Rambling for All the Family in the Countryside
Rounding up the whole family for an afternoon ramble can kill two birds with one stone. These days lots of us don't spend too much time doing things as a family, but with family rambling everyone the opportunity to interact with each other (at least on a semi-regular basis) whilst getting some all-important exercise at the same time.
Rambling might be a specialised form of walking, but it involves much more than merely putting one foot in front of the other. You need skills like map reading and using a compass to be an effective rambler. These skills will no doubt come in handy in later life too, which makes rambling a useful educational tool for children. Read on for more advice on family rambling.
Getting InvolvedSome rambling groups put on rambles that are specifically aimed at families. Because of this, they aren't as demanding as normal rambles as they obviously have to cater for children, as well as adults. They also operate at a slower pace so that the children don't get tired too easily. They mostly take place at the weekend, when children aren't at school and parents are more likely to also be at home.
However, a lot of the walking paths used don't accommodate pushchairs, so you might find that they're only suitable for children who are old enough to walk by themselves. The walking paths used on family rambles generally follow a circular pattern, so it's less likely that you'll get lost - especially as part of a group. If you’re interested in going on a family ramble, it’s best to contact your local rambling group, as not all of them offer rambles aimed at children, as well as adults.
Crossing RoadsYou may need to cross a road at some point during the ramble. If this is the case, follow the Green Cross Code. Avoid crossing the road until there is no traffic approaching in either direction. Keep hold of children’s' hands until it is safe to let them cross.
What to BringBring your own packed lunch and drinks, as rambles may last for several hours or longer.
Make sure that everyone is wearing the right type of clothes. A pair of flat shoes like trainers or walking boots are the best kind, but you can take a look at our article entitled Choosing The Right Clothes and Equipment for more advice on suitable footwear and other clothes.
BenefitsFamily rambling can be a great way to bring all of the family together for some fresh air, exercise and good old-fashioned bonding. You don’t even have to be an experienced rambler - most family rambles are ideally suited for beginners or people who don’t do much rambling.
Introducing a family ramble once or twice a month is a nice way to structure some physical activity into your family’s routine, without being too exerting. you don’t need fancy walking clothes either, as basic flat shoes and a sensible top and trousers (no skinny jeans, boob tubes and stilettos!) are all that’s needed. You might want to splash out on more specialized clothes if you become regular ramblers, but it’s still not a requirement.