Walk grade is a difficult thing to judge, as everyone has different views, levels of fitness and experience. Some might think that a 4 mile walk on flat ground is difficult, while others might think 20 miles over Lake District peaks is easy. This scale tries to make the grade of walk a little clearer. It includes the key distinguishing characters of walks that people seem most concerned about, hills (ascent) and distance. These are combined to give an overall grade scale at the end. Each element of walk grade is described below.
This is the decider for many walkers. Some won’t approach any walk that doesn’t have an easy ascent. Some might not even consider a flat walk. So, it pays to be careful here. I’ve included typical examples of what the ascent figure relates to, to give people an idea of what they might experience.
Easy. No hills. There might be some sloping ground but no extended climbs. Typical of lowland and coastal areas.
Moderate. Short areas of steep ground. Grassy slopes and tracks. Typical of lower areas of the Cheviot hills, Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors
Difficult. Extended steep ground. Grassy slopes. Typical of higher areas in the Cheviot Hills and Yorkshire Dales and lower fells in the Lake District.
Very difficult. Significant and extended steep ground possibly requiring scrambling. Steep grass and rocky slopes. Typical of higher fells in the Lake District.
Distance is the simplest element of grade to quantify, but it is very relative to ability. So the distances are arbitrary, based on experience with groups of walkers. There’s not much else to say on distance.
Short distance. Less than 5 miles (8km).
Medium distance. 5-10 miles (8-16km).
Long distance 10-15 miles (16-24km).
Extra-long distance. More than 15 miles (24km).
The grade is scaled from easy to very difficult and is derived from the Ascent and Distance ratings above.
This grade is aimed at the average walker, what ever that is. In the end you should just take this as a rough guide and judge each walk against your own ability.
Specific details on the grade will be provided in the walk description.
Easy. These walks are typically short and have no significant steep climbs. They also are usually relatively risk free.
Moderate. These walks are typically longer and more demanding than easy walks. Although, they can range from short distance with demanding terrain to longer with flatter terrain.
Difficult. These walks are typically longer and more demanding than moderate walks. Although, they can range from moderate distance with demanding terrain or longer with flat terrain.
Very difficult. These walks are typically longer and more demanding than difficult walks. Although, they can range from moderate distance with very demanding terrain or very long with relatively flat terrain.