Lowland Leader

The Lowland Leader qualification has been designed for people who wish to lead groups on day walks in lowland countryside and woodland in summer conditions. The majority of the UK and Ireland is made up of this type of terrain so you'll never be short of places to go walking.

The leadership opportunities for Lowland Leaders are varied and far reaching, from the South West Coast Path to the Great Glen Way; walking in lowland areas can be no less spectacular than walking high up in the mountains. And with campaigns such as Britain on Foot and Walking for Health proving really popular, there’s never been a better time to be a walking leader.

Is it for me?

The prerequisites for registration are as follows:
  • You must be at least 17 years old
  • You should have an interest in leading groups in lowland countryside
If the above applies to you, here's what to do next:
  • Create an account on our Candidate Management System or log in if you already have one.
  • Register for the Lowland Leader scheme (this costs £47)

Register for Award

Lowland Leader Key ImageFind a Course

If this doesn't sound like the right qualification for you, have you considered the Hill and Moorland Leader or Mountain Leader schemes? You could also read through our 'Which scheme is right for me?' page.


Before you book onto a Lowland Leader training course, make sure you have done the following:
  • You must be at least 17 years old
  • You must be registered on the scheme
  • You must have recorded a minimum of 10 varied walks in Lowland terrain where the use of a map is required (ideally these will be recorded on DLOG) which can have taken place at any point (pre- or post-registration)
Lowland Leader training lasts for 2 days and will be run by one of our approved providers in one of the many lowland areas of the UK or Ireland. A variety of cost packages are available depending on what's included; food, accommodation etc. so you can choose one that's right for you.

Find a course

Handbook and Skills Checklist

The Lowland Leader handbook is available in English and Welsh.

Lowland Leader HandbookLlawlyfr Arweinydd Tir Isel

Guidance notes for trainers and assessors

Last updated July 2015.

The Syllabus

Lowland Leaders should be competent in the following key areas, all of which will be covered during your two day training course.
  • Leadership Skills and Group Management
  • Walking Skills
  • Planning a Walk
  • Basic Mapwork and Route Finding Skills
  • Equipment
  • Hazards and Emergency Procedures
  • Environmental Awareness, Conservation, Access and Land Ownership
Detailed information on each of the above topics can be found in the Lowland Leader Handbook and the onus is on you to be competent in all of them by the time you come to assessment.

Lowland Leader FAQsGathering information cGeorgeMcEwan


The period between training and assessment varies in length for each person and is an opportunity to develop your skills, paying particular attention to any weaknesses identified during the training course. We recommend at least three months between training and assessment and if it takes you a few years to feel ready, that’s fine too. You can use the excuse 'I'm preparing for assessment' to have as many walking adventures as you like, so get out there and explore this beautiful country of ours!


Before you book onto a Lowland Leader assessment, make sure you have done the following:
  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must have attended a Lowland Leader training course (or have been granted exemption)
  • You must be familiar with the syllabus
  • You must have logged a minimum of 20 walks in lowland countryside in different types of terrain (woodland, coastal, farmland etc)
  • You must have physically attended and completed (i.e. not online) a first aid course which involved at least two full days or sixteen hours of instruction and included an element of assessment
The Lowland Leader assessment is 2 days long (minimum 16 hours contact time)

Assessments are run by one of our approved providers and a variety of cost packages are available, depending on what's included; food, accommodation etc. so you can choose one that's right for you.

Find a course

After you've passed your assessment, if you're interested in taking groups on multi-day walks, the Expedition Skills Module is the obvious next step.

Support and Development

Join the Mountain Training Association and be part of a community of like-minded people on our schemes. The Association offers a range of workshops for trainee and qualified leaders and coaches across the disciplines, as well as a quarterly magazine, gear deals/discounts, a monthly newsletter and an insurance deal. You can join the Association at any point after you have registered on one of Mountain Training's leadership/coaching schemes.
MTA logo

Lowland Leader profiles

April Grayson Pirin Mountains Bulgaria
April Grayson - Retired midwife
Jamiah Okoye
Jamiah Okoye - History student
Sahedul Islam
Sahedul Islam - Programme Officer

The Book - Hill Walking

Hill Walking is the official companion to the walking schemes and it includes essential tips and information for every walker as well as for those who wish to lead in the hills. The book is split into three parts: Getting Around in the Hills, The Upland Environment and Group Management. Its functional design with easy-reference pages, striking illustration and images make this book an indispensable guide to the skills required for summer hill walking.

Hill Walking

Get Book

The Scope of the Award

The Lowland Leader Award trains and assesses candidates in the skills required to lead others on walks in lowland countryside and woodland that fit ALL of the following criteria:
  • Walks must not cross any hazardous terrain (e.g. cliffs, very steep slopes, water hazards etc.).
  • Throughout the walk the group should never generally be more than 3km away from a key access point such as a car park, lay-by or populated area. Any potential escape routes should also lie within the scope of the defined terrain for the Lowland Leader award.
  • Walks will require the ability to plan routes, use simple navigation skills using a map and compass and be self-sufficient.
  • Walks must follow paths or tracks that are both marked on a map and clearly visible on the ground and that do not require navigation across untracked areas.
  • Walks must use bridges or other recognised water crossing points.
  • Walks must only take place in summer conditions (ie when there is no unavoidable snow or ice on any part of the route).
As with all Mountain Training awards, a combination of technical competence, leadership skills and a wide range of experience form the basis of effective group management. The scheme addresses all these elements. However, the employer or operating authority must ultimately decide whether a leader possesses the personal attributes needed to take responsibility for any particular group of people.

OfQual regulation of Mountain Training England