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Frequently Asked Questions

Q Do I need to join before I come to walk?

A We have a policy that enables you to come out for up to 3 activities with us before joining. This allows you to meet group members and see if SWAG is for you before making a decision. After 3 activities you will be asked to join.

Q Why do I have to join after 3 activities?

A By joining Ramblers, you are covered by the civil liability insurance.

Q What is the length of time that can pass before I can use the 3 activities rule again?

A If you haven't joined SWAG and haven't been out with us for over two years, you can use the 3 activities policy again before being asked to join the group.

Q What clothing/equipment will I need?

A The most essential items of clothing you’ll need are good walking boots (trainers are generally insufficient), waterproof coat and waterproof over-trousers – preferably breathable or you might find yourself just as wet as if you didn’t have them!

In winter you should ensure that you will be warm enough – it is better to wear several thin layers of clothing as you can put on or shed layers as climate dictates. Jeans are inadvisable as they do not have good insulating qualities, especially when wet. A hat, scarf and gloves are a good idea.

In summer it is important to remain cool and remember a hat and sun cream in sunny weather. The most important factor is that you feel comfortable in whatever you are wearing.

You should bring a packed lunch and plenty to drink. A small first aid kit is also recommended. A rucksack is best for carrying your spare layers and other equipment.

Q How often do you walk?

A We generally walk every Sunday, starting at 10.30am, unless the walk states otherwise. During the summer months, we have evening walks too. Also, members use our email to advertise additional walks.

Q How long/difficult are the walks?

A The walks range from 4 miles to 18 miles in length. Each leader grades their walk according to the type of terrain that will be encountered. A walk will fit into one of the following categories:


Grade Meaning
Easy The walk includes flat and gently undulating terrain requiring a minimum level of fitness.
Moderate The walk includes hills and open country requiring an average level of fitness.
Hard The walk includes hills and rough country requiring an above average level of fitness.

We recommend that you do not try to over-stretch yourself for the first time out unless you are very confident of your fitness levels. If in any doubt you should contact the walk leader before setting out to join a walk.

Q How long will a walk take?

A It is very difficult to estimate the duration of a walk as it will depend on a variety of factors on the day including location, difficulty, number of stops to take in views / have breaks, and the different walking pace of members.

Q I don't drive or have a car. How do I get to the walks?

A We operate a car share policy, starting from Taunton and Yeovil town centres. However, there is no guarantee of a lift-share and members turn up at their own risk of missing out on a walk.

We do have members from all around the county so, as you get to know people, you may be able to organize your own transport to share with members local to you.

Passengers are expected to contribute to the fuel costs, but this is at the discretion of the driver.

Q How did you estimate the departure times for the Taunton and Yeovil lift-share points?

A We used the AA Route Planner to calculate the time from a pick-up point to the closest village/town near to the start of a walk. We then rounded up the time to the nearest quarter hour. Please remember these times are estimates and the actual journey times may vary.

Q If I join, am I expected to organise a walk or social event?

A No member will ever be told that they have to organise a walk or social event. However, the programme is run by the group’s members and we welcome suggestions and ideas from everyone. If you do feel able to volunteer to organise something (either on your own or with the support of another member) even better.

Q Why are the weekends away restricted to SWAG members?

A The weekends away are restricted to SWAG and Ramblers members because they are covered by the Ramblers civil liability insurance. If numbers are limited, SWAG members have priority booking over ordinary Ramblers members.

Q Can I bring children with me on a walk?

A We do not discourage children from coming on SWAG walks, however it is important that parents realise that a lot of our walks involve stops in pubs and cafés. Also, the majority of walks are of a longer length (over 6 miles) on various types of terrain. It is the responsibility of the parent to judge the suitability of the walk and it is recommended to discuss this with the walk leader.

Q How do I join SWAG?

A To join us as a group, you will be required to join the Ramblers. They then help us to fund the group independently. Please have a look at the Membership page for further information.

Q Who are the Ramblers?

A The Ramblers exists to facilitate, for the benefit of everyone, the enjoyment and discovery that walking outdoors can bring; and to promote respect for the life of the countryside.

The Ramblers encourages walking, protects rights of way, defends the beauty of the countryside, and has campaigned for many years for freedom to roam over uncultivated open country.

For more information, please have a look the Ramblers home page.