Information on Walking in the Countryside
The information listed below is to help you prepare for your walk and stay safe. As a good friend once said to me,
“Preparation and planning are the main things. The more work you put in, the more you get back.”
It’s a short statement, but it is so true. To use these words well, please read the information below before planning your walk.
Get to Know the Rules of the Countryside Hughenden
Before going for a walk in the countryside you really need to know the rules about what you must and must not do. This is available in The Countryside Code, a link to the Natural England website. The Ramblers (the guys who know all about walking best) also have their own The Countryside Code. They are much the same, but please make sure you read at least one of these before planning your walk.
Do this in advance, check it through with others and plan for the unexpected. If going in a group plan the walk together, make sure everyone involved knows what is happening, what is expected of them and what to take.
The whole route is covered in the following maps
Ordnance Survey Maps – Courtesy of the Long Distance Walking Association
OS Explorer Active:
Interactive Stage Maps are available to download using this website. These are very accurate and you can download these using GPS.
Get hold of a lightweight compass and learn how to use it in conjunction with a map. When in doubt, this can help tell which way to go.
It is good to carry mobile phones for safety purposes. Make sure you bring a charger and recharge every opportunity you have. However, be aware that many places along the route do not have coverage from some mobile phone providers. Blackmore at the start of stage 12 is a very good example of this.
Let Other Know Where You Are
Tell friends what you intend to do and where you should be at dates along the route. Contact them at arranged times to let them know you are safe. This way if anything unexpected happens to you, others will know that something is wrong and can come to your rescue or inform the emergency services.
Make sure you wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Decent walking boots tend to be waterproof, protect your feet and help against spraining an ankle. At the end of a long day’s walk you can be tired, wet or sweaty. Be sure to have comfortable clothes and footwear to change into. Also make sure you have dry clothes and footwear for the next day.
Carrying Excess Baggage
People can get carried away when packing for a walk. Study the weather forecasts and pack appropriately. However, do remember that the forecast is not always correct. Buy a decent backpack and only carry the amount you are comfortable walking with. One option to consider is places around the route where you can store things in advance and collect if needed when you get there.
If intending to camp, take only lightweight tents, sleeping bags, etc.
If going in a group make sure you all consult about what you are taking and do not duplicate anything unnecessarily.
If walking continually over a long period, think hard about what provisions you pack. In most cases provisions can be bought, as and when you need them, along the route. However, there are many long stretches of the route without shops or places to eat and drink. So when planning your walk, make sure provisions can be picked up when needed.
It is usually best to book this in advance as it means you should be guaranteed a place and may result in greatly reduced rates. However, do not overstretch yourself between overnight stops.
For some helpful suggestions about “Where to Stay” around the route of the London Green Belt Way see the Accommodation section of this website. There is a list of places easily accessed from the route; most have maps of how to get there from points along the route, some general information and links to their websites. There is guidance on how to search for yourself.
The “Rail Access” section of this website gives a list of railway stations which are easily accessible from the route. These can be used to plan walks of different durations, where you do a certain section of the route over a given period of time.
There are also links to websites which can help with other transport such as bus routes, etc. which you may find helpful and can incorporate into your plans.
Local People & Landowners
A lot of people live along the route and the land which the walk crosses is always owned by someone. Always respect people’s rights, their property, livestock and crops. Try and stay to the path whenever possible and always take great care when crossing roads and level crossings.
Report a Footpath which is Closed, Overgrown or Not Maintained Properly
You can do this by reporting it to the Public Rights of Way Officer at the local council. For the purposes of the route of the London Green Belt Way you can pass the information onto me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure the local council which is responsible for maintaining the section gets to know about it.
Copyright @ Sean.Davis 2010 All rights reserved.