Introducing a younger audience to rambling on Dartmoor

Adults and children, around a pile of large rocks, waving 

Incoming chairman of South Devon Ramblers, Eric Evans, returned from Ramblers General Council all fired up about engaging the younger generation.

He spotted an opportunity and approached White Rock Primary School. With the approval of the headteacher, Eric and myself (secretary of South Devon Ramblers) led an assembly to a rousing background of The Proclaimers’ ‘I would walk 500 miles’, to introduce the concept of rambling.

This was followed up a week or so later with a stall at the school’s Summer Fair, where children had to guess what was packed in a rucksack, eliciting the items they would need to take on a ramble. We offered a family ramble, planned for the end of term and several families signed up. On the day, 29 people came along.

Moorland scene with a group of people walking together

The walk was planned as an introduction to Dartmoor, being no more than 2.5 miles long, with features to point out and a treasure hunt at a quarry, where we stopped for a picnic. Wobbly legged foals, tadpoles, leeches and waterlilies in the quarry pond added interest. 

People sitting beside a rocky lake

One of the young people remarked "What a beautiful day it was yesterday. I absolutely loved it. I couldn't stop talking about it."

The feedback was wholly positive. Two points were noted from the day.  Interestingly, the children, aged 7-11 years, were not familiar with the word rambling, and one suspects their first experience of the term would be as a derogatory remark about a person talking too long, ‘rambling on’! Secondly, the parents were interested in walking on Dartmoor, but confessed they didn’t know where to begin. 

Follow up ideas were distributed and a further walk is planned before the end of the year.

Find out more about walking Dartmoor with the South Devon Ramblers.