Simple Tips for an Eco-Friendly Walk

by Sally Phillips

Going for a hike is one of the best ways to enjoy the vast and varied great outdoors in the UK.  Not only will a nature hike allow you to explore the exquisite natural beauty of various popular destinations, but you will also enjoy all the benefits associated with physical exercise.

But although hiking can be a very cathartic pastime, it is not one free of responsibility. When out in nature, it is important to have as little impact on your surroundings as possible. Here are a few suggestions on how you can make your hiking expeditions more eco-friendly.

Leave no trace

Rubbish left in the wild during a hike is not only unsightly but extremely detrimental to the environment. Animals can mistake garbage for food and get ill, injured or worse, and certain objects take literally hundreds of years to fully decompose. During decomposition, various chemicals released into the environment can cause severe harm.

When hiking, make sure you really do leave nothing but your footprints behind. Remember to take a few biodegradable bin bags with you to carry your recyclables and rubbish. You should also pick up any litter you come across along the way, even if it isn’t yours, and dispose of it in a responsible manner.


Invest in eco-friendly items

Make use of eco-friendly, biodegradable hiking gear and accessories wherever possible. Take along a reusable water bottle made from recycled materials and wrap your food in eco-friendly beeswax wraps instead of plastic.

As someone who values nature, you more than likely steer clear of harsh chemicals that can do severe damage to the environment. Instead, you will opt for products that are free of harmful chemical compounds. The same principles should apply when out hiking.

Make sure you use eco-friendly sunscreen, and if you are camping, choose cleaning materials or other personal hygiene products that are also eco-friendly.

Respect Mother Nature

Depending on where in the UK you hike, you are bound to come across a large variety of fauna and flora that can be impacted greatly by the presence of humans.  Take extra care to not disturb any wildlife, whether it is a bird, a lizard or a mammal, as you may end up destroying their breeding grounds. Be very careful never to enter private property and other prohibited areas.

Leave everything exactly as you have found it. Don’t pick flowers, regardless of how tempting it may be, and don’t move any infant animals that are seemingly abandoned — the parent is often nearby waiting for you to depart.

Taking a hike in nature is undoubtedly an invigorating experience. With care and awareness, we can preserve these wonderful environments for all.

Originally published 27/08/21

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