The group's organisers, committee members and walk-leaders are all volunteers. They give their services through goodwill and are not paid for their time or travel.

Volunteers are covered by the group's insurance provided that they are diligent and responsible.

The responsibilities of a volunteer walk leader include:
  • to have walked a route beforehand and identified any risks or difficulties
  • to be reasonably prepared (with equipment, a map, knowedge of the terrain, weather forecast, and other relevant environmental conditions, e.g. tide times)
  • to keep a register of attendees for that walk
  • to report to the committee the details of any significant incident (e.g. accident, unexpected obstruction, conflict with a 3rd party, etc) which occured during the walk
Where funding/opportunity allows, the Group encourages volunteers to undertake appropriate training (e.g. canine or human first aid, map-reading, mountain-craft, etc)

Risk Assessment

Walk leaders are required to have gained prior knowledge or familiarity with a route at first hand, through a previous visit, relatively recently. This allows the walk leader to undertake a risk assessment. A typical formal example (from Walking For Health) can be downloaded here.

A Risk Assessment identifies the type, likelihood and severity of a range of risks which might reasonably be encountered by a dog-walking group on a specific route. Such a risk assessment also includes details of what actions should be take to mitigate against such risk.
  • Typical items for consideration are likely to include:
  • Traffic/roads
  • Dual use paths (e.g. use of cycle-and-walking path; use of public bridleway)
  • Dog mess / Dog poo
  • Walking through livestock
  • Encounters with working/farm dogs
  • Weather
  • Tidal conditions
  • Watercourses
  • Overhanging branches
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Inclines
  • Stiles
  • New (unknown) members/walkers/dogs to the group

Personal Safety and Lone Walking

Volunteer walk leaders who are out alone on a pre-walk econnoitre or out prospecting for new routes are reminded to take the following common-sense precautions:
  • Make sure you’ve got plenty of food and drink and wear suitable clothing 
  • Check the weather forecast before you set out, take a waterproof and keep an eye on the sky 
  • Don’t take risks by attempting long or difficult routes without preparation
  • Take a map and know how to read it
  • Be aware of any 'escape routes' if you're walking long-distance paths and need to cut the walk short 
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.
If you're worried about security when walking alone in quiet places, this advice may help:
  • Change your route if you feel unsafe for any reason
  • Consider taking a personal alarm
  • Avoid using headphones to listen to music if this stops you from remaining alert