As many of us will have seen in the news, Welsh Government has relaxed the restrictions on group gatherings. This is very good news for us since we can now resume group walks.
Our central office has been in discussion with Welsh Government to agree a way forward to begin walking and we will have to make considerable changes to our normal walking activities. One major change is that we can only take up to a maximum of 30 people on any one walk.
Please note this is a maximum only, as leaders may feel they are unable to take responsibility for the safety of a large numbers of participants on particular walks so in practice there could be far less members on some walks. Whatever the size of the group, each walk must observe the social distancing measures at all times.
In particular, for some months while the restrictions continue to protect us from COVID, members will now need to book for each walk they wish to join before the actual day of the walk. This will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Members will not be able to turn up on the day and expect to join the walk. Indeed anybody doing so could be in breach of lockdown regulations and face prosecution!
We know for some this may mean disappointment, should you find the places on the walk have already been taken but we ask your understanding that we need to organise walks that will be safe for all participants to enjoy.
You will have heard about re-imposition of lockdown restrictions in places such as Swindon. This could happen anywhere so it is not practical to publish a six or even three-monthly programme. This means that we will need to publish a Rolling Programme which will appear online only.
Your committee has been obliged to introduce all these changes because of the present situation but we remain committed to providing you with as many walks as we can. We will all have to adapt to this new situation and I am sure we will continue to enjoy walking as members of Swansea Ramblers always have done.
Key to providing group walks will be our walk leader volunteers who will devise a walk then lead us safely along the route. To ensure we are leading ‘COVID compliant’ walks, we have drawn up a guide to leaders detailing the measures which will be necessary to provide the walks. Leaders will find this guide further down this document. The summer programme as printed should not be relied upon as an indication that the advertised walk will take place.
The key points for members and leaders to note are:
Members should understand the scope of Ramblers insurance. A brief guide can be found on the Rambler GB site at:
All members should read the GB advice about COVID and walking
‘Ramblers Restart: Taking part in COVID-safe walks’
Participant lists for all walks
The leader will need to compile (and keep for 21 days), a list of all participants and their contact details. If you later develop COVID symptoms, you will need to contact the NHS to be tested. Advise them that you have recently attended a group walk and the NHS will be in touch with us to obtain the list to begin contact tracing. You will not be able to opt out of appearing on the list and taking part in the walk is your consent to provide the NHS with your details.
You will need to book your place before turning up for a walk
We are legally restricted to a maximum of 30 people in a group. Some walks will be advertised that will have even smaller numbers of participants and this is because either not all walks can safely accommodate the social distancing requirement of 2 metres or the leader feels a large number of participants on a walk cannot be easily managed so they have decided only to lead a group size with which they feel comfortable. The number of allowed participants will be advertised in the walk description. Members turning up at the start of a walk who have not previously booked will not be able to join the walk.
Booking for a walk
The walk description will advise how the leader wishes to be contacted. This may be by email, text, phone or face to face contact.
Where to find details of the walk
The walk will be added to the GB walk listings and to the Swansea Ramblers Website a few days before the walk takes place. We hope to be able to advise you at least a week before. When a walk goes live on the web, we will send everyone an email to say booking is now open. We appreciate not all members have an email address or have consented to receive group updates but this will be the only practical way of advising the majority of members in a timely and cost-effective fashion. If you have not already consented to emails, now is the time to make those arrangements.
Start location of the walk
We will only be advertising the place where we will start walking. Meeting places such as the Guildhall will not be used until the danger of the virus has passed and that could be middle of next year!
COVID Precautions - What to remember to bring/do on the walk
· Observe hygiene
· Bring hand sanitiser
· Be aware of hazards on walk
· Avoid touching gates and stiles, borrowing walking sticks etc.
· The leader will have a list of all
participants’ names and telephone numbers then ask you to confirm you are
- This list will be used by NHS if infection discovered
- It will be destroyed 21 days after the walk
· Maintain social distancing of 2 metres at all times, including after the walk.
· Stand back for people passing
During the walk
· Remember to keep to the 2 metre rule.
· Try not to handle gates and stiles (although may not be an alternative).
After the walk
· If socialising, e.g. in a pub’s beer garden, remember the 2 metre rule and all other general COVID advice.
· If in the days following the walk, you test positive for COVID, advise the NHS staff that you have been on a group walk. The NHS will then contact us for our walk list.
Leading in the Pandemic - Please Read the following carefully if:
· You are already scheduled on our existing programme to lead a walk
· You are thinking of leading a new walk
The coordinators will be contacting leaders who are scheduled to lead on the summer programme. You may wish to contact them on receipt of this document to advise them if you will still lead.
