WALX Derwent and Dales

Sam Armstrong WALX Master

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WALX Derwent and Dales runs walks in and around the surrounding Derby area. If you join us you’ll discover that a walk is not just a walk as we have classes for all abilities catering for Wellness WALX for those who require a more gentle pace to a Total Body WALX for those who want to be pushed and motivated more. For those who love to WALX and TALX and to enjoy the great outdoors and our beautiful county, we have many Explorer WALX which vary from a full day to half days and often include a cafe or pub visit.

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Set your LOCATION and how far you want to travel for great WALX Search Open WALX to just come along and try a session Search Power of Poles to feel the total body benefit of Nordic walking

EXCITING NEWS: We have a 6-week fitness offer available to you where you can have all the benefits of a membership. Follow this link to find out more.

One thing for sure is that you are never alone on a WALX.

Further Details...

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WALX Types Available
  • Explorer WALX
  • Nordic WALX
  • Power of Poles Intro Course
  • Total Body WALX
  • Wellness WALX

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Activities by WALX Derwent and Dales

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Ullswater WALX Festival May 2022


A year in the making Ullswater WALX Festival finally came around organised by  Nicola Sproson from WALX Helvellyn Ullswater by Sam Armstrong from WALX Derwent and Dales. For the past 4 years, Sam has been running The Rustick Festival in the Peak District and decided to make a change and to have it in the […]

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Winter has arrived – time to embrace the colder weather.


So, with the turning back of the clocks, it’s now officially Winter! As we embrace the colder weather and darker nights, we thought it would be good to have a recap of our blogs over recent months and give you 7 top tips on how to keep motivated to exercise over the Autumn and Winter […]

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The Art of Goal Setting – I can do it.


  Goal setting turns a wish into a pathway to ‘making it happen’.  With a clear focus of what you want to achieve, goals can help you structure time, activity and energy getting to where you want to be. There are many different techniques on goal setting out there, but the fundamentals are largely the […]

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Stepping into September.


As the new Autumn Season approaches, it is so often a time when we really need to review and step up the tempo on our fitness activities.  Many of us will have been less active over the summer, enjoying our well-deserved holidays and additional family commitments;  Autumn is the perfect season to re-focus on your […]

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Meet the Team

Samantha Armstrong

Role: WALX Master

Sam Armstrong is the WALX Master for Walx Derwent and Dales. She qualified as a Nordic Walking Instructor in 2008 after working in the fitness business for many years. Recognising the benefits that exercise outdoors had to our physical and mental health she was inspired to set up the business and empower others.

With a Personal Training and Sports Massage therapy background she delivers many classes each week to all levels and abilities for members to achieve their personal goals and outcomes. Sam is always very driven and motivated to bring new and innovative ideas into her sessions including Smoveys, Bungypump, Speedhyking, and to slow us down a little  – Tai Chi Movements for Wellbeing.

Over the years Sam’s love of walking has taken her and her members on trips all over Europe and the UK.  Each May Sam organises a local Rustick Weekender, inviting Nordic Walking UK and WALX members across the UK to join us for three days in the Peaks with our team of local Coaches and Guides. As a Hill and Moorland Leader and working towards her Mountain Leadership, you’ll often find her in the hills on her days off. Her greatest pleasure is to share the local Derbyshire Dales and Peaks.

Sam has a Team who support her to deliver the sessions and who share her passion for the outdoors, whilst thoroughly enjoying the social aspect of it all and the fitness benefits.

“Exercise is a journey, not a destination. It must be continued for the rest of your life. We don’t stop exercising because we grow old, we grow old because we stop exercising”. Kenneth H Cooper

June Holden

Role: WALX Coach

June Holden – WALX Coach for WALX Derwent and Dales who started Nordic Walking in 2009 playing a very active role in the business and is always motivated to deliver fun and active sessions.

Initially completed her Walk Leader training and then became an Instructor in 2016 and is now a coach. June has always loved sport. This forms a major part of her life, having played competitive tennis and enjoyed many years of horse-riding, training, cycling. It was a natural progression to continue to keep active in a very sociable and fun way. All Nordic Walking activities have improved June’s overall fitness, taken an impact off her joints and given her a sport that she can continue as the years’ progress. June is a great ambassador for Nordic Walking and loves motivating others to start walking, improve their overall fitness and mental wellbeing as a result. She has travelled to many European Countries and around the UK to Nordic Walk whilst supporting the Rustic Weekender and the Purbeck Nordic Walking Festival in Dorset.

