Planning and leading walks

This resources will be helpful in planning and leading walks


Walk Planning
A route card is a useful way if calculating how long a walk will take. Groups walk at different speeds but a useful rule of thumb with informal leisure groups is to calculate 3 kilometres an hour and add a minute for every 10 metres of height gained.   Downloadable Route card

Ensuring safety
The countryside is normally a very safe place to spend your free time but as with any environment it does contain hazards and it is the responsibility of a group leader to note these and take action to minimise the risk to participants.

Weather – it is important to obtain an up to date weather forecast and ensure that the group is properly equipped – (Remember: there is no such such as bad weather – just the wrong clothes!)      Met Office    BBC Weather

Medical conditions – ensure that adult members of the party have had an opportunity to declare confidentially to the leader any relevant medical conditions.

First Aid – a group leader should consider being trained in First Aid.

Livestock Walks will often cross fields containing livestock. Dogs should always be kept under control and the leader should be mindful of any group members who are ill at ease with farm animals. Section 59 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act ■■1981 bans bulls of recognised dairy breeds (eg Ayrshire, Friesian, Holstein, Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey, Jersey and Kerry) in all circumstances from being at large in fields crossed by public rights of way. Bulls of all other breeds are also banned from such fields unless accompanied by cows or heifers. More details

Finding the Way

There is no short cut to good map reading skills. Practice makes perfect.  This blog is called ‘ dont get lost’  because it is much easier to find your route when you are sure of your starting point.  These are good reminders:

  • Fold your map so that you can just see the bit you need
  • Use your thumb to keep your place on the map as you walk
  • Always orientate your map to ten landscape before you read it.

Useful Ordnance guide – Map Reading Made Easy

Managing groups

As a leader you will need to decide where you walk in the group. For some sections you will need to be at the front to find the route but you will benefit from moving around and being in the middle or towards the back of the group  will make it easier for you to get an idea of group morale and to see how the pace is suiting them. The type of terrain will determine how close you need to keep the group together and in large groups you may find it suitable to appoint a ‘back marker’.

Always keep your group fully informed about the terrain you are about to encounter and make sure that you plan for discrete ‘loo stops’ .

Sustainable countryside access

A very good rule of thumb is ‘take nothing but memories and leave nothing but footprints’ . Discourage groups from leaving even vegetable and fruit skins from their picnics and explain that some of these can take many years to degrade.

There are lots of ways to access the countryside without needing to use private motor transport which adds to pollution and to congestion on country lanes.

A single web site offers details of public transport access in the East Midlands Traveline East Midlands


2 Responses to “Planning and leading walks”

  1. Alastair Clark Says:

    Please feel free to add suggestions

  2. Planning and Leading Day Walks 2 day course – 29 and 30 August « Don't Get Lost Says:

    […] and other group members.  Key resources for the course are available to read and download at the planning and leading page of this site Like this:LikeBe the first to like […]

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