Photos and Reports for 2024

This is where you'll find photos and reports from members who've been on outdoor activities with the group in 2024. We also have photos and reports from other years:

Our latest off-road ride was a challenging 22-mile circuit of the Chiltern Hills from Henley. After coffee at the popular chocolate cafe, we set off and headed through the quiet hamlet of Ramenham, and then crossed the Thames at Hambleden Lock, then climbing on quiet lanes through meadows of gambolling lambs. Our first rapid descent off-road needed good handling over the tree roots and dips. At Skirmett it was sad to see the Frog appearing closed for good. We then reached Fingest with its unique medieval church, the pub busy on a sunny day. Then to the timeless village of Turville, as perfect as ever. A roofer was busy on the ancient vicarage where Geraldine had her profound exchanges with Alice on the sofa. Last week quite a few of us saw the stage play at Whitby Spa.

A unique set-up, the pizzas are baked on the chassis of a Land Rover, and Massey Fergusons are used for the counter and bar area. Our lamb and venison burgers were just the ticket in the converted barn, busy with walkers. We then headed south, bypassing Stonor (too hilly), for the next big descent off-road. The route raced through beech woods before a long downhill section on farm tracks. Back across the Thames and the many mansions before return to Henley.

Cyclists were Brian and Nick.

Report by Brian
More than twenty eager walkers arrived for the ambling around Ealing to Eternity, Dawn's first as co-leader. We met by the newly revamped Ealing Broadway Station, made to look very modern and futuristic with the Elizabeth line running through. After a brief introduction we made our way towards the path a.k.a. the Daffodil Path in the direction of Dickens Yard, where after a massive regeneration of the area, which was at one time a car park and offices, is now trendy, with fancy modern flats with all the amenities (many moons ago there was a local swimming pool there). The group admired the vast Ealing Town Hall, a magnificent, gothic-style building built around 1888, also the home for the filming of The Borrowers. We walked past the recently modernised and now opened Filmworks cinema / cocktail bar, carrying on through Barnes Pike towards Walpole Park. We walked towards the famous Ealing Studios where many classic comedy flims have been made, such as The Lady Killers, Lavender Mob, Downton Abbey; the list goes on and on, the group remembering their favourites. Famous people from Ealing were mentioned: Dusty Springfield, Alec Guinness, Shappi Khorsandi, Bukayo Saka, Caroline Aherne - too many to mention. Rob told us about the old fire station. The group gathered around the war memorial which surrounds the entrance to the historic manor house and gallery. Michael gave a short talk on his research and subsequently had two missing soldiers' names from Ealing added to the memorial. The manor house was the home of Sir John Soane, a famous architect also connected with the Bank of England, who had bought it for £4,500 in the 1800's, bought by the council for £40,000 in 1899. It was once a public library (great atmosphere and setting to get engrossed in Jane Austen). We carried on through the original kitchen garden and the vast well-kept grounds, admiring the spectacular protected trees, seen in many original paintings.

A quick coffee stop at a cafe in the park, we strolled through, enjoying the sunny day and remembering the festivals that take place in the park. Walking through Lammas Park, banter and laughter continuing, we skirted around Gunnersbury Park, a home of the Rothschild family in the 19th century, who designed the woodland with new plants from abroad (not to mention the wine). We headed towards St Mary's Church, listening to the history of the church, and detoured to St Mary's Place, a small, quiet cobbled street, well hidden. Then for the well-deserved final stop at the Castle Inn, where we were joined by 4 more members, the group enjoying drinks and Sunday roasts.

Many thanks to Dawn, and fellow walkers Chrissy W, Michael, Jas, Cathy, David, Peter, Marianne, Rachel S (first walk), Teresa, Mark, Maureen (first walk), Martina, Daniel, Judith, Rob W, Julia, Dawn, Pam N, Saurabh, Joan, Derek, Jen and Diane.

Report by Runi
With 20 or so keen beaver hunters meeting in Greenford on a sunny April morning, we headed out to our destination of the Paradise Fields in search of the beavers. A pair of family beavers have been introduced into Paradise Fields, a program to rejuvenate urban spaces through rewilding and bringing nature back to our cities. We were not fortunate enough to spot any, but you could definitely see traces of the inhabitants. The journey up to Horsenden Hill was a lovely route on the canal. Obviously we've had lots of rain so Horsenden Hill was very muddy as we ventured along the gruffalo trail. With the tantalising smell of a wood fire stove, a pizza from Horsenden Farm and a beer from Perivale Brewery was on order.

Thank you to Kim, Pauline, Alison, Rita, Linzi, Sue, Shirley, Ami, Peter, Sara, Lisa, Victoria, Raja, Martina, Carolyn, Trish, Jan, Brian and Diane for joining me on this outdoor adventure.

Report by Joan
After recent wind and rain, 6 members joined me. We were delighted to see a yellow blob a.k.a. the sun. We were all kitted out, prepared for all seasons with gaiters, waterproofs, hats, sunglasses and most importantly a sense of humour. We were lulled into a false sense of security as after half a mile we encountered a flooded path. Half bravely waded through, half scaled the barbed wire to encounter a flooded field. They then needed my helping hand to gracefully descend over another wire fence - teamwork. Delayed a little by this, we continued, with a slight incline, some said undulating, with a well-deserved water break at the 1-mile point. Sunglasses pulled out, fleeces removed, all had warmed up by now. Then to a forested area where we saw early signs of bluebells - another 2 weeks and it will be a carpet of blue. Poles were definitely needed to aid balance / descent / gauge water levels in puddles. A quick snack later on a memorial seat, then to what I call "The Bench", looking at where we would be walking to Little Hampden. Great view. Recharged, more layers off, downwards to safely cross a busy road, we watched a red kite circling looking for his lunch. This motivated us, as it was 1 hour to our lunch stop.

