Sheffield 40s Walking Group




First of all, who are you?

We are the Sheffield 40s Walking Group and we are proud to be associated with The Ramblers organisation and share an appreciation of the beauty of the outdoors whilst reporting any problems relating to blocked or poorly repaired footpaths and stiles.

Essentially we are a group based in Sheffield and the surrounding area and we cater for the 40 plus age bracket. The group was formed in September 2007 by our former chairman Pete Feetham as a spin-off from the outrageously successful Sheffield 20s and 30s Group. We now offer a walk every Saturday and Sunday, subject to having enough available walk leaders. See the Walks page for up-to-the-minute details.

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What sort of people go on your walks?

Our members love walking, appreciate the countryside, care about keeping footpaths open whilst having fun and socialising. It is amazing what you learn on our walks!

See the pictures on the Galleries page. People like that go on our walks...!

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Do I have to live in Sheffield to join?

Absolutely not! Although we are based in Sheffield we have members from many of the surrounding counties as well. Basically, if you can get to the walks then you can join us.

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Do I have to be in my 40s?

No! Although we are technically a "40+" group, you can show up whatever age you are. As long as you have a younger frame of mind you should fit in.

At the other end of the scale, you have to be at least 18 if you are coming on a walk, as this is an insurance requirement.

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How do I book on to a weekend away?

As well as running regular weekend walks we also organise weekends away to places such as the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. Accommodation can vary from basic bunkbarns to luxurious chalets and there is a variety of walks on offer depending on walk leader availability.

Our weekends tend to sell-out almost as soon as they hit the website so to be fair, we offer first refusal to actual members of the SWG40s group according to the most recent membership list we hold supplied to us by The Ramblers Association. Spare places are then offered to non SWG40s members provided they are members of The Ramblers Association. Please note that if you have recently joined us, or you have transferred your membership to us from another group, or there has been a lapse in your membership, your details can take a month or two to show on the records we receive from The Ramblers.

To book on a weekend you need to text the Weekends Away Co-ordinator on or after a specified time and date as advertised on the website. If you are successful, you then need to pay the full amount immediately to the group and include your Ramblers membership number with your payment. Cheques should be made payable to "Sheffield 40's Walking Group" and members should write their name and Ramblers membership no's on the back of the cheque. You will be advised where to send your cheque once your provisional place is confirmed. Your place will only be guaranteed after full payment has been received.

If for any reason you cannot go on the weekend once you have booked it, please get in touch with the Weekends Away Co-ordinator as soon as possible, who will decide who should try to find a replacement (i.e. you or them). However there is often a reserve list which must be worked through in order first.

Please note that once you have booked and paid for a weekend, it is non-refundable unless someone else can be found to take your place. The reason for this is to prevent the group from making a loss on the weekend as we have to book and pay for the accommodation, etc., in advance and generally cannot change the numbers once booked.

You will need to make your own travel arrangements for the weekends and members often use the Message Board to share lifts. Generally you will need to bring your own bedding and towels, plus food for breakfasts, packed lunches and evening meals. We try and book a pub meal for the Saturday evening whenever possible. Don't forget to pack your walking gear and boots! Once you are booked on, you will be sent full details about the venue, proposed walks and eating arrangements.

The weekend walks will be led by walk leaders from the group who volunteer their services. Although they are competent hill walkers, they have no special training and they may not know the area. As with all our walks, we make every effort to ensure they are safe and enjoyable but by the very nature of walking, it is not risk free and sometimes the unexpected arises. Participation is at your own risk and you are responsible for your own safety. In particular you are responsible for ensuring that you are fit enough to undertake the walk and that you have adequate food, equipment and first aid with you.

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What are the advantages of joining the Group?

The nice reason: The Ramblers Association gives us some money to run the group and the amount is loosely dependent on how many members we have. If we get some more members, we get some more money and then we can spend it on navigation courses and stuff like that.

The even nicer reason: As the group has grown, we have had to limit numbers on some events, particularly weekends away and the monthly meals out which are always oversubscribed and tend to fill up almost as soon as they hit the website. The only way to do this has been to restrict them to actual members of the SWG40s. So, if you join, you can do the meals out and the weekends away. Also there is the regular email update to members so you get a chance to book stuff as soon as it appears.

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What happens if I am unhappy about something?

Obviously we want everyone to have a good time when they are with SWG40s. People should feel comfortable, safe and relaxed. As such, we follow the Ramblers' Code of Conduct. We can't reproduce the whole Code here but to paraphrase, 'we expect members to be welcoming to all, positive, sensitive to the needs of different communities and environmentally responsible' - which is what SWG40s members are! If in the rare eventuality you feel that you are unhappy with the behaviour of any fellow members towards you, please contact the Committee, however, please note we can not get involved in personal matters or disputes.

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Does being "Ramblers" mean you only do very short unambitious walks?

No! We offer a range of walks of varying lengths, widths and depths. Although we are part of the Ramblers Association we tend to go in pubs and tea shops rather than sit under a hedge in the rain discussing the latest trends in bobble hat technology!

Usually walks are around 8-12 miles with a tendency towards shorter walks in the winter when the days are shorter. Each walk is graded so you can get some idea of the length and difficulty of the walk beforehand.

We try to cater for everyone.

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Once I start, do I have to come on every walk?

No! You can turn up as often or as infrequently as you like.

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Do I have to join before coming on a walk?

No! You are welcome to come along and try us out on a couple of day walks, but if you want to keep coming after this you will need to join the Ramblers Association. This is for insurance purposes and also because they fund the group via a contribution from central funds. Note that you must be a member of the Ramblers Association to come on weekends away. Again, this is an insurance requirement.

If you are already a member of the Ramblers Association it doesn't matter if you have already specified a different group, or didn't specify one at all, and you don't need to do anything more to join us. But if you do end up mainly walking with us, rather than your old group, we would be grateful if you would "change your allegiances" to us.

Click here for more on how to join Ramblers

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How often do you go walking?

We walk every Saturday and Sunday, alternating between local walks and those a bit further away - up to an hours drive away. There are also midweek evening walks during the summer, often starting and ending at pubs, for some reason. See the Walks page for rendezvous details.

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Where is the next walk?

We publish a quarterly program of walks which is bang up to date on the day we print it and obsolete almost immediately afterwards! For up-to-the-minute details of walks, socials and weekends away - see the website. We also send out a monthly email update on forthcoming events, walks, socials, etc.

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Who leads the walks?

We have a fantastic dedicated team of walk leaders and without them the group couldn't function. If you would like to lead a walk and be part of this team please email the group.

The leaders reccy the walks, search for the hidden gems in the countryside as well as which tea shops or pubs to enjoy an 'apres walk' drink in! They are knowledgeable and will make you very welcome. We are always looking for new walk leaders so maybe you might like to offer to lead a walk once you have joined the group. Please note that for insurance purposes, all our walk leaders must be Ramblers Association members.

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Do I have to tell you that I'm coming on a walk?

Yes please. We would really appreciate it if you could text the walk leader on the day before the walk to let him or her know that you're coming. Also, let us know if you have any special requirements or if you are bringing lots of people. Please check our website and the message board on the day to make sure that nothing has changed.

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Do I have to be super fit to come on a walk?

No! If you are new to walking, you may be interested in the Get Walking Keep Walking project at the Ramblers which has a variety of resources to help you.

But...please make sure that you are fit enough to undertake the walk you intend to join. If you're unsure of your fitness level, try a short and easy walk first: it's much better to find a walk a little too slow and easy than to make yourself miserable and exhausted.

If you have a medical condition, you may find it helpful to look at the advice given by the Ramblers (click here) on walking and common medical conditions and disabilities. You may wish to let the walk leader know if you have a medical condition and any medication that you may need to take in an emergency. They will always treat this information in the strictest confidence. Please bring your medication with you and it may also be advisable to carry some form of ID and information about what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency.

Most Ramblers' walks are off-road in rural areas. Please have suitable footwear and clothing for the walk you intend to join, and bring some food and drink, even if the walk includes a pub or cafe break. Walk leaders may refuse to accept participants who in their opinion are inadequately equipped or unfit. When in doubt, contact the walk leader in advance.

For your own and others' safety please abide by any advice and the instructions of the walk leader. Though walking is inherently one of the safest outdoor activities, no activity is completely without risk and it is your responsibility to behave sensibly and to minimise the potential for accidents to occur.

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How do I get to the start of the walks?

We try to provide walks which can be reached by public transport and if a walk leader knows you are on a certain bus/train from your text message then they will wait for you.

We encourage people to share and offer lifts and the message board has a special car sharing section where you can organise lifts. Remember to ask/offer well in advance of a walk as not all our members use the internet daily. Once you come on a walk and get chatting to people members tend to link up and organise lifts for future walks.

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Do I have to spend a fortune on clothing and equipment?

No - You need good walking boots with ankle support and adequate sensible clothing (including waterproofs but excluding denim). A small rucksack or day pack for carrying food, drink, spare clothing, etc. For full day walks, you must bring adequate fluids to drink and a packed lunch, even if the walk description mentions a pub/cafe stop. For afternoon/summer evening walks, you should bring a drink and perhaps a snack.

Winter: gloves and hat are essential as well as waterproofs and warm layers such as a fleece. The weather can change quite quickly during the course of a six hour walk.

