First Time Hiking Guide

Autumn is a fantastic time to get into walking. When the weather turns slightly cooler and the leaves start falling, going on a gentle walk along a trail, or through some woods, can be a fun and relaxing way to get a good amount of exercise.

The first thing you need to do once you have decided to go hiking is to decide where you will be walking. There are tons of different terrains to choose from and depending on the weather you may want to vary your scenery as well.

First Time Hiking Guide

There are some great ways to find a walk near you, if you are looking to go somewhere with your friends and family, then Happy Hiker has a great guide. If you are feeling brave and would like to make some new friends while embracing your new hiking hobby, then you can find group walks that have already been organised in your area on the Ramblers website.

Before you go hiking there are a few things you need to remember to prepare and take with you:



Preparation is key when going walking or hiking. Map reading is very important as is being able to use a compass. You need to ensure you have developed all the skills you will need to judge potential hazards should you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

Learn the basic principles of how to do first aid, and make sure you take the appropriate equipment with you for the terrain and time of year you will be going.


Clothing and Footwear

Make sure you choose suitable footwear for the terrain you will be walking on, something with a good amount of tread and ankle support will usually suffice.

Your clothing should be warm, waterproof and wind-proof, yet still lightweight. Be sure to always carry a hat and pair of gloves with you, as even in the summer the weather can turn cooler when you are walking across open moorland or walking up a mountain.



Depending on how long you plan on walking for, taking the right equipment is essential. The main things you will need are a map and compass – packed accessibly, so should you need them quickly they are not buried at the bottom of your bag.

A mobile phone and GPS system are also useful to take along, the likelihood your mobile phone will have signal though is fairly slim, so don’t expect to be able to rely on it. Take a whistle in case of emergency – the signal for rescue is six long blasts.

A torch is also an important along with a watch with spare battery. Carrying food and drink is also essential when you do not know long you could end up walking for.

You can find more information on all the essential equipment you will need for your first walk on the Mountain Rescue Site or to view our own guide…

Walking Safety GuideStart Here


  • You do not mention the Local Health Walks for new walkers. I run Health walks where we assess the capability of new walkers and prepare them for longer walks and have a social at the end of the walk in a local pub. With new walkers we advise on walking gear and prepare them for the walking scene. we also offer advice on Map reading and general observation of the things around us. We also ‘train’ new walkers in procedures and general conduct to enable them to get most enjoyment from the activity. Health walks are run from most areas supported and monitored by local councils up and down the country

  • Cynthia Prescott

    I would like info on how to find courses for navigation.

    Also info on leading a walk for a group.

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