Coronavirus - the latest Ramblers advice for supporters, members and volunteers

9 July 2020

We are reviewing our guidance regularly in response to the latest government advice. Our priority is to protect the health of our members, volunteers and staff and to help suppress the spread of the COVID-19 virus.   

The easing of lockdown measures allows more freedom for walkers. However, the advice remains to limit your contact with others. 

We are delighted that some Ramblers volunteering activities can now be done safely and in line with the latest government advice - read more. 

Group walks remain suspended in Wales. However, we are gradually introducing some pre-booked small group walks in England and Scotland, for those groups who wish to walk together now. It is important to stress that these will be very different to group walks pre-lockdown and it may be some time before small group walks are up and running again where you live. Our walk leaders will be carefully considering the best approach in your local area. Please always refer to your local group and our go walking page for the latest information.

Government rules for walking and exercise outside

Currently the key rules relevant to walkers are:

  • From 4 July, people in England can exercise alone, with members of your household (or support bubble), or with up to five other people from outside your household. Two households can also meet. You should maintain a distance of 2m between people from different households, or 1m plus mitigations (such as face coverings or avoiding face-to-face contact) where 2m is not possible. Some areas of the country may have additional local restrictions in place. We advise that you always refer to the latest government guidance regarding restrictions that may apply in your local area. Read more.
  • In Scotland, from 10 July people can meet outdoors in groups of up to 15, from a maximum of five households, while maintaining 2m distance between households. 
  • In Wales, people can form an extended household with one other household allowing them to  exercise together. People from two different households can meet each other outdoors with no limit on the number of people, provided the 2m physical distancing guidelines are followed. 

There are no longer restrictions to how far you can travel to go for a walk in any of the three nations, but please look out for localised restrictions that may be introduced in some areas. 

Our advice to walkers

Whether alone, with your family or with members of another household, we advise all walkers to:

1 - Be prepared 
Make sure your destination is open and ready to receive visitors

2 - Be safe
Continue to maintain good hygiene and physical distancing and self-isolate if you are showing coronavirus symptoms or have been in contact with anyone who is infected.

3 - Be considerate 
Be sensitive to rural communities if considering travelling further from home to walk and make sure to follow the Countryside Code (England and Wales) and Access Code (Scotland).  

Know where you can walk 

Guidance is changing regularly and the rules for accessing the outdoors differ in England, Wales and Scotland. For an overview of the situation in each nation, including any restrictions on public access, click here. If you are concerned that a path has been blocked illegally or restrictions have been put in place unlawfully, please report this to your local authority.  

Questions

We are working to keep our members, volunteers and partners updated with the latest information on our response to COVID-19 virus via our usual communications channels. This webpage will be updated with the latest information, and will support members and volunteers in communicating how Ramblers GB is responding to the COVID-19 virus.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

About COVID-19

What is Covid-19? 

You can find information on Covid-19 including latest advice from the NHS here.

What’s the best way to minimise the spread of the virus?

You can help to minimise the spread of the virus by avoiding any non-essential travel and social interaction.

Remember to:

  • Catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue and dispose of them immediately
  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly, for at least 20 seconds (or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel if not available)
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell

If you, or anyone in your household experience symptoms, the latest government advice is for you to self-isolate for seven days, plus anyone in your household to self-isolate for 14 days – or seven days from the point they show Covid-19 symptoms.

We recommend keeping up to date with the latest NHS advice.

I think I might have coronavirus – what should I do?

If you have a high temperature or continuous cough (however mild), the latest advice is to self-isolate for seven days, and for anyone in your household to self-isolate for 14 days (or seven days from the point they show Covid-19 symptoms). This means staying at home, avoiding public places and group activities.

If your condition gets worse, you feel can’t cope with your symptoms at home, or your symptoms do not get better, please contact the NHS coronavirus service online, or by calling 111.

Ramblers offices

Will Ramblers offices close?

We’re following the latest government updates and NHS advice closely – our offices are now closed with Ramblers staff working from home.  We’re putting plans and processes in place so that we can continue to support to members and volunteers.

Please bear with us over the next few weeks as we get used to the new arrangements – and get in touch if you have any questions or concerns.

Please contact your local office via email in the normal way.  If you are not sure who to contact, please email coronavirus@ramblers.zendesk.com.

FAQs for Ramblers Members

Are all Ramblers group walks cancelled?

