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It was a sunny Saturday afternoon in the middle of November 2022. Richard Eugene from Black Blood Donors noticed a Facebook post from a walking group called Bristol Steppin Sistas. It was inviting everyone (men included) to attend their last walk of the year. Being curious, Richard decided to pop along to see what the Steppin Sistas are all about…

Bristol Steppin Sistas is a local community walking group, encouraging Black women to connect with nature. They do this by organising regular country walks around Somerset, Wiltshire, South Wales and surrounding areas. The walking group was founded by certified walk leader Sophie Brown in April 2021, because the countryside improves your mental health and wellbeing. This was very much needed, especially during the dreadful time of Covid-19. Bristol Steppin Sistas also ensures a safe environment where Black women and women of all colours can be socially active.

bristol steppin sistas kingfisher snuff mills wellbeing
Kingfisher in Snuff Mills, Bristol. Photo taken by Sophie Brown

The meeting point was at Eastville Park, which joins on to Snuff Mills and Vassal’s Park. This walking route stretches about 2 miles through woodland scenery, in the middle of Bristol’s busy urban areas. We had a few rest breaks along the way and you can see that special bond between each other and the natural environment. The beautiful surroundings included trees, waterfalls and even a couple of kingfishers perched next to each other along the riverbank!

Steppin Sistas Walking In Numbers

After 18 months of organised nature walks, Bristol’s Steppin Sistas have become firmly established within a short period of time. Starting with a small handful of sistas in the early days, the group now boasts over 30 plus sistas on each walk. Their steppin season runs from February to November, taking advantage of the spring, summer and autumn months.

October is Sophie’s favourite month because of the autumn leaves changing colour. “The autumn leaves play a huge part in making your mind at ease. The improved mental health and wellbeing in such settings is wonderful. We normally go on 2 or 3 walks per month, but in October I like to organise 5 walks. I love October and more of us on the walks, the merrier” explains Sophie.

“Because we can supply free travel and walking gear, this has opened barriers mainly for under privileged black women to take advantage of what Britain’s countryside has to offer. It’s important to get out there and appreciate nature whenever you can, and there’s no pressure at all. If you can’t make it to a walk for whatever reason, you don’t have to explain why. No one expects you attend every outing. However, letting me know if you can’t attend a coach trip makes organising the coach much easier”, Sophie adds further.

“Due to the kindness of our sponsors and donors, we’ve been able to arrange walks all over the South West. We’ve been on walks in Tenby, Wye Valley, Exmoor, Glastonbury and loads more nature spots. Over forty different places all together, all free of charge as well”.

New Sistas Are Always Welcome To Join Us

bristol steppin sistas community wa;king group

On the Snuff Mills nature walk were several founding members as well as a few new ladies to the group. It was a pleasant and social atmosphere where new friendships were forming among the natural surroundings. The sistas were looking out for each other, keeping a close eye on those walking behind at a slower pace.

If you’re a woman from a black or other ethnic background, then you are encouraged to become part of this active walking group. They aim to motivate more black and ethnic minority women to visit rural places and enjoy the benefits of the great outdoors. You can find out more about joining Bristol Steppin Sistas by visiting their Facebook or Twitter pages.

Article by Logo St. Marketing.

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