National Walking Strategy aims to make Scotland one of the world's most walking-friendly countries

A major plan which aims to make Scotland a world leader as a walking-friendly country has been updated and relaunched.

National Walking Strategy Action Plan

Let’s Get Scotland Walking - the National Walking Strategy sets out a vision where everyone benefits from walking as part of their everyday journeys, and everyone has access to welcoming and safe environments to walk in.

First published in 2014 by the Scottish Government, the National Walking Strategy (NWS) is a long-term plan to get more people in Scotland walking more often, improving the nation’s health and wellbeing.

It places walking at the heart of everyday life, from walking to work and school and having easy access to greenspaces, to creating towns and cities which are walkable and attractive.

The revamped action plan will continue to act as a key point of reference to organisations such as public bodies, local councils and charities who have committed to its delivery.

It has now been welcomed by Scotland’s Active Nation Commissioner Lee Craigie and Joe FitzPatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing.

He said

Being active is one of the best things we can do for our physical, mental and social health. It helps to prevent heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and several cancers. It also plays an important part in helping us maintain a healthy weight; and reduces the risk of developing depression. 

Encouraging regular walking is one of the ways in which we are promoting Scotland’s physical and mental wellbeing.  But it is important that we make walking easy and accessible so it can become part of our normal routine.

I am delighted the NWS Action Plan commits us to work across boundaries to ensure everyone can benefit from everyday walking. Getting Scots more active, more often will lead to improvements in the health and wellbeing of our population.

Lee Craigie, Active Nation Commissioner said: “My job is to ensure that walking and cycling are more accessible to more people, so I’m pleased to support the National Walking Strategy Action Plan which firmly embeds walking in all aspects of our lives.

“Walking is the activity and mode of transport that nearly everyone can do on a daily basis. It does not need any special equipment, it’s social and young and old can take part. Many people walk as part of their journey to work or school and it has so many benefits. It not only improves health of the walker but is kinder to the environment, and boosts our economy.”

In 2014, the NWS was one of the first national walking strategies in the world. The strategy’s action plan was developed in 2016 and is supported by senior representatives from 20 national organisations.

Craig McLaren, chairman of the National Walking Strategy Delivery Forum said: "I am delighted that we have a broad group of people who are committed to act as walking champions and use their knowledge, ideas and networks to ensure that walking is embedded into how we think and what we do.

"The action plan and delivery forum give us a fantastic opportunity to work together to make the step change we want on walking in Scotland."

We facilitate the NWS Delivery Forum responsible for making the strategy aims become a reality.

Ian Findlay, our Chief Officer said: “Scotland has the opportunity to become a world leader as a walking-friendly country. There is powerful evidence supporting the benefits of regular walking which can help us deal with some of today’s most serious public health issues including obesity, mental ill health and social isolation.

“Walking also has key role to play in protecting the environment and dealing with transport congestion and air pollution.  It is an ideal and greener way to travel for everyday short journeys.

“The strategy’s action plan has the backing of a huge range of partners across our society from local authorities to third sector organisations.

“But everyone can help to Get Scotland Walking and we will continue to work together to help more people walk more often and bring about a happier, healthier Scotland.”

Read the National Walking Strategy Action Plan

For more information, visit or search #stepchangescot.