Frequently Asked Questions

What training do you provide for walk leaders?

We offer training at our Ramblers Roadshows which are held in England, Wales and Scotland throughout the year. These are available to Ramblers members and volunteers. If you are interested in attending, event and booking details can be found here. We also have resources within the walk leader toolkit which you can use. If you are interested in providing training to your areas, groups or walk leaders, we also have training presentations available on request. Please contact volunteersupport@ramblers.zendesk.com.

What insurance cover is provided by the Ramblers?

The Ramblers provides liability insurance cover to give protection to individual members in the case of a claim being made against them by a third party such as a landowner, a member of the public or another Ramblers member. In the case of group walks, to be considered an official Ramblers walk and thus covered by the liability insurance, all walks must:

be brought to the attention of the Programme Coordinator
be publicised as a Ramblers activity in advance either via the Group Walks and Event Manager, a printed programme or on the group/area website
have a nominated leader who must be a Ramblers member. Ideally the walk would have a backmarker who must also be a Ramblers member to be covered by the Ramblers insurance.

All incidents on walks must be recorded and reported to the Ramblers using the incident report form which can be found in the walk leader toolkit.
 

How do I deal with obstructive/difficult behaviour on a walk?

The Ramblers helps everyone go walking. Difficult behaviour on group walks is rare but can occur. As a walk leader it’s important that you feel confident in dealing with situations as they happen. Leaders have an enhanced duty of care and are responsible for the enjoyment and safety of the overall group. Speak to the person in a calm and professional manner; explain calmly the impact of their behaviour on the rest of the group; don’t put blame on the person as other issues might be affecting their behaviour; be open and listen, but also be assertive. If you feel that the situation isn’t being resolved and there remains a risk to the safety or enjoyment of the group as a whole, you have the option to ask the person to leave the walk. If you need more support, please contact volunteersupport@ramblers.zendesk.com.

 

Can I turn people away from a walk?

Participation in all Ramblers activities is subject to their suitability for individual participants. On group walks walk leaders have an enhanced duty of care towards participants, and sometimes you need to make judgements that take into account the safety and enjoyment of the group as a whole. You can turn people away if you consider that their participation would result in danger to the individual or danger or major disruption to the rest of the group. This should be explained calmly and discreetly to the individual(s) concerned and such judgements need to be made on a fair and practical basis and without making stereotypical or unwarranted assumptions.  If you need more support, please contact volunteersupport@ramblers.zendesk.com.

What should I do if a child or vulnerable adult attends a walk?

Whilst we are experts in providing and supporting walking activities, we can’t provide specialist care, supervision or support for children or vulnerable adults (adults who are unable to care for themselves independently). Children under 18 should be accompanied by a responsible adult and vulnerable adults should be accompanied by someone who takes responsibility for meeting their direct needs (this can be a friend, family member or carer and they do not have to be a member). You are responsible for ensuring that accompanying adults are aware of their responsibility for supervision and direct care. For more information visit our safeguarding children and vulnerable adults toolkit.

 

Can children attend Ramblers walks?

Yes, but anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for proof of age if you think it is necessary.

What should I do if an unaccompanied child attends a walk?

If an unaccompanied person is under 18, it is best for everyone that they do not participate in the activity. Do your best to ensure that they are safe, for example by asking for a contact number and making arrangements with a parent or guardian. Under special circumstances, for example, if you are far from the young person’s home and no-one else is available to ensure they can get home safely, you may choose to include them as a one off. In this case: 

Keep a close eye on the young person and check they are accounted for throughout the activity
Keep a note, and complete an incident report form (found in the safeguarding toolkit) 
Make sure that the young person and their parent or guardian are aware that they will need to be accompanied in future

 

What should I do if I have concerns about a child or vulnerable adult on a walk?

If anyone is under serious threat of physical harm or in need of urgent treatment, dial 999 immediately. If there is no immediate danger but you have a suspicion or concern that abuse is taking place or when an allegation of abuse has been made, make a note of your concerns as soon as possible. Follow the process outlined in our safeguarding guidance. The Ramblers safeguarding officer is here to support you; find their contact details in the safeguarding guidance. 

Can I have a ‘no dogs on walks’ policy?

No, according to the Equality Act 2010 the wording of ‘no dogs’ on the walks programme is considered discrimination against people who require the assistance of dogs for hearing, guiding or therapy. If you do not wish to have dogs on your walks you must state ‘Registered Assistance Dogs Only’. When group walks are uploaded to the Ramblers site, there is an option to indicate if it’s a dog-friendly walk.

Does the Ramblers offer first aid courses?

Currently we don’t coordinate centrally- run first aid courses, but some of our Ramblers Roadshows offer an introductory first aid workshop – you can see what’s coming up here.You can use your group budget to pay for courses that you arrange locally. We recommend you speak to your group committee and think about coordinating across your area.  

You can also find some first aid tips and resources for walkers on the Ramblers website and in the walk leader checklist which doubles up as a handy first aid guide and a checklist for walk leaders. Waterproof versions designed to be taken on a walk can be ordered (simply email volunteersupport@ramblers.zendesk.com). 
 

I’m under 18, can I lead a walk?

Yes of course! However, in order to ensure the safety of participants and you as a junior leader, you must be accompanied by a responsible adult member. The adult must be named and take overall responsibility for the walk, assisting you where necessary. The adult would be responsible for any incidents or difficult situations that might arise. 

Do I have to have a backmarker?

We highly recommend that all groups have a backmarker. Back markers are good to have, particularly if there are large groups. They can be of assistance if an incident occurs during the walk and can help take charge of the group. Backmarkers are also beneficial for keeping a count of the group, staying with walkers who might be struggling at the back of the group as well as identifying any issues on the recce. If you do have a backmarker, they need to be a Ramblers member to be covered by the Ramblers’ insurance.