Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions for New Walk Leaders

The following Questions and Answers supplements the information provided for Walk Leaders published by the Ramblers Association. Walk Leaders Check List

1. I would like to find out more about leading a walk. Who do I contact?
ECR has a named coordinator for all the following programmes: Short Midweek Walks, Medium Midweek Walks, Weekend Short Walks, Weekend Medium Walks, Weekend Long Walks, Midweek Long Walks, Stroller Walks and Evening Walks. Each coordinator welcomes contacts from walkers who are willing to organise a walk. If you contact the Chair she will put you in touch with the organiser.
2. Will anyone help me with my first walk?
ECR have a number of volunteers who would be happy to work with you on your first walk. Please contact the Chair, Jane Gay, and she will put you in touch.
3. Do I need to be able to read maps?
Being able to read a map is useful but not essential. There are lots of walks which provide pictures and descriptions of walks which are a really useful source for walk leaders. The Ramblers do provide Map Reading training if you wish to attend. This is advertised on the website and via email.
4. Where can I find a walk?
The Cheshire East Ramblers website under the Walks Planner Tab Walks Planner provides a number of ideas for walks. There are also a range of books and other websites which are also a useful source.
5. Where do I find grid references and post codes for the start of my walk?
You can find this information on the ECR website under the Start Point tab. You can also look them up on the internet.
6. Do I need to recce my walk?
Yes this is essential. It’s a good idea to ask a buddy to go with you. It gives you the opportunity to check parking availability, the accuracy of the walk description, spot any potential hazards, timings and distance.
7. Can I ask people to use public transport for my walk?
Yes. Walks can involve trains, buses and or trams. Include the information in your walk description and suggest that walkers bring money, bus passes, and railcards.
8. How do I advertise my walk and what information do I include?
You post details of your walk on the ECR website at LEAST TWO WEEKS before your walk. You click on the Notice Board Tab and click to post details of your walk. It is an easy programme to use. You need to include: the date, the length, the level of difficulty (easy, moderate, strenuous) the starting point including the post code and grid reference,

parking costs if any, toilets if any, a brief description of the route and any specific points about gradient, mud, etc. It’s helpful to look at others descriptions before you write yours.

9. How do I grade my walk?

Walk leaders are asked to provide sufficient detail about their walk when they post it on the Notice Board so that potential walkers are aware of the level difficulty of the walk. For example; height gain, conditions underfoot or any potentially challenging terrain.

Walks are graded as follows:


Short: approx. 5 – 7 miles

Medium: 7+ – 10 miles

Long: 10+

Degree of difficulty:

  • Easy – mostly flat walking on good paths
  • Moderate – this covers the majority of walks; there might well be a steep hill or two but it will generally be on good paths in undulating terrain
  • Strenuous – expect a fair bit of uphill walking, maybe even some mild scrambling. We might leave paths for open country but not invariably

Stroller Walks:

These walks are:

3 – 4 miles on even ground with very limited ascents or descents and very few stiles

