Keep on walking

02 April, 2021

Return to Freshwalks safely

UPDATE: Step 3 (17 May 2021)

We will update our own guidance and risk assessments as soon as the government publishes detailed guidance but plan to proceed with our walks based on the headline changes published here

  • outdoor gatherings of upto 30 people will now be permitted
  • indoor hospitality venues can reopen (max group of 6 people)
  • new guidance will emphasise personal responsibility rather than government rules eg. social distancing


Step 1b (29 March 2021)

I’d like to reassure everyone that the safety of Freshwalkers and those we interact with on our walks is our No.1 priority. As you know, Freshwalks helps our community improve its physical fitness. It also protects mental health and provides our guests with much needed human interaction at a safe distance in these challenging times. Our record in 2020 was unblemished as our strict control measures ensured zero incidents of transmission across our walks.


Relevant guidance

As of 29 March, and Step 1b in the roadmap to come out of national lockdown, the rules on social contact changed and people were no longer required to stay at home.

Freshwalks Limited has been legally able to operate events under the following Coronavirus (COVID-19): grassroots sports guidance for the public and sport providers guidance which states:-

Organised sport participation events such as races and organised walks can take place outdoors and are exempt from legal gathering limits.

However, we need to consider the following relevant guidance:-

“Participants should adhere to social distancing when not actively participating (e.g. during breaks in play, or when awaiting substitutions). Social interaction before and after playing any sport should only take place outdoors, and in separate and distinct groups consisting of up to 6 people or two households.”

So when the activity (in our case, the walk itself) is not happening, we need to gather in separate groups of six – something we know the Freshwalks community will be able to self-manage. This would apply when we meet up, during any potential food or refreshment stops en-route and immediately post-walk. With this in mind, when possible, please also minimise gathering time by remaining in your vehicle until 5 minutes before the walk start time.

The government has also published this specific guidance for the safe provision of organised events upon which we’ve based our risk assessment and Covid-secure measures. We’ve also considered the recently updated guidance published here by the BMC.

Group size

No formal guidance has been provided by the government for max group sizes though the BMC recommends that “it is advisable to reduce the numbers in any group for the safety of everyone.”

We’ll therefore limit group sizes relative to scope of walk and location and use an absolute upper limit (30) that aligns with previous formal guidance from both government, BMC and other sports. We’ll also continue to monitor current case rates in the community – both trajectory (R number) and volume – in between the key roadmap dates. All our events are run midweek and avoid busier weekend crowds.



All Freshwalkers must undergo a self-assessment for any COVID-19 symptoms. No-one should leave home to participate in a walk if they, or someone they live with, have symptoms of COVID-19 currently recognised as any of the following:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss of, or change to, their sense of smell or taste.

An individual who displays any such symptoms must follow NHS and PHE guidance on self-isolation.

By confirming your attendance on our walks you accept responsibility to perform this self-assessment immediately prior to your selected event. We will no longer require you to complete the forms we used last year.


Social distancing

Freshwalks can take place with social distancing measures in place throughout the entire event. We’ve carefully selected and initially prioritised locations and routes to enable this. Be vigilant and aware of any contracting space ahead or behind you.

Please refrain from traditional pre and post walk handshakes and hug greetings.

Invariably, our interactions throughout a walk are side-by-side and not face-to-face which further reduces risk of droplet transmission.

Occasionally it might prove difficult to ensure a minimum distance of 2m between yourself, other walkers and members of the general public. Please ensure such times are minimised and there will be times when we need to walk single file on narrow paths.

Please always give the right of way and as much space as possible to other walkers, runners or cyclists. Do not congregate in any obvious public thoroughfares.

Here is a reminder of the general guidance on How to stop the spread of Coronavirus



Our advice is to follow broader government guidance and use common sense based upon the relevant factors for each walk and your own set of circumstances. Please avoid public transport as much as possible, especially during peak periods. Freshwalkers should not stay away from home overnight to attend one of our events.

Please follow the official guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers


NHS Test and Trace

Freshwalks will maintain a record of all walkers to support NHS Test and Trace.


Other risks

  • There are few physical touchpoints on our walks but please minimise touching of stiles and gates. In most situations, it will make sense for one person to hold them open for others to pass through rather than being passed from person to person.
  • Do not share any walking equipment, food or drink, ensuring you bring and take away your own.
  • Don’t forget hand sanitiser and use appropriately – especially around any touchpoints such as parking payment machines.
  • Our physical activity is typically leisurely but occasionally, increased exertions (for example, going uphill) might lead to heavier breathing or similar bodily reactions. Please consider any increased risk of droplet transmission and allow additional space around you when necessary.


And finally…

Be considerate to passing members of the general public who might not be familiar with the details of the exemptions that allow Freshwalks to recommence legally and safely.

If you’ve any questions about Freshwalks and our Covid guidance please email




Given the latest government announcement, we temporarily plan to postpone all January events that take place in Tier 4 areas. We’ve already begun the process of pencilling in revised dates and all registrants will be notified of new dates by email.

It’s quite frustrating but wholly necessary while the country attempts, yet again, to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the community.

A combination of our robust Covid-secure procedures and a strong sense of individual responsibility made Freshwalks a very safe place to be in 2020 for the eight months our walks were allowed to happen. We have had zero reported incidents of virus transmission since safely resuming walks in June 2020.

