Part One

Benefits & Local Groups

Ultimate Guide to Walking Groups: Rambling On

Posted on September 24, 2018

A good dose of fresh Yorkshire air is undoubtedly one of the more refreshing, revitalising reasons for getting out and about in the glorious countryside. Whether it's in the middle of a heatwave or braving more unpredictable autumnal conditions, many of us jump at the opportunity to take in the beautiful views that we’re all so lucky to have right on our doorsteps.

However, if you’re someone who enjoys walking outdoors but doesn’t know the best spots to visit, or simply struggles to find enough people to share in your enthusiasm, rambling groups might well be the answer. We wandered up hill and down dale to bring together a selection of rambling groups across the Yorkshire region and put together a comprehensive guide to getting aht ont' moors.

How to join a walking group

How do I join a walking group near me?

Alan Crisp - Sheffield Walking Group

"The internet is a great resource when it comes to finding a local walking group. One of the best ways to find a group is to join The Ramblers, a national walking charity. Doing so gives you access to any of the hundreds of local groups spread all across the country. More locally, The Outdoor City maintain a list of local groups on their website"

Julian Mitchell - Footprints Walking Group

"Most walking groups nowadays have websites. There are many walking groups that cater for different age groups, different lengths of walks, whether they walk at weekends or during the week etc. There are some groups that have members from a wide geographical area (like ours) and other groups like town walking groups that have members from a specific area. So decide what sort of walking you want, and spend a bit of time searching the internet. Most groups will let you come along for a few walks for free before you need to decide whether to join or not.

Footprints organises many day walks across the Peak District area (as well as weekends and longer breaks away in the UK and Europe). We cater for people in their 40s to 60s. Walks vary from 8-13 miles in the winter to 10-17 miles in the summer. See our website for further information!"

Peter Rowsell - Doncaster Ramblers

"Often the best way is to just to do a brief internet search for 'walking groups near me.' There are many types from those that offer short walks of one or two miles, to the very ambitious who might do 100 mile treks.  Some groups are age specific, others are open to all ages, some require membership, while others are free or ask for a small contribution.  Many will have a website or Facebook page.  The Ramblers are the only National Charity dedicated to walking, with affiliates around the country, and several in Yorkshire.  Many local councils also organise walks, some led by Ramblers members."

Richard Cyster - The Harrogate Rambling Club

"If you're in our area, we publish a programme of walks on our website three times a year, containing details of walks including start times and venues. The more the merrier!"

The benefits of joining a rambling group

What are the benefits of being in a rambling group?

Alan Crisp

"Joining a walking group offers many benefits to our health. Of course walking is a great way to exercise and stay active, but it can also be good for our mental health too. Walking helps to relieve stress and anxiety as well as improve our sleep. Walking groups are very sociable too. You're almost guaranteed to meet a mixture of new and old faces on every walk so it's a great way to make friends. Of course, group activities aren't only limited to walking. Our group regularly host all kinds of socials, from monthly pub meets to cinema nights, theatre trips, bowling nights, meals out, and even our own 'It's a Knockout' style sports day."

Julian Mitchell

"There are so many benefits to walking. Getting exercise, getting out in the fresh air, getting some ‘green therapy’, meeting new people/making new friends. Walking groups also let people with less experience or confidence of walking on their own get out in safety without needing to be able to plan a route or navigate themselves!"

Peter Rowsell

"Apart from the well known health benefits walking can give including fitness and wellbeing, walking groups provides social interactions and an ability to meet new people and make new friends.  In addition walking groups are led by experienced and knowledgeable leaders who are familiar with the route, so no need to map, compass or navigation skills, just enjoy the scenery and conpany.  Before each walk the Rambles will recce a route several times before taking a walking group out."

Richard Cyster

"It is generally accepted that many adults in the UK fail to meet the Chief Medical Officers' recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. Walking is one way of addressing this. Walking in a group is companionable, social and can introduce you to new and interesting parts of the country. Harrogate Rambling Club (HRC) organises walks on Wednesdays and Sundays with lengths varying from 3 to 13 miles. It is also safer to walk in a group; in the unlikely event of an accident, there is always someone available to provide and/or summon help."


So, with such a wealth of options available and the magic of the internet, you could be joining a rambling group sometime in the near future. What better way to get out and about, meet new people and enjoy our enviable surroundings. You won't have to think about arranging and guiding walks and, chances are, your body, mind and social life will thank you!

We'll see you on the moors...


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