10. Can people take dogs on the walk?
It is the decision of the walk leader. If you feel that it is safe for people to do so, no live stock on the walk, then indicate this in your information. If you feel it would be a risk then state this clearly when you post your walk on the notice board.
11. Do I need a backmarker?
Yes you do need someone to walk at the back of the walkers to make sure the group doesn’t get lost. It’s a good idea to share phone numbers if you can. When you’re walking you need to keep the backmarker in sight. You may need to stop until they come into view. It’s essential to make sure the backmarker knows when you turn off the path or cross roads. If you have a large group 30+ it’s a good idea to have a middle marker too.
12. Who do I ask to be a backmarker?
If the person who recced the walk with you is walking they are an ideal backmarker. If not then ask at the start of your walk. Someone will always volunteer.
13. What equipment should I take on my walk?
Take a first aid kit, whistle, water, phone, map, walk instructions, plastic bag, emergency services contact numbers, the contact number for the Ramblers Association +44 (0)20 3961 3300.
14. What happens at the beginning of the walk?
Walks usually start at 10am. It’s a good idea to get there early. Walkers generally gather well before the start time. Gather walkers together at 9.50ish and introduce yourself. Give a brief verbal description of where you’re going. Ask for someone to be a backmarker. Count the group before you set off!
15. Should I have emergency contact numbers for all the walkers?
Walkers are encouraged to complete an In Case of an Emergency (ICE) card and carry it with them on their walks. You can have a set of these cards to give out at the beginning
of your walks.
16. What do I do if someone turns up who hasn’t walked with ECR before?
It’s always helpful to ask at the beginning of the walk if there are any walkers new to ECR. Please ask them to introduce themselves to the group and give them a warm welcome. It’s worth checking in with them when you stop at any point. At the end of the walk ask them how they are and that you hope they manage to come on more walks.
17. What happens if no one turns up?
You can go home. Let the walk organiser for the walks know.
18. What happens if one or two people turn up?
You do the walk unless everyone else wants to go home.
19. Do walkers need to be members?
We don’t check membership cards. Members may bring a friend to try a walk or they can bring a visitor. The general rule of thumb is new walkers can try three walks before they join.
20. Do people take refreshments on a walk?
Leaders usually stop for coffee for 15 mins an hour after the start of the walk. Long and medium walkers take a packed lunch. Build in a stop at a suitable place for each when you recce your walk.
21. Do I have to organise lunch for walkers?
Medium and long walkers take a packed lunch. Traditionally, the midweek short walkers like to go for a pub lunch after their walk. If you can identify a pub as a starting point that’s ideal. Contact the pub to let them know you will be bringing a party in at lunchtime. Check either at the beginning of your walk or at coffee time who would like lunch and phone the pub with the numbers.
22. What happens if someone needs a comfort break?
If a walker needs a comfort break they need to let the backmarker or leader know when they step off the walk and return to the walk.
23. What happens if someone is ill on the walk?
If the person feels able to walk back to the beginning ask another member of the group to go with them and ask them to call you when they get back to the car. If someone is seriously ill contact the emergency services and report back to the walk co-ordinator.
24. What happens if I am ill on the walk?
You will have many experienced walkers on your walk who would be willing to lead the rest of the walk for you if they have your map and or written directions. It would be a good idea if someone walked back with you to the car or, in the event of a serious illness, calls the emergency services.
25. What happens if I have to cancel the walk on the day?
Log on to the ECR website – Notice Board Tab – click on the date and post cancelled.
26. What happens if I have to cancel the walk well ahead of the date?
Contact the walk organiser for the walk programme and they will try to find someone else to lead a walk.
27. What happens if I have to change the walk?
It may be necessary to change the details of an already posted walk, maybe due to snowfall making road travel risky or because the leader is ill. In this case a new
message should be posted on the notice board making it clear that it replaces the original posting for that walk. The programme coordinator will get an automatic email notification of the new posting and he will then liaise with the webmaster to alter the programme on the web site to indicate that the walk is either cancelled or changed and include the new details.

If midweek walk is involved the new details should also be emailed to appropriate walks coordinator, short, medium or long, so that they can circulate the message to their address lists.

28. What happens if someone has an accident on my walk?
Notify the ECR Secretary as soon as possible and complete an incident form within a maximum of 10 days. The form is sent to the ECR Secretary and they send the form to the Ramblers Association.
29. What do I do if someone leaves the walk?
Occasionally walkers may wish to leave the walk. They must let the walk leader know. If they walk on ahead of the leader they may also be deemed to have left the walk.
30. Who is insured on the walk?
For detailed information about insurance please visit the Ramblers Association website Insurance Toolkit
31. What do I do if I lose someone?
It is very rare to lose someone on a walk. The requirement to have a backmarker, and middle marker for a large group, should ensure that no one gets lost. If you do lose a member of your group you could ask for volunteers to walk back to the start to try to find the individual while you stay with the main party and continue with the walk. Ensure you have shared mobile numbers with the individuals who have agreed to walk back.
32. What do I do at the end of my walk?
Ensure everyone gets to the end and thank people for coming. Text/email the walk organiser the number of people who attended your walk.
33. Can I share my experience with anyone?

ECR encourages walk leaders to do a ‘write up’ for the local press and the website. Colin Park manages this process and his email is available from one of the committee members. The article needs to be 250-350 words with a photograph taken on the walk in a JPEG format. If you are unable to attach a photograph or if no photographs were taken Colin Park can add one from my library of pictures.

34. How do I access training and what is available?
Training events are provided by ECR and the Ramblers Association. The events are advertised on the website and circulated via email.
35. Can I take photographs of my fellow walkers?
It is polite to ask walkers before you photograph them whether they wish to be included in your photo. If you intend to use your photo for publicity, or on social media, you should let the walkers in your group know BEFORE you take the photo.
36. Safeguarding
The Ramblers Association has a Safeguarding Young People and Adults Policy which can be accessed here Safeguarding

Harrop Brook Bridge

Historic Footbridge Saved

An iconic stone arch footbridge across Harrop Brook near Bollington has been saved from collapse thanks, in part, to a donation by East Cheshire Ramblers. The bridge was probably built in Victorian times. It is in the Peak District National Park and is on the Gritstone trail, a popular long distance trail stretching from Disley all the way south to Kidsgrove.

