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:

13 eager walkers turned up for this walk. We set off at a brisk pace through the initial short section of roads past a rundown house notable for the rusty classic cars in the driveway. We then ascended Barn Hill. Surprisingly there were not many other people enjoying the lovely scenery on the fine day we had. We reached the pond at the top with excellent views to the Shard in the distance and of course the stadium. There was a very professional photo shoot in progress which we did not want to disturb. We then headed over to the other side of the park through an area of ancient hedgerows going back the middle ages, then another short section of back roads where Sarah started to notice the abundance of stationary LIME bikes which we were coming across, waiting for new customers. They seemed to be everywhere, we counted 14 by the end of the walk. Laurence came out with bLIMEy, very appropriate. We then arrived at St Andrews Church which was very impressive but also tucked behind is another more modest church, still impressive in its own way because of its tranquil setting.

As we arrived at the Welsh Harp a bit earlier than expected Sarah suggested we go to the garden centre close by, a great idea as we made use of the cafe (lunch part 1) and Mike D consumed a gigantic piece of cake. Back on schedule we had our lunch part 2 beside the now refilled Welsh Harp with its excellent views of swans and ducks heading our way for food. Unfortunately we had eaten it all by then. We headed back on the return leg through Jubilee Park and eventually back into Fryent Country Park where we came upon our best viewpoint, a magnificent panoramic view. Hard to believe we were in the London Borough of Brent. Finally we made our way back to the Preston pub for refreshments. The consensus was from various tracking devices that 10 miles had been completed.

My thanks to Teresa, Bharti, Laurence, Jeremy, David, Margaret, Mike D, Sarah, Mark, Vaughan, Louis and Mike McA.

Report by Mick
Sixteen of us gathered at Park Farm campsite for the second camping holiday of the summer. As always Sussex was in glorious sunshine for the whole weekend. We welcomed 2 new campers along, Amanda and Mark T, to join the regulars. The campsite is one of our favourites. In the beautiful Rother Valley, it is never full and has a new bar and café for all campers. Fuelled by Kent cherries and choc ices from the farm shop we quickly had our site in place with more backpacker tents than previously. Brian led early arrivals on the riverside walk to Bodiam Castle, "the most romantic castle in England". We did a circuit of the wide moat, taking in the views. We ambled into the Castle Inn for cooling drinks of local Sussex beer by the riverside garden. The River Rother was full of boaters on a very warm evening including a yoga class on kayaks. Rob coined the phrase "yoganoeing". Back at site, Louise shared around her rather spiffing Victoria Sponge, Malcolm and Kevin preparing the campfire. Coogee and Soraya led the singsong on their ukuleles as we gathered around the blazing logs on a clear night sky, perfect for star gazing.

On Saturday the early morning sun and Boom Radio woke us early for mugs of tea, and bacon sarnies. After kit inspection we set off on the walk following the Sussex Borders Path. The route took in hamlets of distinctive oast houses and apple orchards. We encountered a herd of adorable brightly coloured llamas, a flock of goats and finally several draught horses greeting us on the footpath. At the picture postcard village of Ewhurst Green we admired the many, red-tiled farmhouses and village pub (just too early to stop). We paused at the Great Dixter manor (one of the best gardens in England) before descending via hop fields. At Northiam heritage railway station we stopped to admire the restored platforms and the decorated carriages now converted into holiday homes. Crossing the River Rother, we made it to the perfick village pub at Newenden. We took over the beer garden for cooling drinks and our picnic lunch. Joan led one group for a return by rail. This entailed a delay for more rounds at the pub then much banter with the ticket collector on the steam train, Nick and both Marks educating the young chap on many matters. Brian led the others on a walk back via meadows of buttercups, daisies and orchids. Turning a corner, we happened upon a mystery miniature railway in a large garden, complete with signal box. Back at Bodiam Castle we met the rail group at the Castle Inn for lashings of pop in the afternoon sun. Back at site Sandra and Diane were in charge of the barbecue, Boom Radio playing many songs from the 40s for the D-Day anniversary. Around the campfire more singsongs with timeless fireside yarns from Nick and Louise.

Sunday was another sunny one with Coogee brewing strong coffee for all from his vintage coffee pot. After striking camp over Boom Radio, we set off for Tenterden, a very picturesque Wealden town. We explored the medieval church and the Kent and East Sussex railway station. This is the terminus and was busy with locomotives pulling out vintage carriages. The station master explained they were hoping to reconnect with the mainline at Robertsbridge in a few years. Just time for a jolly decent cream tea in this timeless corner of England.

Campers were Brian, Coogee, Diane, Malcolm, Mark A, Dee, Nick G, Louise, Kevin, Laura, Sandra, Rob P, Amanda, Soraya, Joan, and Mark T.

Report by Brian
On another warm sunny evening eight eager walkers met at the canalside Fox pub. In the very popular refurbished beer garden, we enjoyed cooling drinks and tales of the recent Lake District, D-Day festival and Marlow walks. Eventually we left the pub for the walk. Our route took in the canal and the River Brent trail through the country park. We admired the many diverse locomotives racing across the skyline along Brunel's impressive Wharncliffe Viaduct. We then tried out our puzzle solving skills to reach the centre of the millennium maze, Simon and Mimi winning the prize. After walking through the "Bunny Park" our route back followed the Hanwell heritage trail including several Georgian mansions. We noted that Ealing are allowing all fields and village greens to be rewilded, the high grass in some places hiding the benches. Back at the Fox we regained our table for well deserved ales with Karen and Vic swapping tales of choir singing and Judith noting that four present were potters.

Walkers were Brian, Judith, Karen, Simon B, Mimi, Vic, Andy and Deepinder.

Report by Brian
Standing by Marlow Station, the meeting point, enjoying the sunny bright morning, one by one the walkers arrived. Geared up for the sun, covered in factor 50, hats, and smart sun specs, we were ready to enjoy the day ahead, welcoming a new member Owen, who had only joined the the group on Saturday. As we set off towards the Thames, just before turning into Pergola Field, a few stopped to admire some old classic cars and some decided to carry on. Luckily they realised and walked back whilst the rest stood and watched. We gently walked along the river, enjoying the beautiful lush green scenery and those magnificent houses, all unique, with immaculate gardens and some amazing features, with a boat or two moored. Plenty of opportunities for photos with a superb background. We stopped to admire South Bucks Fire Brigade, where small crowd had gathered to see a fire fighting demonstration. Moving on, we reached Bourne End, where we crossed over a footbridge and into the vast open fields covered in bright buttercups. Finally, a gently climb up Winter Hill. On a hot day we spotted wildlife on the lake, and we reached a high viewpoint, perfect for our lunch stop.

We sat on the grass enjoying the views and watching red kites and a buzzard (who were watching our food), listening to various bird songs. Thanks to Owen for identifying the birds (our very own Spring Watch). Well relaxed, we set off again through Quarry woodland, following the Cookham Bridleway. A slight detour through the flood tunnel under the dual carriageway, followed by crossing a field with amazing soft tall grass towards Marlow. Crossing Marlow Bridge, we stood up to admire the scene and the weir. Passing the church, we stopped to refill our water bottles. The final stop was at the Donkey, where drinks, food, cakes and ice cream were enjoyed by all, and the banter continued.

Many thanks to Laura, Joan, Kumar, Owen, David L, Michael L, Simon, Andy F, Simon B and Rohini.

Report by Runi
On a perfect early summer morning nine jumped on the stream train on the Bluebell Railway for the D-Day Festival Walk. We alighted at Horsted Keynes to be greeted on the platform by Captain Mainwaring, Jones, Fraser and all of the Home Guard. "Where's Uncle Arthur?" said Rob looking around. We felt a gentle hand on the shoulder so turned around and by jove! it was Sgt Wilson with Pike (smashing scarf) standing before us. The unmistakable sound of the Merlin Engine announced the start of the Supermarine Spitfire fly-past. Out of a clear blue sky the Spitfire soared over our heads as the train chuffed by. This Spitfire, an original, had wings painted with double stripes as was the case on D-Day to ensure no friendly fire. The display was the best we had ever seen, passing us multiple times, with loops, wing salutes and ending with a rousing victory roll. Our walk started at the station, through the meadows and woods of the scenic Sussex countryside.

After some ascents and views from the high grounds we finally arrived at the festival parade ground. The NAAFI tent was set up with many patrons feasting on the Bully Beef and Spam Fritters. "Oh Goody!" said Carole, taking an extra-large slice of Coffee and Walnut Cake. The siren sounded the all clear, so luncheon began, the songs of Vera Lynn taking us back to the nights spent supping mugs of cocoa in the Anderson Shelter. Now it was cabaret time with Dickie Lines providing a sentimental show, with more costume changes than Cher in her prime. The final one was the best, with Dickie emerging with a glossy wig, made up as Marlene Dietrich and singing Lily Marlene to Con and Derek. We toured the festival, saluted Winston, tried out the huge collection at the armory and met the Afrika Corps and the Desert Rats. Then onto Sheffield Park on the steam train for more displays, Prem bartering with Viv the Spiv, and music on the platforms. We returned on the buffet train, tea and buns for all after a rather splendid festival on the Bluebell Railway.

Walkers were Brian, Con, Carole, Derek, Prem, Rita, Dean T, Rob and Rob.

Report by Brian
Four walkers met on a sunny summer evening at Northwood for the Woods and Views walk. We entered the Northwood Hills meadows where a cricket match was in progress. We soon reached Haste Hill summit for inspiring views west over the woods and golf course. We then navigated our way through Ruislip Woods and the hard-to-find level crossing of the railway. Then joined the Lido footpath to arrive at the beach. We took in the views across the Lido, Dean recounting his childhood swims across the water. Then back through the woods, following the bridleway to Fore Street. Here we soon reached the Eastcote cricket fields and onto the Case. The beer garden was popular on the warm evening, Michela entertaining us with her highly sought stewarding job at Glastonbury.

Walkers were Brian, Dean T, Michela and Anne.

Report by Brian
A crowd gathered around Uxbridge Station. Lovely to see few new faces as well as regular walkers. After a quick introduction, we made our way towards the path leading to Alderglade Nature Reserve, walking alongside Fray's River. It was wonderful to walk through the lush green woodland, catching sight of dragonfly, butterflies and young birds (sorry no giraffe this time), carrying on making our way towards Denham. Luckily the ground was mostly dry, very pleasant to walk with new growth around us, passing the Uxbridge Galleries, stopping for a quick look. We made our way through towards the canal, crossing over the bridge and short walk along the canal. We stopped for a closer look at the weir. We headed towards the information centre for a quick break, then carried on through Buckinghamshire Golf Club, admiring the views and how well kept it was.

Reaching the church, already packed with people, music could be heard with bells all at the same time. The group split up, some heading for home made cakes and tea at the church, some went straight for the classic cars. The festival was very vibrant with lots going on. The whole village was packed with activities, entertainment and stalls, and the lovely smell of delicious food from various live kitchens was in the air. There was Caribbean, Chinese, Indian, Spanish and good ol' burgers. The church offered a wide range of home made cakes and cream tea with hot beverages. Different kinds of music could be heard right across the village. At the church children and adults queued to have a go at the chimes. We made our way through the village, stopping at various stalls of crafts and hand made items for home and garden. A brass band played on the green, surrounded by children's activities, sun shining, people sitting on the grass, deck chairs, with food and drink, enjoying the festivities. A perfect village day.

Many thanks to all those who joined from Uxbridge and those who met up at the village. Apologies to the ones I did not get to meet, but thank you for letting me know. Thank you to Pauline C for back-marking, greatly appreciated, and to Peter, Pauline M, Kumar, David L, Wisdom, Efisia, Jackie, Carolyn A, Lawrence, Carolyn K, Pauline C, Lisa, Joytshna, Margaret, Pam, Shilpa, Neeta, Bharti and Simon.

Report by Runi
The forecast was for blustery showers, and we were blessed with one or two, but this did not put a dampener on a really good circular walk from Tring Station up (and I mean a long gentle incline) over the chalky upland known as Ivinghoe Beacon and then following a circular route in a south easterly direction over one more short steep rise, and then on to Ringshall via the Ashridge Estate, where we stopped for a well earned cuppa before heading on down via Aldbury and back to our starting point. The scenery was varied, with great views in the sunshine at Ivinghoe, some farmland, a beautiful redwood forest, and woodlands. Tracks were muddy in places.

Thanks to Fu for joining me, and to those that missed out due to a non-arriving train.

Report by Claire
Twenty three enjoyed another fulfilling Whitsun holiday in the Lake District. We stayed at the Borrowdale hostel in the heart of the Lake District. Borrowdale is a verdant valley of lush meadows and ancient woods of oak and yew trees surrounded by high fells. Joe held the record for most pubs visited on route. After we checked in Brian led the early arrivals for a stroll along the River Derwent visiting the nearby hamlets. Lots of sheep farms were passed with the distinctive Cumberland breed, lots of black and white lambs gambolling through the sunny meadows. We discovered a charity tuck box at one farm and had time for pints of Wainwrights at the Stonethwaite Inn. Back at base Diane arranged meals at Seatoller with a stunning sunset viewed on the way back.

Saturday saw glorious sunshine for our ascent of Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. After a hearty hostel full English breakfast we set off from the hostel for the challenging walk and climb. We used the Wainwright Guide to lead us up the Esk Hause ascent, great views along the way. Next sections involved rocky paths with several steep climbs. Finally, we reached the summit of Scafell Pike (3162ft) with panoramic views in all directions on such a warm sunny day. We enjoyed our lunch break with the many other climbers, including lots of families, dog walkers and a fancy dress climber. After spotting Morecambe Bay, the Cumbrian coastline and Scottish Hills in the far distance we descended via the Corridor route. This is another rocky pathway with an unexpected 100m of hand scrambling up a cliff. Well done to Amanda who persevered with the climb after completing three Wainwrights the day before. Back at base we enjoyed the hostel meals after a long day, Anne Marie savouring her pot noodle feast. The other walk for the rest of the group was a circumnavigation of Derwent Water led by Christine and Joan. This involved a visit to Lodore Falls, and a picnic lunch on the very scenic banks of the lake. Ended with the inevitable drinks at Keswick Wetherspoons (in the former courthouse).

Sunday saw Mike and Cathy cook the largest fry-up seen in the region since Wainwright was a nipper. The main walk was an 8-mile route with climbs of two Wainwrights. From the hostel we walked through moss covered woods before ascending through old slate mine ruins and trackways. We then did the final climb to High Spy (2142ft), the lower clouds hiding the way ahead. We then headed north on an easier ridge walk reaching Maiden Moor when the clouds cleared to allow extensive views over Derwent Water. We then descended via a zig-zag path just before the next peak of Cat Bells. The rocky path was tiring on the feet, so it was just the ticket to arrive at Grange tea shop for cake, tea and ale. We almost got into a right pickle over the bus back, Sandra rescuing us in spotting the unexpected 77 bus and ensuring it stopped for the others. Other activities were a visit and walk around Buttermere Lake, and tours of the local museums and art galleries led by Dean and Sarah. Last night is always party night; we had an evening of folk music in the lounge provided by three local families who brought along their instruments including a Northumberland bagpipe. To celebrate the holiday, we shared with them our Victoria Sponge and Lemon Drizzle cakes.

The Bank Holiday Monday saw one group heading to Keswick for a walk in the high fells above the town. Quite a few made it to Lake Windermere for a cruise on the Victorian era steamer with inspiring views of England's largest lake. Just time for a final cream tea after another rewarding holiday in the lakes.

