For me, a walk along a river is medicine. Spending time on a river bank makes me feel more relaxed and refreshed. As well as the calming sounds of a babbling brook, a waterfall has a natural soothing melody. While listening to relaxing noises of water I always feel more relaxed. Furthermore, research shows that by spending time by water will not only lower the stress in your life, but helps boost your immune system.
The Blue Mind Effect
Wallace J. Nichols, marine biologist studying Pacific Ocean, has written a book called ‘Blue Mind‘, in which he describes his five year study of the effects of being near water and why it makes us happy. He concluded that being in, on, under or even near water can make you happier, healthier.
What is the Blue Mind Effect?
‘The term “blue mind” describes the mildly meditative state we fall into when near, in, on or under water. It’s the antidote to what we refer to as “red mind,” which is the anxious, over-connected and over-stimulated state that defines the new normal of modern life.’ says Nichols in an interview with Marla Cimini (USA Today). In addition to this, research has proven that spending time near the water is essential to achieving an increased happiness.
It is believed that being near water is restful for the mind by allowing the release of dopamine. Dopamine controls many functions, including behaviour and emotion and is often referred to as the ‘feel-good’ hormone.
Walks Along a River
With this mind, here are five walks along a river from The Outdoor Guide:
The Falls of Clyde
The Falls of Clyde is rightly famed for its four powerful waterfalls, as well as the wildlife. Visitors can see dippers, ravens and kingfishers to name just a few. The four Linn (Scottish for waterfalls) have been attracting famous visitors for centuries – including poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Corra Linn is the highest of the falls with cascades tumbling 84 feet, but all are mightily impressive and will captivate you as you walk.
The Thames Path
This short section of the 184-mile Thames Path National Trail follows the river from Putney Bridge to the Thames Barrier, passing many of London’s most famous landmarks. Walkers can enjoy close-up views of the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, The London Eye, Battersea Power Station, the Tate Modern, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Canary Wharf and the London Docklands before finishing in Greenwich.
This is a hidden treasure on the Exmoor coast, Julia’s walk sets off from the picturesque harbour-town of Lynmouth and meanders under the tree-green canopy of water-rapids following the East Lyn River and the Hoar Oak River.
The Avon Gorge
Clifton Suspension Bridge is the stunning backcloth to this walk.
Built over 150 years ago the bridge links Clifton in Bristol with Leigh Woods in Somerset. The views across the city are stunning along this 3.2 mile route.
The Brecon Beacons
This circular walk through ‘Waterfall Country’ in the Brecon Beacons visits four stunning falls set in beautiful woodlands.
In addition to these walks we have a wide variety wheelchair friendly river walks on The Outdoor Guide. Here are five of our wheelchair friendly routes along a river from AccessTOG:
Dovedale, Peak District
Explore the limestone gorge of Dovedale and its famous stepping stones on this wheelchair friendly walk in the Peak District National Park.
Cotter Force, Yorkshire Dales
Cotter Force Walk is one of the Yorkshire Dales National Parks ‘Miles without Stiles’ walking routes. This secluded waterfall is about two miles north-west of the town of Hawes and a mile north-west of the village of Hardraw towards the head of Wensleydale.
Newark & River Trent
Newark was once a significant inland port; a transport hub for the the wool, coal and grain trade that grew up in and and around this area. Now there is a lovely walk along the riverside, which takes in the old town and castle. This is the walk that was on the recent BBC River walks programme (available still on iplayer).
Keswick, Lake District
A wheel friendly walk encompassing Friar’s Crag viewpoint. It starts in the large car park just on the outskirts of Keswick. It then leads you along a flat path that follows the lake side edge, you can either choose to use the pavement or walk on the shingle.
Why walk along a river?
So to answer the question ‘Why walk along a river?’, the answer is simple. Water is one of the most beautiful natural features a landscape can possess. It makes you feel good, and is good for the mind, the body and the spirit. Enjoy our river walks on The Outdoor Guide.