Walking Safety and Kit

We are not here to preach 'Health & Safety' but as we are trying to encourage more people to venture into the countryside, we feel we must put a reminder on here about basic safety.

The following link takes you to the Mountain Rescue England & Wales advice page - please visit it, if you are experienced or a novice a moment to read these few words may help you to enjoy the countryside in safety http://www.mountain.rescue.org.uk/

As much as we want everyone to enjoy the countryside we feel we should also point out one or two dangers that may not be so obvious.

 

Bracken – We would like to highlight two dangers associated with walking through bracken, ticks that can carry Lyme disease are found in bracken and there is also the danger posed from the bracken spores during the summer. These spores are thought to cause cancer. We are not suggesting that you should not walk in areas where there is bracken but that you should be aware of the risks. Bracken is a poisonous plant avoided by most animals.

 

For information on Lyme disease click here http://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk/

 

And for information on bracken spores click here http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/ptq/ptq.htm and https://www.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/Profile.aspx?pid=445

 

Another danger in the summer is Wild Parsnip – if your skin is in contact with the sap, then sunlight, it can cause a reaction – it can burn and blisters – check out this PDF, it is from a USA site however the plant and its nasty effects are the same in Britain, after seeing someone badly blistered (like a sever burn) I urge you to take note. http://wihort.uwex.edu/landscape/Parsnipfinal1.pdf

 

We have found the following links for official advice

Re Advice to pregnant women during the lambing season -

 

Ash Dieback - Official guidance and identification guide is provided by the Forestry Commission via this link

 

Animal Diseases -  advice will be posted on the DEFRA website should an outbreak occur

Other info on animal deseases from the HSE

 

Essential Kit

If you are just going for a country stroll, a day walk in the hills or a cliff top walk along the coast we recommend that you take the following

  • Suitable footwear – boots giving ankle support and good quality walking socks
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Warm lightweight fleece, hat and gloves (even in summer if going to any height)
  • A basic First Aid Kit – plasters, antiseptic, wipes, aspirin, paracetamol, antihistamine, bandages, etc. and know how to use them.
  • A whistle (six long blasts are recognised as the signal for needing assistance, repeat after a minute)
  • A Torch and spare batteries(not only to help you see but to attract attention, six flashes for assistance as above)
  • A map of the area, a compass and know how to use them
  • A foil emergency blanket and / or a survival bag – both are lightweight, small, cheap and can save your life.
  • Food & Drink (a bottle of water for each person) – glucose or other high energy sweets
  • This is just a guide we recommend that you seek local advice before setting out to be aware of any hazards. Check the local weather, let someone know where you are going, what time you expect to be back and report in to them on your return. If you change your route let them know. If you are taking a group then keep pace with the slowest, keep the group together. A pub stop is almost traditional to rehydrate and refresh but be aware that alcohol can impair judgement and should be kept to no more than the ‘driving limit’. As a group leader you should be aware of anyone taking strong prescription drugs and what to do should they fall ill. We also recommend that you take a camera to record your adventure.

 

The Country Code - the five main points

  • Be safe - plan ahead and follow any signs
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home
  • Keep dogs under close control
  • Consider other people         

 Click here for the link to the Country Code web site or download the Countryside Code leaflet

 

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