Getting Started

South Wales LDWA welcomes new members on its social walks, which are a great way to enjoy long distance walking, but understands that the transition from shorter distances may be a little daunting. Below are some tips and advice on getting started. We look forward to seeing you!

Look at our calendar – there are plenty of options

There is plenty of variety in our walks calendar, so if you haven’t already done so have a close look at it to find an option that suits you best.

  • We try to ensure that there is a variety of the length of walks scheduled each month, so if you would prefer to start with a shorter option look through the calendar to identify one that fits the bill. Also, while our weekend walks are generally 18 miles or more, we also have a healthy programme of mid-week walks that are typically a shorter distance – and well worth taking a day off work for!
  • Some of our walks also provide both shorter and longer options, such as two or three loops from the starting point or a convenient public transport option back to the start. These have the additional benefit of allowing you to decide part way through the walk if you wish to complete the full distance. You can identify these easily in the calendar as these walks will list more than one distance.
  • During 2019, the group is also planning to offer some group walks with a shared starting point that offer both a shorter and longer option to give people the opportunity to walk with the group but not necessarily have to do the “full” distance.

Finally, if you are still a little uncertain about an aspect of a walk listed in the calendar contact the walk leader or the walks secretary who will be able to give you more detail about it.

Enjoy our past history

Our website features an extensive database of our past walks including a healthy number of walks of 16 miles or under. Many of these have route maps and/or gpx files available, so if you are confident navigating yourself you might like to consider using those to develop your pace and fitness.

To access this feature, click on the “Walks Database” link on the main menu and then on the “Select Walks By Distance” option (or use this link). This displays a small form where you enter the range of distances you are interested in. For example, to display all walks between 10 miles and 16 miles enter 10 into the ‘Between’ box and 16 into the ‘And’ box and press ‘Search’. This displays a logo of our mascot “Leekie” on an OS map for all walks in that range from 2008 to the present day. To separate the markers, zoom in using either a mouse wheel or the control in the top left corner. Clicking on a marker pops up a small window listing the walks at or near that location where the route can be viewed (and downloaded if gps recorded), walk details displayed and any photographs viewed.

Use other resources

There are plenty of well-established longer distance walks and paths that provide a good option of developing your walking capability. A number of these are waymarked and/or offer walk notes to help guide you on your way.

All the local authorities in Wales publish details about walks in their local areas, with some offering some good longer distance options. Some of our favourites in South Wales are Caerphilly Council’s Rhymney River Circular (9 miles) and Ravens Walk (12-14 miles – n.b. currently partly closed due to forestry felling). Both are waymarked, with more details available here:

Another good option is Torfaen Council’s Torfaen Trail, a 35-mile figure-of-eight walk comprised of a 15-mile southern loop and 20-mile northern loop, both broken down into shorter sections with walking notes. See:

Need help navigating?

One of the features of our group walks is that you can leave the route planning and navigation to someone else! However, if you are looking to build your skills and capabilities there are plenty of free resources that can help you progress in these areas.

Some of our favourites are the map reading resources provided by Ordnance Survey:

And a series of short training videos produced by the Royal Marines: