PEOPLE of all ages and abilities are signing up to the district's Active For Life programme, launched by Epping Forest Council and Epping Forest Primary Care Trust.

Part of the Active For Life programme features Fitness in the Outdoors, with fitness walking routes in the forest and through the local countryside, including tarmac-gravel paths so buggies are encouraged.

The average distance for each walk is about two miles.

Family Fitness Walks, which are appropriate for the whole family, and dogs, have an added interest theme, including wildlife spotting, forest fitness boost and doggie hunts.

The walks start from Stonards Hill recreation ground car park, Epping, at 10.30am every Saturday and cost £4 per family. A qualified instructor leads all walks and gives advice and encouragement on becoming a healthier family.

The second walking scheme unique to the district is Buggy Power Walks which provides walking sessions for mums or dads and their babies-toddlers in buggies.

These take place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1.30pm at various locations across the district, offering six walks, each led by a qualified fitness instructor.

All routes start and finish in a car park and most have a picnic area.

For older people, Active For Life provides fun seated exercise programmes in village halls and other more urban facilities in the district, which are ideal for men and women and focus on a range of exercises to improve fitness, strength and mobility.

The programme has taken over the Lifewalks programme which operates throughout the district and attracts an average of 150 walkers each week.

Plans are being developed to address the fitness needs of working people' in the district, through providing lunchtime and after-work physical activity sessions and also to provide a range of children's fitness classes based in rural areas of the district which are not served by a local sports facility.

For more on the Active For Life programme, or to receive a free brochure about the walking programmes, ring Active For Life development officer David Hogg on 01992 564269.