Newsletter - August 2020

From Graham Instrell, Chair of the Wiltshire LDWA:

"To keep you up to date, this is the walks situation nationally and in the Wiltshire group. Following sensible cancellation of all social and challenge walks during lockdown the National Executive Committee (NEC) approved commencement of LDWA walks from 22nd June which must follow Government and NEC guidelines which require rather more of us. See the guidelines below.

I took part in a Zoom meeting of 36 people from 20 regional groups on 16th July. It was clear that opinions and actions on restarting vary enormously for a wide variety of reasons, such that some groups have started, some are just starting and some may wait. Of those walking, some are working to NEC guidelines and some have members instead organising private walks for members. Note that private walks of members are not in any way supported by LDWA or their insurance.

The Wiltshire committee remains of the opinion that a satisfactory walks programme can only be reinstated when both Government and NEC guidelines change considerably. Any LDWA walks currently listed on the website, including the AGM, are provisional, subject to future decisions.

Sorry to have been so serious above. Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss anything. Meanwhile, I hope you're enjoying your private walking as much as I am and I hope to bump into you soon, somewhere away from the crowds.



In this month's newsletter:

  • COVID-19 Guidance for LDWA Social Walks;
  • 'Private' Walks;
  • Annual General Meeting;
  • Secretary Vacancy; and
  • Name The Path



COVID-19 Guidance for LDWA Social Walks


The National Executive Committee (NEC) issued this guidance in response to the guidance announced by the four Governments of the United Kingdom on various dates which took effect from 22nd June 2020.

All LDWA social walks had been suspended since March 2020. The NEC decided to reintroduce social walks for Local Groups from 22nd June 2020, subject to following NEC guidance. The guidance has now been updated to reflect the changing Government guidelines since June 2020.

For Local Groups that wish to commence social walks, the NEC guidance aims to provide a framework which protects walkers and the reputation of the LDWA. However, some Local Groups may decide that the NEC guidance does not enable them to commence social walks until the current COVID-19 situation improves and/or Government advice changes.

Although the NEC has allowed LDWA social walks to restart, this permission will be reviewed if the Government sets new restrictions, e.g. in response to new outbreaks of the virus. Government guidance supersedes all advice given by the NEC and must be followed at all times.

Before the Walk

  • Walk leaders must ensure they have a copy of this NEC guidance available to brief walkers at the start and to show to any member of the public or official (e.g. police) who asks what you are doing. This will demonstrate that you have thought about what to do in advance.
  • Walk leaders should take into account any situation when the walk may not go as expected, e.g. the need to support an injured walker whilst maintaining social distancing (see On the Walk below).
  • Walk leaders must recce a route or an area with which they are familiar and apply a COVID perspective. This includes thinking of how to apply social distancing, how to avoid difficult terrain and how to minimise the use of narrow paths where practical and possible. Consider routes which have some flexibility to allow for any last minute changes.

Numbers on Social Walks

  • In England the numbers attending each walk should still be limited to six walkers, including the walk leader.
  • In Scotland 15 people can now meet socially from up to a maximum of 5 households.
  • In Wales, 30 individuals can meet socially IF there is a risk assessment in place.

Possible options on how to manage numbers are:

  • Participants must register in advance with a contact e-mail address provided for registration and only primary members of a local group will be accepted. If the Local Group is concerned that some walkers may turn up without prior registration, the Group may decide to give only general details of the walk initially and give specific details, e.g. start point and time, at registration.
  • It is not possible to have more than the numbers specified above on the same walk, so in order to manage demand, consider hosting a second walk in a different location with another walk leader. Consider using a waiting list to ensure that all members who want to walk are given a chance to do so on different walks.
  • If spaces are still available prior to the walk taking place then Associate Members can join the walk, also by pre-registering, to make up the numbers.
  • Please do not attend LDWA social walks if you or any member of your permitted ‘bubble’ have recently been diagnosed with or show any COVID-19 symptoms, are awaiting test results or are self-isolating under current Government guidance.
  • Do not car share unless you are from the same household or part of a permitted ‘bubble’ from another household.


On the Walk

  • Social distancing (currently set at two metres) should apply throughout the walk between fellow walkers and to avoid members of the public.
  • All walkers should consider carrying hand sanitiser (alcohol-based gel), a face covering, gloves, wet wipes and a small first aid kit. The walk leader should consider carrying extra items to use as back-ups.
  • Use hand sanitiser if you have to touch communal surfaces, e.g. gates and stiles, and wash your hands at home.
  • Bring your own food and drink and, if shops are used, allow time for queuing.
  • Public toilets may have restricted access or not be open, so identify appropriate areas for comfort stops.
  • Do not share personal items or equipment during a walk.


'Private' Walks


In the absence of an alternative means of contacting fellow walks, i.e. via social media, group members wishing to host a private walk are invited to send the walk details to either myself or Bruce. We will then circulate the details (BCC) from our private e-mail addresses.



Annual General Meeting (AGM)


Members are reminded that the Wiltshire LDWA's AGM will take place on Sunday 6th December 2020 in the Pewsey Scout Hut. A formal calling notice will be sent out next month.



Secretary Vacancy


The forthcoming AGM will signal the end of my time as the group's secretary. I will not be seeking an extension for a further year, as I think it's healthy for positions on the committee to be refreshed regularly. I will therefore be handing over the role after I've written the minutes of the AGM. For anyone considering taking over the role, the main activities have been as follows:

  • Producing the agendas and minutes for committee meetings and the AGM;
  • Sending out the calling notice for the AGM (Early September);
  • Attending the LDWA's Local Groups Weekend in November. The last two events have been in Kent and Sherwood Forest. The next one will be virtual; and
  • Producing the monthly newsletter, which is really a glorified e-mail to all primary and associate members.



Name The Path


The answer to last month's Name The Path was the 106-mile Cleveland Way National Trail.

In the continued absence of any forthcoming walks, here's another challenge for you. Simply name this long distance path. You'll find it in the LDWA's online database. Good luck!


Name The Path 4



This e-mail has been sent to 500+ Primary and Associate group members. If you wish to opt out of receiving e-mails from us, you will need to change your e-mail preferences by logging onto the LDWA website.

That's it for another newsletter. All our newsletters are available via the Wiltshire LDWA website. If you have anything to contribute to future editions, please can you get it to me by the 20th of each month. I look forward to seeing you out on our group walks later in the year.

Warmest regards


Secretary of the Wiltshire LDWA