Take a walk in a winter wonderland or take your chance with a Christmas lucky dip to get into the festive spirit next month.

Durham County Council is urging people to keep fit and healthy despite the cold weather this winter by running a series of guided walks and offering leisure centre users the chance to win some great prizes.

The council’s guided walks are a great opportunity to wrap up against the cold, uncover history, discover birds and wildlife or get creative with an art or photography walk.

There are many walks across the county taking in different sights and sounds and walks for beginners as well as more challenging routes. Walks are organised by the council’s countryside service.

Maria Murphy, countryside development officer, said: “Grab your walking boots and discover the wonderful countryside on your doorstep. All ages are welcome and we will help you find the walk most suitable for you.”

For more information contact the Countryside Service on 0191 372 9100 or download a guide at www.durham.gov.uk/countryside

Until December 31, visitors at Durham County Council run leisure centres can enter a lucky dip to win prizes such as ipods and free gym membership.

The leisure centres have some great offers throughout December to keep people active. Anyone purchasing an annual fitness membership will receive 15 months for the price of 12 and a 30 day swim pass can be purchased for just £20.

For swimming timetables log on to: www.durham.gov.uk/swimming

Charlotte Dallas, business development manager with Durham County Council, said: “This Is the perfect opportunity to visit your local leisure centre for a chance to win fantastic prizes. Also, take advantage of discounted leisure rates to swim, get fit, stay active and feel great.”

Walks are led by a team of enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers, supported by stewards who make sure everyone is safe.

Swim passes are available at Newton Aycliffe and Spennymoor Leisure Centres.

Spennymoor Leisure Centre: 03000 261161

Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre: 01325 300 500