Walking and the Virus

This, the latest update from The Ramblers – do visit their website for more information.

Walking for exercise and mental wellbeing is more important than ever. To make sure we can all enjoy it safely, it’s important to keep up to date with current coronavirus restrictions.

On this page, you’ll find an overview of the different restrictions across England, Scotland and Wales and what they mean for you. 

Wherever you walk, it’s important to be safe, considerate and responsible. Always follow the Countryside Code or Scottish Access Code, and avoid busy areas which may make physical distancing difficult. Remember you can explore Ramblers Routes to discover local walks, close to home.

Are you a member of the Ramblers or an affiliated group? You can find more information about how these restrictions affect you on the Members & Affiliates page.

Are you a Ramblers volunteer? You can find further guidance about restarting activities below. 


The UK government roadmap for lifting lockdown means people in England can now walk outside in groups of up to six or two households. Ramblers group walks and volunteer activities can also resume, following Covid-secure guidance. You must continue to minimise travel and must not travel to Scotland or Wales. 

  • Walking with family & friends: Groups of up to six, or two households, can get together for informal walks.
  • Ramblers group walks: Covid-secure Group walks are classified by the UK government as ‘organised physical activities’ and can take place in groups larger than six – please check with your local group. Coach rambles remain suspended.
  • Path maintenance: Covid-secure path maintenance can take place – please check with your local group. 
  • Other Ramblers activities: Covid-secure activities can take place – please check with your local group. Events, training and committee meetings should be held outdoors or online where possible.


It remains the law to ‘stay at home’ at all times apart from when taking part in a few limited exempt activities, which include local outdoor recreation.

  • Walking with family & friends: A legal exemption means you can walk in groups of up to four adults from up to two households. You may travel up to five miles beyond your local authority boundary to start walks. Alternatively, you could do circular walks that start and finish inside your authority, but which leave it during the walk itself.
  • Ramblers group walks: Exemptions for official outdoor sports activities mean you can attend Ramblers Scotland’s Covid-secure group walks for up to 15 people including the leader. People must not leave their own authority for a Ramblers walk – including during the walk itself. 
  • Path maintenance: All path maintenance is currently suspended.
  • Other Ramblers activities: Group walk recces and Ramblers Routes volunteering can take place in groups of up to four adults from a maximum of two households. Group walk recces must not leave your local authority. You may travel up to five miles beyond your local authority boundary to develop or check a Ramblers Route. All committee meetings and AGMs must take place online.  


Wales remains in Alert Level 4 (Very High Risk) with gradual lifting of restrictions planned for the coming weeks. From 27 March you can travel any distance within Wales. Group walks remain suspended. You must not travel to England.

  • Walking with family & friends: You must stay local. You can walk outdoors by yourself, with your household or support bubble. Up to six people from a maximum of two households (excluding carers or children under 11 from these households) can also walk together for outdoor exercise. 
  • Ramblers group walks: All group walks are currently suspended. The resumption of outdoor group activities will be reviewed by Welsh Government on 22 April.
  • Path maintenance: Covid-secure path maintenance can take place from 27 March – please check with your local group.
  • Other Ramblers activities: Site visits and Ramblers Routes volunteering can take place in groups of up to four adults from a maximum of two households. Committee meetings must be held online.


Published by John Bainbridge

Rambler, hillwalker, stravaiger and trespasser, access campaigner. Novelist writing historical and period crime fiction.

4 thoughts on “Walking and the Virus

  1. Thanks for that. But, worryingly… have you heard of the LATEST and worst lockdown they’re planning? The proposed permanent curfew on all over 70s? Basically, they’re trying to make it law that over 70s are not allowed to drive after dark or outside their local area! 😮

    That means no going out for a meal, no trips to the Scottish Highlands on major hillwalking trips etc. BUT, of course, they still want people to work until they’re 70 in the future (not sure how they think they’ll get to work in their last year of working?!). What a sad country this is becoming 😦


    1. Not actually right. Once you are over 70 you have to renew your driving licence every three years. If you are in good health you’ll continue as normal. At the moment if you have serious health problems they don’t renew your licence. What they are proposing to do is to now grant a licence to that latter group, but with a curfew and a 30 milt driving limit, so that the once-excluded group can drive locally.


      1. well I’m hoping that’s what they do then – as well as hoping I don’t get any of those health problems – I think they even include Type 2 diabetes even though, for many, it doesn’t really cause any driving-related problems. I think it’s just if it gets to your eyes and causes glaucoma.

        Thanks for re-assuring me anyway – I hope that’s what they stick to!

        Liked by 1 person

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