Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
Caroline Spalding
Features Correspondent
8:00 AM 4th December 2019

Love Walking? Why Not Take A Saunter With The West Riding Ramblers?

Caroline Spalding of 'The Rambers' Yorkshire has some suggestions for a more sociable, healthy new year.

The Ramblers is a national organisation with hundreds of local walking groups throughout the UK.

Across West Yorkshire we have guided walks every week and weekend. The walks are very varied, from their lengths to the landscapes explored, therefore you can be sure to find a route tailored to your experience and fitness levels.

The Ramblers was established in the 1930s when the right to roam in the countryside wasn't established. Campaigners fought for rights of access to explore the great outdoors and continue to this day to protect our pathways for the future. Largely run by volunteers, every day the charity is working to protect the blockage and closure of footpaths, particularly from housing developments and major projects such as HS2.

Newcomers can join several Ramblers walks before taking membership. Your membership fee (£3.05/month) helps this valuable organisation to preserve our rights of way but also encourages people to enjoy the benefits a good walk brings. (

Members can discover walks taking place across the country using the new Ramblers App - perfect for use on holidays.

Our led walks provide companionship, conversation, or simply a peaceful stroll. You are with experienced walkers who know the terrain and who might share some interesting insights into the things you see. The Ramblers’ routes often stray off the beaten track, allowing you to discover pathways unknown to you before. By using the paths, we are all doing our bit to ensure they remain open and usable.

Members can choose to get more involved. For example, our Footpath Officers organise path clearance and maintenance days. Therefore, if your gardening is done, perhaps join us to tackle some overgrowth, or even build and repair steps and stiles. Much of the Ramblers' volunteer work is done behind the scenes; for example liaising with local authorities on development plans affecting pathways, or to help bring legal action if a path is forcibly blocked. Members of the public can report path blockages to the Ramblers who will do what they can to get the matter resolved.

Don't worry if you've little experience of walking. Group walks vary in length and difficulty, and you're not expected to be a proficient map reader - that's what the walk leaders are for!

Membership also entitles you to a discount at Cotswold Outdoors so that you can make sure you've good quality walking gear. You can even borrow OS Maps for when you take a holiday.

Many walks start from places easily accessible by public transport. If not, you can contact the walk leader to determine whether another walker could give you a lift.

The Ramblers themselves are of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Whatever your motive to walk, whether it be for good physical or mental health, to relax or just for the company, you will certainly be welcome.

We are sociable too, often finishing a walk with a well-deserved visit to a cafe or pub. Some groups organise weekends away and longer holidays.

For more information please visit or pick up a leaflet from cafes, leisure centres and tourist information centres.

Join us to experience hundreds of fantastic routes, knowing that your small contribution keeps our paths open and enjoyable for many years to come.