Arrived at the Hampden Arms pub at about 1:30pm to use facilities / picnic lunch / tea and coffee / a pint. Proper pub food - huge plates (Ploughman's Platter looked awesome). The marquee outside was available to us but the weather so mild that we opted for a table. During this break, many tales told, and gained insight into the size of a heart. What happens at the Hampden Arms stays at the Hampden Arms, but all in good humour. Leaving by Bryan's Bottom - yes we giggled - through woods, some pavement pounding, then a descent to Missenden Abbey where 2 recognised where they were. Politics discussed on descent - interesting to hear 14-year-old Noah's views with Ozzie. Walking back to the station, sad to see many shops closing down.

Thankyou Cathy, Mark, Jas, Noah, Betty and Ann Marie for joining me. A few of you were new to me - delighted to get to know you. 10 miles finished at 4:15pm.

Report by Dee
For our Easter holiday 26 took the fast train north to Scarborough and Whitby on the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Judith had a close encounter in her carriage with a very special adviser of a former prime minister. Diane had booked us into the wonderful Grand Hotel at Scarborough, built in 1867 as the largest hotel in Europe to welcome the crowds after the arrival of the railway. The opulent entrance hall, ballroom and grand staircase were all redolent of the hotel's golden age. We toured the esplanade of Scarborough, happening on a tea dance at the Spa Pavilion, passing the sun terrace and bandstand above the long sandy beach. Joan went both ways on the oldest funicular in England. Our walk climbed up the cliffs to Scarborough Castle dominating the headland. After the group meal we assembled in the ballroom for the cabaret, an ABBA tribute act with lots of glitzy costumes.

Good Friday was another sunny day as we arrived at the Whitby Hostel, a magnificent grade 1 mansion within the abbey grounds, high up on the headland and dominating the coastline. The 199 steps up from the town were a feature of the holiday, especially when returning to the hostel late at night in the dark. Our walk was through the historic harbour, a whaling and fishing port for centuries. We passed Captain Cook's memorial and the Dracula seat where Bram Stoker gained inspiration for the novel which made Whitby a Gothic pilgrimage. The tide was out so all tickety boo for the beach walk north to Sandsend. One seal was basking on the beach. A nature ranger explained that seals often land there and wait for high tide to lift them back to sea. Tiffin at the beach café and back to Whitby for the ceremonial opening of Mike and Cathy's tuck box. Goodies galore for all, we eschewed labelling the food instead put a giant label reserving the fridge as "Mike's Fridge". The evening meal was at the fabulous Magpies fish and chip restaurant, acclaimed as the finest in the region.

Saturday was our day out on the busiest and longest steam railway in England, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. It departs from Whitby on a 24-mile route through the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. We took over the carriage, Cathy sharing around the Curly Wurlies. The guard explained about the many films made on the line, the most recent being Tom Cruise running along the roof of the carriages for Mission Impossible. We alighted at Goathland for the walk. Goathland was Aidensfield in "Heartbeat". The station was also Hogsmeade in Harry Potter, it is preserved in 1920s heritage. A long descent to the river valley and the Mallyn Spout Waterfalls, the highest in the national park. Prem then led one group along the valley walk to Beck Hole and more waterfalls, Brian led the others on a trek across the heather covered moors. We climbed to the summit for lunch after disturbing many grouse hidden in the bracken. Back in Goathland we celebrated with an awfully nice cream tea at the tea shop featured in Heartbeat. Back in town, after more fish and chips on the Endeavour ship, quite a few climbed more steps to the Spa Pavilion theatre and a performance of "Vicar of Dibley" by the local players. Excellent production which inspired Julia to recount her drama days when she stepped out with Timothy in "Sorry".

Sunday was another fine sunny morning for our coastal walk. We walked around the abbey, once a target for the Kaiser's fleet, and headed south along the Cleveland Way high above on the dramatic clifftops. A few descents and yet more steps back up. We reached Robin Hood Bay, perhaps the most scenic village on Yorkshire coast, the narrow twisting alleyways leading down the deep ravine to the hidden fishing harbour. Cathy wore her most colourful outfit so we could find her in the crowds. We explored the fossil shops and had a jolly decent lunch in the Bay Hotel by the beach. Again the tide was out, affording us a wonderful beach walk, lots of fossil hunters delving in the rocks, to the Boggle Hole and the hostel. Next leg was the big climb up to Ravenscar, the "lost resort". Envisaged as a new attraction on the just built railway line it was abandoned as unviable. The leader learnt the logic of not ignoring "footpath closed" signs as we had a hazardous route which involved helping an 80-year-old lady across the abyss as her husband had a cigarette break. The walk ended at the NT tea shop where we recovered over a cuppa. The last night was of course party night. After tuck and pints at the Dolphin we took over the lounge with contraband and music.

Bank Holiday Monday saw us explore the gardens of the archbishop's palace and free entry to the abbey. Founded in 7th century, it hosted the Synod of Whitby in 664 which settled the primacy of Celtic and Roman Christianity. The museum was very informative and had lots of treasures found during excavations. After a boat trip through the harbour and headline just time for a final Yorkshire cream tea at the rather splendid Marie Antoinette's tea shop, surrounded by Regency décor after a perfect holiday in Yorkshire.

Attendees were Diane, Brian, Jan, Jeff, Malcolm, Nick, Rachael, Louise, Kevin, Mike, Cathy, Judith, Sally, Julia, Joan, Christine, Rohini, Jyotsna, Kayla, Elaine, Penelope, Lisa, Mark P, Prem, Derek and Anna.

Report by Brian
6 of us met at Kings Langley Station on a cool but dry Sunday morning. The sixth person had called to say that they didn't expect to reach the station until around 10:00am, but in fact managed to get there in time for us to start the walk at 9:30am. We started with a short walk north along the Grand Union Canal, then heading east to Bedmond and Chiswell Green, then north to St Albans where we stopped in front of the cathedral to eat our packed lunches, with over half the group deciding to buy ice creams for dessert.

After lunch we returned to Chiswell Green by a different route and continued south towards Abbots Langley before west back to Kings Langley, where we reached the station just after 3:00pm having covered around 15.5 miles.

Thanks to Jay, Joe, Karen, Malcolm and Ujen for joining me.