Over the years the bridge supports have been eroded by the force of the Harrop Brook and the bridge is in danger of collapse. However, the cost of restoration far exceeded the cost of replacing it with a ‘standard’ timber footbridge. East Cheshire Ramblers considered that it would be tragic to lose this unique little structure and have pledged £500 towards the cost of restoration. CEC obtained similar donations from Pott Shigley, Bollington and Rainow Parish Councils and also from the Peak and Northern Footpaths Society. The repairs are in hand and due for completion by summer 2019.

This is an example of the work of the Footpaths Committee of East Cheshire Ramblers whose members regularly liaise with the Public Rights of Way Unit of Cheshire East Council. The Footpaths Committee monitor an area stretching from Disley and Poynton in the north to Wincle in the south. The Committee strives to ensure that all the public footpaths in this area of East Cheshire are in good order.

Harrop Brook Bridge showing a gap in the stonework at the right hand side of the photograph.

General Council, Manchester 2019

Reflections on General Council, Manchester 2019

A highly organised and slick event. The staff, Trustees and the volunteers for the event were all wearing the same T shirts emphasising the One -Team-Approach. All the staff and Trustees sat along the front row of the auditorium. Senior staff members were called upon in turn to give their part of the presentation supported by the Trustee who had been involved with that topic.

‘Van’ (Vanessa) Griffiths the new Chief Executive appointed 2 years ago, emphasised we are all One Team, no more divisions, but embracing change and moving forward together. We were reminded that we didn’t belong to a walking club but to a movement. The Ramblers organisation is aspiring to become the ‘Go-To’ place for walking. Central office is listening and new methods would be modified in light of feedback. Local successes need to be shared with the Trustees and Central Office (CO).

First priority was to address the slow decline in membership over the last 15 years and there was a promise to achieve membership growth ‘within 3 years’. We needed to be a welcoming organisation reaching out to new members, and recognising that the majority of members do not go on organised walks.

The new IT Director spoke lucidly about the ‘Digital and Data Transformation’ going on and spoke about her priority to make it easier for everyone, The vision included new phone apps that would enhance your walking experience. The ambition was to build a system as good as Trip Adviser that would advise you about the local area –even tell you which path to take to avoid a muddy section? 5 databases have been combined into one and the new digital dashboard is there to be used. Walk leaders would zapp members cards at the start of walks so that CO could collect all sorts of lovely data about what we were doing. This data is useful to justify support from funders. In answer to a question, the director said that if ‘someone really didn’t want to be zapped it would not be compulsory’. More on the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) later…

The finances are in good order. £3.9 million surplus this year. But legacies contributed £1.6m and are notoriously unreliable. £250,000 is earmarked annually for legal fees opposing footpath changes – is this sufficient?

I didn’t stay for the dinner, apparently there was a quiz all about Manchester…. and guess which table won…… Greater Manchester & High Peak Area!

On the second day, there was the election of three new Trustees. All the candidates were passionate about walking….all embraced change and most were experienced in change management and knew it was difficult……

Next was the consideration of the motions that had been put forward. Only seven this year including one to rename the Agenda Committee to be the Motions Review Committee. Did it need to be debated?……. Yes it did!

Next up was GDPR and a motion asking the Trustees to acknowledge that locally held databases were OK. Apparently not, and a Trustee threatened us with a one million euro (or was it ten million euro?) fine. CO have it in hand with a dashboard app where areas and groups will be able to access the information they need? No doubt our membership secretary has all this in hand.

Third was a motion asking for an increase in publicity for the work ‘we do in improving the quality of the Public Rights of Way and in campaigning for increased access’ We were told that two new posts have been created for two years: Local Advocacy Advisors, one in the south and one in the north, who would help with this.

Fourth motion was asking for school packs to help recruit young people (and their parents) ‘who then stay with us for all their lives’.

Fifth motion was bemoaning the change of Policy by the Environment Agency (EA) towards maintenance of river banks where they impinge on rights of way. Apparently CO had been re-assured by the EA chief exec there was no change in policy with respect to river banks ‘on their land’. But most problems occurr not on EA land …….?

Sixth motion was on national planning guidance on green spaces and rights of way. Laudable stuff to press for strengthened guidance….

