Photos & Reports

This is where you'll find photos and reports from members who've been on outdoor activities with the group this year. If you'd like to contribute a report, please send it to the Webmaster, perhaps with some photos (with captions). We also have photos and reports from previous years:

The sky was overcast but the mild temperature and the daffodils clearly showed that spring is here with us. The old guard - Rodica, Marin, Nathalie and Monica - wasn't sure the four newcomers - Maria, Melissa, Jonathan and Richard, who were looking to join a walk called "Hertfordshire Way Hike" organised by a group from West London actually wanted to join us. After some clarification from the committee member, and a small charge of £5 per Meetup joiner we accepted them very warmly into our group.

The walk largely followed the advertised route. A detour around Sacombe House, where the building works closed the path and a change of pub stop because the proposed one had closed down were the only changes.

The old guard dined in style at The Anchor in Wadesmill. The food was excellent and the main waitress, Stephanie, offered some unexpected entertainment, better than a character form Catherine Tate's sketches, while the new bunch headed directly to the starting point's pub.

Lovely walk and very enjoyable atmosphere - thanks all for joining me.

Report by Rodica

8 of us including 1 new joiner spent the weekend exploring Cardiff and surrounding countryside. We stayed at an independent hostel on the river Taff facing the Principality Stadium and Cardiff Arms Park. Very friendly hostel which offered free cider and pizza on Saturday night to all residents and the generous continental breakfast buffet was included in the price.

On Friday Martina led the early arrivals on a walk through the centre ending at a restaurant by the Cathedral. Leo and Nick arrived late and took in various entertainment venues with Leo arriving back just in time for an early breakfast at the hostel.

On Saturday we hired bikes for our circular expedition. Our route was along the Taff trail cycle path passing through the redeveloped Cardiff waterfront, the yacht marina and sculpture park. We climbed up to Penarth village to give us great views over the entire Cardiff bay with the Black Mountains in the distance. Helen did very well to negotiate the hairpin bends on the steep ascent whilst towing Daniel in the trailer. On the other side of the ridge we found a clifftop viewing platform looking across the Channel to the Somerset coastal resorts. We stopped for lunch at the restored art deco pier at Penrath Beach. We completed the cycle tour via the spectacular Bay Barrage (built 2007) with its Arts and Heritage trail showing the history of the coal and shipping trades. Leo as always discovered a hidden lakeside bar where we enjoyed some afternoon drinks with views across the Bay. In the evening, after the free cider and pizza, we found a traditional Cardiff inn for food followed by Roger leading a walk through the sporting history of Cardiff.

On Sunday we walked through the parks and gardens of the suburbs to reach the historic village of Llandaff. This was the original setting for the Christian settlement of Cardiff before the main town emerged. We explored the impressive cathedral, Bishops Palace and Village Towers before tiffin at the splendidly historic Jaspers Tea rooms. On arrival Jan rearranged the art works and Renee ended by buying one. We returned to Cardiff making our way though a very busy riverside park full of runners on a sponsored race. Our route took in a circuit of Cardiff Castle before Brian led the group to our final afternoon tea stop at the Gallery tea rooms.

Report by Brian

8 of us were on this walk, including a few new joiners. Some came via GWR and the rest via the new Chiltern service. The train was very crowded, announcements in Japanese for the many bargain hunters alighting at Bicester Village.

We quickly found the Thames Path for the riverside walk. Some new developments were mixed with industrial heritage buildings. Beyond the town the Thames was busy with canoeing teams being urged on by their trainers running alongside. Our route took in the meadows and sports grounds of the Thames Valley before we headed back on the other bank towards Oxford.

We stopped for our lunch break at a pub by Magdalen Bridge. Carroll reminded us of the correct pronunciation of "Magdalen". We then explored the alleyways and quiet streets winding their way through the various colleges. Christchurch had a huge queue whereas the other colleges were quiet and allowed us a glimpse inside the historic quadrangles. We climbed the 99 steps to the top of Carfax Tower to have a superb panorama of the entire city. We then took in the Radcliffe Camera and the attractive squares around the Bodleian library before finding a traditional tea shop for our late afternoon teas.

Report by Brian

Seven of us were at the meeting point on Sunday morning. We left Chenies to follow the River Chess route westwards. We had a quick stop mid-morning and at this point Steve left to return to the car. Lochlan had completed his second walk with the group and we were delighted to have him along.

