Guidance on Leading Walks


Key Information for Walk Leaders and How to Lead Walks

Pace suitable for the group – make sure you are walking at a pace suitable for the group – remember, you are not on a walk just for yourself (your pace may be too fast for some people).  If anyone is struggling at the back then ask them to come nearer the front and keep an eye on them and slow your pace.  Remember to stop occasionally to look at a good view or point out something of interest.
Always take a map, compass and whistle.  Don’t just follow the instructions of a route from a book – things change.  Take a pair of secateurs with you if you think the route may be blocked by nettles or brambles etc.
Don’t forget your mobile phone and the First Aid Kit.  Switch on your mobile phone (if you have one) and make sure some of the walkers know your number and you have theirs.  Make sure you take a First Aid Kit and pass it on to the next leader or give it to someone who can get it to them.
Lead your walk from the FRONT.  Co-leaders should be familiar with the route.  If there are more than 20 walkers in the group, the leader should appoint a volunteer “middle marker” to walk in the middle of the group and to help prevent large gaps by calling (or blowing a whistle) and asking the leader to slow down or stop while others catch up.  A new member to the group might like to accompany the middle marker or the co-leader to pick up tips
One group – check the group is together with regular glances back and, if there are big gaps, wait for others to catch up and give them a rest before carrying on, especially if going uphill
Coffee and lunch stops – give a few minutes warning before moving off again.  Allow people time to finish eating and repack their rucksacks.  Make sure everyone is ready to go and don’t set off without them.  Count to ensure all are there.
Keep safe on roads.  The group should walk on the right-hand side (facing oncoming traffic), only cross over to the left-hand side if approaching a blind right-hand bend.  Keep in a single file and check the group is NOT straddled all over the road.  This could be a bit of a shock to the driver who could be slow to react and apply the brakes quickly enough.


If planning a walk in the statutory area of the Forest of Dean, please telephone Stephanie Johns on direct line 0300 067 4826  or email: to tell her where you are going and she will let you know if there are any hazards on the route (e.g. walking restrictions or tree felling etc.)
There is a Walkie-Talkie available if any leader requires it.  Please contact David Mason (Chairman)

New to leading a walk
If you are unsure about leading a walk, please contact a more experienced leader and ask them to go with you and your co-leader on a recce.  Plan the walk well in advance and if necessary go over the walk a second time with your co-leader before actually leading a group. 
Make sure the car parking place is big enough for several cars.  Always ask permission to park in a pub car park or at a Village Hall.
Public rights of way across fields have a maximum of one metre wide.  Do remember this when walking across a planted field.

Using a Whistle
1  whistle blast means     STOP
2  whistle blasts means   STOP & GO TO WHISTLE SOURCE – there is a problem.



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