Walking is good for our mind and body, our environment and public transport. Hana Sutch of Go Jauntly wants to make it easy

Hana Sutch set up Go Jauntly in 2018

I’ll be honest, before the pandemic I had zero interest in walking for fun. But then, apart from model railways and Netflix, walking was all we could do, and now I’m counting down the days till retirement and having the time to spend just going for jaunts for pleasure. I’ve seen how it’s helped the mental health of old buffers I know, and it will be one of my top hobbies to keep me sane and healthy. I’ve told ‘Er Indoors that I’ll take up gardening too, maybe jigsaws even, but she can’t see it happening.

Spending time with Hana Sutch, the founder of curated walking and wayfinding app provider Go Jauntly, and her energetic team has helped me recently. In setting up my business, Great Scenic Journeys, Hana was recommended to me by bus legend and McGill’s top dog Ralph Roberts – no stranger to a good walk himself in the beautiful, but underrated, part of the Firth of Clyde where he hangs out.

I caught up with Hana last month and was reassured that, contrary to my own perception, those Johnny or Joanna-Come-Latelies who latched onto walking during Covid, have stayed loyal to the hobby. Okay, numbers haven’t risen but they’ve held strong, despite ‘normal life’ having resumed. Go Jauntly helps fuel interest and makes a trot outdoors relatable and reachable, not just to hardcore hikers but particularly so to someone like me, a fair weather, unadventurous stroller.

Go Jauntly’s USP is they can find beauty in anything. Even a walk within a stone’s throw of Millwall Football Ground on matchday is something they’ll market as an exhilarating, peaceful, scenic retreat from the rigours of modern life. It’s not all about lochs, mountains, cathedrals and beaches. Even my mundane walk from our house to my Chinese takeaway in Shepperton High Street has been transformed in their app to take in a circular that includes the posh, leafy, Broadlands Avenue.

I empathise with Hana and it’s something we’ve been working on at Great Scenic Journeys, convincing transport companies to realise the potential of their seemingly run-of-the-mill journey, which if you delve deep has some good places to visit, interesting titbits and half decent scenery out of the window which might help folk’s mental wellbeing and stimulation. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and Hana’s gang see good in everything.

Having worked in design with flagship clients Google, Nike and Xbox, Hana set up Go Jauntly in 2018 as an offshoot from her own agency Furthermore, which still thrives today.

I created Go Jauntly out of frustration of not being able to find places to walk despite living in London, where 47% of it is ‘green space’

“I created Go Jauntly out of frustration of not being able to find places to walk despite living in London, where 47% of it is ‘green space’,” she explains. “I wanted to break down barriers to walking, such as it being hard to find parks and green places nearby. Often, if you have a busy work schedule or young families and don’t like the gym, you’ll find walking a palatable alternative, but there can be barriers to doing this – like not knowing if the terrain is muddy, if there are toilets or refreshments.

“There were apps, but they were targeting hikers, not those who might want to bring their family – including a pram – or those with mobility issues. We saw a gap for a joyful, user-centric platform to help people walk more and for £2.99 a month, or £29.99 a year, folk can take out a premium subscription with even more walks and features. We’re also paid by partners who ask us to create new walks, or the digitalisation of old walks. Quite often, we’re asked to create walking and step challenges, such as ‘walk to school’ and so on.”

I’ve been working with Go Jauntly to create greater integration with public transport and walks – 90% of the 200 walks within the Great Scenic Journeys collection appear on our website with one of Hana’s curated walks and we’re looking at providing for a few lucky transport companies, very detailed itineraries that integrate with specific schedules on bus and rail routes.

Go Jauntly has been in transport pretty much since its inception, most particularly with Transport for London where it won the “Mayor of London Civic Challenge” in 2018, with a remit to increase walking between stations and the digitalisation of walking across the entire London network of 450 miles – in digital segments, free on their app. The Capital Ring was created which is 78 miles across 15 separate sections – “Folk are incentivised to complete each by receiving a digital badge – a popular prize!”

With TfL being in revenue crisis it feels incongruous to encourage walking between stations, but Hana contests there’s no evidence of abstraction. Most walks are too long to do from home and require public transport at the start or the end. Meanwhile, Go Jauntly also works with Transport for Wales, creating 37 new walking routes that start and end at railway stations, with the intention to be “hyper local to get local people out”.

Walking and bus routes are particularly attractive as mutual friends. Bus travel is particularly local, and the £2 fare cap in England offers great value. This means, in Hana’s view, that this has a distinct appeal to those who might be your less adventurous newcomers to walking, as well as hikers.

I’ve long believed that a bus journey for fun gives a glimpse of scenery and natural beauty for those who are, like me, a bit cautious about walking too far, for fear of getting stranded, lost, puffed out or hungry. So too, integrating a manageable circular walk from one bus stop, just to be able to have a brief but manageable exercise and insight into the landscape, post a snap or selfie so your fans are fooled into thinking you are some kind of intrepid explorer, is just what my doctor ordered. This is something that many of the Go Jauntly walks achieve and with a bit of further research can be intricately dovetailed into many bus timetables.

