How your group can reach new walkers

Tips and advice for getting new people to join your group walks

Everyone looks for something different from a group walk. Short or long. Urban or countryside. Weekend or weekday. By adding variety to your walks, you can make sure they appeal to different people. Here are tips, ideas and examples from our Ramblers Groups and Ramblers Wellbeing Walks: 


1. Introductory walks  

Help new walkers feel comfortable about trying something new by running introductory walks. This has worked successfully in the Balerno Ramblers Group and you can hear more from Jacqui, the Walks Programme Coordinator.   

As Jacqui mentions, marketing is key. To reach new walkers think of different ways to market your walks, from local newsletters and newspapers to online platforms like MeetUp. You can find out more about using MeetUp here [insert link to PDF guidance created by membership].  


2. Mix up distances and difficulties, times and dates and audiences 

Choose a variety of routes that offer walkers different distances and appeal to walkers of different abilities. New walkers may be hesitant about joining long walks so running a few short walks where walkers can gain confidence and get to know your group can help them feel welcome. Providing walks on a variety of days and at different times can make your walks accessible to more people – think about school run times and working hours.  

Shelia from the Livingston Ramblers tells us how half day Saturday walks have helped her group.   

Read more about what our Ramblers Wellbeing Walks have been doings to get more people outdoors walking


3. Dog-friendly walks  

Lots of people like to walk with their dogs, but not every walk is suitable for our four-legged friends. Try organising some specific dog-friendly walks and update your walk listings so that dog-owners know which walks to try out. One group that has set up their own dog-friendly walks is the North Hertfordshire Ramblers. Hear from walk leader, Jenny Mason, about the North Herts Dog Friendly Walks Programme.


4. Easy-to-reach locations 

Running walks that are accessible by public transport can open up your walks to a wider audience and helps the environment too! When planning your walks, think about whether the start and end points can be accessed by public transport or you can run a lift share programme. Make sure this information is clear on your walk listing.  

In 2023, Ramblers Cymru partnered with Transport for Wales to launch 22 new walks from railway stations across Wales. All walks start and finish from various railway stations across the Wales and Borders network, and maps are available for each walk on the Transport for Wales website.  

The Wessex Wanderer Railway Walks programme has been running walks from stations along the Heart of Wessex, Bristol to Weymouth, railway line since 1995. Led by walk leaders from across the four Areas of the Ramblers covered by the railway line (Avon, Wiltshire & Swindon, Somerset and Dorset),  the programme runs circular and linear walks of various lengths to suit all tastes from May to October each year. Whether travelling north or south on the line, the start time of the walks takes into account the train times in both directions, and the train times are included in the walk listing. 


5. Reaching out to local community groups  

Reaching out to local community groups helps us spread the benefits of walking in the outdoors with more people, giving them the confidence to get out walking with our support. This is exactly what The Mole Valley Ramblers, Croydon Group, Manchester and Salford Group and Liverpool Group have done with their walks for asylum seekers and refugees. 

We spoke to Fiona and Louise, chair, and vice chair of the Mole Vallery Ramblers group, about the personal impact these walks have had and how they have overcome all the challenges they faced when organising them. You can watch the full video on our YouTube channel. 

A group of asylum seekers and walk leaders smiling, standing on a bridge in a sunny woodland.

Organising walks for asylum seekers

Mole Valley Ramblers are giving asylum seekers in Surrey the opportunity to get out walking in the beautiful Surrey Hills.

Barmouth bridge

Ramblers Cymru launch partnership with Transport for Wales

Transport for Wales and Ramblers Cymru launch a partnership project to get more people using public transport to access local walking routes.