Report by Phil
A memorable walk for all the things we didn't do rather than what we did. We didn't see the Good Life house, we didn't visit the secret bunker and we didn't have lunch at noon. However we did find where the scene in The Good Life Series 2 episode 1 (broadcast December 1975) was filmed, saw where Elton John played, the site of the woodsman's cottage in Copse Woods, sweet chestnut trees, learnt a lot about shotguns courtesy of Joe, paid our respects at the Scouts Memorial, did a quiz on the deceased of Breakespear Crematorium, found the filming location of the ten pound note under the car wheel Dave Allen sketch (1976), learnt about Ruislip Lido including Cliff Richard's Young Ones, made an eggciting discovery, found the remains of the Battle of Britain house and the agent training firing range, before arriving back in time to celebrate St Patrick's Day and watch football in The Three Wishes. Despite lots of rain in the days leading up to the Sunday we only encountered one section of mud, unfortunately it started when we stepped off the tarmac in Northwood Hills and finished five hours later when we stepped back onto it again.

Thanks to Runi, Joe, Linzi, Judith, Brian, Rohini, Sandy and Saurabh for lots of banter and great company.

Report by Brian
Eight walkers met me in the Metropolitan Bar above Baker Street Station for breakfast, and most had either a bite to eat or a drink. After half an hour we headed off along Euston Road to Edgware Road to find the entrance to Merchant Square. This part of the canal is regenerated and is full of bars and restaurants. We walked along the canal to Little Venice and then stopped at the Church Café for a coffee and comfort break. We then continued along the canal until we reached Golborne Road and the beginning of this unique and surprising market. As it was likely we would get split up as it gets pretty busy, we agreed a meeting time at the Sun in Splendour at the top of the market at Notting Hill Gate, allowing time for a good explore of the shops and stalls. Five of us managed to stay together with others joining us later. All in all a lovely walk and the weather was kind to us for the whole walk.

Many thanks to all my fellow walkers.

Report by Pauline
On a fine sunny morning seven alighted from the train at Borough Green. Our walk was through the orchards and woods of the garden of England. We viewed several Oast houses unique to this region, now converted to family homes. After crossing an apple orchard, we gave way to allow horse riders to pass with a dog following them. However, the collie dog, Kelly, then joined us on the walk, no owner within sight. We carried on with Kelly running ahead and knowing all the paths. We reached the timeless village of Plaxtol, very picturesque with shiplap clad cottages, memorial cross and Cromwellian church. The church had provided refreshments in the nave, so we had a coffee break there whilst waiting for Kelly's owners to arrive. They explained that Kelly routinely followed the riders from the farm and knew all the routes. We then headed south via the Japanese garden and manor at Fairlawn. We arrived at the perfectly preserved medieval moated manor house of Ightham Mote. We had lunch at the National Trust tearoom (where the latecomer, the usual one, caught up).

After Louise had finished her yarn we explored Ightham Mote itself. The guide gave us a presentation on the unique history of the house. The immense Jacobean fireplace dominated the main hall. In the courtyard there was even a Tudor-era dog kennel. Our route continued through orchards and blossom-filled woods before reaching the majesty of Knole Park. Knole House is a Tudor palace, the ancestral home of the Sackville family. The surviving medieval deer park was full of fallow deer. Just before dusk we arrived at Sevenoaks for the train back after a walk full of history in Kent.

Walkers were Brian, Diane, Louise, Kevin, Mark P, Coogee and Jeff.

Report by Brian
We met on a cloudy but dry Sunday morning at Watford station to walk to Pinner. We started the walk promptly at 10:00am, heading down through Cassiobury Park to the Grand Union Canal, which we followed as far as Rickmansworth. We then walked uphill across Moor Park Golf Course, which was fairly quiet. From Batchworth Heath we skirted around Northwood before heading through Copse Wood towards Ruislip Lido, stopping in the woods nearby to eat our lunch. By now the rain had picked up somewhat.

After lunch we headed out of Park Wood and picked up the Celandine Route which took us through Eastcote to Pinner, where we reached the station just after 3:00pm.

Thanks to Peter for joining me.

Report by Phil
On a sunny spring morning twelve of us met by the Tower of London for our historical walk. Soraya, as always on Fridays, shared around the tuck as we took in the views of the Tower and the riverfront. After crossing under Tower Bridge, we explored St Katherines Dock. This was the first of the London Docks to close, in 1968, due to containerisation of trade. We continued through Wapping, with many fine Georgian buildings and converted wharves. We passed the Hermitage pier with 19th century sailing barges moored. Onto the hidden garden of the Prospect of Whitby where Nick showed us the recreated gibbet as this was execution dock in the pirate era. The two Hawksmoor churches, St George and St Annes, dominated the skyline in the quarter with the new skyscrapers of Canary Wharf completing the panorama. We had lunch at the secret Yurt Café where Kevin and Louise recalled meeting a famous actor on their last visit.

We then explored Limehouse Basin, the hub for all canals in East London, full of impressive barges and yachts. We ended at the Museum of London Docklands venue, in a converted Georgian building. The museum is packed with displays on the history of London as a trading superpower. We visited the current exhibition "How Jewish Londoners Shaped Global Style". This explains how Jewish refugees from Europe came to the East End and made London an iconic fashion city. Pauline and Karen were most impressed with the dress worn by David Bowie and the famous coat of Dot Cotton.

Walkers were Brian, Pauline, Nick, Soraya, Louise, Kevin, Tim P, Simon, Karen, Maura, Melissa and Heather.

Report by Brian
Thirteen brave walkers turned up for this epic spring Epping experience. All eager, booted and scooted, we set off, following the road to Epping, zig-zagging across the ground covered in fallen golden leaves, through the amazing tall trees. Gliding through the mud, we splish-splashed on, enjoying the atmosphere of the wonderful woodland. Chatter and laughter continued as we carried on, stomping onwards, stopping at the Ambersbury Banks where Boudicca had fought a battle.

