In our recent survey many of you told us you wanted to join a walking group but lacked the confidence or knowledge on how to get started. We all know just how good walking can be for your physical and mental health – and the potential to make new friends and enjoy the beautiful countryside around us feels more important than ever.
In response, we started talking to the Ramblers about partnering with their local groups to provide appropriate support for blind and partially sighted walkers. We were overwhelmed with the interest and enthusiasm from local Rambler groups wanting to invite you to join!
"It would be good to meet up with you before going on a ramble, so we can talk and walk through how we can best help each other to enjoy Wiltshire’s wonderful walks. I am a regular walks leader with the Mid Wiltshire Ramblers group based around Devizes. Our group is small, friendly and is always keen to welcome new members. I am looking forward to rambling with you soon."
Sally Whiston, Wiltshire Ramblers member
'I am excited about sharing my love of walking with anyone who fancies accompanying me on a joint adventure. I am confident my skills will be complemented and enhanced by those of my companion...in joint appreciation of nature.'
Alison Parry, Bristol Ramblers group member
Whether you are a seasoned walker, or new to walking in the countryside, we are pleased to announce a new partnership with the Ramblers, to make sure you have all you need to get out walking with their groups. We have several groups across Wiltshire, Bath, North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire who are enthusiastic about welcoming new walkers with a visual impairment. And we are providing the necessary support to enable them to feel confident about supporting you appropriately.
Sight Support will match you with a sighted guide if you do not already have a companion and ensure you have all you need – including a very warm welcome from the Ramblers groups. Our team of Sight Advisors will be there every step of the way to support you – and will be available to join you at an informal meeting with your local group walk leader if desired (when allowed – or virtual if possible).
Trained walk leaders will welcome you on every walk, providing a safe, sociable and fun environment for you to meet people – walks are designed to accommodate a range of ages and walking abilities.
“Walking is such a wonderful experience; I'd recommend it to anyone.”
Marika, visually impaired Herefordshire Ramblers member and walk leader.
Even though in-person Ramblers activities are suspended during this national lockdown – we are keen to get those of you interested connected with your local group so you have everything in place to get walking and making new friends as soon as possible. You can read all the latest guidance for walkers on the Ramblers website, which is regularly updated: https://www.ramblers.org.uk/coronavirus.
If you are interested in joining a group or would just like to find out more, please contact [email protected]. If you want to hear Marika, a severely sight-impaired walk leader with the Ramblers, then join Sight Support Sports Talk on 8th April, find out more on our What's On page.