Leading a walk for Somerset Young Walkers is a rewarding experience that helps contribute to the group by taking a turn with the route planning for others. Each leader takes responsibility for a walk of their choice. Choose a route you feel confident with, commit to a specific date and then, on the day, take care that all the participants undertake the walk safely and stay together as one group.
In order to lead a walk, essentially, you need to do the following three things:
Plan a walk - Consideration needs to be given to the number of people attending the walk. There should be enough easy-to-find car parking for at least 15 cars. If you are using a paying car park, make sure you tell us if there is a charge to be paid. Set a date and time you will lead the walk and submit it to the Walks Programme Officer so it can be included in the walks programme.
Check the walk - Ensure you are confident in the route of the walk. You should walk the route beforehand to familiarise the conditions under foot, the gates and stiles along the way, any obstacles to be negotiated and the various twists and turns. Remember to think about good places for rest and lunch stops.
Lead the walk - On the day of the walk, you take responsibility for leading the group along the route. Before starting, look to welcome new walkers, explain the route and any aspects that require particular care, take a register and then take the lead at the front of the group. As leader, you have to set a speed suitable for all walkers and ensure that everybody stays together by waiting for back markers and regularly checking the head count. If on the day part of the route is flooded or impassable, you may need to shorten or extend the walk slightly.
If you feel you would be more comfortable sharing the responsibilities rather than being thrown in at the deep end, the SWAG committee have agreed to be available to assist with the planning, checking and leading of your first walk.
All walks leaders must be members of the Ramblers. This ensures that anyone who leads a walk as part of a recognised group activity is fully covered against public liability.
The Ramblers provide advice on becoming a walk leader. Also, we have some handy guides which are useful to both existing and new leaders. To get hold of a copy, please email us your name and address and we will post you one.
If you encounter a problem with a path during a walk, please report it to the Ramblers as soon as possible.