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Last Updated: Monday, 7 February, 2005, 10:09 GMT
Walkers get countryside checklist
Volunteers who organise an annual ramble in Leicestershire are issued with a detailed risk assessment form six months before the trip.

It asks questions such as will it be near water (it crosses a canal lock), were there any rabbit holes and would there be any adverse weather.

The form was drawn up by the Leics and Rutland Rural Community Council who commissioned the walk.

Officials say it is so walkers can be adequately insured.

Colin Hames, from the Wigston Civic Society, which organises the yearly walk, said: "We thought it strange because we didn't think it possible to fill in a form like this six months before we actually do the walk.

Adverse weather

"It asked were there any ploughed fields, cows in a field or anything like that and things can change overnight never mind six months."

The route, called the Millennium Walk, is staged once a year by the volunteers on behalf of the rural community council.

Jeremy Prescott, from the council, said: "To safeguard ourselves and those on the walk we felt that it would be necessary to have insurance cover in place.

"To do that you've got to do a risk assessment of every walk.

"These guides are only volunteers and really don't want to be dealing with a lot of paperwork.

"They love to get out and show people the countryside, but I'm afraid we live in a day and age where there is this blame culture and you've got to get yourself covered or you may find yourself vulnerable.

"We didn't want to give our leaders that sort of responsibility without the necessary cover."

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