About Us

WALX Derwent and Dales is dedicated to providing outdoor fitness to all abilities in Derbyshire. Nordic Walking, Bungypump, Smoveys, Tai Chi Movements for Wellbeing, Mindfulness, Speedhyking and Holidays are all part of the complete well-being solution to help you to reach your goals. Through safe, effective professional guidance we will help you to make long-lasting positive changes for a healthier, more active life in a fun and sociable way.

Our team of Coaches and Guides offer a full programme of activities throughout the week. Based very close to the Peak District and in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales we are often found exploring the hills at the weekend.

Sam Armstrong -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 – 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.

Julia Gartside – 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.

Colin McLean – 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.

Jacky Brown – 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 – 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 – 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!”

Anne Ishikawa – Walk 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.

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