Managing out of scope walks in South Molton

Jim Isherwood and the South Molton Striders

Our walks are designed to help those who are most inactive become active and stay active. That is why Walking for Health schemes need to provide regular short walks as part of their programmes, keeping walking as accessible as possible.

We know that some schemes also may want to provide longer, out of scope walks that don’t fit the definition of a health walk alongside their shorter walks. One such scheme that does this very well is the South Molton Striders in north Devon. Started in 2010 by Jim Isherwood, this volunteer led scheme holds weekly health walks on Mondays, helping dozens of people in South Molton get active and stay active.

As well as these regular health walks, the scheme also runs fortnightly out of scope ‘community walks’.

These walks are very clearly advertised as separate from the core health walks, and therefore not covered by Walking for Health insurance, on both the scheme webpage and their walk programme . As Jim explains, “these are longer unregulated walks for experienced walkers looking for fun and friendly opportunities to walk for longer distances.”

Often covering between six or eight miles, these walks let this informal friend’s group venture further afield in the local area, sometimes around a theme such as a history or daffodil walk.

These longer walks are useful for the scheme as ways of keeping people active as they become more confident walkers, and also as a reward for their volunteers. “We have seven volunteer walk leaders including myself. By organising longer walks we can take time to enjoy something we all love; walking, together.”

Providing accessible walks for the inactive remains at the heart of what the South Molton Striders do, and their regular health walks continue to be popular. “Some of our walkers live alone, and so getting them out of the house and walking with a group is a great way of getting them active and making friends at the same time.”

Find out more about managing out of scope walks and other options available to schemes on our accreditation page. Walking for Health does recommend that any timetabled out of scope walks are insured separately, and information on civil liability insurance can be found here.