Summer: carry extra water and some sun cream. A brimmed hat is very handy too. Remember the British summer can be inclement so think about bringing waterproofs and something warm to put on in case the temperature suddenly drops (it has been known to snow in June in the Peak District)

The Ramblers recommend that you bring a first aid kit with you and any medication you may need (see "Do I have to be super fit to come on a walk" above regarding medical conditions) click here for further information. You may also want to have in your rucksack some form of identification and the contact details of someone the walk leader can get in touch with in the unlikely event of an emergency

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Are children allowed on walks?

Unfortunately No. This is because the walks are usually not suitable for children. You can, however, search The Ramblers website for details of family walks in the area.

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Can I bring my dog on the walks?

The default answer to this question is that we will only allow Registered Assistance Dogs to come on our walks, unless there is a little dog symbol against the walk indicating that it is dog friendly. Please notify the walk leader that you will be bringing a dog with you when you book onto the walk.

Obviously your dog will have to be on a lead if there is any livestock around, and you (not the walk leader) will be responsible for keeping your dog under control. Derbyshire is just full of sheep, they're everywhere. If in doubt, ring the walk leader. For the Ramblers' view of dogs on walks click here.

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How do I use the message board?

Our message boards allow members to keep in touch, arrange car shares, organise additional socials and update each other about the walks and weekends away.

To access the message board, go to http://s40wg.proboards.com/ or use the navigation link at the top of the page. For information on using the boards, click here.

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I took some great photos on a walk - can you put them in the photo galleries?

We are lucky to have some hugely talented photographers in our group and new members tell us that the galleries pages are often the main thing that attracts them to join the group. Therefore we want to display photos that show the group doing what it does best; loving walking, appreciating the countryside, having fun and socialising.

Our Galleries page showcases a small selection of the great photos we get sent by our members, to see all the photos, please go to our flickr pages.

Guidelines for inclusion of photos onto the SWG 40s website and our flickr pages

If you have taken some photos on a walk or at a social, and you would like them included on the website or our flickr pages, please e-mail them to us on the group e-mail. These guidelines have been drawn up to help you choose which photos to send in.

  • Photos should be in focus, with sharp colours and without fingers or any other obstruction in front of the lens.

  • Where the photo includes people ideally it is better that peoples faces are mostly visible rather than a line of peoples backs, although that can sometimes be an effective way of showing the steepness of the terrain, distance etc.

  • Group shot photos are very welcome.

  • Photos that show group members having fun/being a bit silly are especially welcome.

  • Photos of the views/countryside need to be of a high standard of composition and quality, so Kinder in thick fog isn't likely to be included!

  • If at all possible, could you resize them to 640x480 (landscape) or 480x640 (portrait)? Some cameras let you choose the picture size before you take your pictures, alternately you can use your photo editing programme on your PC or there are a number of free image resizer programmes you can download off the internet. But...if you can't resize them, send them anyway and we will do it for you. Also don't worry about changing the filenames as we do that when making the photo albums.

You are also welcome to put your photos on the group's Facebook page. Alternately you can post a web link on the new Photo Sharing section of the groups message board to your own Facebook, flickr, picasa, or instagram pages or any other internet photo sharing site you use. Please ensure you set the privacy settings to enable anyone to view the photos.

If you don't want your picture on the website/flickr, let the walk leader know at the beginning of the walk. Also, if you see a picture on the website/flickr that you are unhappy about, please contact the Website Editor or any of the committee on the group e-mail with details of the photo in question.

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Are you on Facebook?

Yes! Search for Sheffield 40s Walking Group and ask to join the group. The Facebook site is for members to talk about the walks or weekends away or any issues related to our favourite pastime - walking! If you want to advertise a walk or event you have organised, or you are a walk leader wanting to update the details about a walk, please use the message board, as a large number of our members are not on Facebook.

We have no plans to go on Twitter!

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The website/message board/Facebook/flickr is very public, what about privacy?

As we use the Internet for some of our communication there are issues regarding privacy. The website, Facebook, flickr and the Message Board can be viewed by anybody (although you have to join the Facebook group if you want to post anything on the group wall). We publish photos of walks on our 'galleries' page and our flickr pages so if you do NOT wish to be photographed you must advise the walk leader on your walk. If you see a photo on the website/flickr you are unhappy about, please contact the website editor or any committee member with details.

Members also need to use their common sense when adding information to the Message Board and Facebook (e.g. personal details) and must bear in mind that it is the public 'face' of the 40s Group. Please do not include anything that may be offensive as this will be removed.

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Where was the picture used in your banner taken?

Click here for details!

Oh no I've got to the end and you haven't answered my question!

Why not drop us an email then? Our email address is swg40s@hotmail.co.uk

If you want to talk to a committee member just email the group with your telephone number and one of us will call you back.

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