You are under no obligation to lead if you have concerns about catching COVID, especially if you are in the NHS vulnerable status of over 70 and/or suffering with underlying health issues.
· If you think you could still lead your walk, maybe in an amended form, please let them know.
· If any leader is prepared to offer an additional walk at short notice which meets the COVID guidelines, please let us know even if no date is yet fixed. We can agree a date later.
1. Choose the walk area carefully to avoid too many pinch-points (such as styles and narrow paths or enclosed spaces).
2. Remember to adjust the length of your walk, as many people are out of practice of walking at a group pace.
3. To ensure you are covered by insurance, you will need to complete a written Risk Assessment using the Ramblers template which can be downloaded from here:
This isn’t as onerous as it sounds! It just records the obvious dangers that we as leaders automatically recognise and guard against as a matter of course, (e.g. crossing the road!). The Risk assessment should be kept for a minimum of ONE YEAR but can be kept indefinitely as it can be a useful tool to remind you of issues on the day or when, after a period of time, you come to lead it once more on a future programme.
4. The legal maximum on a walk will be 30 (which will include you, a back-marker and any middle-marker).
5. If you feel your walk cannot be safely undertaken with 30, you can decide to take fewer participants. We suggest you set your maximum as a multiple of 5 participants in addition to you, a back-marker and optional middle-marker. i.e.
5 participants (plus Leader, back-marker and
10 participants (plus Leader, back-marker and middle-marker)
15 participants (plus Leader, back-marker and middle-marker)
20 participants (plus Leader, back-marker and middle-marker)
25 participants (plus Leader, back-marker and middle-marker)
6. Once your maximum number has been advertised, you must not change it.
7. To reserve a place on your walk, participants can phone, text, email or speak in person to you. The method of contact is your preference and will be stated on the walk description. Please consider not all members have access to email.
8. It is very important that you respond to the person booking, to confirm success or failure to book on your walk.
9. Once the walk is fully booked, please advise Andrew straight away so he can mark the walk on the web as full - to stop more people contacting you.
10. If there were any people who phoned after the walk was full, please let us know how many. This is important as there is a possibility we may be able to provide a second walk that day in a different area.
11. We suggest setting a deadline for last bookings which will be 8pm the previous evening. You are free to vary this deadline if it is not suitable for you. Otherwise we will assume 8pm is agreeable.
12. Bring the Walk Register of participants to the start of the walk to take a roll call.
The Ramblers Walk Register can be downloaded here:
13. If people who have not reserved a place turn up and your list is full, they cannot be part of your walk and should be told that. Of course, you cannot prevent them doing what they want so please avoid confrontations if they insist on doing the walk. However, if they do insist, they will have no insurance cover. If you already have the legal maximum of 30 people on your walk, remind them that they risk being stopped by the police who may issue a penalty.
14. Before the walk
· If possible, re-check the route close to the date of the walk.
· Consider ‘escape routes’ to shorten the walk
· Make notes about the walk on the Ramblers Risk Assessment
· Remember to pack a face mask, hand sanitiser, first aid kit and a fully charged mobile phone.
· You may also request a pair of two-way radios and/or emergency shelters from Andrew or Richard
· Be aware that facilities such as toilets may not be open.
· Check the paths are open (all Swansea Rights of Way were open as at 08/08/2020)
https://www.swansea.gov.uk/covid19footpathclosuresIf walking in another county please check their website.
15. At the start of the walk
a) Use your Walk Register to check who is present AND advise participants that if anybody develops symptoms of COVID, they should seek a test. If positive, the NHS will ask Swansea Ramblers for the Walk Register so they can contact all participants. After 21 days, we will destroy the document.
b) Inform participants of possible hazards: cliffs, roads etc.
c) Explain COVID-19 precautions: pinch-points, touching path furniture, social distancing of 2 metres, careful hygiene, to take care in passing other path users, need for sanitizer etc.
(A Risk Assessment Form is available to help with b and c).
d) Ensure somebody (preferably you) has a fully charged mobile phone.
e) Clearly point out the Back-Marker (Appoint on the day if necessary).
16. During the Walk:
a) Check participants are observing COVID-19 precautions, especially at food-stops.
b) The main problem will be maintaining social distancing while keeping the walkers together.
17. After the Walk
a) Thank everybody.
b) Remind them if they develop symptoms to advise the NHS about the walk.
c) Arrange to return two way radios/shelters to Richard/Andrew
We hope this document has made clear what we all have to do to restart our walks during this COVID period. If you have any questions or concerns about leading or walking, please let us know.