Leading a walk

The group is always looking for new walk leaders

The notes below give you some guidance on what you’ll need to think about and do but if you have any questions at all on leading or submitting a walk please contact the Programme Secretary who also has Ordnance Survey maps of the local area to lend to people.

Plan and Recce the walk

  • First plan your route
    • The best type of map to use for planning is an Ordnance Survey Explorer map which are 1:25000 scale and have an orange banner on the front cover. These show greater detail for walking than larger scale maps and make it much easier to see where footpaths go. The group has local maps available to borrow – OS Explorer map list
    • Pre planned walk routes can be used and are easily found online or in books. Alternatively you can repeat a walk someone has led before
  • Recce the route
    • You can find someone else to recce the walk with you. You can ask about this on the Facebook group or contact the Walking Programme Secretary.
    • Note any tricky sections, broken and slippery stiles, steep slopes etc. Don’t forget that the changing seasons can make things look very different.
    • Note that we normally walk at about 2 miles per hour, and in the winter take daylight hours into account.
  • Plan lunch and other break stops
    • Think about places for food and drink stops during the walk i.e. picnic or pub stops, and work out roughly when you are likely to arrive at each.
    • Make a note of any toilet facilities on the route and if they are likely to be open on the day.
  • Check out parking and public transport
      • Is there enough car parking at your start point and could there be other demands on parking space, such as church services. Note whether there are car parking charges so you can tell people to bring change
      • Check if it is possible to start/finish the walk near public transport? do buses or trains run on a Sunday and times? As this could make it easier for more people to attend.

Submit Your Walk

  • Once you are ready to submit your walk you can use the form on the ‘submit a walk‘ page.
  • Please try to include all the information you can but if you are unsure about anything note it in the comments box when submitting the walk.

On the day of the walk

  • Bring the Ordnance Survey Map
  • Get to the start point or meeting place early, 15 minutes before the start time ideally

At the start of the walk

  • Introduce yourself as the walk leader and give a short briefing
  • Check whether there are any new people and introduce them to other members of the group.
  • Check that everyone is properly equipped for the conditions. If you know the route has some very muddy sections let people know so they can put their gaiters on etc.
  • Volunteer a back marker
  • Do a headcount

During the walk

  • Ensure gates are closed and any dogs are under control when livestock are around
  • Think about rest/water stops and pauses to regroup and keep an eye out for anyone struggling to keep up
  • Check the headcount with back marker
  • Watch the pace and check timings
  • Keep a watch at stiles and obstructions
  • Remind people to keep into the side on road sections
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help or a second opinion, especially in the event of something unforeseen e.g. blocked paths, getting lost or accidents/illness, and keep everyone informed.

At the end

  • Let everyone know which pub or tea shop people are heading to for that post walk drink.
  • Thank your back marker and congratulate yourself on a job well done! …hopefully someone will buy you a drink.

Insurance cover for walks

  • Each year the Ramblers’ Association arranges civil liability insurance for members who act on behalf of the organisation. This is third-party insurance which is of particular relevance to Walk Leaders but it also covers other activities such as committee meetings, campaign rallies, publicity events and even social events.
  • Please see the Civil Liability Insurance link for full details. If you have any questions please contact the Programme Secretary