Group walks remain suspended in Wales. However, we are gradually introducing a number of pre-booked small group walks in England and Scotland, for those groups who wish to walk together now. It is important to stress that these will be very different to group walks pre-lockdown and it may be some time before small group walks are up and running again where you live. Our walk leaders will be carefully considering the best approach in your local area. 

Please always refer to your local group and our go walking page for the latest information.

We understand that some of you may be disappointed that group walks in your area are not yet restarted.  We are working with Ramblers volunteers to help with the safe restart of activities. 

Does this mean I can’t go for a walk? 

No. Walking is a great way to stay healthy and you can continue to walk outdoors for exercise. As long as you observe physical distancing guidelines, you can walk alone, with members of your household, or with a limited number of people from another household. Rules vary between England, Scotland and Wales so for the latest guidelines in all nations, please refer to the Ramblers statement at the top of the page.

Remember whilst the easing of lockdown measures allows more freedom for walkers, the advice remains to limit your contact with others. If you are clinically vulnerable (i.e. over 70 or with a listed underlying health condition) you are advised to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household.  

However, if you choose to walk with other individuals from your Ramblers group or area outside of a pre-booked small group walk  – this will not be considered a Ramblers activity.

Why isn’t my local group offering pre-booked small group walks?

The easing of lockdown measures allows more freedom for walkers. However, government advice remains to limit your contact with others. We are working with our volunteers to introduce pre-booked small group walks when they feel confident that it is safe to do so.

We understand that some members may be disappointed, but our top priority is the health and wellbeing of our members, volunteers and staff – and we want to do our best to help suppress the spread of the virus. 

Please see our advice above in respect to walking independently.

If we stay a safe distance from each other, can we continue walking together?

Only pre-booked small group walks are covered by insurance. Any other group walks taking place are not official Ramblers walks, and you will not be covered by insurance.

Please see our advice above in respect to walking independently. 

Can I pause my membership? / Are you offering extensions to membership? / Refunds?

We are not offering the options for refunds/extensions/option to pause membership. 
Ramblers membership protects our green spaces, our rights as walkers and helps others to discover the powerful benefits of walking.   

We hope you’ll continue to stand with us as an active member of the Ramblers. 

You’ll continue to receive Walk magazine, access back-copies of Walk magazine, receive discounts on walking gear and have access to independent walks to explore. During lockdown we are continuing to provide advice on staying active if you are having to self-isolate, as well as more tips and support on independent walking – which you’ll find on our Facebook page as well as in our regular member emails.

At this time, more than ever, as a wonderful community of members we know you will reach out to support each other in new ways, as we all feel the impact of this unprecedented challenge.  

Are Ramblers offices closed?

The Ramblers offices remain closed, so please get in touch with us by phone or email rather than post wherever possible. A few members of staff are going in to open post weekly, but where possible we ask you to call or email us.

We are continuing to provide support to members and volunteers remotely until further notice. It may take a little longer for us to respond to your enquiry – thank you for your patience at this time.

FAQs for Ramblers volunteers in group, area and walking roles

When will Ramblers activities restart?  

Whilst the easing of lockdown restrictions allows walkers more freedom, it’s clear the COVID-19 has not gone away. We need to be flexible in our planning, which may mean that we need to organise Ramblers activities in different ways. We also need to make sure that the right support is in place for volunteers to carry out their roles safely.  
 
We are taking a cautious and phased approach to reintroduce Ramblers activities – which may progress at different paces in England, Scotland and Wales. 

Please see our page on Restarting Ramblers activities for more information on our phased approach, the latest updates on which activities can and can’t take place, and the steps that you must take before volunteering. 


Can Ramblers and Ramblers Walking for Health group walks restart? 

There are still significant differences in the restrictions, depending on whether you live in England, Scotland or Wales. 

In England – group walks can restart from Wednesday 1 July, subject to following the latest government guidelines. This includes limiting group size to a maximum of 6 people in total (the walk leader, plus five walkers). 

In Wales – all group walks remain suspended until further notice. 

In Scotland - group walks can restart from Friday 10 July, subject to following latest government guidelines. This includes limiting group size of up to 15, from a maximum of five households. We will support those who want to walk together, but there is no rush or pressure from us to restart group walks immediately.
  
Please see our page on Restarting Ramblers activities for more information on the steps that you must take to plan and lead group walks safely. 


