Leading a Walk


Be a Walk Leader

A full walks programme depends on sufficient members volunteering to lead walks. If you are hesitant about leading a walk there is plenty of support available and you could begin by co-leading a walk. Committee members are very willing to help you.

Alternate Wednesdays can be used to support new and current walk leaders to pre-walk possible routes. Please contact Rosemary Boyle if you would like to walk on alternate Wednesdays. Walks routes need not be new; your favourite local walk would be fine and, in addition, the group has a large selection of maps and planned routes available to borrow. An index of over 300 members' walks is now available*; contact the Secretary if you want details of any of these - for copyright reasons we cannot put them on the website.A copy of Ramblers ‘Guidelines for leaders’ is also available.


Please could all walk leaders let Rosemary know the number of walkers on their walk.

If leaders need to claim for pre-walk expenses, 28p per mile may be claimed for one reccé journey for each walk (or bus/train fares)

Planning the walk:

It is helpful to start planning walks as early as possible in the year. To help members new to walk leading we often have free courses to understand the basics. Look under our forthcoming events.

Things to consider:

  • Choose the route: area, length/timing, consider terrain, elevation, ascent/decent, bearing in mind the time of year.
  • Car parking area at start of walk or access by public transport.
  • Research points of interest.
  • Consider lunch/rest stops, bad weather alternatives or means of shortening long walks for anyone struggling.

Before the walk

  • Pre-walk the full route (preferably with the back marker) assessing risks, making adjustments for any problem areas, check timings especially if using public transport.
  • On the day prior, check weather forecasts especially for hill walks; check phone (and GPS) are charged; check gear and first aid kit.

On the day

  • Arrive early, welcome walkers especially any visitors or new members, give outline of walk with points of interest, refreshment stops, any potential hazards, the expected pace and estimated return time, count the number of walkers, introduce your back marker.
  • Where appropriate check the equipment of the party and be prepared to turn people away if circumstances demand.
  • Be alert to problems (roads, weather, difficulties a member maybe experiencing etc). Check members have ICE emergency cards in their rucksacks.
  • Set a pace to suit the party's capabilities and the advertised walk grade.
  • Stay in communication with your back marker, and allow for re-grouping and head counts as required.
  • Help the group across stiles, roads and gates as required. Ensure gates are left in the state you find them.
  • Plan refreshment stops appropriate for the walk. Usually there is a 15 minutes morning break, a longer lunch break and on walks of 10+ miles, an afternoon drinks break. Make a point of having a drinks stop at the start of climbs, more frequently in hot weather.
  • Keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to change your plans if needed.
  • Check everyone has returned, and can get home. Thank them for coming.
  • Provide membership forms to any non-members on the walk and answer any queries.

Walk safety

The safety and well being of the whole group is of prime importance and walkers can help by

  • Not walking in front of the leader
  • Paying heed to hazards and warning those behind
  • Walking in single file, facing oncoming traffic (on cycle tracks it is usual to keep to the left).
  • Notifying the leader if leaving the walk early
  • If you have a health problem you consider we should be aware of please notify the group or walk leader. (Heart, epilepsy, allergies). All members should have an "In Case of Emergency" (ICE) card containing information that would be useful to your fellow walkers and emergency rescuers in the unlikely case of an emergency during a walk. These should be completed and carried in your rucksack.  Ask a Committee member should you not have one.

After the walk

  • Remember to email/phone the Secretary with your walk numbers.
  • If possible submit a report on the walk to the webmaster and publicity officer with a photo for publication.
  • Report incidents or near misses to Ramblers GB ASAP via the Incident Report Form. DOWNLOAD HERE