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The walk grades

We use our own Walkingworld grading system to give an indication of the difficulty of the walk and the conditions the walker is likely to meet. Remember route difficulty can vary depending on the time of the year and the weather. You should also take account of the capabilities of every member of your party. Finally your notion of difficulty may be quite different from ours, so always regard the grade we give as an indication and not as gospel.

The grades are as follows:

Gentle Stroll: the walk is likely to be under 3 miles and there are no obstacles, such as difficult stiles, awkward footbridges, steep slopes, etc. The route is well-surfaced, and could be done in almost any type of footwear. 

Easy: the walk is likely to be under 7 miles. Paths and tracks are easily walked in most weather conditions, there are no significant navigational difficulties, and stiles and gates are in good repair. In favourable weather the route could probably be walked in trainers or other lightweight shoes. 

Moderate: the walk is likely to be more than 7 miles. There may some more awkward obstacles, like badly maintained gates and stiles, and places where navigation involves more thought and skill. The walk should be done in boots or walking shoes.

Strenuous: the walk goes into regions where exposure to weather and difficult terrain means that walkers should be equipped with proper footwear, spare clothing and food and drink. Map and compass skills are necessary, though they may not have to be used. The route may require some mild scrambling - the use of hands as well as feet - but the dangers are limited. Walking the route in winter should be carefully assessed. 

Mountain Challenge: the walk reaches higher altitudes (e.g. over 2,500ft) where weather conditions can change rapidly. The group should always have an experienced leader. There may be sections where the path is exposed or difficult and a fall could be serious. Participants must be fit, familiar with this type of terrain, and equipped for every eventuality. Walking the route in winter would require specialist skills.

For the higher grades of walk, certainly for Strenuous and Mountain Challenge routes, the map we provide should not be relied upon, though it can be used for convenience. On such routes walkers should take a full-size, preferably waterproofed, walking map and a compass. Taking a GPS, if you have one, is a good idea.