Can I still go for a walk independently? 

Yes. 

There are some differences in government guidelines, depending on whether you live in England, Scotland or Wales. For more information on the latest guidelines in all nations, please see the latest Ramblers statement at the top of the page. 

Remember whilst the easing of lockdown measures allows more freedom for walkers, the advice remains to limit your contact with others. If you are clinically vulnerable (i.e. over 70 or with a listed underlying health condition) you are advised to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household.  

If you choose to walk with other individuals from your Ramblers group or area, outside of a Ramblers group walk – this will not be considered a Ramblers activity. 

 


Can volunteering activities such as path warden and path adoption schemes restart? 

Some path warden activities can restart – however there are significant differences, depending on whether you live in England, Scotland or Wales. 

Please visit our page on Restarting Ramblers activities for the latest updates on which activities can and can’t resume, and the steps you must take before volunteering. 


Can path maintenance activities continue?

No – at this stage, path maintenance activities remain suspended until further notice. Any work parties which continue to be organised locally will not be considered Ramblers activities and will not be covered by the Ramblers insurance.  

We are working with areas and groups on guidance to help with the safe restart of activities, and will reintroduce these activities when we feel confident that it is safe to do so. 

I want to contact a staff member at the Ramblers – how do I do this? 

Please contact your local office via email in the normal way. If you’re not sure who to contact, please email coronavirus@ramblers.zendesk.com or phone 020 3961 3180. 

Our offices are now closed, and Ramblers staff are working from home.

 

Previous statements

11 May 2020

We are reviewing our guidance regularly in response to the latest government advice. Our priority remains to protect the health of our members, volunteers and staff and help to suppress the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

All Ramblers group walks and activities remain suspended until at least 31 May. 

Latest Government advice

It is clear that Coronavirus has not gone away, and we need to continue to help control the virus to save lives.  Although there are some changes to government guidance, the lockdown is still in force across the UK. 

We recommend that you continue to stay at home as much as possible, stay local and consider walking at quieter times and locations where physical distancing may be easier.  Whilst we understand the temptation for some to drive to your favourite walking spot, we urge our members and all walkers to continue to take extra care and to walk responsibly (see more detail below).  If you or anyone in your household has Coronavirus symptoms, you should continue to self-isolate.

Over the weekend, the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments confirmed changes to their guidance in relation to walking and exercise as part of the next phase of the Covid-19 response. The governments will provide more detail in the coming days and we will update our guidance accordingly.

England

In England, it has been confirmed that from Wednesday 13 May:

  • Exercise can take place outdoors as often as you like, as long you observe physical distancing rules and are alone or with members of your household.
  • You can, if you wish, drive to other destinations to exercise. Again, you must follow social distancing guidelines and be alone or with members of your household. 

Wales

In Wales, it has been confirmed, from today:

  • Exercise can take place outdoors as often as you like, as long you observe physical distancing rules and are alone or with members of your household.
  • People must continue to stay local and any exercise should start and end at home and not involve going a significant distance from home.

Many locations remain closed to visitors, including a number of popular beauty spots and visitor sites throughout Wales.

Scotland

In Scotland, it has been confirmed, from today:

  • Exercise can take place outdoors as often as you like, as long you observe physical distancing rules and are alone or with members of your household.
  • Exercise should be done in your local area. You should not drive to beauty spots, parks or beaches.
  • High risk exercise (that may result in injury and require medical care or emergency services support) should be avoided.
  • However, if you (or a person in your care) have a specific health condition that requires you to leave the home to maintain your health - including if that involves travel beyond your local area - then you can do so.

Walk responsibly

Wherever you live, we urge all walkers to respect the interests of all people who use the outdoors, avoid crowded areas, practice social distancing and wash your hands regularly.

Be considerate to others and make sure you follow the Countryside Code (England and Wales) and Scottish Outdoor Access Code. You should:

  • leave gates as you find them
  • keep dogs under close control
  • follow advice on local signs
  • take litter home.

Where possible, you should also:

  • avoid touching gates and railings with your hands
  • consider using alternative routes that do not pass through gardens, farmyards or schools, where social distancing may be difficult
  • consider avoiding popular locations and times of day if you can

Know where you can walk

Guidance is changing regularly and the rules for accessing the outdoors differ in England, Wales and Scotland. For an overview of the situation in each nation, including any restrictions on public access, click here.If you are concerned that a path has been blocked illegally or restrictions have been put in place unlawfully, please report this to your local authority. 

