Struggling for inspiration about where to head for your next lockdown walk? If your answer was yes, then this Instagram account has got you covered.
Nathan Sutton, from Porthill, set up Find Your Footsteps at the end of July 2020 and in less than a year it has amassed more than 13,000 followers.
The 32-year-old spent the first national lockdown walking every single day with his little cockapoo Doug whilst on furlough, but the keen walker has been a fan of the outdoors since he was a child.
After sharing his adventures on his personal Instagram account and receiving lots of messages from friends and family about the best places in our local area, Nathan decided to set up a new account to share his favourite places.
He said: “I’ve always loved walking, ever since I was a kid. It’s always been a really enjoyable thing for me, and I’ve always loved the outdoors.
“When I was on furlough last year I was going out every single day, and people were always messaging me to ask where I was, and where the best place to go in our local area was.
“I decided to make the new Instagram as somewhere that people could go and find new walks that are either in Stoke-on-Trent or just outside, with information about refreshments and whether it’s suitable for prams, that kind of thing.
“All the walks on the page are dog-friendly and I do all of my walks with my cockapoo, Doug.”
Each post features beautiful photographs of each walk – all taken by Nathan – along with parking instructions, whether it’s pram-friendly, and where the nearest refreshments are.
And thanks to the page, even Nathan has been discovering hidden gems to explore.
“Even I’ve been learning about new places, all thanks to the account,” he said. “Someone messaged me to ask if I could do a post about Tegg’s Nose Country Park. I’d never been, but it’s not far and a really nice walk.
“At the moment, and in the first lockdown, we were asked to stay local, so I wanted to fill the account with places that are a bit closer to home.
“Even when restrictions lifted slightly in the summer, people were still staying local and walking and going on staycations. There’s not a lot we can do in terms of travelling at the moment, and it’s much cheaper to stay local, so I think that’s why people have fell in love with going on walks.
“It’s a really nice hobby to have and something that everyone can do. I expected to get a lot of people around my age following, maybe even younger, but I’ve had older people get in touch to say that they’d forgotten about certain walks, but the page reminded them and they headed out again.
“What’s cool is that a few businesses, such as the Raddle Inn, have told people about my account when they have been asked by visitors where the best place to go for a walk is.
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“The page is just a really nice positive space with no negativity at all. There is definitely a dark side to social media, which you do worry about when you start something like this, but I’m not selling myself, I’m just doing it to help other people and encourage them to get out.”
Find Your Footsteps is full of local walks, but which is Nathan’s favourite?
“One of my favourites is the Roaches,” said Nathan, “it’s simple but a really nice walk.
“It would be really cool to be able to release a book filled with my photos and the different walks, a few people have suggested that.
“Anything is possible, but I’m just happy sharing my favourite walks and I’m glad people are enjoying them.
“I always tell people to tag me in their walks and I share them on my story. It’s like a little community, it’s really nice.”
You can keep up with Nathan’s adventures and find your next local walk on the Find Your Footsteps Instagram page.