New to Rambling? - what to expect, what to wear and other information

What are paths like where we walk?

We use footpaths, bridleways, canal towpaths, riverside paths and permissive paths.

Footpaths cross farmland which might be arable or grassed. Arable land can contain crops in summer or be ploughed in winter so it can be very muddy or you could be walking through a field of maize above your head! Grassed fields often contain livestock, sheep, cattle or horses. Cattle and horses can be inquisitive and sometimes lively but the walk leader will advise you of any potential problems before the walk. Farmers can move livestock so there are occasionally surprise encounters which weren't there when the leader did the walkout.

Moving between fields on footpaths can be via stiles or gates. Stiles can vary in height and condition so be prepared for some climbing. Bridleways are used by horseriders and cyclists so only have gates.

What should I wear and bring with me?

  • Walking boots or walking shoes - if buying new ones wear them around the house or for a short walk near to home before embarking on a longer walk. Boots provide better ankle support than shoes. Make sure your socks are also comfortable with your chosen footwear. Some walkers wear wellingtons when it is very wet but although they keep your feet dry they can be difficult to walk in and don't always keep your feet warm.
  • Trousers or shorts - Light weight quick drying trousers with some stretch are good but denim jeans are NOT recommended as they are heavy and cold when wet. Shorts are comfortable in warmer weather but beware of stinging nettles! In colder weather you can always add thermals underneath trousers.
  • Layers - your body temperature can change quite quickly getting hot as you walk but cooling down quickly when you stop so it is a good idea to have several layers which you can remove or add as necessary.
  • Jackets - a warmer jacket for cold weather and a light weight windproof one during warmer weather. A waterproof jacket is recommended as well as waterproof trousers or over trousers.
  • Hats and gloves - depending on the time of year, warm ones for the winter, sun hats in the summer.
  • Gaiters - useful for protecting the lower part of your trousers from mud
  • Small rucksack or day sack - useful for carrying a drink or snack or your lunch if on an all day walk plus your extra layers and waterproofs.
  • Walking pole(s) - a useful aid when tackling steep ascents and descents and when the paths are slippy
  • Personal first aid kit - cuts and scratches happen occaisonally. Please ensure you carry any special medication e.g. EpiPen, insulin and please download, complete and carry with you an In Case of Emergency (ICE) card.