Bristol Girl Hikers: An Introduction
We’re Bristol Girl Hikers: a hiking meetup group for womxn based in Bristol, South West UK.
What do you do?
We’ve been around since February 2018, encouraging womxn to get outdoors more and enjoy the health and social benefits of hiking in the Great British countryside.
Our Facebook group hosts regular walks, hikes and other outdoors activities and we encourage our members to use the group to link up with like-minded individuals and explore the local trails.
We started out small. A conversation at a coffee shop about how difficult it is to find people to go hiking with has blossomed into a Facebook group with over 1700 members.
Where do you hike?
We hike everywhere.
From urban, graffiti walks around Bristol, to the spectacular waterfalls of South Wales and the challenging fells of the Lake District: we’ve got the UK covered.
I’m worried I’m not fit enough …
From our experience – everyone worries about this. That’s why we try to organise a range of walks to cater for all levels of fitness.
Walking is one of the best things you can do to get fit: it’s low intensity, sustained exercise that also benefits your mental health: a thousand times better than a sweaty gym.
And doing it with a friendly, supportive group of like-minded people is even more beneficial. It’s a no brainer, really.
I’m shy and feel nervous about coming to my first walk …
We all feel nervous about stepping out of our comfort zone. It’s natural.
We get a lot of people who tell us how nervous they were about coming to their first walk. But you’ll get there, realise that everyone is really friendly and that you aren’t the only nervous one, and there’s no pressure to be an awesome conversationalist.
That’s what’s great about walking. You can dip in and out of the socialising bit and just enjoy walking with some company.
Just do it.
I haven't got the right kit ...
You don't really need any special kit for most of our walks.
We recommend that you invest in a pair of hiking boots or shoes if you want to make hiking on muddy, rough trails a regular thing. But trainers will do in most circumstances.
Most people already have a coat that keeps them dry and warm. We'll let you know if any of our walks require anything else, but they usually don't.
How do I join?
You can join us through our Facebook group
All our upcoming events are posted there. If you aren’t on Facebook, we are hoping to be able to add members through this site soon. In the meantime, please email the admins firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to keep you in the loop as best we can.
What about COVID-19?
In recent months it has been more important than ever for us all to look after our physical and mental wellbeing.
Many people have rediscovered a love for the outdoors and have been exploring walks closer to home. And whilst we’ve had to stay within the ever-changing government guidelines and are limiting the number of people allowed on walks, we’ve still used the group as a way to share our lockdown solo hikes and empower each other to get outside in the fresh air. We’ve also had some successful online events and socials for those who couldn’t get out.
Although we’ve certainly seen a lot less organised walks with fewer people in 2020, and haven’t been able to travel as far, we’ve still kept the spirit of the group going and encourage people to use it to find hiking buddies.
Is it free?
But we should point out that we are merely a meet-up group. There are no qualified mountain leaders taking you out on hikes. It’s just a place to link up with friends and meet new people whilst enjoying all the wonderful benefits of fresh air, muddy boots and windswept hair.
Who runs the group then?
Charlotte’s a 35-year-old web developer from Bristol. In 2018 she wanted to find someone to go hiking with, created the group and things slowly got out of control from there … (read more about Charlotte here).
She wouldn’t be able to run things without the fabulous Becky, who joined up in 2020 with her cockapoo, Dexter, and has been helping to run the group ever since.