TEWKESBURY U3A WALKING GROUP
GUIDANCE FOR WALK LEADERS
If you have been enjoying our rambles, you may like to contribute ideas for your own walks.
Here are a few tips to consider, have a look through — particularly if it is your first time as a Walk Leader. Do ask for help from one of our experienced leaders who will provide guidance and will accompany you on the walk over if required.
� Book a provisional date with the Walks Co—ordinator, approximately 3 months in advance on a weekday, this can be all day, morning, afternoon, or summer evening walk.
� Choose a walk you may already know or one in an area familiar to you. Or alternatively you can use a "ready made" walk taken from one of the books of walks published by the Gloucester Echo, available from their Tewkesbury office or from some booksellers or newsagents who also usually sell other walk books of our area. Alternatively make up your own walk using a 2 ½ inch Ordnance Survey map — Explorer 179 and 180 are recommended and cover the areas of Tewkesbury, Malvern, Pershore, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Stroud and the surrounding countryside. Len Horne has a stock of maps and guides available to members on loan that could prove most useful!
� Groups walk at about 2 miles per hour plus coffee lunch or tea stops. As a guide this will help you to know how long the walk might take as you calculate the distance from the map (a piece of string will do) before you test the route. Organise your own "walkover" with a partner, as this may be useful later on.
� On the walkover ask yourself these questions: — how long is the walk to the nearest mile? How many stiles or other obstacles are there? What kind of terrain do you cover (mud, field crop paths, steep ups or downs?) N.B. climbs or descents should be early in your walk ideally as they are to be avoided later when walkers become tired and maybe accident—prone! Are there obvious places for "comfort" stops and coffee stops with appropriate cover and shelter? A pair of secateurs is useful to cut back brambles on stiles. Other accessories that are useful include a compass, a mobile phone in case of accidents, a whistle and a small first aid kit.
� Car Parking — we often park at a "pub" for security reasons and also to make use of their "facilities" before the walk starts and providing orders for lunch, which most pubs appear to prefer. Seek confirmation with the pub that these arrangements are acceptable and negotiate maximum numbers etc before the actual walk. On a longer, say 6 plus miles walk, you may prefer to have a picnic or pub lunch en route — when your car park arrangements would be for you to decide. If space for parking is limited, advise the members to share cars where possible.
SUBMITTING YOUR PLAN FOR THE PROGRAMME
� Use the standard walk plan sheet available from the Walk Co—ordinator, attached to the current programme or download from the programme web page.
� As noted above you are usually planning well ahead, Given the terrain/number of stiles etc, how many walkers you consider ideal with you in charge? You can limit the numbers if you wish and this can be stated in the programme, particularly if car parking &/or catering is limited.
� Directions to the walk start point, suggested driving routes are always welcomed with clear instructions with turn offs and sign posts to look out for.
� What time should walkers arrive at the start, remember the journey could be up to an hour, so try not to start the walk too early! Approximately 15 minutes are needed for booting up, ordering lunch, toilets etc and making final arrangements with the pub.
� How much notice will the pub (or other caterer) require? You decide on the "book by date" in conjunction with the pub to be shown in the programme, providing your phone number for this purpose. As walkers phone in to reserve meals or to book their attendance, take their phone number in case you have to cancel because of bad weather etc. Walkers attending without pre—booking are discouraged.
� Complete and submit plan to Walk Co—ordinator adding any relevant instructions/ information covering less usual aspects of the walk.
� Reconnoitre the walk well beforehand, and again a few days before the actual walk — there may be changes due to growing crops, nettles and brambles. Cut away the undergrowth on stiles as far as you are able — it will help on the day of the walk.
ON THE DAY
� Count the party (and also after a stop en route, count them again!) Check if any one is carrying a mobile phone that can be used in an emergency.
� Welcome everyone, and introduce yourself and your "back marker" who should ideally know the route as well. Briefly describe the walk pointing out any particular problems you are likely to encounter on the walk saying what time you hope to arrive back (already agreed with the pub)
� Remind walkers that they should feel free to stop for whatever reason — to remove or add clothing, retie bootlaces etc.
� Ask everyone to make sure the person behind is in sight when turning onto a new path. Back markers should always be at the back and Leaders at the front, deciding on the pace appropriate to the party, which has to be that of the slowest walker!
� If someone is ill or injured, summoning help by phone may be necessary (hopefully there is a mobile within the group) providing details of your grid reference, which can provide your approximate location on the walk for an Air Ambulance! If you have any doubts regarding the ordnance survey map calculation check with your adviser before the walk. A knowledge of first aid is an advantage of course, either personally or within the walking party.
� Find out in advance a little about things to be seen or visited on the walk, this adds to the interest of walkers and also provides chance for a breather!
� On country roads, walk on the right in single file when there is no pavement. On bends, cross over carefully to the left and return when the road becomes safer. Backmarkers should be able to shout "car" to those ahead when necessary.
� Collect 30p attendance fee from each person on the walk.
Note: These fairly comprehensive "hints" may seem a lot to take in but after your first walk as Leader they will become a way of life!
To download a copy of the Leader's Walk Plan Form (In Adobe Acrobat Format ie PDF) — Click on the following link FORM
To return to the Walk programme page — Click on the following link PROGRAMME
Ken, (Group Leader) 01684 772564E Mail / firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret, (Administrator) 01684 772095E Mail / email@example.com
Richard, (walks coordinator) 01452 780505E Mail / firstname.lastname@example.org
Stan Fagg - Updated 12/9/ 2009