The Slow Ways National Swarm: how far can we walk in a weekend?

Looking for information about our May 2022 swarm? Click here.

Up for an adventure with purpose? Join our first National Slow Ways Swarm!

All of the Slow Ways need testing and reviewing, and we’re inviting people from across Great Britain to walk and review as many Slow Ways walking routes as possible in a single weekend. 

On your own or in a group, long routes or short routes, urban or rural: add your walk(s) to the collective total and be part of the buzz as we tick off as many as we can! 

This first National Swarm is a pilot. We want to test the idea and hopefully have many more in the future. We’d love you to be part of it. 

Slow Ways so far

Slow Ways is a grassroots initiative to create a national network of walking routes. The routes connect all of Great Britain’s towns and cities, making it easier for people to imagine, plan and enjoy walking and wheeling journeys between places.

So far 8,000 walking routes have been suggested by volunteers. Our next challenge is to check them all – that’s 120,000km of routes! It’s a big challenge, but totally doable with enough people.

You can walk and review any time, but the swarm will be a big push with energy and fanfare, and a post-walk get-together.

Slow Ways is supported by the National Lottery Community Fund.

This is great! How do we get involved?

On your own or as a group you could:

> Walk a single Slow Way to a neighbouring town

> Walk as many routes as you can over the weekend

> Walk to a distant place by combining multiple routes

> Be a pioneer: If you are looking for inspiration on which Slow Ways to walk, it would be useful to look at routes which haven’t been reviewed yet. Filling some of those gaps will really connect up the network nationally. Pioneering a route that has not been walked before will give people who follow in your footsteps more confidence to try the route too.

> Go snail bagging: Bagging a snail means being the person to award a route its fully verified status, by giving it its third positive review. You can help to fully verify routes and ‘bag snails’ on your own or as part of a group – each person’s review counts.

The easiest routes are short 5km urban walks. The most challenging are over 40km and go through remote and rugged terrain. The average Slow Ways route is about 15km and will connect places with public transport.

Many of the Slow Ways routes are untested and some may even be dangerous. It’s really important that you only walk routes that are within your experience. You will be entirely responsible for your own happiness and safety. 

If that’s fine with you, we’d love to have your help with this pilot swarm. Simply sign-up below.

Taking part is as easy as going for a walk.

To take part simply follow these three steps:

1. Choose a Slow Ways route – Taking part on your own or in a group, this map will help you to target your efforts.

2. Walk it – Walk the route on your own or in a group.

3. Review it – Make sure you share a review so that we know you’ve completed the walk!

We’ll be added a totaliser to our homepage so that we can see our collective achievements over the weekend.

We want to inspire lots more people to contribute to Slow Ways.

Help to make a film – If you are happy to share photos and videos from your swarm weekend walks, we would love to incorporate these in a short film of our collective efforts. Please upload your photos and videos to this Google Form, ideally by bedtime on Saturday the 26th but if you walk on Sunday please do still share. It should work fine from smartphones as long as you have reception.

We’d love to see your video selfies, five seconds of the path ahead, a selfie while turning 360°, a slow 360° panorama in the nicest place, a clip of the worst bit… and anything else fun or interesting. And of course your triumphant finish-line(s)!

Spread the word – Are you on social media? If so, please help to spread the word about what you are doing using the hashtag #SlowWays. We are @SlowWaysUK on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Leeds get together

We had planned to hold a special celebratory get together in Leeds this Sunday, but unfortunately Covid-19 has scuppered our plans. A number of key people organising the event have tested positive and so we have had to cancel.

The whole Slow Ways team is very disappointed. We were really looking forward to meeting everyone at the event and apologise to anyone who has made plans to travel.

We are planning to organise more get-togethers this year and will be sure to invite you along. It’s just a shame that this one hasn’t worked out as we had all hoped!

The main national swarm will still be going ahead!

Sign up

Please register your interest by filling in the form below, so we can keep you updated on the swarm.

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