After a photo shoot and wandering around this enchanting part of the forest, we started again towards Dell Common for our well-earned lunch stop and visit to the famous Forest Gate Inn and Perky Blenders delicious coffee and pastries, which was enjoyed by some. A couple decided to go for hot delicious soup. Having refuelled and rested, we continued on with our journey, tackling more muddy paths. Despite the muddy ground, walkers enjoyed trekking on a bright day. At a final stop at the pub, we said our goodbyes.

Thank you to Jeremy, Adel, Mark, Lisa, Kalpana, Jit, Michael, Jas, David, Asha, Marianne, Kumar and Runi.

Report by Runi
Our Notting Hill cultural walk saw 26 meet at the Coffee Barge at Little Venice. We took over the barge, with coffee and awfully nice jam doughnuts for all. Onto the Regents Canal passing very fancy vessels, all fine and dandy in the sunshine. The community art exhibition was still there, and we were soon at the Brutalist masterpiece of Trellick Tower. Soraya then led us to the Portuguese quarter where Mark P purchased a box of Pasteis de Nata cakes for all. Simply divine said Joan, tucking in. Having a natter over the Nata whilst the rainbow swept over Golborne Road.

We then crossed the tracks to arrive at Notting Hill where we explored the ever-fashionable streets and mews of the quarter. We passed the homes of Joe Strummer, Mark Bolan and Joe Meek. Then the building of Island Records and recording studios of Band Aid. We descended to the restored mews which was the film location for Love Actually. Nick And Con recreated the romcom film scene with Con portraying the character played by Miss Knightley. Onto the famous bookshop and locations for the Notting Hill film, now full of tourists and shoppers at Portobello Market. Passing the Art Nouveau Electric Cinema (opened 1911 and still going), Dawn remembered her Nan working as an usherette there. We the headed next to Rillington Place where Karen astonished us with her tales of how her family grew up a few doors from Mr Christie. Her mother once attended a children's tea party in the Christie parlour to celebrate the end of rationing. Onto the Museum of Brands which is a treasure trail for history, design art, popular culture and fans of vintage. We were soon transported to childhood toy games, pop stars, comics and teatime treats. In the cinema room the stylish black and white cigarette adverts extolled the pleasures of Players and Capstans Full Strength. Onto the pub we met the surprise guest and heard how Mark A helped to launch the career of Blur in the opulent swimming pool of Diana Dors to cap a rather splendid day out.

Walkers were Brian, Diane, Dawn, Jan, Louise, Kevin, Mark A, Nick, Soraya, Gill, Chris, Yvonne, Mark P, Lisa, Robn W, Laura, Joan, Trish, Elaine, Sandie, Tim P, Karen, Peter M, Neil, Anne Marie and Con.

Report by Brian
On a crisp morning five keen walkers met at Amersham Station, including two new members Jas and Lawrence. Heavy rain during the week meant conditions were expected to be difficult, and with more rain forecast later that day we pushed the pace at the beginning to try and avoid bad weather. The group was happy to find that there were only small puddles around. Only Phil got his feet wet as he seemed to enjoy jumping and splashing in them. Jas seemed to be genuinely enjoying conditions as well. The stained glass at Holy Trinity Church was a triumph, Karen saying it was the best she had ever seen, surpassed solely by the beer in The Squirrel pub which gets approval from myself and Lawrence.

After our lunch break we set off to complete our circuit and return to Amersham, picking up the Chiltern Way before finding the South Bucks Way. We managed to get spectacular glimpses of the High and Over House, recommended by Brian. We returned ahead of schedule, before the rain, and just in time for a train, the 15-mile walk being completed in 5.5 hours with a 45-minute lunch stop.

We did not get lost. No one got stung by a bee. No one was hit in the eye by a twig. No one fell over. And no one described them as the worst conditions they'd ever walked in. WE ALL HAD FUN. This represents an honest account of events, to the best of my recollection. I will not be answering questions.

Report by Joe
On Saturday, despite the drizzle and wind, seven walkers met me to explore Regents Park, Camden and Kings Cross. The weather did brighten up for us as we made our way into the park. As always everyone was again amazed at the beauty of this park, and the planting in the beds is still spectacular even in February. The secret garden was closed due to flooding but the rest of the park was wet but not too muddy. After exploring the rose garden and the avenues we made our way up the broadwalk towards Camden. The mood changes from quiet and peaceful to edgy, noisy and grubby and is either loved or hated.

We found ourselves a spot in the Ice Wharf and had a rest and then a look around the market before meeting back and picking up the canal to Coal Drops Yard and Granary Square at Kings Cross. This part of the walk gives yet another side of London as it is totally regenerated and now "classy". All the shops are very expensive but the architecture is worth a look. We walked down towards the station and most walkers decided to head off but three of us popped into St Pancras Station for coffee.

A lovely walk and so my thanks to everyone who joined me and made this walk enjoyable.

Report by Pauline
Friday: 29 members arrived in Chester on what had been a wet Friday afternoon. After checking into our accommodation for the weekend, the rain had now stopped and we headed off on a short walk from the hostel to the local pub. Unfortunately they were unable to fully accommodate the whole group so some members made their way back to the hostel for their evening meal, whilst the rest stayed at the pub for a few drinks before making their way back to the hostel. Back at the hostel Martina provided some interesting entertainment in attempting to get the group to dance, but a number of the group found it difficult to count to four.

Saturday: Also staying at the hostel was a group of young boys, and part way through breakfast the fire alarm was set off. Guess who was responsible - not the young boys but a HAWOG member cooking toast! Saturday's planned walk was to take us into the centre of Chester. The walk was carefully planned to ensure that we would avoid boggy fields and muddy footpaths. The walk was going to take us into town via a disused railway which had been converted into a cycle track. All was going well until we arrived at a deep cutting which then passed under a main road where we found that the previous day's rain had flooded the path, forcing the group to double back and divert from the planned route. This diversion did actually improve the walk by taking us though a small village. On arrival in Chester we had our lunch break. After lunch we made our way onto the city walls to complete a full circuit of the city. After the walk we then made our way to the bus station for the journey back to the hostel. In the evening the group made their way to the Chesterfield Arms, which was a short 15-minute walk from the hostel for our evening meal. The pub's wallpaper provided much entertainment as it was a mosaic of Scrabble letters and we challenged ourselves to find the longest word, the highest scoring word as well as the rudest word, Coogee winning this category.