June delivers regular WALX and provides Tai Chi Movements for Wellbeing classes both outdoors and on zoom. June loves to support Sam in the marketing of all our WALX activities and spread the word about the benefits.

June is welcoming and inclusive and has had a great impact on the business since she started in 2009.

Colin Mclean

Role: WALX Guide

Colin is a WALX guide for WALX Derwent and Dales and specialises in Speedhyking.

He was introduced to Nordic walking with Sam in 2016. Colin has enjoyed an active lifestyle for many years and was keen to add Nordic Walking to his weekly programme

Nordic Walking for Colin has brought the gym outside (whatever the weather) and provides some very effective all-round sport conditioning to complement his other outdoor activities.

An enthusiastic age-group triathlete, over the last 10 years, Colin has competed across all of the Triathlon distances including in 2015, the 140.6 mile “Copenhagen Ironman” swim, bike and run course.

He enjoys being physically active and for him Nordic Walking has provided not just an active workout but the opportunity to be in the company of like-minded people who enjoy being out and about in our local countryside.

Colin now delivers the Speedhyking sessions for our WALX weekly activities.

Julia Gartside

Role: WALX Guide

Julia is a WALX guide for WALX Derwent and Dales and has been Nordic Walking since 2009.

She was not previously a walker or particularly active but with weight gain, arthritis and retirement on the horizon she finally took herself in hand after reading an article about Nordic Walking and gave it a go.  Like so many other people she found it addictive and has never looked back.

Now her arthritis is manageable with sensible eating and exercise, and she has lost weight and changed shape without really trying. She has met some wonderful people who have become firm friends and has discovered the beautiful countryside in Derbyshire and well beyond.

She is fitter and happier than she has ever been.  She is out walking in all weathers and still surprise herself with the distances she walks, the terrain she is tackling and the challenges she is prepared to take on.

For Julia, Nordic Walking has been a real-life changer and a day without her poles is a day wasted.

Julia delivers her own evening sessions is a dedicated Guide and is always on hand to support other groups.

Jacky Brown

Role: WALX Guide

Jacky has been a WALX Guide for WALX Derwent and Dales since 2009.  This was after walking for pleasure for many years previous to that with a friend who had had a stroke and wanted to go to the gym. She suggested looking at the countryside for exercise as it would be far more pleasurable.

After just a year of Nordic Walking, Jacky was leading her own evening class, enjoying torch lit winter evenings and long and bright summer evenings. Jacky has never looked back and amazes herself all the time with the distances she walks, thinking back to the time she would never have considered walking to any of the villages surrounding Ashbourne. Now, Jacky has travelled to many places around Europe and in the UK as well as all the local areas.

Nordic walking is a great pass time, and an excellent form of exercise, in the fresh air, with beautiful scenery and the best company. So although her walking started off as helping a friend to get over a stroke it turned out to be the best stroke of luck for her.

Jacky is a dedicated member of the team and always around to support us when needed.

Steve Walker

Role: WALX Guide

Steve recently qualified in 2020 to be a WALX Guide for WALX Derwent and Dales. Encompassing and appreciating the outside environment has played a major part in Steve’s life style over many years, and following early retirement from work he now has a lot more time to fully enjoy the great outdoors . Steve took up Nordic Walking in 2018 and remembers vividly completing his  initial training in what was one of the wettest and windiest weekends we have had for a while. Despite that he knew that Nordic Walking was an ideal and really enjoyable exercise option for him and complimented the many years he had previously spent walking for pleasure.

Prior to qualifying as a WALX guide , Steve has been an active member of WALX Derwent and Dales and has joined us on many of our sessions and walks both near and far. Steve once commented “ its amazing how my fitness and stamina levels have improved thanks to Nordic Walking , it’s a great outdoor exercise with the added bonus of being part of a group which is so friendly and welcoming

Ralph Eales

Role: WALX Guide

Ralph has been a WALX Guide for WALX Derwent and Dales since November 2018, having been introduced to Nordic Walking with Sam in March earlier that year.

