Walk leading and risk assessment tips

Group walks and COVID-19

Due to coronavirus, there are extra steps we need to take to organise and lead walks safely. Please visit the Ramblers website for the latest updates and guidance. It’s essential for all members to consider the following questions, when deciding whether to take part in our activities:

  • Do you or someone else from your household have COVID-19 symptoms?
  • Are you or someone you live with ‘clinically vulnerable’?
  • Do you want to volunteer, and do you feel safe and comfortable doing so?

Risk assessment

The Ramblers template is a tool to help you plan and lead group walks safely. Use it to assess whether your walk is safe to go ahead. It includes suggestions for ways to control the risks. The important thing is to identify potential hazards and note any actions you will take to reduce the risk.

You must do a risk assessment for each walk. Ramblers insurance requires this.

It’s important to carry out a risk assessment before your walk takes place. You should start filling it out when planning your walk, and update it with any extra hazards that you notice on your recce. Although we advise doing a recce, it’s not compulsory.

You do not need to tick every box. 

You can tick off the following points which our website walk listings and booking forms cover:

  • Give clear information about booking to limit the group size.
  • Remind walkers beforehand about the guidelines, including on travel and transport.
  • Ensure you have a record of who attended the walk.
  • Suggest walkers bring hand sanitiser and/or wear gloves.

You can download the risk assessment template as a PDF or Word doc from https://www.ramblers.org.uk/volunteer-zone/coronavirus/volunteering.

Once you’ve submitted a walk and risk assessment, our committee will handle booking, let you know who’ll be attending, and keep contact details and risk assessments for the recommended period.

On your walk

Hold a welcome briefing. As well as your normal checks and introductions, remind everyone about physical distancing, hygiene measures and any particular hazards on the route. 

Keep up to date and follow the latest government guidelines on social contact and physical distancing. This is everyone’s responsibility. 

Walk responsibly. When other walkers are passing, remember to stand back and give way. Always follow the Countryside Code. Know where you can and can’t walk, and be considerate to others.

Avoid touching gates and path furniture where possible. If you do, wash your hands as soon as possible. We recommend carrying alcohol-based hand sanitiser. You might want to wear gloves too. Do not share food and drink, or equipment such as walking poles. We recommend carrying a face covering.

We’re avoiding pub stops during walks for the time being. If you plan to spend time together socially after the walk, remember to follow the latest government guidelines on social contact and physical distancing.
If you need help with walk leading or risk assessment for Berkshire Walkers, get in touch with us or see the Ramblers walk leader toolkit.