top of page

Countryside Leader Award

About the Award


The Countryside Leader Award (CLA) is for adults who wish to lead walks and camping expeditions in non-remote, lowland countryside. This corresponds with the recommended Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Bronze and Silver Expedition terrain. The award is designed for people who already have considerable experience working with young people.


The CLA is seen as pre- the Mountain Training UK Hill and Moorland Leader Award (HML) in terms of technical skills required. It is approximately equivalent to the Sports Leaders UK Level 3 Certificate in Basic Expedition Leadership (BEL) but, because it is aimed at experienced youth leaders, it concentrates purely on the leadership of walking expeditions. This makes it a quicker, simpler and cheaper, as well as more relevant, award for these people.


Before registering on the scheme, please check that the CLA is recognised by the body responsible for authorising your activities (e.g. your employer or your DofE Licensed Organisation). The minimum age for registration is 18.



Some prior knowledge of camping and navigation is required. To attend a training course, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a Qualified Teacher or:

  • Hold a Level Three Diploma or above in Youth Work or:

  • Have at least ten days’ and five nights’ experience of leading, or assisting with the leadership of, walking and camping groups


Personal experience of five nights' camping and five days' walking in the countryside, navigating on clear paths


You should be able to navigate to roughly NNAS Bronze standard before you join a training course. If you'd like to brush up on your navigation, then a day's coaching should be enough to bring you up to speed. You could do a National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS) Bronze course or a CLA Pre-training Day. (People without leadership experience might find that Sports Leaders UK Level 3 Certificate in Basic Expedition Leadership (BEL) is a more suitable award.)

CLA Training Course - The Chiltern Hills - Following the Route
DofE Bronze Expedition - The Chiltern Hills - Map and Compass
DofE Bronze Expedition - The Chiltern Hills - Participants with Loaded Rucksacks



Leadership of walking expeditions in normal rural, open countryside or forest (i.e. recommended DofE Bronze and Silver Expedition terrain and conditions).

This includes:

  • Direct, indirect and remote supervision

  • Open countryside and farmland where outside help (e.g. a hamlet or well-travelled road) is easily accessible within 30 minutes

  • Journeys must be planned to finish two hours before sunset

  • Camping in sheltered, accessible locations

This excludes:

  • High or remote country (mountains, upland, moor, bog or fell)

  • Areas where a trip or slip could result in serious injury or fatality

  • Planned night journeying

  • Winter conditions (i.e. where snow is falling, is on the ground or is forecast; ice; extreme cold or other inhospitable weather conditions)

  • Camping in remote locations



The Training Course runs over three days and includes a camping expedition. It assumes basic competence in country walking and camping. Bringing together candidates with this knowledge promotes discussion and practice sharing.


The format for the training course is:

  • Introduction Day (some classroom-based theory and some navigation)

  • Training Expedition (this is a lightweight, self-sufficient expedition)


The priority is to cover skills specific to expedition leadership that might be difficult to learn outside a training course. Please bear in mind that the course cannot cover every aspect of every part of the syllabus. Candidates should ensure that they develop sufficient skill and knowledge before attending an assessment (and, in general, before leading expeditions).


The following Training Course is currently scheduled. Additional courses will be added in due course. Candidates will need to attend both the Introduction Day and the Training Expedition of the same course.





At the end of your Training Course your tutor will give you a consolidation plan which will outline areas on which to focus and the experience you need to gain before assessment.



Assessment takes the form of a two-night lightweight camping expedition. A current First Aid certificate is required for the award to be valid.


The following Assessment Expedition is currently scheduled. Additional expeditions will be added in due course.



All our courses are based at Hudnall Park in Little Gaddesden, Hertfordshire. This venue offers ideal facilities for these courses: a training room, an orienteering course, a campsite, secure car parking and a good variety of rural countryside nearby. For the Training Expedition, we will start and finish at Hudnall Park but will journey to another campsite overnight. For the Assessment Expedition, we will camp at Hudnall Park the first night and then journey to a different campsite for the second night before walking back to Hudnall Park.


The address is: Hudnall Park, Hudnall Common, Little Gaddesden, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 1QN.




Training Course (Introduction Day plus Training Expedition): £240.00 (£200.00 plus VAT) total.

Assessment Expedition: £240.00 (£200.00 plus VAT) total.


Organisations booking four or more candidates onto the same course will receive a discount of £30.00 (£25.00 plus VAT) per person.


These costs include campsite fees but exclude food. Candidates will be expected to bring their own expedition equipment – this will be discussed in detail on the Introduction Day.

DofE Bronze Expedition - The Chiltern Hills - Packing the Rucksack



For further information about either a Training Course or an Assessment Expedition, please follow the links in the tables above to download the booking form. To secure your place on a course, we will require your completed booking form by no later than two weeks prior to the first day of the course. The course will definitely go ahead provided we receive a minimum of four confirmed bookings by this date. All candidates must be registered with Countryside Leader Award prior to attending any course. The cost of registration is currently £35.00 per person.




Payment must be made in full on booking. We are happy to invoice, if required.



Cancellations confirmed in writing by no later than two months prior to the first day of the expedition programme will be charged at 25% of the total price, and the remaining 75% will be refunded. Cancellations notified less than two months before the start date of the expedition programme will be charged for in full.


Where, due to circumstances beyond their control, candidates are forced to miss part or all of a course, they will be offered a place on the next course with available places. Where this does not require Zest for Adventure in the expense of hiring additional staff or turning away paying candidates, no charge will be made for this. Where this does require Zest for Adventure to hire additional staff or turn away paying candidates in order to comply with Countryside Leader Award staffing ratios, then this will be charged for.



Zest for Adventure Limited is an approved Course Provider for the Countryside Leader Award as well as a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Approved Activity Provider for the Expedition Section.


For further information about the Countryside Leader Award, please see their Course Notes and their website:

Logo - Countryside Leader Award

Booking Process


Please download a booking form and complete electronically, then save a copy for your records and email back to us. As long as the form is sent from the email address given on the booking form, the signature may be typed. Payment should be made by bank transfer, using the candidate's name as a reference. Alternatively, please let us know if you wish your organisation to be invoiced for this.

bottom of page