We urge all walkers to stay local, to follow social distancing guidance and to walk safely, responsibly and considerately.

Questions

We are working to keep our members, volunteers and partners updated with the latest information on our response to COVID-19 virus via our usual communications channels. This webpage will be updated with the latest information, and will support members and volunteers in communicating how Ramblers GB is responding to the COVID-19 virus.

15 April 2020 

We are reviewing and updating our guidance regularly in response to the latest government advice. Our priority remains to protect the health of our members, volunteers and staff and help to suppress the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All Ramblers walks and activities have been cancelled until at least 31 May. 

Stay at home 

Government advice is to stay at home as much as possible to reduce the spread of the virus.  Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms. You should: 

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • You can also still go outside once a day for a walk, run or cycle but please do so safely (see below)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times (Please follow the latest government guidance on social distancing).
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home 

Walk safely

If you chose to walk as your daily exercise, you should: 

  • stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible – do not travel unnecessarily
  • only go outside alone or with members of your own household
  • keep at least 2 metres (6ft) apart from anyone outside your household 
  • if you have a garden, make use of the space for exercise and fresh air
  • take hygiene precautions when you are outside – for example, avoid touching gates and railings with your hands - and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors
  • if walking your dog in areas used by other people, you should walk your dog on a lead to ensure you can safely keep 2 metres away from others. You can find further guidance for pet owners here.

Walk responsibly

We urge all walkers to respect the interests of all people who use the outdoors and follow government advice to only to walk locally, for a short period of daily exercise, to avoid crowded areas and to practice social distancing. 

If you are walking in local countryside from your doorstep, it is vital to walk responsibly. Be considerate to others and make sure you follow the Countryside Code (England and Wales) and Access Code (Scotland). You should:

  • leave gates as you find them
  • keep dogs under close control
  • follow advice on local signs
  • take litter home.

Where possible, you should also:

  • avoid touching gates and railings with your hands
  • consider using alternative routes that do not pass through gardens, farmyards or schools, where social distancing may be difficult
  • consider avoiding popular locations and times of day if you can

Know where you can walk

The Ramblers has received queries from people concerned about path closures or access restrictions close to where they live. These closures can, in some cases, limit opportunities for people to exercise locally from their doorstep or access essential amenities.

Guidance is changing regularly and the rules for accessing the outdoors differ in England, Wales and Scotland. For an overview of the situation in each nation, including any restrictions on public access, click here.

If you are concerned that a path has been blocked illegally or restrictions have been put in place unlawfully, please report this to your local authority. Read our overview of how COVID-19 is affecting public access in England, Wales and Scotland via the link above.

We urge all walkers to follow social distancing guidance and walk safely, responsibly and considerately.

Questions

We are working to keep our members, volunteers and partners updated with the latest information on our response to COVID-19 virus via our usual communications channels. This webpage will be updated with the latest information, and will support members and volunteers in communicating how Ramblers GB is responding to the COVID-19 virus.

The best way to contact us is to first check the website link for information. If you still have questions, please get in touch via coronavirus@ramblers.zendesk.com and we will aim to get back to you as soon as possible. Please note that our offices are closed, with Ramblers staff working from home.

Thank you for your continued support.

The Ramblers has been around for a long time, through the tough days and the bright days. We will continue to fight for the rights of walkers, for the protection of our important green spaces and for the joys of walking. Together we’re stronger. Thank you for standing with us at this difficult time.

9 April 2020

We are reviewing our guidance daily in response to the latest government advice. Our priority is to protect the health of our members, volunteers and staff and help to suppress the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

UK Government advice issued on 23 March 2020 remains in place. To limit the spread of Coronavirus, people should stay at home except for:

  • shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • one form of exercise a day – for example a walk, run or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
  • any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary.

If you are in a household with COVID-19 symptoms, you should self-isolate at home. Those aged 70 or older and those with pre-existing health conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19 are particularly advised to practice social distancing. Please see Public Health England’s guidelines on social distancing.

