Walk Leader Guidance
1. Leading a Sunday Public Transport Walk
2. Walk Leader Profile
All our walks are led by volunteers. All Volunteer Walk Leaders must be members of The Ramblers. To join membership of the Ramblers, please visit the Ramblers website.
1. Leading an Area Sunday Public Transport Walk
There are two walk programmes a year – Spring/Summer Programme from May to October and Autumn/Winter Programme from November to April. There is one walk every fortnight on Sunday which need a leader. The leader should use Public Transport, ie train, tram and bus from Manchester city centre to get to the starting point of the walk. The journey by Public Transport to the destination of the walk should not be longer than two hours.
The Area Sunday Public Transport Walk is graded as follows: - Easy – Moderate – Strenuous.
Easy - walks for anyone who does not have a mobility difficulty, a specific health problem or is seriously unfit. Walking boots or good trainers are essential. Distance no more than 8 miles with no steep climbs and rough terrain.
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. Distance no more than 10 miles
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. Distance no more than 12 miles.
The walk starts when leader and party get to the starting point and finishes before the loss of daylight, ie 4.30pm in the Winter months.
How to get your walk on the Programme :-
Jeff Lewis, Sunday Walks Officer, Tel 0161 766 4683, is responsible to put the programme of walks together. You need to contact Jeff at some time in the month of December to put your walk on the Spring/Summer Programme and at some time in the month of July to put your walk on the Autumn/Winter Programme.
A Checklist to help you plan & manage your Area Public Transport Walk: -
Preparation – Recce your walk – if you have walked the route before or know the area well, it may not be necessary to do a recce.
On the recce you need to check:-
- Starting point and finishing point of your walk and how to get to the starting point and back to Manchester City Centre from the finishing point – so you can work out the mode of public transport, ie train, tram or bus and the train station, tram stop or bus stop you will need to use.
- Departure times of the mode of transport you are using to get to the starting point of your walk and to get back to Manchester City Centre
- Condition of the paths – so you can warn your party of any difficulty eg muddy paths
- Roads- so you can warn your party on crossing busy roads or walking along busy roads. Try to avoid long stretch of walking on roads.
- Fields with animals – so you can warn your party about walking with cows nearby
- Length and difficulty of the route - so to assist you with the grading of the walk
- Option to shorten the route – so in the event of bad weather you can take your party on the short route.
- Morning, Lunch, afternoon stops – identify a convenient spot to stop – usually 20-30 minutes for lunch stop and 10-15 minutes for morning and afternoon stops.
- Duration of the walk – so you get your party back to the destination in good time before the departure of the train, tram or bus.
You can ask an established walk leader to accompany you on your recce. Once you have your route, don’t forget to contact Jeff Lewis to put your walk on the Programme. For the Spring/Summer Programme, you need to contact Jeff Lewis, Sunday Walks Officer, Tel 0161 766 4683 at some time in the month of December, for the Autumn/Winter Programme, you need to contact Jeff at some time in the month of July.
The day before your walk: -
- Check Weather - The Mountain Weather Information Service is particularly useful.
- Check the departure times of the mode of transport, ie train, tram or bus, you are using to get to the starting point of your walk and to get back to Manchester City Centre. For train you can check online or ring 0845 484950 and for bus and tram you can ring 0161 228 7811
At the start of your walk: -
- Introduce yourself and welcome and give a brief summary of the walk route, distance, breaks and expected time back to destination.
- Check everyone seems competent and has suitable footwear, clothing and gear.
- It is worth having a backmarker with a large party.
- Do a headcount (can be done by backmarker)
On the walk :- Be responsible of your party, ensuring their safety at all times
- Check headcount at regular intervals – stiles and gates are ideal location to do a headcount.
- Check in with your backmarker at regular intervals for any problems.
- Think about regrouping when necessary, rest stops and meal breaks. Remember a rest stop only begins when the last person arrives.
- Ensure that gates are closed by the last person who go through them.
- Pay special attention to newcomers. Check if they are struggling.
- Keep a check on timing and the pace of the walk. You should move at the pace of the slowest person.
- Communicate to your party of any difficulty on the route eg busy roads
- Help your walkers over difficult stiles and obstructions.
- Keep a close eye on the party at road sections. Always use pavements if available, always go along the safest possible route, even if it is longer.
- Keep an eye on the weather conditions. Shorten the route if necessary in bad weather.
- Chat to your walkers. Deal with any questions and issues with good humour and patience
- Thanks your walkers at the end of the walk.
It is advisable to have the following with you on a walk:-
- Comfortable clothing/layers; jeans are not suitable
- Waterproof/windproof outer jacket
- Over trousers on wet days
- Boots with good sole pattern; trainers are not suitable
- Hat and gloves
- Spare warm clothing
- Food and water/warm drink
- Extra energy-giving food/emergency rations
- Map of the route and compass
- Whistle and torch
- First aid kit
- Mobile phone fully charged
2. Walk Leader Profile
Being a walk leader is an important role for the group.
Purpose of role -
Share your enthusiasm and passion for walking by leading people on group walks in a welcoming, safe, responsible and enjoyable way.
Skills and experience –
- Passion for walking and an empathy with all the charitable aims of the Ramblers.
- Previous experience of walking your local area/community.
- Good communication skills and a friendly nature.
- Leadership abilities to keep a group together & remain calm during unforeseen circumstances.
- Planning the walk
- Liaise with the Group’s Walks Co-ordinator about putting your walk on the programme
- Commit to dates that you are due to lead a walk.
- Familiarise yourself with the route before leading the walk
On the day of the walk –
- Be responsible for the group, ensuring their safety at all times.
- Deal with any questions and issues with good humour and patience.
- Enjoy the walk and thank everyone for coming.
Before you agree to lead a walk be familiar with the terms of the Ramblers Insurance Cover
There is a certain amount of responsibility and expectations with being a walk leader and there are also certain things that you need to take seriously.
Please take some time to visit the Ramblers Walk Leader Good Practice Toolkit.
Lots of good advice on leading walks is available in the Ramblers Walk Leader Training Toolkit.