Sunday: Breakfast went without incident. After checking out, the group made their way back into Chester for some shopping and sightseeing. Several members took a river cruise, giving views of the city and its surroundings from a different perspective, before most then made their way home in the early afternoon.

Many thanks to Christine, Kevin, Louise, Coogee, Jeremy, Nick, Humay, Anne, Elaine, Judith, Vain, Rob, Sandra, Bharti, Simon, Jan, Hira, Valji, Joan, Laura, Penelope, Paul, Martina, Daniel, Chris, Maria and Con for making this another great HAWOG weekend.

Report by Malcolm and Diane
17 walkers met on a sunny bright morning, welcoming Anna on her first walk as well as making other newish members feel at home. We made a detour to avoid a rather muddy Cavendish Park, but admired the country manor as we passed, crossing into Pine Gardens, past the mysterious 7 sisters circle of trees. We mused whether it was the site of a local coven or Druid hang out. The walk the passed into Bessingby Fields, then traced an increasingly muddy route along Yeading Brook. The walk then carried on to Roxbourne Park, where Brian insisted on a closer inspection of the model railway track. We passed the site of last year's St. Pirin's Day festivities, the beautiful park keeper's house, before entering the nature reserve and pond. We then left the park to enter the suburban streets of Eastcote and local cafe for lunch and refreshments. Thank you everyone for your good humour and great company.

Walkers were Jayne, Marion, Tim P, David L, Karen A, Victoria, Nita, Anna P, Maura, Heddy, Sarah D, Brian, Mary T, Dean, Simon and Soraya.

Report by Soraya
Despite heavy rain the night before, at 10:00am on Sunday ten souls who were optimistic about the weather arrived at the Aquadrome cafe. Coffee and cakes were enjoyed at the cafe. Fully fuelled we made a start, luckily no rain! From the very start we found the path very muddy with large puddles that we had to wade through. Our route took us along the Grand Union Canal where we briefly stopped at Batchworth Lock. Walkers talked about an upcoming walk with boat ride and were eager to join. All types of boats were seen along the canal, from the large and luxurious to some so rusty that they could hardly stay afloat. Along the canal we saw signs which looked like parrots - we may have discovered a hidden aviary! We later turned off the canal towards Cassiobury Park, passing the water feature where group photos were taken.

Hot drinks bought, we sat on a picnic bench for our lunch break. With the sun shining, we munched away. Then uphill through the mud and across the golf course across towards Dell Wood, stopping at the dip, skirting around the woodland and navigating our way until we reached the picturesque village of Croxley Green, and the All Saints Church. Outside we saw trees planted with plaques to commemorate Queen Victoria, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. Plenty of signs of spring could be seen. Some went in to see the church. We then rejoined the Grand Union Canal, carrying on in anticipation of rest, drinks and meals which were greatly enjoyed at the White Bear pub in Rickmansworth, where we could all start to recover.

Well done to our walkers: Louise, Kevin, Ann Marie, David, Michael, Jas, Brian, Mark, Ian and Runi.

Report by Runi
I recreated a Black History Month walk, which goes diagonally across London from Waterloo to Grenfell Tower. It was great that there were 10 of us. Meeting at the Windrush Memorial at Waterloo it's a very straightforward walk to St Thomas Hospital to the magnificent statue of Crimea war nurse Mary Seacole. Then it was over Westminster Bridge where very fortunately the church of St Margaret's Westminster was open for a wedding rehearsal. This church has 2 links to early campaigners - to Ignacio Sancho and to Olaudah Equiano, both former slaves who in the 1700's were able to campaign for human rights. Ottobah Cuguano lived nearby at Pall Mall and we were also able to see the house where he lived. We then moved to St James Church Piccadilly and when we got there were met by a fantastic rehearsal piece by a pianist. St James Piccadilly is an amazing church with a lot of thought gone into it: it has a "superb" cafe staffed from former prisoners, it also has a counselling unit on its forecourt and a beautiful garden. On the Black History Month walk in October the vicar explained about paintings commissioned because another major campaigner had been baptized there 250 years ago. His name is Ottobah Cuguano. We were also amazed that there's a fantastic sculpture in the forecourt of the Royal Academy about colonialism and an exhibition about black history - possibly a good excuse for a social?

St James Church Piccadilly really was a good stopping point after 2 hours walking, and we found a lovely table close to the garden. Then it was up Bond Street (me and Soraya drooling over the Prada windows!) to Paddington. My co-walkers were absolutely brilliant. Some of them knew the streets of London like the "back of their hand" and they took us along the canal basin of Paddington, explaining all about how the Marks and Spencer head office had been built there in 1988 and how the architecture has grown up around it since then. We also had two people who know Notting Hill very well: one person grew up there and another one lives within earshot of Grenfell Tower (she knew the best pubs!). After visiting the plaques to the founders of Notting Hill Carnival in Tavistock Square we made our way to our final stop of Grenfell Tower. Pretty much six hours of walking, talking and learning lots of new stuff!

Many thanks to Saurabh, Christina, Pauline, Neil, Soraya and new recruits Kathryn, Vanessa and Elaine for the excellent company.

Report by Judith
On what was indicated to be a clear, but cloudy Tuesday morning 5 brave members left their homes in cloud to rain to join me at Watford Station. Once introduced, facilities used and recommendations of next-door coffee and hospitality, we set off towards Cassiobury Park, discussing past trips, how we knew each other and general chatter. Entering Cassiobury Park, we took the left route via nature reserve area, with a high level of water. We posed for Sarah to take photo on the bridge, and continued to walk by the canal up to Whippendell Woods. Approaching Merlin's Wood, I decided to make a change from the programme, so we returned to lower Whippendell Woods. We took a right turn to make a circular. Happily returned, safer underfoot, not as muddy, and a few birds spotted. All shared Jeremy's M&S "posh nuts". We missed a few flying golf balls on the golf course. Back to Cassiobury Park. Daisy's was closed, but facilities were open.

