The Long Distance Walkers Association
Photo: Spring on Crug Mawr, view of table mountain
The Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) is a voluntary run organisation and was created in 1972 primarily to collate the details of challenge walking events that were occurring all over the UK. Until 1972, no organisation had the foresight to provide challenge walk organisers with a central point of contact and in the short few years after creation, the LDWA had grown exponentially as members joined due to their love of pitting themselves against challenge walks all over the UK.
In the following years and as the membership grew, members wanted to walk socially with like-minded people. Consequently, Local Groups started to form and the LDWA now has 43 ensuring that members in every part of Great Britain can walk with their Local Groups should they wish to do so.
The membership of the LDWA is growing; the last 3 years have seen the Executive reaching out to the wider walking community, embrace a robust publicity strategy, and make full use of several social media platforms to share what the LDWA does. As well as offering the very popular challenge events and social walking with the Local Groups, the LDWA has also collaborated with the Walkers are Welcome network. The LDWA has collated the only known database of every known long-distance path in the United Kingdom and has been able to offer challenge walks for attendees of Walkers are Welcome towns, walking events such as walking festivals and by leading the challenge walks, ensures that all forms of walking are offered.
Other ways the LDWA has become involved in the Walkers are Welcome network is by assisting in creating new long-distance routes such as the Welcome Way in West Yorkshire which links the Walkers are Welcome towns of Otley, Burley in Wharfedale and Bingley. The LDWA is proud to be part of the wider walking community and recognises that it offers a service that complements other walking organisations. If you are an avid National Trails walker, and if you have walked 5, 10, 15 or even all 19 of the trails, then you can record your achievements with the National Trails Register and you will receive a certificate for your efforts. This service is also open to non-members and the Executive has noted that this is a gateway to membership of the LDWA as people soon discover the other opportunities that come with membership of the LDWA.
There are enhanced facilities that are available to members only such as the ability to download GPX files. There are currently 1700+ long distance trails in this database ranging from the very famous Pennine Way, to the little known Monmouthshire Way! So, if you’re planning a walking holiday in a different part of the UK, and you want to walk a long distance trail that you previously had not heard of, the Long Distance Paths database section of the website might be exactly what you’re looking for.
For details on how to join and become a member of the LDWA and the services offered provide please visit https://www.ldwa.org.uk
David Morgan LDWA Chair