Stay safe, have fun, enjoy our landscape!
The risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) being passed on to others outdoors is considered to be low as long as people maintain social distancing. Thank you in advance for being respectful, sensible and considerate, and for helping us keep this beautiful landscape safe for all to enjoy.
Know before you go:
Before travelling to or within the High Weald AONB to enjoy one of our walks, please make sure you have read the latest Government guidance on accessing the countryside safely, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-on-accessing-green-spaces-safely
The latest advice on using public transport safely – including use of face coverings – can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers
Wash your hands immediately when returning home and carry hand sanitiser just in case.
Most importantly, please follow the Countryside Code:
Respect other people
Consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors
Park carefully so access to gateways and driveways is clear
Leave gates and property as you find them
Follow paths but give way to others where it’s narrow
Protect the natural environment
Leave no trace of your visit, take all your litter home
Don’t have BBQs or fires
Keep dogs under effective control
Dog poo - bag it and bin it
Enjoy the outdoors
Plan ahead, check what facilities are open, be prepared
Follow advice and local signs and obey social distancing measures
Wildlife, including nesting birds, may have moved into new areas. Land managers may have provided extra protection for wildlife. Be vigilant and comply with these protective measures so that you do not disrupt the local wildlife.
What if I get lost?
If you have a smartphone, we recommend you download the free app what3words before setting off on a walk.
It doesn't need internet access to work and instead uses your phone's gps signal to find your location should you require assistance.
Around 80% of the UK's emergency services are currently using this app to help locate people in need of help.
Enjoying the High Weald with your four-legged friends
Please keep your dog on a lead around livestock and on roads, and abide by any signs asking you to put your dog on a lead where ground-nesting birds may be present. We have endeavoured to indicate the rough number of stiles on most routes but this is not always possible.
Please help us to keep the countryside safe for everyone to enjoy by picking up after your four-legged friend. More information about enjoying the landscape responsibly and safely with your dog can be found here.
The following FAQ are from last year's Festival but many are still relevant for any walk in the High Weald landscape...
How do I know if a walk is suitable for me or for children?
Check out the Walking Programme page of the website; all
walks are clearly graded in terms of length, timing, difficulty and accessibility to help you make a decision.
Children are very welcome on certain walks and must be accompanied by an adult - the Walking Programme clearly shows which are suitable for children.
If you have specific queries about any particular route, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @highweald.
What do I need to bring?
Make sure you wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the grade and length of walk, including waterproofs. Brambles can grow by 30 cm in a day, so consider wearing lightweight trousers or jeans rather than shorts, depending on your route!
High Weald clay soil is notoriously heavy, particularly after rain – stout walking boots are recommended unless you're exploring a country park.
Refreshments may not be available on your walk so come prepared a bottle of water and/or snacks if required. You may wish to support the local economy by using a nearby cafe, pub or shop before or after your walk.
Do I need to book?
To keep things simple, we don't have a booking system for most of the walks. Unless the walk is listed in the Walking Programme as one with limited places and essential advance booking - just turn up in good time on the day!
If you have a question about a particular walking route or are planning to attend in a group of more than 8 people, please email email@example.com
How much does it cost?
Most of our High Weald Walking Festival walks are offered free of charge, thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, funding from Ramblers Association local groups, sponsorship from Ramblers Worldwide Holidays and support from the High Weald AONB Partnership.
Some of our partners may charge a small fee to cover costs, or ask for a small donation - these are clearly noted in the Walking Programme.
If you enjoy your walk and feel it enriches your knowledge of the High Weald landscape, a voluntary donation towards the running costs of the Festival and continuing it would be gratefully received - please see How to make a donation.
How can I be tick aware?
Ticks are small spider-like creatures, common in woodland. They can carry bacteria that cause diseases such as Lyme disease. To make sure you're 'tick aware’, see Public Health England's guidance.
When do I need to arrive?
Can I bring my dog?
The High Weald Walking Festival promotes responsible enjoyment of the countryside for all. Your four-legged friends will be most welcome on selected routes but must be kept on a lead at all times.
Some walks won't be suitable for dogs as they may pass through sites with ground nesting birds or livestock.
PLEASE NOTE: If you bring your dog to a walk which is not clearly marked as 'Dogs on leads welcome', you will not be able to participate with your dog - sorry.
Are there maps of the Festival walks?
We appreciate not everyone can attend the walks they'd like to, or that people might like to revisit their Festival walk with the help of a map. Much as we'd love to, we don't have the resources to produce maps of all our walks. You can find lots of local self-guided walk routes on the High Weald AONB website. There are also many walking guidebooks, Day Walks on the High Weald is one recently published by the local author who has led creative writing walks for us.
Please be at the meeting point at least 10 minutes before the walk is due to begin as walks will be leaving on time. As there is no booking system for most of the walks, the walk leaders will not know to wait for you! Some walks start in rural places where parking is limited. Please arrive in time to park considerately for the benefit of local residents.
What if the weather's bad?!
We anticipate that walks will only be cancelled in the event of extreme adverse weather conditions. Check for the latest updates during the Festival by following High Weald AONB Facebook and Twitter channels.