Helen Hartley

WALX Heart of The Shires

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Bringing exercise WALX to Northamptonshire.

WALX Heart of The Shires is a friendly walking club, with skilled Exercise Instructors and Guides who are passionate about walking and outdoor exercise.

Our aim is to encourage and motivate all ages to stay active and improve fitness whilst enjoying the great outdoors, here in beautiful Northamptonshire.

With classes 6 days a week, we mainly use Nordic Walking to improve cardio-vascular fitness, strength, balance, flexibility and co-ordination, however we also have many sessions suitable for non pole walkers too. So if you are looking for an enjoyable way to exercise, improve your mental health, meet new people, explore our lovely county or just looking for a new hobby, come and find out more by joining a Power of Poles Session or an Open Explorer WALX and find out how WALX Heart of The Shires can help you to reach your health goals.



Further Details...

Contact Helen Hartley Join Helen Hartley
WALX Types Available
  • Explorer WALX
  • WALX - Power of Poles Intro Course
  • Wellness WALX

Contact Helen Hartley

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Activities by Helen Hartley

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Meet the Team

Helen Hartley

Role: WALX Master

My name is Helen Hartley and I am the WALX Master for WALX Heart of The Shires.
I qualified as an Exercise for Fitness and Nordic Walking Instructor and set up Heart of The Shires Nordic Walking back in 2015 . I am passionate about all aspects of walking and particularly enjoy the Physical, Social and Emotional benefits of Nordic Walking .
The combination of exercising outdoors whilst enjoying the surrounding countryside with like minded people of ALL ages is something extremely powerful.
With additional training modules in Muscle Strength and Endurance, Wellbeing, Yoga WALX and Ski- Fit I am also able to teach classes which provide the opportunity to focus on Strength, Balance, Co-ordination, Flexibility and Relaxation.

Along with our  WALX Guides, Simon and Kara I  am excited to bring WALX to Northamptonshire .  I look forward to bringing the Physical, Social and Emotional benefits of  walking in all its forms through sessions such as Nordic WALX, Total Body WALX , Explorer WALX , Wellness WALX and Yoga WALX.

I really look forward to speaking to you soon and helping you to get started.

Simon Villette

Role: WALX Guide

Simon Villette

Meet Simon our WALX Guide who is eager to take you on some Explorer WALX .

” After I retired I have to admit that I got into poor physical shape and needed to make some changes. Encouraged by my wife Wendy, I tried Nordic Walking as a way to improve my fitness and to lose weight. Combined with a healthy eating programme it helped me lose nearly five stone. But I discovered there is more to exercise than physical fitness. Getting into the open air with a group of people improves my zest for life. I have been out walking with my Nordic group twice a week for almost four years, even in the rain. I never miss a session.


I use Nordic Walking poles to help me with posture, balance and agility but you don’t have to use poles to get involved with WALX.  The important thing is to get outside and to put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes I walk with poles and sometimes not. Sometimes I walk slowly and sometimes quickly. Sometimes I stop to look at the view and sometimes I just press on. It’s walking that matters.


As well as aerobic and muscular fitness I particularly enjoy walking to encourage mental wellbeing. The combination of physical movement, fresh air and good company helps to put things into perspective and lifts the spirits, regardless of the weather.


I am fortunate to live between Northampton and Wellingborough with several good circular walks on my doorstep, mostly off road. Some of them have stunning views across the Nene Valley. I am also close to Sywell Country Park and Summer Lees Nature Reserve. I am surrounded by fabulous places to walk and enjoy the scenery. Whether it is a short stroll or a longer excursion with a stop for a picnic there are endless opportunities in this area. The changing seasons add to the variety.


Walking can provide an opportunity for other activities such as photography, poetry, storytelling or creative writing. Walking is a great way to boost your creativity and imagination. Have you ever stood in the open air and sung a song?


Whether you are fit and agile or taking things gently, walking at an appropriate level of challenge is a great way to keep fit.  I look forward to acting as your guide and companion as we explore the Northamptonshire countryside. ”



from members of Helen Hartley

Zoom Virtual Exercise Classes

First of all thank you for holding the weekday exercise sessions with our local Nordic Walking groups. I was missing my weekly walk so thought I’d give these a try. I wasn’t thinking any further than trying to keep some mobility. I have now done 4 weeks on an almost daily basis , following the session with a half hour walk. After 3 weeks I managed to shift the last few pounds to reach my goal weight and this week I’ve realised that I’m able to walk further and for longer with reduced knee and back pain. It’s also good to have a reason to get up in the morning. I’m hoping that I continue my routine after this lockdown is finally over. Once again, thank you for taking the time to work out our comprehensive routines. With love Julia x


Why did I choose Nordic Walking?

As a keen walker, I wanted to join a walking group. Nordic walking gave me the chance to walk with others, be outdoors and learn a new technique. The added health benefits - full body workout, better balance - also appealed to me. My expectations have been more than met. Nordic walking has made me fitter, given me a chance to meet new people and enjoy their company, including over coffee during or after the walks. It has also shown me parts of Northamptonshire I didn’t know existed: new countryside to enjoy and much to learn about from the villages we pass through. Helen is a great teacher and her focus on strengthening our bodies and improving our balance, especially as we get older, has been invaluable.


A Full Body Workout

I joined Walx because I wanted to improve my general fitness. I already loved walking but I wanted to improve my general fitness and find something that would give me more of a full body workout. I tried nordic walking, and really enjoyed it. Nordic walking with poles means I can build upper body strength as well as lower. The groups are led by Helen who offers a variety of walks for example fast paced walks in country parks, more moderately paced walks across our beautiful Northamptonshire countryside, day time & some evening walks during the summer, short or long walks, walks that include general exercise or yoga, the list is endless……. As if this isn’t enough, we’ve also hold plenty of social events from BBQs to summer solstice walks to watch the sun go down while we’re eating our picnics.


What is WALX?



Improving my health and fitness with WALX

I joined Walx 6 months ago when I decided to start walking on a regular basis having giving myself a trial period with the walking group in the Autumn of 2021. I have recently retired and aware I need to improve my fitness levels having struggled walking uphills on a visit to Bath. Walx provides me with the opportunity to walk in a safe environment, being able to make new friendships whilst appreciating the beautiful surrounding Northamptonshire countryside. I am a gentle pace walker, I am pleased to say that my stamina is gently improving. I find the virtual fitness sessions run by Helen really useful. Helen gives clear instructions to complete each exercise with its aim and objectives. Everyone works within their own ability and can challenge themselves to improve as appropriate in a safe setting both on the walks or on the virtual exercises. I joined on my own and was made to feel welcome from the start. It is really helping me to adjust to retirement, giving structure to my week, whilst improving my general health and well being.