Surrey Christian Rambling Club

Planning a Surrey CRC walk

These notes have been written to help walk leaders in planning a walk. They are meant for guidance, so that the Surrey group provides walks of a consistent quality for its members, without placing too many burdens on the walk leader. They have been written with the monthly 7 to 12 mile walks in mind. Please speak to John Mitchell or Daphne Stockwell for advice and other criteria.

1. Starting Point
Although a station that is accessible from Central London is nice, this is not always possible in Surrey. However if possible I try to get about a third of the walks starting from a station if possible. Walk leaders might wish to consider offering lifts from a station that is convenient to them if possible.
The walk needs to end either at the same car park or a station with a direct service back to the starting point (at least 1 train per hour). Ideally, there will be at least two trains per hour.

Car Park
Any car park should have sufficient car parking for in excess of 20 cars. Advice on cost and access should be investigated in advance. If possible a Public Convenience is desirable. However if it is known that there are good facilities on the route then this is not essential for the start.

2. Distance
During the winter we have relatively short walks (i.e. up to 9 miles) to avoid ending a walk in the dark. During the summer the maximum distance would normally be 12 miles. Offers for longer ‘one-off’ walks are useful as an extra walk.

3. Route

Please stick to public rights of way or paths where it is known the owner allows access (e.g. National Trust land).

If a route has been used before, I prefer to have a 4 year gap before using the same again (although a different walk starting from the same location is fine). Reversing a route you have already done can be a good idea for variety.

Road Walking
Some road walking is OK, and is often necessary at the beginning/end of a walk. Try to avoid dangerous or unpleasant roads e.g. narrow, twisty heavily used lanes or main roads without pavements. Remember to walk towards oncoming traffic except on bends where visibility is essential.

If you are not familiar with the route, and it is not a waymarked Long Distance Footpath please walk it beforehand. I have known footpaths removed by quarrying, or a bridge over a river missing, necessitating a change in route. Ordnance Survey maps are good but in open access areas are not always reliable and occasionally differ considerably from the route on the ground. They are not always up to date either as reprints occur over 5-10 year periods. Note that for instance the Stepping Stones over the River Mole are often unusable in Winter and if on the coast the tide can affect the crossing of estuaries.

Use an Explorer 1:25000 map for the walk as these show field boundaries and are usually detailed enough for most walks. Landranger maps 1:50,000 maps are usually not detailed enough for walking but useful for roads and travel to and from the start. Sometimes a Car Park is shown on the Landranger and not the Explorer. Also Streetmap can be researched on the Internet.

Mud and Boots
Some bridleways get extremely muddy in winter, and are difficult to negotiate even in walking boots. In these cases, it is best to try to find an alternative footpath, even if it adds an extra mile to the distance.

What to wear
It is reasonable to assume in winter, that everyone will be wearing boots rather than trainers or shoes. If you think a walker is inappropriately attired then you can suggest that they do not walk or make it clear they do so at their own risk. I have known walkers turn up in ‘Court shoes’ or even high heels or just trainers in winter. There is a page here on what to wear.

It is very useful although not essential to have toilets somewhere on the route. If there are no public toilets, it is often possible to stop by a pub for lunch, or early in the afternoon. A longish lunch break (say 1 hour) allows walkers time to have their packed lunch, have a drink in the pub and use the pub toilets.

Some walkers may want to only do half of the walk by either joining or leaving at a convenient point, usually the lunch point. Although it is up to them to ensure they have a lift back to their car, some thought on a route that allows a quick return by car to the lunch point is helpful. To help those who may want to walk a short distance due to lack of fitness, injury or inexperience some figure of eight walks are usually put on the program at least once a year.

A teashop at or near the end of the walk is not obligatory, but is nice.

If you wish, you can offer refreshments at a nearby member’s home if they offer. This can be a good time for fellowship and based on past experience is usually enjoyed by many of the walkers.