1. ITV Report

Brecon Beacons walking group gains 17,000 members in two years

Group members say walking has improved their mental and physical health. Credit: Coast & Country

A walking group in the Brecon Beacons has gained 17,000 Facebook followers in just two years.

Walking the Brecon Beacons was created by former miner Dai Powell in August 2016. Since then, the group has swelled to huge numbers with many online followers and lots of people joining the walks themselves. Mr Powell cannot believe how popular it has become:

It’s just exploded. It’s taken over my life really. A lot of people make good friends from it.

We get people out into the countryside and the amount of people who’ve said it’s changed their lives is just unbelievable.

It makes us so proud to think what we have actually done for people.

– Dai Powell, Founder of Walking the Brecon Beacons

Members of the group say that regular walking has improved their physical health with some reporting weight loss. Other members say the group has been just as important for their mental health.

I had a period of ill health and I suppose my life just spiralled into a bit of a depression really.

The best medicine for me is being out here. For me it’s been a lifesaver.

– Henry, Group Member

The group also provides a support network.

A few months ago my husband was diagnosed with cancer and I find that by coming out walking with the club, it takes your mind off things.

I get a lot of support from other members. They’re absolutely marvellous.

– Lorna, Group Member

Walking the Brecon Beacons organises guided walks for people of all levels and Mr Powell says you do not need to be fit to join: He says there are a lot of beginners walks and no experience is needed.

The group is free to join but any donations made go towards extra training or first aid courses.

Due to its popularity the group has been extended to coastal walks and some in North Wales.