Walking Groups & Organisations

Fancy some company on your walk?

There are numerous ways to get social through walking in the North Wessex Downs with independent walking groups, societies and health groups as well as professional walk leaders who take groups out for guided walks. In fact, there are so many we can’t list them all here! However, we have done our best to describe some ways that you can get involved in walking in a sociable way. The AONB team also run an annual walking festival in June and you can find out more about how to get involved here.

The Ramblers

There are a number of Ramblers groups – appealing to all ages – which are active throughout the North Wessex Downs. Head to ramblers.org.uk to find your local group – including those specifically aimed at younger people.  Typically, a Ramblers group will offer regular walks throughout the week as well as providing the opportunities to get involved in path maintenance to help keep paths open for all (if you wish).

Find your local Ramblers group

Walking for Health

This is England’s largest network of health walk schemes, helping thousands of people across the country lead a more active lifestyle. Group walks are led by friendly, specially-trained volunteers who are on hand to provide encouragement and support, and make sure no one gets left behind. Their walks are short and over easy terrain, open to everyone, but are especially aimed at those who are least active.

Visit the Walking for Health site

U3A

Many of the U3A groups offer regular walking groups including the Hungerford and Marlborough groups. Search for your local group and see if there are walks you would like to join. U3A is open to anyone who is no longer in full-time work.

Visit the U3A site

Walkers Are Welcome

There are over 100 Walkers are Welcome towns in Britain and wherever you see this sign you can be assured of receiving a warm welcome. In 2015 Whitchurch – the gateway town on the southeast boundary or the North Wessex Downs – gained accreditation to the Walkers are Welcome national town network. The town has a strong walking community, an active Facebook page and a number of walking-related events throughout the year.

Find out more about walking in Whitchurch

Pewsey – in the southwest corner of the AONB – has also achieved Walkers are Welcome status recently. The area is an absolute gem for anyone who enjoys a country walk with spectacular views, beautiful countryside and plenty of history.

Find out more about walking in Pewsey

Our Walking Festival Partners

We are very grateful to all the people who made it possible to run our walking festival in 2019 and those who would have helped in 2020 and 2021 had we not had to cancel our events due to the world health situation.

Many of our partners offer sociable walking opportunities on a regular basis within the North Wessex Downs – some for free, some for which there is a charge.

image credits: Ramblers on the Railway path nr Chiseldon; Beacon Hill, C Hoey; Fingerpost in West Berkshire, Ann Shepley; Walking boots, Ann Shepley