Seventh motion was an entertaining speaker on a motion to create a diverse and representative General Council (GC). She argued very persuasively that diverse organisations make better decisions and asked that Areas examine how they select there representatives to GC. Were there actual or perceived barriers that made participation by women more difficult? The Trustees to report back to 2020 GC which is to be held in Avon.

I can’t remember which motions were carried or defeated (except the first which, thankfully, was passed unanimously) but all the details of the motions and much more is on the Ramblers website.

Overall impression? For me it was exhausting (even without the evening dinner) but there is no doubt we are on the move and led by an impressive team – none of whom seemed to have been in post for more than one or possibly two years. Will the same team be there in five years time when it will be possible to assess the effectiveness of the changes which we are being asked to embrace? It was inspiring, almost evangelical at times. It is more than about led walks……. we are all One Team working together, and don’t forget the main message…. more members, more members, more members.

One final thought, are we missing out on conversations and consultations with CO as we have no area representatives? Are other areas better informed than we are? Maybe, just maybe, it is time to consider having an Area Chair – even if a ‘virtual’ one?

NSC 16.04.19

Friday Stroller Walks

These walks start at 10.30 am except for the first one! They are approximately 4 miles of easy walking. Further details will appear on the ECR website.

FridayDate:Year:2019:Start Location: Start time: 10.30am Leader miles
12 Apr Manchester Piccadilly Station notice boardKeith Anderson4
26 Apr Alderley Edge  NTCP (GR:SJ860772) SK10 4UBMelanie Davy4
10 May Lindow Common CP SK9 5LR ( GR SJ834814 )Kathryn Carty4
24 May Jackson Lane CP (GR: SJ 93557725)Sandra Edwards3
07 June Church Lane, Gawsworth (GR: SJ 889696) SK11 9RJJane Gay4
21 June Nelson Pit CP (SK12 1TH) GR SJ944833Caroline Finlayson3
05 July Church Lane, Gawsworth (GR: SJ 889696) SK11 9RJLoraine Tolley3.5
12 July Springfield CP, Prestbury, (GR:SJ901772) SK10 4DWTony Walker4
19 July Memorial CP, Stockport Rd, MarplePost code SK6 6AX. GR. SJ958887GinaThompson4
26 July The Bulls Head, Mobberley, WA16 7HXRosie Forth3.5
02 Aug Roadside parking, east end of Mill lane, Hazel Grove, SK7 6DP(GR:SJ931856)Neil Collie4
09 Aug Details to be issued later.Benita Kassas 
16 Aug Springfield CP, Prestbury, (GR:SJ901772)   SK10 4DWRosieForth4
23 Aug Riverside Park CP,off Manchester Rd,GR SJ914746 or SK10 2SLAnnette Murphy4
30 Aug Redesmere CP ( GR:SJ849714)  SK11 9JRMaggie Swindells3.5
13 Sept Lindow Common CP, Wilmslow.Post code SK9 5LR. GR. SJ834814Jenny Bordoli3.5
27 Sept The Lord Clyde Pub, 36, Clarke Lane, Bollington.(SK10 5AH) GR SJ924 764)Caroline Finlayson3.5
04 Oct The Springwood Park CP, Tytherington Business Park,SK10 2 ND, (GR:SJ919764)Tony Walker4

Basic Map Reading & Walk Leader Training Thursday 4 July 10-4 pm

Many people have mentioned to me that they would like to take part in some basic walk leader and map reading training. Now is the ideal time!!!

The course below is being run by Gilian Kay with the support of several Ramblers. 

This course will start with two hours in the morning at Macclesfield Tennis Club. This will be a theory session covering map reading, basic compass knowledge and walk leading. There will be a practical session in the afternoon which will last approximately 2 hours.

Packed lunch and walking gear will be needed. This course is being run at no cost to participants and is limited to 12 people. Further details will be sent out to participants nearer the time. Book early to avoid disappointment, the first aid course filled up within a few days. 

To book a place please email

Coach trip to Arnside – Saturday 8th June

Information about this trip is below. Several bookings have already been made, so book promptly to avoid disappointment.

There will be a choice of three led walks all offering great views of the coast and the Lake District hills. All walks will finish in Arnside where there are pubs, cafés and toilets.

Pick-up Points and times: 

7.40am. Snape Road, Macclesfield (Off Queens Avenue which is off Hulley Road), at McCarthy’s Coach Depot. Roadside car parking.

8.00am. The Boddington Arms, Wilmslow. Free car park at Lindow Common adjacent.

We hope to have short stops at a service station on the M6 in both directions.