If you choose to walk as your form as exercise, please use the following guidance in order to stay safe:

  • stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible – do not travel unnecessarily
  • you should only go outside alone or with members of your own household
  • keep at least 2 metres (6ft) apart from anyone outside your household at all times
  • gatherings of more than two in parks or other public spaces have been banned and the police will enforce this
  • if you have a garden, make use of the space for exercise and fresh air
  • take hygiene precautions when you are outside, and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors

We have received an increasing number of queries from people concerned about landowners closing paths or access to land close to where they live. Whilst everyone should be staying local to their homes, these closures can in some cases, limit opportunities for people to exercise locally or access essential amenities. Guidance is changing regularly and you can read our summary of the current rules around access during the Coronavirus lockdown here

We also have specific advice about Scottish access rights during COVID-19 here.

All Ramblers walks and social activities have been cancelled until at least 31 May.

Questions

We are working to keep our members, volunteers and partners updated with the latest information on our response to COVID-19 virus via our usual communications channels. This webpage will be updated with the latest information, and will support members and volunteers in communicating how Ramblers GB is responding to the COVID-19 virus.

The best way to contact us is to first check the website link for information. If you still have questions, please get in touch via coronavirus@ramblers.zendesk.com and we will aim to get back to you as soon as possible. Please note that our offices are closed, with Ramblers staff working from home.

Thank you for your continued support.

The Ramblers has been around for a long time, through the tough days and the bright days. We will continue to fight for the rights of walkers, for the protection of our important green spaces and for the joys of walking. Together we’re stronger. Thank you for standing with us at this difficult time. 

24 March 2020 

On Monday 23 March, the Government announced that people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • one form of exercise a day – for example a walk, run or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
  • any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary.

In line with previous advice, if you choose to walk for exercise you are advised to only walk locally to where you live. You should walk alone or with people from your household. You should not walk with friends or in groups. Keep 2m (6ft) distance from anyone you pass on your walk.

If you are in a household with COVID-19 symptoms, you should self-isolate at home. Those aged 70 or older and those with pre-existing health conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19 are particularly advised to practice social distancing.

Please see Public Health England’s guidelines on social distancing.

If you choose to walk locally for exercise, please:

  • Do not walk anywhere that you could get in to trouble and require the emergency services.
  • Avoid touching gates, fences etc. If you do, wash your hands as soon as possible.  

23 March 2020

On Wednesday 18 March, Ramblers GB had no choice but to suspend all group walks and social activities until at least 31 May 2020.

Our current guidance is as follows:

  • We encourage everyone to only walk locally to where you live. This means only walking in places that you can access without the use of a car or public transport. Avoid busy places including popular parks, beauty spots or beaches.
  • Ideally walk on your own or with people from your household, unless you are in a household with COVID-19 symptoms when you should self-isolate at home. Those aged 70 or older and those with pre-existing health conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19 should also self-isolate at home.
  • Keep 2m distance from anyone you meet during your walk.
  • Do not walk anywhere that you could get in to trouble and require the emergency services.
  • Avoid touching gates, fences etc. If you do, wash your hands as soon as possible.

17 March 2020

You will have seen the announcements made by the Government yesterday evening (Monday 16 March). We have been following Government advice and we continue to do so.  Our top priority is protecting the health of our members, volunteers and staff.  We also want to help suppress the spread of the Covid19 virus.  So, I want to update you on what the Ramblers is doing and what we need you to do. 

Ramblers GB is suspending the following activities from Wednesday 18 March until at least 31 May 2020 – subject to further developments:

  • all group led walks
  • all Ramblers Walking for Health schemes
  • all activities by Ramblers volunteers including training, path maintenance working groups, coach trips and holidays, meetings, group and social events
  • training for Ramblers
  • the Ramblers GB General Council conference due to be held in Bristol on 4-5 April.

Walking independently

Official Government advice states that, apart from people who are in households with symptoms or who have pre-existing health conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19, going for a walk independently can continue and is an excellent way to maintain health and wellbeing - provided independent walkers stay more than two metres from others. 

Please see Public Health England’s guidelines on social distancing.

For anyone walking in more remote areas, we continue to ask them to stay well within their limits, to avoid any need to call on mountain rescue or other emergency services.

Agriculture Bill

Restarting Ramblers activities

Find information about how and when Ramblers activities will re-start and download Ramblers' volunteer activity guides.

Cows in a field

Covid 19, public access and footpaths

Guidance is changing regularly and the rules for accessing the outdoors differ in England, Wales and Scotland. For an overview of the situation in each nation - including any restrictions on public access - click here.