Walking in easy and lowland countryside

Includes: Outdoors, Nature and the great outdoors, Walking, Land

Age:
4+
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Walk this way

Whether you tour a city or follow a nature trail, you'll discover things you've never seen before by walking.

Overview

To take girls walking in easy or lowland countryside, you will need to plan a suitable route, taking into account the experience and ability of the girls. Wherever possible, walk the intended route beforehand and plan how to manage any potential risks.

Easy countryside: urban locations; spare ground, recreational areas and parks; local woods, lanes, nature trails, tracks and paths in your local area, where there is no danger of getting lost.

Lowland countryside: 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 type of country will not present any great problems.

Approved: 5 May 2021
Version: 1.0
Content owner: Adventure team

Planning checklist

If you or another member of your leadership team is running the activity at an external venue/location, follow these extra steps:

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know about any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your commissioner.
  • Get a copy of the public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Check you hold the relevant qualification (if one is needed) to run the activity and let your commissioner know you plan to run it yourself. If you aren't sure, speak to your local adviser to check.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the needs of your group.
  • Get any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.
  • Ask for a copy of the venue's safety guidelines and risk assessment (if relevant).
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls, leaders and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity if a qualification is needed). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Consider the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions and plan the session accordingly.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation. 

If you're working with an external provider or external instructors to run this activity outside the unit meeting space, follow these extra steps. 

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know if you make any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your local commissioner.
  • Tell the activity provider about the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions that need to be considered when running the activity.
  • Choose a reputable and licensed activity provider (where applicable).
  • Check the qualified adults hold the correct qualification to be able to run the activity (see the information below).
  • Get copies of the instructor qualifications and public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Ask for a copy of the providers' safety guidelines and risk assessment.
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the requirements for your group.
  • Source any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation.

In easy countryside you do not need a formal qualification, but the leader of the walk should have gained some experience of walking in easy countryside or completed some training. Speak to your local guiding development adviser to find out about available training opportunities. 

For walking in lowland countryside, Girlguiding encourages leaders to gain Girlguiding Walking Scheme Level 1, Mountain Training UK (MTUK) Lowland Leader or have equivalent experience, and hold a current 1st response qualification.

If walking abroad, the above qualifications and regulations may not be applicable. Contact your walking adviser, or [email protected] for more guidance.

Training opportunities                                                   

Discover the great outdoors and gain confidence to lead your girls with our in house walking courses  and the Girlguiding walking scheme. You can also use Mountain Training  NGB awards to take girls walking.

Adult to child ratios

The ratios below are given as a maximum and ratios must be considered as part of the risk assessment. The ratio may lessen due to any medical conditions, lack of experience, terrain and countryside classification, participants with mobility issues or other factors.

Normal Girlguiding ratios for activities away from the meeting place are required. However the group size should be appropriate for the planned walk, this will depend on the route and the experience of the participants.

Leadership team ratio

As this activity will take place outside of your usual meeting place the leadership team adult to child ratio is mandatory.

  • Rainbows: 1:5 (minimum of two leaders)
  • Brownies: 1:8 
  • Guides: 1:12 
  • Rangers: n/a

Guides and Rangers may walk in easy and lowland countryside without an adult group leader as long as they have the permission of their leader. See more guidance on Guides and Rangers walking without a leader.

Qualified adult/participant ratio 

  • A qualification is not required in easy and lowland countryside.
  • The leader in charge will determine what size and number of groups is safe.
  • There must be enough adults to ensure the safety of all participants. This will be determined by the risk assessment taking into consideration the terrain, weather and experience of the adults and other participants.

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