Managing group size

What’s the perfect number of people for a group walk?

The quick answer: there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to group size. It all comes down to the type of walk, the length, the terrain, weather conditions, the experience within the group and your confidence and knowledge as a walk leader.

However, while every walk is different, it’s good to have somewhere to start to help you plan. Our leader:walker ratios are a good indicator of the number of leaders typically needed to manage a group safely:

walking grade

If you’re a new walk leader, these ratios can be especially useful. When you’re first starting out, it’s important not to take on more than you can manage or feel comfortable with – we want you to enjoy the experience of leading walks just much as your group enjoys walking them!

More experienced walk leaders may find they want to vary these ratios based on the factors mentioned above – length, terrain, weather conditions and the experience of you and your walkers.

Whether you’re a new or more experienced walk leader, you should always consider asking for additional support if you need it. If you have a larger group than expected, you could ask another walk leader or an experienced walker to act as a backmarker – someone who stays at the back of the group and make sure nobody gets left behind – or a middle marker to help keep everyone together.

The main thing to remember when deciding on group size, is that you always want to lead safe, welcoming and enjoyable walks. You should feel confident you can do this with the number of walkers you’ll be leading and that you will be able to manage in the case of an emergency.

If you, as the walk leader, do not feel confident leading the group on the day, you can always rearrange the walk. It’s not the end of the world and the most important thing is you and your walkers are safe.

A walk leader smiling as two walkers pass her.

Getting started as a walk leader

Find out what’s involved in leading group walks and how to get started.

Two walkers having a conversation whilst drinking out of flasks.

Writing a walk listing

Tips on how to write a walk listing.

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Essential kit for leading group walks

The extra kit we recommended taking along when you’re leading a walk.