AS the UK celebrates National Walking Month this May, one of England’s best-known outdoor attractions says green spaces will continue to play a massive role in helping people to restore their mental and physical wellbeing as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

Windermere Lake Cruises is seeing a clear pattern of people wanting to combine adventures on foot with journeys by boat post-lockdown, underlined by a renewed interest in the company’s guide to ‘Discovery Walks’ from the lakeshore.

Skipper Rob Beale has been among the first to return to the water since passenger vessels were able to return safely to Windermere. He says: “Not only is spending time out on the lake the ultimate in social distancing, but it gives a completely different perspective on our unique landscape and natural habitat.

“Sitting outside and just soaking in the views as they glide along the lake is something people have really missed. And because all of our sailings take well-behaved dogs, many are bringing their family pet along too!

“With plenty of secluded bays, ancient woodlands - and not to mention the towering silhouettes of the Langdale Pikes – passengers are telling us that they are appreciating the fresh air and freedom that being out in a boat brings more than ever.

“Then when they reach dry land, there are literally hundreds of walks from the Lakeshore. As everyone is now pre-booking their seats, they are planning their days a lot more and asking for advice on walking routes within easy reach of our piers and cruises in advance - from gentle woodland strolls and country rambles through to more vigorous hikes up the fells.”

Meanwhile, self-drive boat hire is giving households the chance to independently explore the tranquil western shore of Windermere on eco-friendly, electric motor boats with personally allocated one and two hour time slots available to book online. Click and collect booking, minimal staff interaction and pre-recorded safety briefings have been getting a positive reaction from family bubbles who want to explore the lake’s many hidden islands and bays at their own pace, in their own safe space.

Rob adds, “With a greater public appreciation of nature, another really positive post-lockdown trend is the renewed interest in Windermere’s ecology and history. It’s mindblowing to think that the lake was formed in the last Ice Age and exactly 70 years on from the creation of the Lake District National Park, I get a lot of personal satisfaction in helping people to understand and enjoy all the special qualities our ancient landscape has to offer – both by boat and boot.”