Initially a Primary School Teacher by profession, he chose to take a period out of teaching through a 5-year Short Service Commission in the Royal Marines, which subsequently extended to a Full Career Commission lasting 28 years, having specialised as a helicopter pilot although a lower spine operation in 1980 had ended the flying aspects of his career; there was to be no return to the classroom.

With such an active profession, he not surprisingly maintained his fitness throughout his years of service, but subsequently found this less easy on retirement from the Corps, leading to an increase in weight which was not helped by the need for medical procedures, firstly for bowel cancer and later for the replacement of both arthritic hips.

Having been brought up very much in the outdoor environment through hiking and birdwatching with his father, Nordic Walking has enabled him to return to these country pleasures, hopefully to the ornithological benefit of his fellow walkers, whilst at the same time leading to a reduction in weight and a return of much of his lost fitness and stamina. Whilst he has had to accept some limitations in speed and uphill capabilities following his back and hip operations, this has enabled him to concentrate more on the Wellbeing aspects of Nordic Walking which he thoroughly enjoys, along the social side of Nordic Walking in general. “Where would I be now without Nordic Walking in my life? I hate to think!”

Ian Middup

Role: WALX Guide

Ian Middup – WALX GUIDE

Ian was introduced to hill-walking as a teenager when he was in Venture Scouts, which included planning and completing two multi-day Pennine Way expeditions.

He moved to Derbyshire in the late 1980s and he has walked extensively in the Peak District, including Sunday walks with his growing family of three children.

He has also enjoyed exploring the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Snowdonia, the Scottish Highlands and Ireland’s tallest peaks.

He was a late entrant to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and completed his Gold Award just before the cut-off age of 25 years old!

For several years Ian has volunteered at a local school to support their programme of Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions at Bronze and Gold level, in both the White and Dark Peak areas of the Peak District and has now qualified as an expedition supervisor and assessor up to Gold Award level.

Ian is very active enjoying all outdoor activities including camping, cycling, kayaking and surfing.

Gaining the Summer Mountain Leader qualification in October 2019 following training and assessment courses in Snowdonia he is looking forward to supporting WALX Derwent and Dales to provide an interesting and varied range of Explorer Walks.


John Beddoes

Role: WALX Guide

John Beddoes – WALX Guide

John became a walk leader for Walx Derwent and Dales in December 2020 after 4 years of being a group member.

During John’s teenage years, he was a member for the Derby 125 scout group and became a Queen Scout in 1965. In the same year, he started work at British Celanese in their research chemistry labs where he worked at British Celanese for 17 years.

John retired from full time work in 2010 and during the years 1965 to 2015 he was a member of the British Red Cross and for 45 years he was an instructor in first aid for both members of the society and for industry for first aid at work, during that time he probably trained 1000’s in first aid. He stopped in 2015 as he thought that 45 years was enough.

In 2016 at a Derby day held at Kedleston Hall National Trust property he met Samantha Armstrong who had a stall demonstrating Nordic Walking. He had a taster and during the month of October attended the official 4-week starter achieved his Nordic Walking passport on October 28th 2016, he has never looked back.

At the beginning of 2020 he decided that he wanted to lose some weight, but the lockdown came, and we had to stop walking. In order to keep the group going and in touch with each other Sam ran Zoom sessions which included lots of exercise. It became obvious that his weight loss could be achieved with all the exercise plus his own walking exercise and an eating plan that meant eating less but not changing any of the food he ate just the amount.

The result of all the exercise and eating regime is he has lost 3 stones; his muscle tone has improved and meets with the approval of my osteopath.

John will be supporting the Wellness Walks.

Anna Ishikawa

Role: WALX Guide

Anne has been Nordic Walking since April 2017 and has recently enjoyed supporting the Coach with the Wellbeing Walkers and is a valuable member of the group. She enjoys watching them grow in confidence and fitness levels improve.

Outside of Nordic Waking she enjoys being outside in nature especially amongst woodland areas, one of her favourite places to visit is the National Arboretum of Remembrance. She also loves visiting museums and is a volunteer at the Derby Museum, she has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the history of Derby.

Her favourite Derwent and Dales areas are Cromford and Matlock with its industrial past, quarries, mills, canals and nature reserves.