Walk to School Week (18 to 22 May)

Walk to School Week 2009 is rapidly approaching.

This year’s theme is “Walk ‘n’ Talk” – there is a huge social side to walking to school – you can walk as you talk, even sing, play games or just skip.

For more information on Walk to School week and activities around you, visit:

Fun Foot Facts

  • The record for the person with the biggest feet in the world is held by an American, called Robert Wadlow.  His feet were 47cm long and he took size 37 shoes!  He was 2.74 metres (that’s nearly 9 ft) tall when he died in 1940.  Whenever he went out for a “Giant” walk, drivers would take their eyes off the road in disbelief and stare in amazement as they passed. You could hear the sound of bangs, crashes and crunches as cars following behind ran into them.
  • American President Abraham Lincoln, had size 14 feet
  • The first person to walk on the moon was the American astronaut, Neil Armstrong. He set foot on the lunar surface at 3.56am BST on 21st July 1969.  See if you can find out what he said as he stepped onto the moon – it’s something to do with small steps.  By the way, his footprints are still there because there’s no wind or rain on the Moon.  His boots were jettisoned before returning to earth to prevent contamination.
  • If you walked at a steady speed of 5kph (3 mph) non-stop day and night, it would take you a whole year to walk round the equator – a distance of 40,000 km (25,000 miles).  The average person walks the equivalent of three and a half times around the earth in a lifetime.
  • One quarter of all the bones in the human body are found in the feet.
  • Left handed people are generally left footed as well. They also tend to put their left foot forward first when they walk.
  • The first walk for charity in the UK took place on Boxing Day in 1959 in aid of the World Refugee Fund. A total of 21 walkers paid 1 shilling (5p) each to enter and raised £20 in sponsorship. The furthest anyone walked was 50 miles.
  • Cats walk on their paws, and keep their claws retracted to keep them sharp. Dogs walk on their claws – so if you see a footprint with claws, it is likely to be a dog.
  • The first pedestrian crossing in Great Britain was sited near the Houses of Parliament in London, in December 1926. It consisted of two parallel white lines painted across the road. A white rectangular sign was positioned high up on a nearby pole, with a black directional arrow and a cross shape painted on it. It read, “Please Cross Here”. They were very polite in those days.
  • About 1 in 4 children sleepwalk at least once between the ages of 7 to 12!
  • The first manually operated traffic light in GB was also sited near the Houses of Parliament in London, on 10th December 1868. It was introduced to allow MP’s to enter the parliament buildings in their horse drawn carriages.. (The streets of London were just as congested then, but with four legged motors instead!).  A revolving gas illuminated lantern was mounted on a 7 metre (22 ft) high iron pillar with Red and Green signals.
  • You need to use 200 muscles in your body to walk
  • The first Zebra Crossings in the UK were introduced in 1951. The flashing belisha beacons on either side of the crossing came first though in 1934. They were originally made of glass but were the constant prey of children with stones. They were replaced with plastic globes in 1952. See if you can find out why they are called belisha beacons.
  • The first school crossing patrol started work in Oxford in 1933. The name “Lollipop” person came much later when the familiar round sign on a pole was introduced. Today’s Lollipop people have to deal with much more traffic than was on the roads in 1933.
  • Michael Flatley, star of “Riverdance” had his legs insured for £25 million.

What is ‘Walk to School’?

The Walk to School Campaign is run by the charity Living Streets with funding from Department for Transport and the BIG Lottery fund. It asks parents, pupils and teachers to think about their journey to and from school and the many benefits of making it on foot.

About 50% of children don’t walk to school regularly and more and more pupils are being driven to school in a car. This trend is contributing to reduced physical activity and increased childhood obesity, urban congestion and air pollution.

The campaign is to encourage more children to walk to school and each year, over 2 million primary school aged children take part in one of the many walk to school activities.