Three quarters of people prefer to explore destinations on foot while on holiday over any other mode of transport, new research claims.

When asked which aspect of walking they most enjoy, 84% of the 1,000 respondents aged over 40 said fresh air, followed by 69% who like the fact that walking keeps them fit.

The poll for walking holiday specialist Headwater reveled that just over a fifth (22%) have been on a self-guided or guided walking holiday.

Almost two-thirds (65%) of over-40s love walking holidays because they get to enjoy the outdoors.

More than half (55%) think the local culture, food and wine is the best part of a walking holiday.

Seeing a region in their own time is the favourite part of a walking holiday for 57% of those surveyed while 56% love the relaxed yet active aspect of a walking holiday.

The research was conducted to coincide with National Walking Month.

Headwater marketing and product director, Alison Scott, said: “Our research supports the recent NHS review of obesity, highlighting the importance of regular exercise for adults.

“Incorporating regular walking into your routine is easy and as it’s not a strenuous form of exercise, it’s actually quite enjoyable. On a walking holiday you can enjoy pleasures such as fine food and wine whilst burning off some of the calories when exploring a destination on foot.”

She added: “Following the research we’d like to attract and support those new to walking by creating a series of e-guides later in the year, covering everything from what to pack to reviews of the ideal cost-effective kit to how to take the best holiday photographs.

“We want to debunk the myth that walking holidays are just for the active and experienced and ensure that they are open to everyone of any age, experience or fitness level. Walking is important and we want to shout about its numerous benefits.”