project, 26 per cent of participants reported an increase in their regular physical activity, with a quarter saying they would use their car less or not at all for short local journeys, opting for walking and cycling instead.

For more information, click here.

To apply for a grant from our Smarter Choices, Smarter Choices Open Fund, supported by Transport Scotland, click here.