New walking and cycling groups are set to hit parks in Lowestoft and its seafront as part of a pilot scheme.

Promoting cycling and walking as part of a more active lifestyle, it will see people in Lowestoft given free access to guided walks, cycle training and bike loans.

It comes after Suffolk County Council received more than £1m from the government to fund participation in a national pilot scheme.

The county is receiving £1,495,506 over three years as one of 11 local authorities taking part in the £13.9 million Active Travel England social prescribing scheme.

Lowestoft Journal: The Way To Go Suffolk logo. Picture: Suffolk County CouncilThe Way To Go Suffolk logo. Picture: Suffolk County Council (Image: Suffolk County Council)

The project, launched in August 2022, is helping councils run trials to evaluate the impact of active travel on an individual's physical and mental health.

This also includes allowing doctors and health workers to prescribe walking and cycling to improve patients’ physical and mental health.

As the scheme progresses, GP surgeries in the pilot areas of Ipswich and Lowestoft will be invited to take part.

With work already under way to link some referral systems, Suffolk will use its funding for projects that will see patients in parts of Ipswich and Lowestoft benefit.

Introductory walk and cycle groups are operating from Normanston Park in Lowestoft throughout July and August.

From September, walking and cycling groups will also be taking place at the seafront, Normanston Park, Nicholas Everett Park and Sparrows Nest.

There will be varying levels of activity depending on health needs, with each activity lasting up to 90 minutes with a rest break and free drink in a local café.

Other activities are also planned including community events, themed walks or cycle rides, cycling courses and a digital walking app featuring challenges and treasure hunts focused on the areas of Ipswich and Lowestoft.

Alexander Nicoll, Suffolk County council's deputy cabinet member for transport strategy, said: "This is an innovative trial scheme and one we are looking forward to exploring the potential of now that we have received funding."

Participants within Lowestoft can be referred through a GP, voluntary group or a self-referral online via