Hints and tips for walk leaders

Welcome to walk leading! Initially it can be a bit daunting to lead a walk - hopefully these ideas will help. Have fun...

Beforehand...

  • You can find a route in a book, follow a marked footpath, take one off a map. It can be in London or in the surrounding countryside. Do ask the Walks Coordinators for ideas or support to lead walks! Your walk needs to be accessible by public transport. It’s useful to have some sort of map of the area you're walking in.
  • Be prepared: try out your walk a couple of weeks beforehand so that you are familiar with the route/its current state - and can adapt if you need to, e.g. if your intended path is overgrown. People have different ideas about reccying a walk - from an experienced walk leader/map reader who is able/happy to lead a walk without trying it out first to someone who feels they need to reccy it before submitting it.
  • If you're going into a park make sure you check what time it closes in the evening.
  • If you become aware of any engineering works or timetable changes which affect the travel details published in the program, please let the MW Secretary know by emailing them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that an email can be sent out to members.
  • If you are suddenly unable to lead your walk please try and find a substitute leader. We don't want to have to cancel any walks.
  • All our walks are put on Walks Finder on the Ramblers' website. The details are added a few weeks before the walk takes place. Unless you request otherwise, your walks will be shown as 'car-free' and 'dogs permitted'.

Introducing the walk

  • Please introduce yourself at the start of the walk and give a bit of detail about the walk itself (e.g. terrain, places of interest, lunch stop, toilet facilities).
  • Count the number of people you have (recount occasionally during the walk to check you have everyone).
  • We usually have several new people on each walk so please give some more general information about Metropolitan Walkers and the Ramblers for the benefit of potential new members. For example:
    • We're the 20s-early 40s group for inner London.
    • Our walks are all accessible by public transport.
    • We walk within and around London; both urban and rural walks.
    • Day walks are 5 to 25 miles in length and there are 5 walks most weekends.
    • There are evening walks once a week - usually around 3 miles followed by a trip to the pub.
    • We also have regular social activities and weekend trips.
    • You are welcome to try out up to 3 of our walks before deciding whether to join.
    • Potential new members should speak to you/regulars to find out how to join.
    • Two new groups have recently been started up in London, do have a look at their websites for further walks: Capital Walkers (for late 30s to 50s) and London Strollers (shorter, more accessible walks).
    • Also: we need more walk leaders, please volunteer - if you need any help do ask the Walks Coordinators!

Before setting off...

  • Check you have everyone: those who might be waiting at another exit to the station, or anyone who might come by car.
  • If there is a large turn-out, it may be a good idea to appoint a 'backmarker' so that you don't lose anyone from the back of the group. This doesn't need to be someone who is familiar with the route – just ask for a volunteer at the start of the walk. Don’t forget to wait for your backmarker, particularly when you reach a junction.

During the walk...

  • There may be a range of abilities on a walk – please take note of this when setting the pace. Try not to lose anyone! Allow people time to catch up if needed, particularly if there are roads to cross, crowds of people around or a junction.
  • Lunch: it's often best to advise people to bring a packed lunch as there's usually not enough time for everyone to buy lunch at a pub. Drinks at a pub/tea place etc are very welcome but not necessary. If you plan to have a drinks stop please ensure you ask people not to eat their own sandwiches in the pub/cafe.

After the walk...

  • Check out in advance what time the trains home are.
  • We need to keep track of how many people are walking, if there were any issues or if you have any comments, so one of the Walks Coordinators will email you to find this out – don't forget to reply.
  • If you had a problem with a footpath on your walk, please contact our Weekend Walks Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to let them know the details.
  • Make sure you enjoy a well-deserved drink!

Finally, thanks for leading the walk! You’re making a valuable contribution to the group.