Recce the Route (Test Walk)

After you have chosen your route if it is a walk that you do not already know then it is a good idea to walk the complete route a few weeks beforehand to make sure that all the paths exist and are accessible, and to sort out any problems in finding them.

Even if you know the walk it is a good idea to walk it nearer the time as paths can become overgrown quite quickly if they are not used much.

Try to walk at the pace the group normally walks at as when walking on your own it is quite easy to walk a lot faster than you would with a large group of people, this will give you an idea of how long it will take on the day. The average walking pace for our group walks is usually around 3 miles an hour. On the day it will be easier to judge the pace to walk at by how stretched out the group becomes.

Use this dry run also to work out any points along the way that are worth stopping to look at and to work out a good point for the lunch break and any other breaks you might want to add in. Also look for any other refreshment stops you might want to add such as tea rooms or pub as it makes the day more social and people appreciate taking these in especially at the end of the walk.

Also take note of any restrictions on dogs along the way such as nature reserves or notices from land owners as some people may want to bring dogs along. The group policy on dogs is that it is up to the walk leader to decide if dogs are allowed on a particular walk or not and what restrictions they may want to impose such as keeping them on a lead. It is the owner’s responsibility to control the dog and to make sure it does not annoy other members and to obey any request from the leader.

The Ramblers produce a checklist that summarises the guidance on leading group walks and information about first aid and what to do in an emergency. Walk Leader checklist