We reached Ley Hill at noon and then walked to Flaunden stopping at the 18th century inn, the Bricklayers Arms for lunch. Our afternoon route took us to Chipperfield Common, then headed south to Sarratt, a descent to the river Chess and back to Chenies. We finished at 4.30 pm as planned. This is a very easy route, we did 11.8 miles so shorter than the advertised distance as well as enjoying a lunch stop in the pub beer garden. Please support our rural pubs when planning your walks. Thanks to Emma, Mike, Mick, Steve, Carol and Lochlan for joining me on Sunday.

Report by Mary
8 of met at Reigate station for the first new members walk of the year. Melissa, Trudie, Peter, Georgia and Anontella were on their first walk with the group together with Brian, Jackie and Bertrand. We headed south to Reigate Heath which has a golf course, cricket field and horse riding tracks all sharing the open heathland. A short climb took us to the 18th century Reigate windmill which is now used as a church and meeting venue. We then commenced the long climb along an ancient trackway, Colley Lane up to the North Downs. At the summit of Colley Hill we enjoyed the panoramic views south as the skies were clear today. We then headed north-west venturing onto Walton Heath, a wild medley of gorse and bracken.

Our lunch stop was at the Blue Ball Inn at the picture perfect village of Walton on the Hill with its village pond and green. The pub had been recently restored and extended and we had a table on the gallery level overlooking the Surrey countryside south. After a leisurely lunch we continued up to Walton Downs, high above Epsom Racecourse with views north towards Surrey and the outskirts of London. The rights of way criss cross the racecourse and we followed the racing track around the summit of the hill to Tattenham Corner for the trains back to London.

Report by Brian

24 of us met on a very sunny and frosty morning at the Clocktower Café. We took over most of the café as the 2 groups introduced each other over coffee and pastries. We set off once the latecomers arrived and followed the Brent Valley Path to the canal. From the canal path we crossed the GWR Brentford railway over a foot crossing. Lavinia then showed us the most scenic way to Blackberry Corner. The raised area afforded fine views on such a clear day.

We continued into the parklands of Osterley House. Rosie (volunteer at the House) gave us a talk on the history and architecture of the estate. We had a late morning tea stop here at the National Trust Stables café. A major feature film was in production with film crews much in evidence. Tim tried to discover the identity of the stars passing us in the blacked out limousines but the crew and staff were sworn to secrecy.

We walked north across the parklands and meadows towards Norwood Green. We had a late pub lunch at the Plough taking over the dining room and its fire. Nick's dogs made friends with some local dogs and Jeff made his customary dramatic arrival to join us for the second half of the walk.

Our afternoon route took in various hidden paths and tracks via the West Mid and Brent Valley golf courses. We explored the Brent Lodge Park and somehow resisted another café stop there. We continued under Brunel's GWR Viaduct to finish the walk back in Hanwell at the Viaduct inn where Jan and Richard entertained us with their repertoire of jokes and anecdotes.

Report by Brian

The weather was undoubtedly the focus of the day. As I drove up the M40, visibility was down to tens of meters and the rain lashed against the windscreen, but we HAWOGians are made of sturdy stuff...

Jeff was the other nutter to turn out on such a day, he had heard that a number of fine-looking maidens were intending to come along, he appeared distressed when it became apparent that I was all that was on offer!

We left Hambleden behind, uncertain of our future, the rain a constant companion.

Jeff was trialling a new garment, a waterproof cape. The cape not only covered himself but his backpack and so keeping everything dry. Jeff reported a good flow of air throughout and so no damp undergarments due to excess sweat. An all-round winner. I did think Jeff looked a bit like an umbrella and was tempted to use him as such, however I could not figure out what to do with the spare leg!

Up through Red Hill and the surrounding woods towards Stonor. It was very boggy and large pools had formed on the track. The route has a total of 8 fairly steep gradients which are manageable in good conditions, but today they were a challenge.

We stopped at Pishill Church for lunch. On approaching the church I suggested we say a little prayer to ensure the porch was not locked. Clearly someone was listening, not only was the door open, but there was free tea and coffee with a box of flapjacks (suggested 50p each). There was a visitors book beside the box of flapjacks, Jeff penned a suitable note of gratitude. There was also a whiteboard with a note from the previous walkers dated January 1st, apparently they too had a wet day.

So, onwards and upwards towards Turville Heath and Southend where our route went south until we reached Great Wood and our last ascent before the return to Hambleden.

This is a very good route with lots of variety and much to see, I shall be doing it again later in the year, I would urge all to come along and hopefully enjoy the day in better conditions.

Many thanks to Jeff.

Report by Mike