The purpose of the grade in the walk description is to assist members to select appropriate walks for their walking capability.
As indicated on the Walks page, you can get details of our walks EITHER from the Ramblers website using the Group Walks Finder facility, OR from the printed or online group pdf programme.
Just to confuse matters, different grading systems are used in the two cases!
Walks Finder uses the national Ramblers grades, which range from Technical - eg extreme walking in the Highlands of Scotland, maybe using ice-axes - to Easy Access - flat walks with no stiles, suitable for prams and people in wheelchairs. Using that grading system practically all of our walks are graded "Moderate", and a few "Leisurely" or "Strenuous" (these can be longer and faster walks), so it isn't all that helpful.
Our local group grading system uses grades A, B and C, and derivatives such as B/C or C+ - these are probably the same!
The grade mainly indicates the pace of the walk and to some extent the terrain - hilly, undulating, flat - though quite often an indication of the terrain is given in the walk description if it is considered by the leader to be necessary. The mileage is given separately eg 6B is a 6 mile walk with grade B. On our group programme the grades signify:
A: A fast walk with emphasis on speed with limited stops. Usually longer walks with more hills. For walkers of above average fitness.
B: A walk at a normal speed for fit country walkers. Will normally include short stops and have reduced speed when climbing hills or in other adverse conditions.
C: A leisurely walk for slightly less fit walkers or those wanting a less strenuous walk.
+ or – signs with a grade indicate that the leader wishes to go slightly faster or slower, or the route is slightly harder or easier, than the underlying grade.
If you are uncertain of your walking capability it is probably best to start with a shorter, lower grade of walk, then move up through the grades as your fitness improves.