Through a shared sense of achievement our walks have inspired this community to improve physical fitness, safeguard mental wellbeing and build natural immunity. All vital in the battle against the virus and of course other ailments.

We’ll continue to review the situation and will update in due course.

Thank you,

Michael Di Paola (Founder, Freshwalks)



Hello everyone,

A number of you have been in touch with me to ask how the recent government rule changes will impact Freshwalks, so I wanted to update you with our position.

I’d like to assure everyone that the safety of Freshwalkers and those we interact with on our travels is our No.1 priority. We are currently in the process of heavily investing once again in improving our risk management procedures and walk leader training.

As you know, Freshwalks helps our community improve its physical fitness. It also protects mental health and provides our guests with much needed human interaction at a distance in these challenging times. A safe place to walk and talk.

Freshwalks connects businesses, creating opportunities for growth, collaboration and innovation. The government is still urging people to get safely back to work and balancing the needs of the economy with controlling the virus is of course a delicate task. We will continue to operate within official guidance on this matter.

Image by Jill Jennings

Book with confidence

We appreciate that it can be difficult to plan in such uncertain times.  So, in addition to our existing refund policy, we would like to reassure customers so that they can book with confidence with our Covid-19 guarantee.

We’ll provide a transfer to a future walk if you face any kind of last-minute Covid-related setback, such as:

  • Awaiting a test result
  • Enhanced lockdown restrictions
  • Needing to self-isolate (test and trace or if symptomatic)

Relevant guidance

The latest changes allow a number of exceptions to this new rule of six. Two of which are relevant for Freshwalks:-

  • for work, and voluntary or charitable services
  • organised indoor and outdoor sports, physical activity and exercise

This makes clear that the rule changes do not impact Freshwalks – certainly not the core walking aspect of the event. The government, Sport England and BMC all concur on this point (see Notes).

As a responsible business, we continue to monitor the recent increase in community cases and will continue to observe and enhance Covid-19 secure protocols for our events.

Food and drink

For many, the traditional food and drink experience, either during or at the end of our walks, is an intrinsic part of Freshwalks.

Additionally, Freshwalkers need to refuel. The mid-walk picnic is a safe outdoors necessity, essential for the safety of the group as walkers need to ensure suitable energy intake. We’ll continue to do so, socially distanced and with enhanced protocols around the sharing of food.

However, we recognise the confusion which might arise at the end of a walk. Until further notice, Freshwalks events will now formally end with the walk itself unless we can arrange to continue the business event safely in a private space so we can protect and manage the safety of our guests and anyone staffing the event.

Should individuals choose to eat or drink at a nearby establishment, they can, of course, do so at their own discretion in groups no bigger than six.

We trust the Freshwalks community will respect venue rules and protect both the safety of fellow guests, staff and the general public.

Our priorities remain your safety, your comfort and your overall Freshwalks experience. I’ve included some FAQs below though if you’ve any further queries, please contact me through the usual channels.

I’ll see you soon. Keep on walking.

Thank you.

Michael Di Paola
Founder – Freshwalks.


Image of Cath smiling in the hills



Why is physical wellbeing and fitness more important than ever?

As part of tackling the current public health challenge, the government is placing priority on policies that enable people to keep fit and improve their own health and wellbeing.

A recent study concluded that people with obesity and Covid-19 were twice as likely to end up in hospital and 74% more likely to be admitted to intensive care. They were also more at risk of dying from the disease caused by coronavirus.

Why can’t we continue to go for food and drink as a large group?

Though 100% part of the organised business event, unfortunately we risk blending into social activities the government is now regulating.

Even if larger groups are carefully segregated into smaller groups of six, this happening within a public space might put our guests and venue staff in confused and uncomfortable situations.

What about supporting local operators?

Since venues reopened, we’ve done so safely, often sat outside cafes or pubs in smaller groups. We’ve always committed to supporting independent operators, providing much needed custom during off-peak opening times – typically quiet midweek afternoons when venues have the space to accommodate and isolate us, well away from other customers. As soon as we are able to do this again safely, we will continue to do so.



Sport England states on their website:

While social gatherings of more than six people will be banned in England from 14 September, the government’s confirmed that organised sports and activities that have been through return to play protocols can continue, as can organised outdoor sports and physical activity events such as parkrun, which is due to return next month.

BMC states on their website that:

“that organised club meets will be able to take place with more than 6 people attending (still with an absolute maximum of 30 people)”.

Additionally, the government’s detailed ‘Meeting with others safely’ guidance continues to clarify that you should “meet people outdoors where practical: meeting people outdoors is safer than meeting people indoors because fresh air provides better ventilation”


What others have said since Freshwalks resumed:

“From both of us a real heartfelt thank you. Today was brilliant. We had a cracking day and want you to know how much of a good time we had, how well organised you’d got things re Covid and also to have those mentors on hand all day was a super move too. Thank you, we were nothing but complimentary of the whole day.”

“However, better late than never I hope, I wanted to say a massive thank you for organising that day! Fabulous day all around – a great bunch of people, a superb walk with such stunning views, good chat, great exercise and refresh for the body and mind, and lovely food to round it all off! And of course, we were even looked after well with the weather!! Brilliant!”

“Great to meet you all yesterday and I must say an absolute pleasure to have your group here. We hope you enjoyed the experience. We will always do our best to accommodate you and look forward to being of service again.”

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