The Long Distance Walkers Association History
If you are reading this article, and enjoying the excellent content on DistanceHiker.com its very likely that you have heard of the Long Distance Walkers Association or LDWA for short.
The Long Distance Walkers Association is based in Britain and aim to “further the common interests of those who enjoy Long Distance Walking”. The LDWA was established in 1972 by Alan and Barbara Blatchford, and Christ Steer and now boasts approximately 10,000 members.
The association defines a ‘long distance walk’ as any walk over 20 miles.
Personally at Distance Hiker we leave the definition of long distance walking to the individual who is doing the walk, but its nice to have a benchmark of what a long distance walk.
The LDWA has 43 local groups who manage their own group walks. Many have their own Facebook Groups, or mailing lists to help to manage these walks. The first local group was the High Peak group, which was started in 1974
The LDWA also has an active Facebook group where all members can conjugate of over 10k participants, which is actually open to non members and members alike.
The LDW also has a magazine which is sent out to all members three times a year called the Strider.
The Strider is complete with some well written articles, news on the LDWA and up and coming events and certainly makes for an enjoyable read over a coffee.
The LDWA also has an excellent, database of all long distance walks on the website. It’s updated frequently by a team of volunteers, and for many routes provides places to say, and local operators who organise tours or logistics for the routes.
If you are trying to find a long distance trail close to home, or explore your next trip, its a good place to start.
The LDWA group walks, known as ‘Social Walks’ are usually led walks of around 20 miles in length with more challenging, and aptly named ‘Challenge’ events being 20-100 miles.
The Challenge events tend to be self-led, and are completed within a time limit, usually with marshals and clipper points – much a like a cycling sportive.
Information on up and coming walks is on the website.
100 Mile Events
What may be of particular interest is the annual 100 mile LDWA flagship event.
Each year, a new 100 mile, 48 hour walk takes place in a new area in the UK. Members must qualify before being accepted due to the difficulty of the challenge.
The first 100 mile event was the ‘Downsman 100’ in 1973. The LDWA has only ever missed two 100 mile events – during the countryside closures during the Foot and Mouth epidemic in 2001, and during 2020 when COVID-19 prevented events from taking place.
What often isn’t noticed is the huge amount of planning which goes into organising a Long Distance Walkers association 100 mile event.
The 100 mile event can take 3 years to organise, with local groups, and supporters volunteering their time to make it a success for those participating.
Obviously weather conditions are out of the organisers control and approximately 70% of entrants end up completing the course.
Naturally with a big event like this, volunteers will be on hand with copious amounts of tea, warm food, and a change of clothes at the half way point.
Members who complete the event get a certificate and badge to celebrate their remarkable feat of endurance and many go on to repeat the performance year after year.
Membership Information & Prices
Below is copied and pasted from the membership page, and details their membership types.
The membership year is January 1 to December 31. Members joining on or after October 1 will be granted membership for the whole of the following calendar year.
Individual (UK) members receive one copy of each issue of Strider and are entitled to vote at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Family (UK) membership covers up to two adults and all children under eighteen years of age living at the same address. Each family group receives one copy of each issue of Strider and is entitled to two votes at the AGM.
International membership is available to anybody living outside of the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man. International members are entitled to vote at the Annual General meeting but can choose if they wish to receive a hard copy of our members magazine Strider posted to them, or whether they wish only to access and read it online.
Individual – UK residents only
£18.00 (£15.00 with Direct Debit discount)
Family – UK residents only
£25.50 (£22.50 with Direct Debit discount)
International – with mailed Strider
International – no Strider
Hi Mathew, wondered if you would be interested in covering any part of this epic challenge I am doing. It should have taken place from March – July 2020, but now in target to leave 26/06/21 and return 23/10/21. In a nutshell 120 marathons in 120 days, these are walking marathons every day for 120 days covering 3180 miles. The full schedule is on the website. I am aware that you will be starting the new hiking podcast, I recently did a podcast with the adventurer Alastair Humphries
The plan is to invite people on the walks as we work our way through the British Isles.
Thanks in anticipation.