Thankyou to Mike, Sarah, Jeremy and Jackie for your company and good humour today.

Report by Dee
We welcomed the sunshine on our Chiltern route. Left Ibstone just after 10:15 and soon had our first perfect view of the day as we took the Chiltern Way through Great Wood. We climbed through Blackmoor Wood and headed south to Pishill. I've often stopped at the Crown Pub in Pishill so couldn't resist a look. The pub has been closed for some time and it's now owned by Russell Brand, who has been in the news recently. We had a look. There were lots of cars parked outside but nothing else happening there. We found a lovely sunny spot in a quiet churchyard and had our lunch.

Continuing on we picked up the Oxfordshire Way for a short time before taking the Chiltern Way once more to reach the magnificent Stonor Park. Had a brief stop at the visitor centre there. The house and gardens are open to the public and are well worth a visit but that's for another day. A couple of miles on and we had reached Turville. We stopped at the Bull and Butcher. It was busy and we had our drinks in the garden. A few climbs and we were back in Ibstone, now mainly taking woodland paths. Bird song and muddy paths all offered their healing properties on the day.

Efisia and Saurabh joined me. We completed 12 miles and finished just after 4:00pm. Fantastic company on this wonderful walk.

Report by Mary
Our first walk for the group was attended by 6 members: Marianne, Coogee, Jeremy, Peter, Anne-Marie and Deirdre. Before setting off, homemade sausage rolls were handed around, thanks Bharti. Setting off on time in overcast conditions, we encountered our first short hill, to gain access to Benfleet Downs, and the info board / map. Heading east we soon descended to a low level near the railway before one steep sustained hill, taking us to a high-level path. We tracked along the well-made high-level path giving views of the Thames Estuary and Kent between trees. As we grew close to the Olympic bike track light rain began so waterproofs and umbrellas were deployed. Our arrival at the Olympic site, a well-deserved drinks break was taken at the Hub Café. As we left the café we took in views of the bike track before passing a glamping site with fine river views. Our arrival at the ruins of the castle gave us time to check the information provided by English Heritage and take in the views across the estuary to Kent, the reason this site was chosen for the castle.

Continuing east we descended to a field edge path that was slippery mud. Barring a couple of minor slips we continued to Leigh, an old fishing town, where an excellent pub lunch was taken at the Mayflower. Now heading west two of the group took an early exit at Leigh Station to ensure they were home for the rugby. The rest returned westwards to Benfleet along the river wall. With a mist obscuring most of the views, we were passed by numerous trains covering the 4 miles between Benfleet and Leigh in 5 minutes, against our walking time of 1.5 hours. Our arrival at Benfleet at 5:00pm was perfect timing for the 5:15pm fast train back to London.

Report by Simon

We left Richmond Station and headed to the river via the green as unexpected light snow started to fall. The river was surprisingly busy with cycling commuters and night rowers breaking the serenity. Passing Ham House and looking across the river at the illuminated Marble Hill House we made our way, pausing to glance across into the bright riverside properties on Eel Pie Island before crossing Teddington Lock Bridge and stopping for a perry at Tide End Cottage before walking the final leg to the well-hidden friendly Constitutional Club, a bit of a gem from the past. The multi-talented 10-piece band we had come to see played jazz interpretations from the whole catalogue of Steely Dan tracks, many very recognisable even to those with only a cursory knowledge of the genre.

Thanks to Sally and Peter for your lively conversations and extensive local knowledge.

Report by Tim
Due to industrial action 8 walkers met outside Gerrards Cross Station at the later start time of 10:00am. The group headed off out of town, walking along the roads towards Fulmer, taking approximately 45 minutes to arrive at this quiet picturesque village where we paused for a short time to visit the farm shop and admire the gold postbox. From Fulmer we picked up Shakespeare's Way, which took us across the rather wet Stoke Common and them across Farnham Common. We then came across a signpost for Egypt - fortunately our map reading was not that far off as there is an Egypt in Buckinghamshire. We arrived at our planned lunch stop at Burnham Beeches just after noon and made full use of the facilities of the café.

After lunch the group took a leisurely walk through Burnham Beeches to Abby Farm where we then made our way through Egypt Woods and then out into the open countryside, passing through Hedgerley, back under the M40 and finally arriving back in Gerrards Cross shortly after 3:00pm, well before the planned finish time for this walk. On checking the total mileage, we were some 0.7 miles short of the planned 14 miles.

Many thanks to Phil, Laurence, Sara, Victoria, Sophie, Mary and Saurabh for joining me on this walk.

Report by Malcolm
Our Metro-land adventure began at the HQ of Metro-land, Baker Street, meeting in the same Chiltern Court restaurant where Sir John commenced his 1973 film "Metro-land". Now a Wetherspoons, eleven of us had a jolly decent fry-up surrounded by original Metro-land memorabilia. Metro-land was the name used to describe the new, picture-perfect suburbs created in NW London and the Chilterns in the Edwardian and interwar periods. We took in the pioneering underground railway, the first in the world, created in 1863. Peter D then pointed out the highlights of Neasden and Kingsbury, the first 2 Metro-land estates. We then explored the Grange Estate at Pinner, still mostly unchanged after a century. After walking through Moss heritage area Dee led us for tea and buns at Daisy's in the Park. Judith and Jeff swapped their encounters with vicars as Neil told us of his links to Betjeman's film.

Next leg was the walk from Moor Park Station through the very exclusive Moor Park estate. The vast mansions were all unique. Quite a few originally were Arts and Crafts style. No walkers, however quite a few Bentleys and Ferraris were passed on route. From Batchworth Heath we crossed the famous Moor Park golf course with the 17th century Palladian palace at the centre. We chatted to some golfers at the carved tree. One had copied Sir John's air shot at the Mansion. We then descended to Rickmansworth old town. For perhaps the first time in history we managed two Wetherspoons in one walk. Over lunch Rob and new Peter recounted some amusing yarns before we set out for the last leg from Amersham.

