When planning a hike, you need to be careful that your hike does not require a Hill Walking Permit and if it does you will require an instructor with this permit or to change your route.

Hill Walking Permits are required for Terrain 1, 2 or Specialist type terrains but not for Terrain Type 0. They are also separated into Summer or Winter Permits determined by the average ground conditions on the walk. You must also take into account group sizes and safety.

The easiest way to check your elevation is to plan your route using a tool like Ordinance Survey and checking the highest elevation points along your proposed route.

Group Size

  • 9.12.6.1 Parties must consist of no more than eight, but no less than four people
  • 9.12.6.2 Each party must have a leader holding a permit or a designated party leader.
  • 9.12.6.3 If more than one group is formed the parties must use different routes or, if using the same route, leave a clear time and distance interval between them – so that they do not become mixed.
  • 9.12.6.4 When walking directly to, and off the hills after, a multi pitch climb the party size may be less than four.
  • 9.12.6.5 No leader with a permit to supervise the activity must not do so with more than three parties, including their own.
  • 9.12.6.6 When leaders holding permits are checking on the safety of Scout parties or their routes, the party size may be less than four. All the members of such a reduced party must each have the skills and experience required to travel safely in the hills in such circumstances, must follow rules regarding route plans and should plan to spend the minimum of time on their own.

Terrain

Terrain 0 – Does not require a permit

Any Terrain that means ONE OF the following:

  • Below 500 metres above sea level AND BOTH OF:
    • is within 30 minute travel time from a road that can take an ambulance / within 30 minutes from an occupied building or means of summoning help e.g. a farmhouse or telephone box
    • has no steep slopes or rocky terrain, where a slip may result in a fall
  • Terrain which is either:
    • A road
    • A path adjacent to a road which you would not see traffic
Terrain 1 – Requires a Type 1 or Type 2 Permit – Either Summer or Winter depending on conditions

Must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  1. Either:
    • Is above 500 metres above sea level and below 800m
    • OR Is more than 30 minutes but less than 3 hours travel time from a road which can take an ambulance / from an occupied building or means of summoning help e.g. a farmhouse or telephone box
  2. has no steep slopes or rocky terrain, where a slip may result in a fall (routes where the average person would have to regularly use their hands for balance or to aid progress)
  3. Terrain that is not on a road or path adjacent to a road which which you would expect to see traffic
  4. Is Terrain Type 2

Provided are maps highlighting areas above 500m which can be used for general reference. You can click on each map to expand the view.

Remember that for your own Hikes/Walks/Expeditions to check your own elevation and do not rely solely on these maps. Also remember to check the other requirements and the maps above 800m to ensure you have the correct permit for you activity.

Terrain 2 – Requires a Type 2 Permit – Either Summer or Winter depending on conditions

Any Terrain that meets BOTH of the following:

  1. Any of:
    • is over 800 metres above sea level
    • OR lies more than 3 hours travel time from a road which can take an ambulance / from an occupied building or means of summoning help e.g. a farmhouse or telephone box
    • OR has steep or rocky slopes where a slip may result in a fall including routes where the average person would need to regularly use their hands for balance or progress.
      This excludes the use of ropes but ropes can be used to give confidence or in an emergency.
      Otherwise use of ropes would require relevant Climbing Permits
  2. is not a road, or path adjacent to a road, on which you would expect to see traffic.

Provided are maps highlighting common areas above 800m which can be used for general reference. You can click on each map to expand the view.

Remember that for your own Hikes/Walks/Expeditions to check your own elevation and do not rely solely on these maps. Also remember to check the other requirements to ensure you have the correct permit for you activity.

Specialist terrain

When in terrain or using skills that have not been assessed for a Terrain Two hillwalking or a climbing permit, such as glaciers, scrambling and via ferrata, then specific approval is required for the activity from the responsible Commissioner based on advice from someone with knowledge and experience of the activity. Specific approval must only be granted a holder of a Terrain Two hill walking or climbing permit.

9.12.8. Hill walking permits

9.12.8.1 All activities in Terrain One or Two must be under the direct control of, or supervised by, a person holding the appropriate permit (see Rule 9.7).

9.12.8.2 All activities in Terrain Zero must be approved by the relevant Commissioner (see Rule 9.1.2).

9.12.9. Hill walking safety

For activities in Terrain One and Two as defined in Rules 9.29 & 9.30:

9.12.9.1 A detailed route plan must always be left with a responsible person not taking part in the activity.

9.12.9.2 Any route planning forms produced locally must contain at least the same information as sought in the Headquarters form.

9.12.9.3 The route plan should be cancelled or collected when the activity is completed.

9.12.9.4 Emergency cards must be carried by the party.

9.12.9.5 Any emergency cards produced locally must contain the same information as sought in the Headquarters form.

9.12.9.6 When members take part in non-Scout events, the above rules may be varied at the discretion of their County Commissioner.