List Envy
List Envy
Mar 1, 2021
39: Top 5 rewards of urban walking
Play • 44 min


Sue Burlton

Paediatric ICU nurse passionate about her career and her children.

Mark is joined by nature lover and avid walker Sue Burlton, and together they uncover the joys of a good stretch of the legs. If you’re planning a stroll, this will make excellent accompaniment.

Sue’s picks

In order of discussion:


You might be surprised how much wildlife is available for you to see, even in an urban space, so let the dog off the lead for a bit and take a look through the trees and the hedgerows and see what you can spot.

Green space

Trees are good for us, berries are often plentiful, and flowers are pretty. Look, it needed to be said, and now it has been. Flowers are pretty, dammit. Look at the flowers. (Not in a Walking Dead sense, just look at them all pretty like they are.)

The canals of Birmingham

It’s an oft-recited — and completely wrong — boast that Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice, and it’s usually spoken by people who’ve missed the point of Venice entirely. But Birmingham’s canal network is a lovely thing to be part of, whether in a bot, on a boat, or near a boat.

Seven Wonders walk

In the mid-2000s, a group of young environmentalists created a circular walking trail that brings walkers in contact with some of the lovely things Sue’s local area has to offer, from the mill pond to the Dingle.

Discovering history

Walking tours and trails give us a chance to discover and reconnect with aspects of our history. You might have to venture further online than a quick Google search as so much is buried in local knowhow passed around orally, but it’s worth it. Plus, a savvy Internet-connected individual such as yourself could be just the person to help preserve it.

Mark’s picks

In order of discussion:

Time to yourself

A long walk gives us the chance to get away from the world for a few minutes, and be unproductive (in the traditional sense) through the disconnection from the Internet and the occupation of your hands and eyes.

It doesn’t have to be a means to an end

If you don’t like the thought of exercise, for whatever reason, a walk has good practical value too, as you can stroll to the shops instead of catching the bus or jumping in the car. You can also use walk as play, and take part in a geocache.

Time offline

It’s not often you have a good excuse nowadays to not be available. The benefit of taking a long walk is that, even if you’re reachable in a workplace catastrophe, there’s probably not much you can do about it, and even if you could, you have a ready-made excuse.

Collecting things

Whether you’re collecting pinecones, conkers, or in Mark’s case, sounds, collecting is a good way to give purpose to a walk, or add a few extra achievement points to your exercise.

Spend time with someone

Although there are great benefits to walking alone, you can get even more by walking with someone you love, or at the very least you like. In times of social distancing, it’s a great way to safely meet someone you might normally only see in the pub.

More of Sue Burlton

You can follow Sue on Twitter @sueburly.


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