Our walk continued downhill and through a labyrinth of alleyways and footpaths we arrived at the modernist marvel of "High and Over". Built in 1931 by Amyas Connell it launched the architectural movement in the UK and has often been used as a villain's flamboyant lair in films. On the edge of Metro-land, we continued through Old Amersham led by Neil who "knows every pub in the Chilterns" to the Swan, and final refreshments.

Walkers were Brian, Rob W, Jeff, Soraya, Judith, Pauline, Dean T, Dee, Neil and the two Peters.

Report by Brian
On a clear, crisp Tuesday morning, 8 well wrapped-up walkers met outside North Harrow Station. Introductions were made, faces familiar, new and old, plus one guest. We set off promptly. One recognised the first park from her recent wander and said she had seen a pair of egrets. As all still chatting and getting to know each other, I thought I spotted a heron, but as we all stopped to look more closely, it would appear it was a little egret who circled above us, watching us. Awesome. Continuing, we admired the beginning of signs of spring - a few snowdrops, daffodils and primroses. Still to identify the light pink berries. Admired the work of volunteers in the park, with all tidying and general keeping of the area. Onwards, pre-Roxbourne Park we took a slight but deliberate visit to what I call the Telephone Box Library (officially called the Pinner and Eastcote Book Hub), where the owner came out to talk with us. Awesome person. This is a free community: take books, enjoy them, can also drop off books to her (she has over 5000 books in her house). Heather took advantage to select a few books as she had room in her rucksack, and apologies Heather, I almost left you there happily looking at books. Pauline fell in love with a pop-up Billy Goats Gruff. Then to Roxbourne Park, where we looked at the community noticeboard where "Friends of Roxbourne Park" had a flyer about music at Roxy Cafe, The Pavillion. Music on a Sunday. A potential future event? Passing the bowls club, parallel to Cavendish, we navigated a busy road crossing to access closed facilities, so we continued to Highgrove. We looked at the plaque about the history of Bletchley Park, where there's now a new development, previously decoding activity in World War Two.

Then to walled gardens for well-deserved facilities, refreshments, and great discussions on food and cooking. Before leaving we had a private viewing inside the stables. Two left us there, and the rest continued via Joel Street, then to an alley and 2 stiles, not designed for us 'little people', the final alley ways parallel to High View, quite treacherous underfoot. Then many overheard discussions on fencing - to paint, or needing paint - you had to be there to appreciate it. We made it to Pinner, where 2 happily dropped off for an appointment. The last 4 headed up Pinner High Street via Wakman Hill.

Thank you all for joining me: Mike, Sarah, Simon B, Chris, Heather, Pauline, and new member Pat (my mum). It was a fun day out walking, laughing with like-minded people.

Report by Dee
Our first cycle ride of the year was an easy 18-mile ride from Uxbridge taking in the villages of Colnbrook, Poyle, Longford, Harmondsworth, Sipson and Colne Valley through West Drayton. Six of us met at the always welcoming Rusty Bike Café at Fassnidge Park. Jeff and Soraya did an extra 10 miles due to engineering on the Metropolitan line. We followed the Grand Union Canal south with a detour to Little Britain lake and lots of mansions on the River Colne. Jeff then led us on a detour to the heritage area of Drayton Green with Georgian manor house, and old mill building on the River Colne. At Southlands Art Centre we took in the wassailing decorations on the eucalyptus tree after the recent folk ceremony. We continued on the Colne Valley cycle trail to the Colnbrook roadside transport café featured in several crime dramas including "Hell Drivers" and "Waking the Dead". Then to Colnbrook and a Sunday roast at the historic coaching inn of The Ostrich (founded in 1109) and acknowledged as the third oldest pub in England. Malcolm confessed he had another roast waiting for him at home and Nick departed early for the annual gathering of Southern Area survivors.

Cycling through Polyle and Longford (just under the flight path) we then headed alongside the A4 cycle path to find General Roy's base, the start of the Ordnance Survey in 1784. On via Sipson to the hidden hamlet of Harmondsworth. We saw the 14th century tithe barn, church, manor house and a luxury valet parking scheme with vehicles caked in mud. Just time for a detour to West Drayton Manor (gatehouse from 16th century) and canal back to start.

Cyclists were Brian, Coogee, Malcolm, Nick, Soraya and Jeff.

Report by Brian
Despite planned engineering works affecting the Piccadilly and Metropolitan lines, 10 walkers met at Pinner Station on the last Saturday in January, with the weather dry, perfect for a nice walk following the Celandine route to Uxbridge. After introductions to new and established members we set off on our walk. First we entered Pinner Memorial Park and on to some residential roads before we began following the River Pinn, passing through the allotments, Raj educating us on allotment life. Onto some woodland paths around the back of Pinner, walkers getting acquainted with each other and chatting about past and future events. Our first stop was Eastcote Gardens for a quick comfort break and an informative chat about the roles some members have in the group, with Malcolm informing new members how the points system works and its benefits. At this point Joe reminded me that first and foremost we are a walking group and the walk must always come first even if passing a public house without entering may have consequences! All educated, we continued on through the back of Ruislip, on to Kings College playing fields, with runners making use of the track and the morning's fair weather. Local football groups were playing in the next field parents, cheering their youngsters on from the sidelines with pride. We carried on with a chance for a good group photo opportunity. Passing Winston Churchill Hall, we continued on to the start of the HS2 diversion where work was in progress, on through to Swakeleys Park. Now nearing our half-way point with bellies ready for our lunch stop and some liquid refreshments to satisfy us, we made use of the many opportunities on offer. It was there we were joined by another member and 3 walkers bid their farewells and headed for the rail replacement bus home.