The coach will take us to Carnforth where the Long walk will start, about 1.5 hours’ drive and then to Milnthorpe where the Medium walk will start. The final drop-off point will be at Sandside for the start of the Short walk.

5.00pm. Depart Arnside.

General information: Arnside is a small village on the Kent Estuary and we hope to be there in time to have a cup of tea before boarding the coach for the return. The coach will be in Arnside for most of the day. Please bring a packed lunch. 


These walks have not yet been recce’d so are subject to change. The walks are all in pleasant countryside or along coastal paths.

The Long Walk led by Colin Park is an 11-mile moderate linear walk starting from Carnforth Station. We will visit the ruins of Warton Old Rectory (free entry) and ascend Warton Crag with views across Morecambe Bay. The crag is an area of limestone loving plants and home to several rarer birds including the Peregrine Falcon, so bring binoculars. The walk then crosses Leighton Moss Nature Reserve before following the cost to Silverdale before ascending Arnside Knott which gives views over the estuary and to the Lake District. The walk will finish in Arnside

The Medium Walk led by Steve Hull is an 8-mile moderate linear walk starting from Milnthorpe. We cross the deer park to Beetham before entering woods to look at the interesting limestone formation at Fairy Steps. The route then passes the peel towers at Hazelslack and Arnside before ascending Arnside Knott and following the coast back to Arnside.

The Short Walk led by Ruth Harrison is a 6-mile moderate linear walk. We will leave the coach at Sandside on the Kent Estuary and follow woodland paths to reach the ruins of Hazelslack Tower, a ruinous 14th century peel tower. The route goes around the edge of Silverdale Moss Bird Reserve to reach the ruins of Arnside Tower – a ruinous late medieval tower house. We then go over Arnside Knott to reach Arnside. Most of the walk is fairly level but there is an ascent over Arnside Knott of around 150 metres.

Arnside is a small coastal village and although it has some facilities is probably not suitable for people who do not wish to follow one of the above walks, although it would be possible to take a stroll along the coast path towards Silverdale.

If you have any questions about the coach trip, please contact:

Steve Hull on walks or by email (

Beating the Bounds for East Cheshire Hospice

Beating the Bounds is an annual event organised by Wilmslow Support
Group, taking place on Sunday 19th May 2019. The aim of the day is to
raise money for East Cheshire Hospice, whilst also bringing together
many different parts of the Wilmslow community. Now in its 3rd year,
this event provides those who enjoy walking and cross country running
with a fantastic fundraising opportunity whilst taking in the beautiful
countryside within the bounds of Wilmslow. All participants will receive
fantastic refreshments as described below.

Full details can be found on the East Cheshire Hospice web site

East Cheshire Ramblers Social Calendar 2019



Thanks to all those involved in organising these events. Any ideas for the next programme please contact me as soon as possible. Maggie Swindells 07729327940 /01625 829671

Updates in BOLD

Friday 12Th April  Start of fortnightly Strollers’ walking programme
26/28 AprilLong Walkers Weekend away Thirsk. Organised by Colin Park
Thursday 2nd MayStart of evening walks organised by Steve Hull
Friday May 10th2pm            Tour of the Air Raid Shelters, Stockport organisedby Brian Griffiths
Saturday 8th JuneCoach trip to Arnside area organised by Steve Hull
Thursday 20th JuneWalk and meal in Monyash organised by Ann Thompson
15/16 JuneWeekend away Ilkley organised by Melanie Davy
17th JulyVisit to Blackden TrustA six mile circular walk from Goostrey with 4/5 miles to Blackden Trust and 1/2 miles back. Organised by Brian Griffiths
Saturday 29 JuneRamble with a Ranger organised by Jane Gay
4th July Walk Leader Training (full with a waiting list)
2nd – 4th August Long walkers weekend Kirby Stephen organised by Georgie and Peter Everson and Steve Hull (may be an optional walk on the 2nd)
21st August Visit to Blackden Trust organised by Colin Park
24th AugustVisit to Blackden Trust organised by Colin Park

21st – 29th SeptemberBollington Walking Festival 
Saturday 28th SeptemberCoach trip to Conway organised by Annette Hurst, Gina Thompson and Maggie Swindells
18/20th OctoberWeekend away to Pickering organised by Ann Thompson
Saturday 23rd NovemberECR AGM  2pm at Macclesfield Tennis ClubPlease contact for more details
Saturday 14th DecemberWeek End Christmas Lunch at The Windmill organised by Teresa Marshall preceded by a walk organised by Jane and Frank Gay.
Saturday 21st DecemberChristmas walk and meal organised by Georgie and Peter Everson