Walk Leader Notes

  • Walks can be planned using - 
  • Reading a Map – walk around an area with your map, relating what you see on it to what you see around you.  Can you predict what you’ll see round the corner, just by looking at the map ?  Perhaps a church on the left hand side of the road, a wood on your right, or a railway bridge ?  Will the wood be coniferous or deciduous ? Will the railway go over or under the road ?  When you feel lost, match up what you see with the same pattern on your map.
    • How far is the walk ?. - measure your prospective route on the map – lay a piece of string along the route to find out how many km / miles you will have to walk, or walk it with a step counter or GPS.
    • Ordnance Survey Grid References - blue lines divide the Explorer series map into a grid of 1 km squares.  Any point on the map can be identified by a combination of the line numbers along the bottom and side of the map.  A GPS can show its grid location.  
    • How hilly is it ? the brown contour lines on the map join points at the same level.  Lots of brown lines mean a hilly terrain which will be more challenging– add a couple of minutes to your time estimate for each brown line to be crossed going upwards.
    • How long will it take ? - Our group tends to walk at about 2.3 miles per hour depending on terrain, distance, weather and opportunities to stare.  Try measuring a short route from your home, see how long it takes to walk it and add some time as the group will take longer.  Remember that stiles will slow the group down appreciably, especially if you wait for all to get over each one. 
  • Do I need a compass or GPS ? - We seldom require use of a compass but you should learn how to read your location off the GPS.  The ambulance service can use this to find you if you call them.
  • Walk Leader for the first time ? - start with local walks where you feel sufficiently confident and relaxed to be able to concentrate on relating what you see on the map to what you see on the ground around you.  
  • Where shall we meet / stop ? - If you intend to use a pub or cafe check it will be able to satisfy our requirements on the day (variety, numbers, speed).
  • Terrain ? - What to expect underfoot; is it steep; are the stiles in good order; how overgrown will it be; what animals are expected in the fields.  It may take more than one recce to establish a viable route.  Do the walk with a companion and take the map with you and some clippers to deal with brambles.  Split your route into small sections that you can remember and concentrate on one section at a time.  Before leaving the starting point, look at the first section of the route on the map or guide– say the first 500m, or the first km.  Look really carefully.  Try to list every single feature you will encounter on that section of the walk: buildings, water, woods, slopes.  (Some people make a route card beforehand with all these details written down - handy if you need to switch spectacles to map read).  When you start walking, check these features off as you pass them.  Then repeat the activity for the next section.  After a few times, you won’t even know you’re doing it, until the moment when the alarm bells ring and you say “Just a minute.  There should be a wood on the left of us now, not that lake” and all you have to do is retrace your steps a little way, to where the map and your surroundings match up, and work out where you took a wrong turning.  If you don’t try to anticipate what you should see next, you can be miles out of your way before you realise it.  
  • A good idea when carrying out a recce is to use a digital camera or smart phone to record salient points. These can be referred to when actually leading the walk. And make it more interesting and informative for the walkers.
  • Give the group leader advance notice about the walk for the newsletter and for distribution to the group, including
      • start time and start point and availability of toilets there; and any limitations on walk or lunch numbers.
      • distance of the walk in kilometres, miles or by time;
      • type of path, track, bridleway or road to be used;
      • terrain, number of stiles, significant slopes and footwear advised
      • Two Days Before Your Walk:- 
    • record names of those who say they will walk and get their contact information
    • record names of those who say they will lunch in the order in which they contact you
    • if needed, confirm lunch numbers to the lunch venue
    • if you have any concerns about your walk, phone the Group Leader or Deputy to discuss
    • One Day Before Your Walk
    • charge up your mobile phone
    • If you need to cancel your walk, let the Group Leader or Deputy know and agree who will contact the other members

On the Day:

  • Remember to take your mobile phone and your list of those intending to walk;
  • have the map and preferably the GPS available;
  • tell the lunch venue your ETA and add their phone number in case you get delayed;
  • if you intend to walk on busy roads, provide Hi Vis jackets and appoint a back-marker;  
  • take a head count. and start on time;  
  • Ensure sufficient breather stops during the walk.
Comments