Onwards now with the weather still good and 8 walkers still keen to head for the finish we headed through woodland then over the busy A40 bridge onto the open Uxbridge playing fields, once again meeting up with the River Pinn. Following now mostly residential streets we headed on through the St Andrews RAF estate and its many new builds with its Grand Hillingdon House and hidden Battle of Britain bunker in the distance. On through many more ever growing new builds we made our way through Uxbridge High Street, finally reaching the end of the walk at Uxbridge Station, where Phil bid us farewell and the rest of us headed into the Fig Tree public house, the old Uxbridge police station, for further liquid refreshments and delicious food served by a lady who, as Coogee would say, gave Eva Braun a run for her money with her serving etiquette.

Thank you to Joe, Malcolm, David L, Phil, Marianne, Raj, Victoria, Sophie and Coogee for joining Kevin and me on this walk and making it a lovely day out.

Report by Louise
On departing from Hounslow East we made our way through Hounslow, skirting around Redlees Park to join the Thames Path south of the Isleworth Ait. On a bright sunny morning the river was quite spectacular with a fast flowing ebb. Crossing to the Surrey side at the Richmond Lock Footbridge we followed the river under Twickenham Bridge past the abandoned Twickenham Foot tunnel that predates the bridges that now span the Thames and was built by landowners that objected to bridge construction at that time.

On reaching Richmond Riverside we headed to the Town Hall building, home to the Museum of Richmond, where we had an interesting session in their current exhibition 'Artificial Silk: From Kew to the World', learning about the local artificial silk (viscose rayon) trade that was developed at Kew in the early 1900s as a feasible alternative to expensive imported natural silk. Made from cellulose from wood pulp it was the start of the development of the plethora of manmade fibres that we use today. The museum's permanent exhibits include a model of long-demolished Richmond Palace and a varied history of Richmond and the local area through the ages. We were also invited to visit the old and impressive panelled Council Chambers room with its portraits and views over the river.

On leaving the museum we retraced our steps along the river, continuing to Old Isleworth where we traversed Silverhall Park, looking at the surviving ice house, and ended the walk with coffee at Ballucci's in Isleworth.

Walkers were Heather, Heddy, Karen, Simon, Soraya and Tim.

Report by Tim
We started our walk from Canons Park Station where we had a welcome chat with everyone, including some new joiners to the group. Weather was just right for a perfect brisk walk through the stunning local green spaces with their ponds, gardens and woods. We headed off towards Canons Park. We proceeded through the park, visiting the beautiful King George V Memorial walled garden and pond listed as Grade II on the Register of Parks and Gardens. After looking around we proceeded to the end of the park. We exited to the road and immediately crossed into the narrow strip of greenery that took us to Marsh Lane and our short walk in to Stanmore town, immediately heading for Stanmore Country Park. It was great to be in the woods with enchanting trees. A few muddy patches didn't put us off track but the undergrowth made us lose our path, and we were searching for an exit gate on to Denis Lane, thinking it had moved or the council had blocked it off. Kalpna and Rajesh came to the rescue when they spotted the gate. We walked around the different ponds, in and out of the trees and narrow paths, enjoying the tranquility and each other's company. We eventually made our way from Stanmore Country Park to Bentley Priory Nature Reserve. We were ready for our packed lunches by now and a chilled break to relax.

Bentley Priory has a number of ancient woods. Growing tere are hornbeam, midland and common hawthorn, birch, cedars, yew, and odd patches of laurel, and rhododendron. We headed to the lane leading down to the deer park. A pleasure to be able to feed them with fresh carrots brought specially for them. Eventually we dragged ourselves away from the deer for the final stint of our walk towards Stanmore High Street. We veered off to look at the beautiful old St John the Evangelist Church and nearby ruins. The name has been held by two churches: a red-brick church dating to 1632, now abandoned and in ruins, and its replacement, a stone church dating to 1850, which remains in use. Both buildings are separately Grade II listed. Next, we visited another amazing walled garden, Bernays Gardens, very near the High Street shops. Here we said our farewells and went our separate ways.

Thank you so much to everyone who came to walk with us today, including David, Kevin, Louise, Rajesh, Jigna, Dipti, Roshni, Kalpna, Helen, Marianne, Mariane and Laura.

Report by Hira and Valji
It was a crisp morning when we left Chenies. We took our first detour of the day through Coney Wood to avoid the flooded path at Mill Farm. We enjoyed lovely views over the Chess Valley near Latimer House. The sun was breaking through as we reached Blackwell Farm. We kept on paths heading north and reached Ley Hill. The Swan pub remains closed and there is a campaign locally to raise funds to keep the pub in the community. We headed to Flaunden and stopped for lunch. We had a drink at the Bricklayers Arms which was very busy.

We then took the Chiltern Way through mostly woodland paths before joining the Hertfordshire Way through beautiful Chipperfield Common. Finally, we reached our last village Sarratt. We walked downhill to the River Chess and our path was flooded so we took another detour to New Road to link up with our path on the other side of the river to walk back to Chenies. We were losing light as we finished just after 4:30. I think we did more than the planned 13 miles but easy walking on a great route.

Thanks Laurence for joining me on the walk and keeping me company throughout.

Report by Mary
After a very wet week 5 walkers met outside Princes Risborough Station on a bright dry Sunday morning. We headed off towards Bledlow Ridge but were confronted with some very muddy paths and a flooded field which meant that we had to make a small diversion to enable us to get onto the the Ridgeway footpath. As we made our way along this path we took in some of the spectacular views of the open countryside below. The path took us to Chinnor where we then made our way through town, pausing at a service station to take on fuel (coffee and biscuits). After leaving Chinnor we made our way across flat open countryside and just before Sydenham we came across a field of very frisky cows, but after sizing us up they took flight and ran off into another field some distance away.

Arriving in Sydenham, lunch was taken outside the church in this stunning village setting. We were now half way through the day's walk and it had become a little chilly. We headed off across more open countryside where the walk leader had to be reminded more than once about his left and his right. Our return route was to take us along a cycle path which followed the route of a disused railway but getting onto this path proved to be a little difficult as the path was flooded and we had to make our way through brambles instead, but once on the cycle path we quickly made our way back to the finish point.

Many thanks to Phil, Karen, Kieran and Kelly for joining me on this slightly extended 14-mile walk.

Report by Malcolm