Walking groups need volunteer leaders

June 26 2019
Walking groups need volunteer leaders

Community news from Frampton Cotterell Village Action.

EVERYONE knows that exercise is good for fitness, mental health and general well-being. It doesn't need a gym or sports field to improve one's lifestyle, just a local walk – but it helps to have someone to lead the way!

Whether a longer walk or a short stroll, every one is thoughtfully planned and pre-walked by volunteer leaders to ensure there are no hazards or, if there might be problems (mud, fallen tree, animals in a field, badger holes, busy road to cross), they can be surmounted. These walks would not happen without our amazing volunteers – nicknamed "yellow jackets" because of their bright tabards – for whom South Glos provides training.

Leaders have usually been walkers themselves, so are familiar with routes and procedures. A friendly yellow jacket leads each walk, another one walks mid-group and a third volunteer remains at the back of the group, perhaps at the pace of the slowest, but mostly to ensure no walker loses the way! Everyone walks at their own pace, with time to appreciate the scenery as well as chat to others. Volunteers offer help over stiles, around puddles or rough ground, although many stiles (only encountered on longer walks) have been replaced with gates.

Volunteer leaders are special people, caring and considerate: they give so much of their free time (for pre-walks) and turn up, whatever the weather, to guide and encourage a safe activity for anyone of any age. After a walk, over a cup of coffee, they will review the walk conditions and how people managed, to ensure lessons are learned if necessary and possible difficulties are not overlooked.

Leaders welcome new walkers and ensure they are comfortable with either a short stroll or aiming to stretch their legs a little further: dogs on leads also love country walks. What else could lift the mood more than discovering unknown lanes, encountering fields of yellow rapeseed, wild grasses, bluebells, pink campion, gypsy lace and birdsong? Occasionally, alpacas will pop their heads over a fence. And all walks are free!

A full programme of guided walks can be found on the Frampton Cotterell Village Action website, which also has details of local walks which people can do at anytime by themselves.

PANEL – Walks programme, July to December

All start at 10.30am

July 2: From Golden Heart, Down Road, Kendleshire. 1.8 or 3 miles through wooded Frome Valley, lanes and fields.

August 6: From Miners Village Hall, Badminton Road, Coalpit Heath. 2 or 3.7 mile rural walk with relics of Ram Hill Colliery

September 3: From St Peter's Church, Church Road, Frampton Cotterell. 1.5 or 4 mile gentle riverside stroll with grassland woods and fields to Algars Manor.

October 8: From Miners Village Hall, Badminton Road, Coalpit Heath. 2 or 3.1 mile walk past fields, pretty ponds and country lanes.

October 29: Meet opposite Gingerbread Man cafe, Church Road, Frampton Cotterell. 1 or 2 mile walk to see village scarecrow trail.

November 5: From Badminton Arms, Badminton Road, Coalpit Heath. 2 or 3.5 miles through fields, lanes and historical railway track. No dogs.

December 3: From St Peter's Church, Church Road, Frampton Cotterell. 1.5 or 3.5-mile walk through fields and footpaths with river scenery, woods and fields.

Jean Frary, Frampton Cotterell Village Action