by Benedict Southworth, Ramblers CEO
The Ramblers is a charity whose goal is to protect the ability of people to enjoy the sense of freedom and benefits that come from being outdoors on foot.
We’re an association of people and groups who come together to both enjoy walking and other outdoor pursuits and also to ensure that we protect and expand the infrastructure and places people go walking.
Our roots are in groups of walkers who wanted access for the public to the countryside. To this day most of our work is done by members who volunteer their time.
We have dramatically increased the ability of the public to access the countryside:
Our success comes through our ability to work alongside other recreational users of the countryside. We also work with the broader outdoors community including those companies and communities that rely on walking for their economic well-being.
Over the last sixty years the Ramblers have played a pivotal role helping secure the footpath network in England and Wales. We literally helped put your rights of way on the map as well as championing long distance routes like the National Trails.
We continue to look after the network. By law, Ramblers in England and Wales needs to be consulted on changes to paths and our volunteers inspect thousands of miles of paths each year. Eighty of our volunteer teams work with local authorities doing hands on maintenance and improvement work, for example, putting in new gates and making sure paths don’t become overgrown.
We also protect the places people go walking. We believe in protecting people's ability to enjoy the intrinsic values of nature and so we will defend the countryside and urban green spaces. To avoid unnecessary duplication of effort with other charities we mainly do this through effective participation in wider coalitions and by work within local communities to avoid particular developments.
Our other role as a charity is to give current and potential walkers a helping hand.
We enable and organise group walks led by walk leaders across Britain. Each year 300,000 people take part in Ramblers organised walks alone. Our members can join a walk anywhere in the country and new walkers are always welcome.
For those people who walk informally or by themselves we offer information, support and opportunities including high quality routes.
For those people not currently walking, but who are considering improving their health and well-being through physical activity, Ramblers is an essential helper. Throughout Britain we provide and support a range of projects. In England we partner with Macmillan Cancer Support as the national Centre for the Walking for Health programme and operate our Get Walking Keep Walking short walks programme. In Scotland we run our Medal Routes and Take 30 projects and in Wales we run Let's Walk Cymru.
We would like to thank all the people and organisations that support our work.
Ramblers Scotland and Ramblers Cymru are part of the Ramblers GB family and membership covers the whole of Britain, however they have the independence to represent walkers in ways that are unique to the Scottish and Welsh nations.
Ramblers Scotland is the representative body for walkers in Scotland. For over 75 years we have been campaigning to protect the natural beauty of our countryside, promote walking and safeguard public access to land.
Ramblers Cymru is the representative body for walkers in Wales and its overall aim is to encourage walking and public understanding of the outdoors.
Find out about what we've achieved recently with the help of our members, volunteers and supporters.
Discover more about our walking roots and key milestones in our history so far.
Find out what we seek to achieve as Britain's walking charity.