Countryside Leaders Award

CountrysideLeaderAwardThe Countryside Leader Award is an excellent way to get teachers, youth workers and those already involved in running DofE qualified to supervise groups. The Countryside Leaders Award came about as at the time there wasn’t a similar award around and there was a demand for supervisors at Bronze and Silver DofE level. After much consultation with AALA, several Mountain Instructors and County Councils in the London area, the Countryside Leaders Award was formed, under a not for profit organisation, to allow more participants to access DofE. It allows award holders to supervise up to Silver DofE groups (as well as general walking groups), is more cost effective than other similar awards and less time consuming for staff to gain than similar awards such as Basic Expedition Leader and Lowland Leader.

The Countryside Leaders Award is also nationally recognized by AALS (although not specifically mentioned in L77-p26, as it wasn’t as well known until after the document was written – see ALAA Note 5.14) and is used by a number of counties as a bench mark for running DofE. 

A recent update to how expeditions are to be led by the Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel in May 2019 has now firmly secured The Countryside Leaders Award within the outdoor community. See oeap-guidance-for-unaccompanied-expeditions.pdf

for more information.

In addition to this it is also listed in the DofE’s list of recommended qualifications. With many schools now becoming Direct License Centres (DLC) and creating their own stand alone DofE policy (see the resources page for a blank one), the Countryside Leader Award is a wise choice for any DLC, with it requiring less cover for teaching staff than similar outdoor qualifications.

Currently Jonathan is the only accredited provider of the national award in the East Midlands (please note that some counties offer an award under the same name, however they are often not transferable from county to county as they aren’t nationally recognised). Course costs are £150 per person for training and £150 per person for assessment. Please note that the accommodation, kit, food and CLA registration fee are not included. Additionally for bespoke courses requiring substantial travel additional costs may be added. If you have previously been deferred you can also be reassessed (fees vary dependant upon the number of days required – contact Jonathan for more information).

The course is split over 2 weekends and it is expected that candidates should have basic hill walking knowledge prior to attending a training course. One weekend is training and the other assessment, the general outline for the weekends are as follows (these are general outlines as things may change dependent upon what is required from each candidate):

Training Weekend3513


  • Introduction to the CLA and collection of logbooks and home papers.
  • Leader and participant kit ideas.
  • Route planning.


  • Hike the route you have planned. During the hike we will be learning navigational skills, emergency procedures and supervision plans to name but a few.
  • Set up camp, discussing types of tents along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • Cook a meal, discussing the types of stoves and meal plans.
  • Look at a variety of learning resources, including countryside awareness.
  • Night navigation.


  • Cook breakfast.
  • Walk the second day of your planned route.
  • Debriefs, returning logbooks and discussing consolidation plans.

Consolidation Period

A consolidation period between the training and assessment weekend should take place, to allow candidates time to focus upon areas they need to develop for their assessment. A minimum period would be a week, however it is advisable that longer consolidation periods take place.

Assessment Weekend3441


  • Collect assessment home paper.
  • Set up camp.
  • Cook a meal.
  • Night navigation.


  • Cook breakfast.
  • Hike out assessing various skills throughout the day.
  • Set up camp.
  • Cook meal.
  • Night navigation (only if it needs assessing again).


  • Cook breakfast.
  • Hike out again assessing more skills on route.
  • Debrief.


If you would like to book a course then please get in touch and Jonathan will try to tailor dates to your needs.

Further information can be found using the following link Countryside Leaders Award pre-course resources.

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