New baby group to get parents outdoors launched by Haywards Heath mum

A group of mums took a stroll around Ardingly Reservoir with their babies as part of a new group being organised by a Haywards Heath mum.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 7:54 pm

Fran Niven has become a volunteer leader in the Mid Sussex area for the Blaze Trails baby walking group – a national network which aims to build a community of parents who empower each other to get outdoors with their babies.

Fran’s first walk took place on Tuesday, August 17, and was a baby carrier/sling walk and was free for all new parents and carers.

The mum-of-two said: “The first walk went really well – there were 12 of us in total including babies. We enjoyed a great view of Ardingly Reservoir and the viaduct from the top of the field.

Fran Niven from Haywards Heath has become a leader for a Blaze Trails baby walking group in the Mid Sussex area SUS-210818-101250001

“The walk took just under an hour and was 2.6km. We stopped off at the Ardingly Activity Centre cafe for a hot drink, feed (for the babies), rest and a chat until it unfortunately started to rain.

“It was lovely to meet some new mums and their babies and great to get out for some fresh air.”

Fran – who also helps lead the free local NCT walk which takes place on Friday mornings in Lindfield – is aiming to hold the walks every fortnight, but hopes to make them more frequent when she can.

Future walks are set to take place at Ditchling Common, Chailey Common, Wivelsfield and Balcombe, with the next one on Monday, September 13, at 10am from Beech Hurst Gardens – a pram friendly walk, approximately 3.2km and lasting around an hour.

Fran – who loves sports and social activities and is also a yoga teacher – said: “I am mum to two little girls and want to share nature and the world with them. I feel energised getting out and about with my family and hope to inspire others to do the same.

“I was told once that the enjoyment of going for a walk isn’t just in the exercise and enjoyment at the time. It’s the beauty of the experience that your brain can think back to in those low moments to help get you through them. That’s what makes getting out and enjoying the outdoors the most valuable.

“I have been living in Haywards Heath for almost two years and have been enjoying exploring the countryside and all the places Sussex has to offer.

“I love the opportunity that a new baby brings for making new friends. Add into the mix of a little ramble and you’re onto a winner.”

Find Fran’s community on the Facebook group: Blaze Trails - Mid Sussex Baby Walking Group.

For more information about Blaze Trails, visit