A guide for leaders
The Club hopes that the advice and information contained herein
will assist new leaders of walks as well as being a useful reminder to
the more experienced.
PLANNING A WALK
Most walks are within 1 hour's drive of Cambridge;
they can be further away, e.g. to the coast, in the summer.
This varies depending on which 'day' and A, B or C group you are leading , it is best to ask the programme secretary for advice.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN POINTS TO CONSIDER?
If your group normally meets at Harvey Rd the car drivers will need clear
instructions on how to get to the start. If you will NOT be at Harvey Road,
please organise a deputy to give instructions and arrange car sharing.
There will need to be adequate parking at the start of the walk and you may
need to ask permission if using village hall car parks etc.
Most walks have a pub stop at lunch-time. Many pubs serving food will not
allow us to eat inside but may allow sandwiches to be eaten outside,
providing we all buy a drink. It is best to check with the publican
beforehand. Are there any facilities we could use in bad weather eg. bus
shelters, church porches etc?
The actual route can be taken from a book of walks (see list on back page)
or planned using a map. The new OS (Explorer) 1:25000 maps, which show all
the rights of way, are ideal. These maps make it is easy to check that the
proposed and actual distances walked are the same! Be aware that some paths
on the map may not be visible on the ground. Try to include a variety of
scenery and points of interest e.g. churches, country houses. Ideally
arrange the pub stop more than halfway through the walk to allow for
A walk may be planned and walked out months in advance so try to walk it out
again a few weeks beforehand to check for any problems. Nettles and crops
can grow quickly in the summer and bridleways can be very wet in winter.
When checking out your walk look for suitable morning and afternoon drink
stops - which can offer suitable undergrowth for loo stops!
Members may well telephone the day or so before to ask for details of
parking etc. if this is not printed on the programme card.
Finally, experienced leaders are very willing to assist new members in
planning their first walk. The programme secretaries can help with contacts.
ON THE DAY
What equipment is needed?
At the start of the walk
- A map covering the whole walk, and any notes/books of walks.
- A compass - if you know how to use it!
- A torch and whistle are useful, as is a mobile phone if you have one.
Gather people together, checking everyone travelling from Harvey Road or
directly to the start has arrived. Give brief details of the walk, the pub
stop and an estimated time of return. Do a head count, including your own,
and if there are 12+ ask someone to be the 'back marker'. Ask walkers to
keep a look out for those behind, particularly at turnings off the path,
and let you know if anyone is delayed.
During the walk
YOU control the speed of the walk (in theory!). Try not to let the group
get too strung out. If it does, stop to allow walkers at the back to catch up.
At coffee/tea stops
Give people some idea of how long the stop will be, 10-15 minutes usually.
A 2 minute warning of departure is a good idea. Count heads before setting
off - is anyone still in the bushes!!
At the Lunch-stop (Pub)
Make sure ALL the group know what, if anything, has been arranged with the
publican and what time you want to leave - not everyone will use the pub.
It is nice gesture to thank the publican on behalf of the group.
At places of interest
Allow a few minutes to look around churches etc, by all means point out
interesting details but avoid a learned lecture!
It really will not be so bad - and the next one will be even easier!
BOOKS OF WALKS
From the Cambridge Group of the Ramblers Association
A walk from one of these is ideal as a 'Starter'.
- Walks in South Cambridgeshire (covers villages close to Cambridge)
- Walks in East Cambridgeshire (covers Ely, Newmarket area)
- Walks on the South Cambridgeshire Borders (covers Saffron Walden, Royston, Steeple Bumpstead, Sandy etc).
Heffers (Trinity Street), Brownes (Mill Rd) and Cambridge Tourist Office
and some from Saffron Walden Tourist Office.
Mail order (please send a cheque for £4.50 per copy, payable to
Cambridge Group, Ramblers Association) to Bernard Hawes, 52 Maids Causeway,
The Complete Fen Rivers Way (2nd ed).
Steve Stevens, 89 Way Lane Waterbeach, Cambs, CB5 9NQ, price £4.00,
payable to the Fen Rivers Way Association.
Tourist Information Centres, Heffers, Borders, Waterstones etc. have books
of short walks available.