What to consider when planning a walk for a group

Now that I’ve moved out of London I find the one thing many people who live in London want to do when they come down to visit me is a country walk.

I am always impressed when people first say this and imagine taking people on an epic walk with a picnic, getting lost en route and walking double speed to get back before sunset. Basically because this is what happens when I go on a walk with my husband or family! But most people have higher expectations for country walks, they all seem to want a pub at the end, not to get lost and not to be sweaty and exhausted at the end!

For the country folk inviting their city pals down for a country walk I’ve created a list of ten things to consider when planning a walk for a group, because for you it may be an everyday occurrence but them it is a novel idea.

1. Length of time

Ask people how long they want to spend walking. This will then dictate the whole walk.

2. Difficulty

Check what types of walks people have done before. Do they want lots of hills or fairly flat.

3. Know the route

It makes the whole day far easier if you practice the route before you take a whole group of people out.

4. Daylight hours

Check sunset, especially in the winter. There’s nothing worse than having to use your phone torch to guide a group back through the pitch black!

5. Pub

The best thing is to have a pub at the end of the walk but equally you could use it as your lunch stop in the middle to end of the walk. Definitely don’t put a pub into the equation at the beginning when people still have a long way to go!

6. Toilet breaks 

Obviously if you’re just taking a group of guys on the walk you don’t need to think so much about this but most women like to use a real toilet so try to plan hitting a few toilets in your walk route. Not every toilet in the countryside will be that clean either so make sure you take plenty of tissues and hand wash just in case.

Dew in Surrey

7. Guidance for the group

This can feel like you are parenting the group but it’s much better to forewarn people to wear walking boots, bring a mac and water than mid-way on the walk everyone suffering because one person is completely ill-prepared.

8. Train times

If your group isn’t driving down it can be useful to help them with the train times because often city dwellers won’t realise that trains to the distant countryside can often be pretty sporadic. E.g. one an hour.

9. Alternative routes

If one of the group members does miss their train it is good to have an alternative route planned so that either you can set off later and just do a shorter walk or you can meet them at a train station that is slightly further along. Otherwise you’ll have to tell them to just turn around and go back home!

10. First aid

When taking a group out it is wise to take a few plasters and some savlon just in case.

Those are my top tips for planning a group walk. If you found this useful at all do let me know via Twitter or Instagram: links in the menu above. Thanks for reading!

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