If you go down to the woods today, you'd better go in your trainers...

A WALK in the woods is never going to be the same in Skellow and Carcroft.

NHS bosses are hoping a new 10,000 woodland fitness trail will become a favourite with residents after it was set up to help those who do not have access to a gym.

The path, created with items of gym equipment along its course, is intended to help people keep fit.

It been created as part of a joint partnership between Doncaster Council, NHS Doncaster and Owston Park Primary School.

The facility was opened officially by a man who knows a thing or two about fitness - former British champion boxer and Commonweath Games medalist John Irwin, from Denaby.

John, now retired as a fighter, spent much of his own time in the gym training for his title fights during a glittering professional career.

The trail follows a 900 metre woodland path through Skellow Cross Plantation which has been refurbished with central government funding.

The route is already well used by walkers, cyclists, horse riders and runners.

Adwick Safer Neighbourhood Team has transformed the area with a new surface for the path and gym equipment including a cross trainer, air walker, chest exerciser, back exerciser and sit up benches.

The fitness trail is free to use and accessible to all ages and abilities.

Children from Owston Park Primary School, which is next door, are already regular users of the equipment.

The new path and improvements in the wood have created an ideal setting for pupils to study the local flora and fauna.

Coun Cynthia Ransome, Doncaster Council's cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: "The improvements have transformed a muddy path into a cleaner and safer route for all to enjoy.

"This has opened up the woodlands for the benefit of the local community and will allow people greater opportunity to exercise outdoors."

Andy Picken, a public health worker at NHS Doncaster with special responsibility for the Skellow area, said: "We're constantly looking at new ways of encouraging people to get active and this really fits the bill.

"We held a community conference at Carcroft two years ago and one of the top priorities highlighted by local people was the growing rate of obesity and the need to take more exercise.

"This project is in response to their request and now provides a great opportunity for people in the area to enjoy doing physical activity in a pleasant outdoor environment."

The site opens up during a period which has seen gyms hit hard by the recession.

The Ladies Fitness and Wellness Centre in Balby recently closed, and the Lakeside Health and Fitness Club at the Keepmoat stadium has cut its membership fees.

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