If you think you would like to give rambling a try you have come to the right place!
Bromley Ramblers are a friendly bunch of pretty much equal numbers of men and women. If you turn up for one of our walks and introduce yourself to the Walk Leader you will be made very welcome. The Kent, Surrey and Sussex countryside is beautiful and on foot you see it from a completely different perspective. However, it is rambling not ambling and we typically average 2.5mph or so. That might not sound much but at the end of longer walks with a few hills and stiles and possibly some mud, you will probably feel tired and bits of you will ache that haven't ached before. However you will enjoy it and feel you have achieved something.
If you are new to this try a shorter easier walk first to ease yourself into it. We don't do anything that someone in reasonable health couldn't enjoy but It's like anything else physical, your body has to get used to it. We have had new walkers who have turned up to longer, strenuous walks, found it hard going, lagged behind and had to be lead back to the start because they bit off more than they could chew. Worse, it put them off the whole idea and some we never saw again.
Please arrive for the walk well before the start time as we do like to start promptly. Introduce yourself to anyone who will introduce you to the Walk Leader. Sign the walk sheet before we start so that we know how many we start with. We do count up now and again to make sure we haven't lost anybody! We cannot guarantee the finish time for our walks but there is an estimate in the description on the web site. The longer walks do involve a stop of about an hour for a pub lunch or a picnic.
To enjoy rambling, please make sure you wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Man made fibre clothes are best The UK is not Arizona and cotton jeans are not advisable if rain is forecast as they don't dry quickly and are then very cold, heavy and uncomfortable. Trainers are fine in the summer but you will come to value boots when it gets muddy and they do provide better ankle support. Bring plenty of water with you particularly during the summer months (a couple of half litre bottles is usually enough) . Leaders may decline participants who in their opinion are inadequately equipped or unfit for the particular walk, so if you have any disabilities, please contact us in advance.
The walks listed in the Walk Programme are primarily for Ramblers’ Association members but non-members are welcome to join us as our guests for up to 3 walks. We are not too strict about this but would expect you to join The Ramblers if you walked with us regularly. Important: If you do decide to join the Ramblers and want to receive the Bromley printed programme you need to designate Bromley as your group of choice on the membership form - otherwise you may be allocated to another group depending where you live.
In the Walk Programme a short description of each walk is provided, together with approximate mileage and grade. The grades we use are as follows:
L: Leisurely. We used to call these Easy
Walks for reasonably fit people with at least a little country walking experience. May include unsurfaced rural paths. Walking boots and warm, waterproof clothing are recommended
M : Moderate. A walk over average countryside
Some hills and varied conditions underfoot, depending on the time of year. You will need to be reasonably fit and prepared for longer walks but they will not be too exhausting and will be within average capabilities. Walking boots and warm, waterproof clothing are essential in all but the mildest of weather.
S : Streuous. A walk for fit and experienced walkers
Ideally, you need to have completed several M-graded walks. They will be long with steep hills and roughish terrain, covered at a reasonably fast pace. Newcomers with any doubt about their fitness should contact the organiser or leader in advance.
We go to a lot of trouble with map references, postcodes and descriptions to make sure you can find the often out of the way start points where we usually meet. Car sharing is encouraged for environmental reasons and because many of the car parks we use are small. If you need a lift the leader may be able to help with arrangements but your best bet is to get to a walk and ask the walk leader to introduce you to someone who lives near you. You will probably find someone you can carshare with.
PC in the Programme stands for Passenger Contribution. If you share a car with someone to get to and from the Start Point the driver might appreciate a contribution towards the costs. It is entirely voluntary but the Programme suggests a sum based on 10p/mile/person calculated from BNS, Bromley North Station. This encourages drivers to fill the cars and with the AA calculating that the cheapest car costs around 40p/mile to run, 10p is a very reasonable. You are of course free to make your own arrangements but we have found over the years that this formula avoids the awkwardness over how much to contribute should you wish to do so.It is much better than filling the driver with drink at lunchtime! If you do the driving some of the time you will probably find it evens out.
Sometimes walks involve rail travel and you should check the train timetable to ensure you arrive before the start of the walk but details are usually in the Programme.
Please note that we are happy to accept young people under the age of 18 but they should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. It is usually possible to cater for walkers' dogs but please check with the walk leader before bringing one along. Dogs must be kept on a lead in the presence of farm animals and ground nesting birds but in the unlikely event that cattle or horses start charging about the best advice is to release your dog and save yourself. Dogs are nimble enough to look after themselves, we are not.
Try to walk at the pace set by the Leader so that everyone stays together keeping other walkers in sight, both in front and behind. Walks are planned to be comfortable for the average walker but if you find the pace too fast then let the leader or back marker know in good time so that something can be done about it. With larger groups we appoint a back marker so you won't be left behind.
Try not to disturb farm animals by approaching then unnecessarily. Also please remember to close all gates
In pubs - remember to remove or cover muddy boots. Carrier bags may not be elegant but they work. Most publicans object strongly to walkers eating their own food anywhere on the premises so we find somewhere nearby to do that. As a rule more people take a picnic than eat in the pub but most have drink after eating.
Please have consideration for your fellow walkers and keep mobile phone usage to an absolute minimum.
Lastly for your own and others’ safety, please follow the instructions of the Walk Leader. Although walking is inherently one of the safest outdoor activities, no activity is completely without risk and it is each walker’s responsibility to behave sensibly and to minimise the potential for accidents to occur. Be particularly careful climbing over wet stiles which is where accidents do occur. In accordance with Ramblers Association practice, all walkers participate at their own risk.