Guidance on Safe Walking Practices for Members




1.     Check the weather forecast and come equipped for the weather conditions on the day.


2.     Bring food, water, a small first aid kit and a suitable sunscreen product for the day.


3.     Keep personal information and contact numbers on a card in your rucksack in case of an emergency.


4.     If you have any health problems or concerns listen to the Walk Leader’s briefing and decide for yourself whether you are up to the walk planned.


5.     Everyone is responsible for their own safety even when walking in a group.




Walking through fields or areas with livestock


Take special care not to startle the animals. Try to avoid getting between the mother and its young. Walk through the field quietly as a group and at a steady pace and, if possible, walk around them. It may even be necessary to find another way round and re-join the footpath as soon as possible.


Walking along roads


Where there is no pavement, keep to the right-hand side of the road so you can see oncoming traffic. Keep close to the side of the road and be prepared to walk in single file. If you come across a sharp right-hand bend it may be safer to cross to the left-hand side of the road and cross back after the bend.


Crossing a railway line


When using a level crossing, obey any alarm, warning signals or lights.

Where there are NO warnings or lights, you should always STOP, LOOK, LISTEN and then look again before crossing. Trains can travel faster than you might think and take longer to brake to a halt than a car. Curving lines and overgrown vegetation can sometimes obscure your vision and that of the driver, so it’s very important to listen for an oncoming train and not rely on your eyesight alone. Don’t just follow the person in front. Ensure that the person in front of you has cleared the crossing area and is over any stiles or through gates at the crossing before you start to cross. When you are sure it is safe cross quickly and take care not to trip on the rails or touch either the electrified third rail or any other wires. No one should ever stop on a crossing nor conduct others across.

When there is a sign at the crossing directing you to use the telephone, you must use it to contact railway staff to get permission to cross. Make sure you tell them if you are walking as a group.



In a thunder and lightning storm

  • Postpone activities even if the sky looks blue and clear. Lightning will strike as far as 10 miles (15kms) away from any rainfall.

  • Lighting can strike the same place repeatedly, especially tall, pointed, isolated objects, so avoid being the tallest point.

  • Seek shelter inside a completely enclosed building or a hard-topped all-metal vehicle.

  • Avoid fences or exposed metal sheds.

  • Abandon exposed pointed metal items like walking sticks, umbrellas or rucksacks.

  • If there is no shelter you should keep moving.

  • Avoid standing in water, even if wearing rubber boots (they offer no protection).

  • If in a group, move several yards away from each other.

  • If the time between when you see the flash and hear the thunder is 30 seconds or less, the lightning is close enough to hit you. After the last flash of lightning, wait 30 minutes before leaving your shelter.

  • It is safe to touch someone who has been struck by lightning and provide them with CPR and First Aid.



For more advice on safety, walking gear and clothing see Ramblers site:

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