Peak & Northern Footpaths Society (est.1894)

Getting to Know the Long Distance Walkers Association

David Gosling

This article is from Signpost 52, Autumn 2016

The Long Distance Walkers’ Association (LDWA) was formed in 1972 to further the common interests of those who enjoy Long Distance Walking. Since then, it has grown from 355 members to over 7,000 at present. Local Groups are the life-blood of the Association, organising walks and other social events. There are 10 local groups in the PNFS area: South Manchester; Merseyside; South Pennine; West Yorks; Vermuyden (South Yorks); East Lancs; West Lancs; Calderdale; Staffs; and High Peak. Details of local groups can be found on the website:

LDWA events take two forms - 'challenge' walks and 'group' walks. All LDWA events are non-competitive, except in the sense of competing to complete a challenge. They all use Public Rights of Way (PROWs), providing a common interest between our society and the LDWA.

A Challenge Event is a walk mostly on footpaths and other PROWs, across open fields and moors, avoiding tarmac if possible. The challenge is to the individual, (e.g. 30 miles in 10 hours). At least one option over 20 miles is included. All events have checkpoints, many with refreshments, but it is essential to also carry your own water and energy-giving food. Entry fees, including refreshments, are typically between £7 and £15.

Local groups host regular Group Walks, led by one of their experienced members, often including a pub or cafe stop for socialising. They vary between 15 - 25 miles, depending on the season and offer both a challenge and a chance to explore new areas. Group walks are free to all LDWA members. Guests can attend up to three walks free and then are requested to join the LDWA.

Each Spring Bank Holiday Weekend, the LDWA holds its ‘flagship’ event, 'The Hundred', which entails walking 100 miles in 48 hours. The Hundred is held in a different area each year. Recent Hundreds have been in Dorset, Lancashire, and South Wales. Next year it will be in North Yorkshire.

The LDWA magazine is called 'Strider' and contains details of challenge and group walks across the country. Well illustrated, with 100+ pages, 'Strider' is published three times a year. There is also 'The Hillwalkers' Register' which records members' achievements in completing 'registers' of hills (e.g. The Wainwrights, The Birketts, The County Tops, The Deweys). LDWA publications such as the UK Trailwalkers Handbook give details of all the Long Distance Paths in the country. Information about these are also on the LDWA website.

Individual membership is £13. Some PNFS volunteers are keen members of the LDWA, including Paul Easthope (Treasurer), Dave Gosling (Inspectors’ Coordinator) and Jerzy 'George' Matuszewski (Taylor House volunteer). The photos show PNFS volunteer, Jerzy 'George' Matuszewski, registering for The Goyt Valley Challenge and walkers setting off on it.

Next: Commemorating our Society's First Success

Page title:Getting to Know the Long Distance Walkers Association
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