Joining your first walk

Your first step is to take a look at our Walks and Events page and find a walk which suits you. It’s worth noting that new walks are added regularly and sometimes only a few days beforehand if there is a gap on the walk programme so if you cannot find something that suits you now, keep checking back. We have at least one walk almost every weekend of the year as well as some evening walks on week nights and our regular social events.

Someone new joins our group on almost every walk and we all love to chat to a new person. Contrary to what it can seem like upon arrival, we won’t all know everyone on the walk as there are many members and we don’t all attend every walk. Although some walks are marked as new member walks, this indicates that the walk is not too strenuous and is therefore suitable for those new to walking. We cannot stress enough that new members are welcome at any walk and there is no need to pre-book unless specified on the event information page.

Joining your first walk photo
Joining your first walk photo 2

For each event you can see the walk mileage, difficulty, starting point and nearest train station if applicable, as well as the walk leader and their contact details. Feel free to get in touch with the walk leader before the walk if you have any questions and you can always contact them on the day if you are running a little late.

We often find ourselves meeting in car parks and we are usually easily identifiable as the only group of young(-ish!) looking people changing into walking boots and dressed for the occasion (see our What Do I Bring page). As above, we regularly have new members joining so please do come and introduce yourself.

We always make a list of everyone attending at the start of the walk and you will be asked to add your name and email address to the bottom of the list. We’ll then email you a link to our online database and provide details of how to join our mailing list meaning you’ll be kept up-to-date with new walks and other events.

What do I bring?

To get the most out of walking you will need to keep warm and dry. Here is some handy advice for what you should have with you.

Lunch

Most walks require you to bring along a good packed lunch as most day hikes over 5 miles will entail a lunch stop of about twenty minutes (or five minutes if it's raining hard!). If the walk has a pub or tea room stop then a full lunch may not be needed, please check the individual walk details for more information.

Boots

Every year a few new people will turn up to longer walks in unsuitable footwear and suffer painful blisters, sore ankles, find themselves slipping in mud or be forced to get the bus home as a result. Don't let it happen to you - appropriate footwear is a must. Outdoor stores are everywhere now and offer decent ankle boots at affordable prices, so it's easier than ever to get the proper kit on a budget for your first walk.

Rainproof

On any walk the weather can turn for the worse, so even if the forecast is clear most members carry a packaway jacket or rainproofs. During the winter a rainproof jacket is a must, and many members also swear by waterproof over-trousers or quick drying outdoor fabrics. Gore-tex and eVent fabrics are perfect if you have the budget!

Phone

A mobile is a good safety device to have with you, even if reception is patchy you can always walk to high ground and try to get a signal if you get lost or separated from the group, unlikely as this is. Also if you are late for a walk you can contact the Walk Leader and ask them to wait for five or ten minutes, please be aware however that if you are very late the Walk Leader will have no choice but to start the walk.

Printout

Our event start details are optimised for car Satnavs, so you can enter the walk start address, postcodes and even latitude and longtitude coordinates to help you find the walk. It is well worth having the full address and description handy; in the countryside postcodes can cover quite large areas. The print out will also give you the Walk Leader name and mobile should you run into trouble on the journey there.

Daysack

You will need some sort of rucksack. Make sure it is comfortable for long periods. Always try out backpacks with a realistic load in them. On short summer walks it’s possible to get away with a belt-bag and some people find them more comfortable – but make sure it’s big enough. Choose one to accommodate your kit, food and drink – not the other way round.

Am I fit enough?

We use the Ramblers Association grading system for our events. Walk gradings are provided as a general guide only. If you have any doubt about your fitness for a particular walk please contact the organiser or leader in advance. Bear in mind the distance of the walk, regional differences in terrain and the possibility of bad weather, which can make a walk more difficult than planned.

EA

Easy Access

Walks for everyone, including people with conventional wheelchairs and pushchairs, using easy access paths. Comfortable shoes or trainers can be worn. Assistance may be needed to push wheelchairs on some sections, please contact the group running the walk for details.
E

Easy

Walks for anyone who does not have a mobility difficulty, a specific health problem or is seriously unfit. Suitable for pushchairs if they can be lifted over occasional obstructions. Comfortable shoes or trainers can be worn.
L

Leisurely

Walks for reasonably fit people with at least a little country walking experience. May include unsurfaced rural paths. Walking boots and warm, waterproof clothing are recommended.
M

Moderate

Walks for people with country walking experience and a good level of fitness. May include some steep paths and open country, and may be at a brisk pace. Walking boots and warm, waterproof clothing are essential.
S

Strenuous

Walks for experienced country walkers with an above average fitness level. May include hills and rough country, and may be at a brisk pace. Walking boots and warm, waterproof clothing are essential. People in doubt about their fitness should contact the organiser or leader in advance.
T

Technical

Walks for experienced and very fit walkers with additional technical skills. May require scrambling and use of ropes, ice axes and crampons. You must contact the organiser or leader in advance for further details.