(Click on the links below to view the associated text, click again to hide it)
The aim of the walk grading system is to give people thinking of attending a walk, particularly those who are new to the LDWA or the South Wales group, an indication of its difficulty. It is designed to be simple to use and complementary to other sources of information about a walk including the walk description and details such its length and amount of ascent.
For simplicity of use and understanding, the grading system is primarily based on its distance as this is a key factor in every walk, is easy to measure and is directly comparable.
However, while distance is the grading system’s starting point, the final rating of each individual walk is based on the walk leader’s consideration of all the factors that may contribute to its difficulty. This might include: ascent; terrain; time of year (e.g. Summer v Winter); time of day (e.g. night walking); and pace. On some occasions these other factors may result in a walk being graded at a lower or higher level than the initial grading based on distance (n.b. usually this would be by no more than one star).
Instructions For Walk Leaders
- Do an initial classification of your walk based on the distance column in the grading table below.
- Consider (via your own experience, comparison with other walks and/or talking to other walk leaders or the walks secretary) if the walk rating should be changed. This may be either up or down. Factors you should consider are: ascent; terrain; time of year (e.g. Summer v Winter); time of day (e.g. night walking); and pace (i.e. if you want to lead the walk at a faster pace than normal, noting that you will still need to accommodate any slower walkers on the day). Note, there is no requirement to change from the initial grading and in most cases you won’t do so.
- If you do change the walk grading from the distance-based classification, make sure that the reasons are outlined in your walk description.
Example 1: While a long walk of 30 miles, the route is relatively flat and is on good paths making it very suitable for people wanting to try longer distances.
Example 2: While a relatively short walk of 15 miles, the route is over rough and steep ground making it a difficult walk for the distance.
Some general guidelines/examples of when and why you might alter the grading from its initial distance-based classification:
- Consider increasing a walk from Moderate (2 star) to Hard (3 star) if it has four or more significant climbs with total ascent of more than around 3000ft, and/or has significant walking over rough ground.
- Consider increasing a walk from Hard (3 star) to Strenuous (4 star) if it has five or more significant climbs with a total ascent of more than around 5000ft.
- Consider decreasing a walk from Hard (3 star) to Moderate (2 star) if it has three or fewer significant climbs and total ascent of 2000 ft or less and is on good paths.
|*||Easy/Introductory||Up to 18.0 miles||A relatively short LDWA walk (usually less than 18 miles) without much climbing and on good paths. Ideal introduction to long distance walking.|
|**||Moderate||18.1 to 22.0 miles||A moderate distance LDWA walk (usually between 18 to 22 miles), likely to involve some climbing and potentially a small amount of off-path walking.|
|***||Hard||22.1 to 26.2 miles||A longer walk (usually 22 to 26.2 miles) and likely to involve significant climbing and/or some off-path walking.|
|****||Strenuous||26.2 to 30.0 miles||A long and tough walk (usually 26.2 to 30 miles), almost certainly involving a significant amount of climbing and may have some off-path walking.|
|*****||Very Strenuous||Above 30.0 miles||This walk will have a highly challenging combination of length, climbing and/or terrain. It is likely to be more than 30 miles in length. It is recommended for experienced long distance walkers only.|