South Bank Ramblers - article for November 2015 edition of South East Walker
No this isn’t South Bank’s Committee but a lovely sight of alpacas on a Chilterns walk, near Tring… one of our many walks in the amazing countryside around London.
When we tell people we are South Bank Ramblers they often imagine we stroll up and down outside the Royal Festival Hall on London’s South Bank. And although a few of our walks are within the city, most of our walks take us into fabulous varied countryside. We are very fortunate that London is such a good hub for public transport, so all our walks start and end at a station.
Our members live primarily in Lambeth and Southwark, but we actively recruit associate members by handing out forms on our walks. We have approximately 670 members and 190 associates.
We have at least 50 walks of varying length per programme, and increasingly walk midweek as well at the weekend. We walk throughout the South East ….Hertfordshire to Sussex and all points East and West. We are often amazed how quickly we are in very quiet places where we don’t meet other walkers, and we try to help keep the paths open. We are currently contributing to much needed replacement stiles by the Monday Group in Sussex. Some of our walks have a theme eg plants, Dickens or canals. Walks have been increasingly well attended, and this has led us to draw up guidance for leaders on managing large groups. This included strengthening the role of the back marker and pre ordering food in pubs.
We have a good team of leaders and always encourage new ones to come forward. We ensure those people are mentored and accompanied for as long as necessary, and it is amazing how some people just take to the role and love it!
We hope we are seen as a friendly group that welcomes people, and one that keeps its Committee roles refreshed. No officer should continue in post for more than three years and in order to plan for succession, we have some understudy roles eg Assistant to the Walks Organiser may well become the Walks Organiser and the Vice Chair the Chair.
Our AGM’s are held after a walk and we provide food and drinks. We normally get around 50 people attending and like to listen to our members for new ideas.