Countryside classification

Before taking girls on outdoor adventures, check the classification of the countryside you're visiting to see what qualification you need

Learn the difference between Easy, Lowland, Remote, Open and Extreme countryside

Any area of countryside that you visit can be classified as Easy, Lowland, Open, Remote or Extreme depending on the type of countryside and its features. The qualification you will need to lead girls on safe and exciting walks depends on this classification. You can find a list of these classifications and their associated qualifications below.

For further information please also see the walking activity pages for each countryside classification.

Easy

Urban areas, spare ground, recreational areas and parks, local woods, lanes, nature trails, tracks and paths in your own locality, where there is no danger of getting lost.

Training or qualifications needed - Out and About Optional Training Module or equivalent walking experience. No qualification required.

Lowland

Lanes, tracks and paths, fields, woods, or other non-remote lowland areas, where the ability to read a map and find a route may be necessary, but weather conditions will not be extreme and the types of country will not present any great problems.

Training or qualifications needed - a qualification is encouraged but not mandatory for Lowland walks. You can do Level 1 of the Girlguiding Walking Scheme or the Lowland Leader Award from Mountain Training UK (MTUK). The MTUK website provides further information about the scope of their qualifications.

Open

Open countryside is characterised by the following things. All of these criteria must be met. 

  • Open, uncultivated, non-mountainous high or remote country.
  • Areas enclosed by well-defined geographical or man-made boundaries.
  • Areas of remoteness that are easily exited in a few hours.
  • Areas where movement on steep or rocky terrain is not required (in either a planned or unplanned situation) and there are no serious water hazards.
  • Areas typically not more than 600 metres above sea level.
  • Routes must follow paths or linear features that are both marked on a map and clearly visible on the ground.

Training or qualification needed - Girlguiding Walking Scheme Level 2 or higher or Hill and Moorland Leader Award or higher from Mountain Training UK. The MTUK website provides further information about the scope of their qualifications.

Remote

Anywhere in the UK except steep slopes, rocky ground, scree, loose rocks and exposed ridges.

Training or qualification needed - Girlguiding Walking Scheme Level 3 or Mountain Leader Award from Mountain Training UK.

If walking in Open or Remote countryside where ice or snow are prevalent or forecast, the group Leader must hold the Winter Mountain Leader Award.

Extreme

Anywhere in the UK but does not include the planned use of a rope.

Training or qualification needed - Mountain Leader Award from Mountain Training UK. The MTUK website provides further information about the scope of MTUK qualifications.

Train to take girls on walks

Our Walking Scheme will get you going on adventurous walks with the girls in your unit.