Belfast C.H.A. Rambling Club

Hon. Secretary: 

Margaret Murray
Tel: 90768249
[email protected]

Ramble Secretary:
Marie Croft
Tel: 90658946

Are you interested in walking on Saturdays with a group of friends?

Our club is especially suitable for over-50s and even better if you have your bus pass, as in the main, we use public transport to get to and from our walks.

The walks are not too strenuous and we go to places all over Northern Ireland. In the winter months, October to March, we tend to walk within a 15 mile radius of central Belfast. We usually start around lunchtime in order to be back in Belfast city centre for 5.00 pm, as we then go back to a hall where we have tea followed by some entertainment. This is optional, if you just want to go on the walk that is fine. The evening finishes about 7.30 pm.

In the months April to September, we start in the morning (not too early) and take a picnic lunch, arriving back in Belfast late afternoon or early evening depending on how far away the walk has been. On average the walks are between three and five miles in the winter and five to eight miles in the summer.

The club policy is that prospective members can join us on up to three walks before applying to join the club. One of our club guidelines is that no dogs except guide dogs are permitted on rambles.

Annual membership is £15, payable in October.

It is advisable to let a member of the club know the first time you join a walk so that we can meet you and introduce you to other club members. There is no obligation to walk every Saturday; you can choose the walks which suit you. To find out where the next walk will take place and the meeting point and time please contact:-

Margaret Murray Tel. No. 02890768249.

History of Belfast CHA Rambling Club

C.H.A. stands for Countrywide Holidays Association.

The C.H.A was founded in 1893 by the Rev. T. Arthur Leonard from Colne in Lancashire who pioneered the outdoor movement in Britain. The organization was originally known as the Co-Operative Holidays Association, and was set up as a body to provide holidays. In 1913 he left the association to form the Holiday Fellowship, now commonly known as hf.
The organization expanded quickly with rambling clubs being formed in all parts of the UK. The first club in Ireland was the Dublin club, formed in 1922, followed by our club in 1926. On almost every Saturday since, members have been out discovering places of beauty and interest which are so plentiful in the province.

By the end of the Second World War there were approximately 80 clubs across the UK and by 1978 this had risen to 98. In the early 1950’s the name of the Association was changed to the Countrywide Holidays Association.

In 2004 the CHA changed its structure and became the Countrywide UK Trust, an association with no members and therefore no affiliated clubs. For historical reasons and because its objectives remain the same, the Belfast club retained the name.

The Dublin club is now known as the Countrywide Hill-Walkers Association. We have strong links with Dublin CHA enjoying a joint ramble and dinner once a year, attending each others’ annual reunions as well as sometimes going on holiday together.

We also have a close association with the hf Rambling Club, Belfast. This includes a joint ramble in July, a Carol Service in December, and mutual invitations to our annual holidays.

We have had many very able and talented Presidents over the years but are very proud to say that the late Mr. Wilfred Capper MBE, who was a driving force in the development of the Ulster Way, was a President and member of the club for many years.

Wilfred also helped to found YHANI and the Ulster Society for the Preservation of the Countryside. In 1996 he was awarded the John Hunt Award by Countrywide Holidays for outstanding achievement or endeavour in increasing human well-being through outdoor activities.

Many firm friendships have been formed over the years and the purpose of the club is not only for healthy activity but also for social interaction. We will give you a very warm welcome if you decide to join us.