Walk this way: how we can all roam responsibly

Coast path

One good thing to come out of these months of lockdown is that so many people have discovered the joy of walking – the stress-busting, mind-clearing benefits of heading outside, connecting with nature and putting one foot in front of the other.

As the COVID 19 lockdown eases and we head into a summer of ‘staycations’ with more of us wanting to enjoy the Great British countryside on foot, we can all play a part in protecting the green spaces we love and keeping walking safe and enjoyable for all.

The Countryside Code for England and Wales and the Access Code for Scotland are great blueprints for ensuring you have a happy, uplifting walk that won’t leave any negative impact along the route you’ve enjoyed, and much of its advice is relevant whether you are walking in urban or rural locations.

Now more than ever, it’s important that as walkers we: 

  • take all litter home with us 
  • plan ahead before setting off – contacting local visitor centres, avoiding busy times and roads, checking car park opening times and weather forecasts etc 
  • keep dogs under effective control at all times
  • respect the needs of local people and other visitors alike – for example, don’t block gateways, driveways or other paths with our vehicles. 

If you’ve newly discovered the pleasures of walking during lockdown and aren’t familiar with the Countryside Code or Access Code, it’s worth having a read before you set off on your next outing.

Meanwhile, our emergency services have been played a heroic and vital role in controlling the pandemic. We can all ensure vital resources aren’t diverted away from this response by ensuring we don’t get into trouble and end up needing their help whilst out walking. Simple measures such as checking weather forecasts and tide times before you leave, not pushing yourself too hard and not being afraid to turn back can help keep us all safe. In hot weather, so can avoiding walking at the hottest times of day (between 11am and 3pm) and carrying plenty of water with you.

There are lots of other practical steps you can take to ensure your walks go well. We’ve got lots of advice on things like walking on roads and the Highway Code, walking near horses or livestock, personal safety whilst out walking and much more.

Overall, it’s important to remember that the COVID-19 virus is still with us, and that official advice remains to limit your contact with others. We are continuing to monitor government announcements across the nations of Great Britain and update our guidelines for walkers accordingly.

Wishing everyone safe and happy walking! 

Joining the Ramblers gives you access to ongoing support, advice and inspiration to keep you enjoying walking. We are Great Britain’s largest walking community, and we are waiting to welcome you for just £3.05 a month. Find out more: www.ramblers.org.uk/get-involved/join-the-ramblers

John Odell

Should you now be thinking about organising walks locally again allowing for the current situation.

John Odell

Should you now be thinking about organising walks locally again allowing for the current situation.