It’s no secret, I got into public transport to spot trains, rather than as part of a high falutin mission to save the planet. Back then, few in the sector gave two hoots about the environment and it was never really in the public’s consciousness that catching a bus or train helped protect and nurture nature. I’ve belatedly swallowed the pill but I still quickly turn over the pages of articles about our carbon footprints – they always seem too technical, intellectual and dry. I daren’t admit this to Hana. I can, though, confess that she made me sit up and listen when she reeled off a few compelling stats, such as The Natural Capital Account for London calculating that residents avoid £950m in health costs due to walking, and wider research showing that walking for pleasure helps folk have pro-nature conservationist behavioural tendencies.

Hana sprints off on her quest to convince me of the benefits of walking. 80% of car journeys last under 2km which could be walked in less than 30 mins and, get this, you are 9-12 times more polluted in a car than outside.

Stats show that people who walk spend 40% more in shops than those that come by car, thus creating thriving High Streets, building communities and reducing feelings of isolation

“We are choking ourselves to death”, she bemoans, with more than a little sense of impending apocalypse. “There’s a proven link between cancer, dementia and toxic air. Obesity costs health and social care £19bn pounds a year! It really is everyone’s citizen duty to walk, helps tackle depression and as the NHS has shown, walking helps burn calories, make hearts better, reduces feelings of isolation, connects with the community, makes us visit High Streets more. Stats show that people who walk spend 40% more in shops than those that come by car, thus creating thriving High Streets, building communities and reducing feelings of isolation.”

All these stats and facts make the case for walking a walk in the park, but if that isn’t compelling enough, Leeds Beckett University have produced research that shows that every £1 spent on health and nature projects gives a £6.88 return! Not bad considering that walking is a pursuit that’s free! It’s one of the few untouchables that rapacious governments and capitalists haven’t tried to charge for.


Hana’s piqued my interest, but I’m still more fixated with how she makes humdrum walks interesting. No route is dull, she contests, in much the same way I can scientifically demonstrate that the Cat 9 bus from Warrington to Northwich most definitely is very interesting and worthy of being in our Great Scenic Journeys collection. Like us, Hana’s app showcases destinations and things to do en route and also, like us, she has folk testing each walk – a whole band of ‘mystery shoppers’, or ‘curators’. It’s also very much about not just having the stunning Atlantic Coaster or Jurassic Breezers in her collection but shorter ones too – one in 300 of the walks that are downloaded are ‘community walks’.

“We’re designing brand-new routes all the time to meet different customer needs, in much the same way as you would differentiate in transport companies by customer type. We’re creating step-free walks, history of art tours, nature rambles and there’s a really cool feature driven by AI that creates green circular walks in the least polluted way – we think this will scale globally.”

There’s really no such thing as a boring walk. It’s how you bring them to life

Hana continues: “There’s really no such thing as a boring walk. It’s how you bring them to life. Are you imaginative in making something dull interesting? It depends what you want to get out of the walk.”

In our conversation, Hana frequently used the phrase “re-wilding” – apparently, we need to “re-wild cities”, make them like one of her favourite places, Amsterdam, with its wide cycle lanes and footpaths, boats on canals, trams, buses and trains and “where the smell is so fresh, you notice it immediately”. Closer to home in SE1, the game-changing concept of “re-wilding” is “all down to Ada Salter, the mayor of Bermondsey (and first female mayor in London), who around a century ago ‘re-wilded’ the slums in Bermondsey, advocated hearty walks, planted 10,000 trees and gave plant pots to the residents of Millwall”.

Heaven knows what Salter would have made of the X-Box generation or AI, but Hana is confident it’s reached a peak – “AI is not engaging enough to stop you leaving the house. To be honest, Alex, my main concern is there are places across the globe where it’s now too hot to walk in the daytime, including Paris and Barcelona, and we need policy to do more to prevent climate breakdown, such as street trees and rainwater gardens to stop flooding – adapting the public realm is really important.”

Before she walks off, I discover that Hana has a car, but only to take her son to football matches at remote playing fields – “this will be the last car my husband and I have”. Her favourite walk is The Big Chirk Tour: “An exhilarating experience, my first time walking six miles solo in the countryside and a walk that included a beautiful aqueduct, zig-zags across the Anglo-Welsh border and back, herons, sheep, a massive castle, pub.” I proudly tell her that it can be reached fairly easily on the T5 Traws Cymru bus, which in itself is a very pleasant journey between Wrexham and Machynlleth. Walking and public transport are, as Hana rightly says, “deeply compatible”. Like no one else, she’s convinced me that a key priority is for transport companies to build marketing strategies around the joys of a good walk. That many are already doing so shows we’ve entered transformational territory – and thankfully it’s a long walk back from here now.

This story appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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