Walkers were Diane, Mike, Cathy, Dean, Sarah, Brian, Rob P, Joe, Humay, Malcolm, Dean S, Christine, Elaine, Joan, Tracey, Isabel, Marianne, Sally, Sandra, Anne Marie, Nathalie, Rohini and Amanda.

Report by Brian
On a very hot Sunday afternoon six of us gathered at the Windrush Memorial at Waterloo Station. This is the second time I have done this walk which is a very interesting diagonal trek across London looking at the people who campaigned for civil rights across the last 300 years in London. Each time I do the walk I find it fascinating to hear what other people have to say and learn masses from them too. We focused on the earlier campaigners particularly at St James Church Piccadilly. We then made use of the Tube to get to Latimer Road and Grenfell Tower.

Many thanks to Lisa, Mark, John and Maureen for a lovely afternoon out!

Report by Judith
Clear blue skies greeted us as we arrived in the village of Hambleden. Our group of eight headed out to enjoy the day, following the Shakespeare's Way up through North Cot Wood. Quite a steep hill; this was the steepest hill of the walk. As we rested to catch our breath another walker messaged from the car park - so now we were nine. We progressed on through farmland in the area known as Rotten Row (the name describes a place where there was once a row of tumbledown cottages infested with rats (raton) and dates to the 14th century or earlier), a strange name for such a scenic place. We saw deer leaping through the fields of wheat and numerous red kites soaring high above. The route suddenly became the Chiltern Way. We followed this down into Heath Wood, which gave cooling shade. Stopping for a photo opportunity we encountered a man who kindly took the shot. Out of the woods and more idyllic scenery, through Davenport Wood and Marlow Common. Marlow arrived quite quickly, we had set a good pace, even in the heat of the day.

We picnicked in a small park before heading into Marlow where a cold beer was very welcome. Our original plan of sitting beside the Thames with an ice cream was not possible as there was a food festival occupying our usual spot. The return section of the walk, along the River Thames, proved a little tricky. The bridge near Temple Lock is undergoing repairs and we were unable to cross the river. However, there was an alternate route which had some interesting features. Harleyford Golf Club had all manner of animal figures created from random pieces of wood, these were very effective. The route took us through a tunnel of sorts, we could not see what was above and this did not feature on the map. We all made pleasing spooky noises as the tunnel had great acoustics. Good progress was being made until we reached Medmenham, where we discovered a flooded field which blocked our route. Another short detour took us along the rather busy road and then back to the Thames. There were many geese with very fluffy goslings enjoying life by the river, quite a spectacle. Mill End is where we left the Thames and a short walk back to Hambleden and yet another pub - a great way to end the day. A few were even tempted by the roast dinners on offer.

This was a very enjoyable day with a great group of people and the weather was a bonus. Many thanks to Sarah, Chris, Yvonne, Paul, Bev, Mick, Mary and Humay.

Report by Mike
Our first camping expedition of the year saw us return to Home Farm at Radnage. We enjoyed great weather for the three days as always. The site has stunning views over the valley with a very relaxed management style. We pitched camp to the sound of Boom Radio and put up the enormous shelter tent kindly gifted by Elaine. Harpreet had the smallest tent this year with Mark A pitching in just seconds. Runi led the afternoon walk through nearby tracks and meadows. Two very well groomed black horses galloped over to greet us in a buttercup meadow and we also passed sheep, lambs and goats on a very scenic route. As it was soon "cake o'clock" we shared out the cake, chocolates and prosecco. The sunset was dramatic with red skies across the valley, and we then gathered around the blazing logs for campfire yarns including Louise's tale of her eccentric clients.

On Saturday the early sun and Boom Radio woke us early for Coogee's strong coffee and Kevin's breakfast baps. Runi and Michael L led the 10-mile walk, a very scenic route through buttercup meadows and sheep pastures passing the villages of Bledlow Ridge and Radnage. We stopped at the perfectly set out hamlet of Bradenham, medieval church and manor facing the village cricket green. It has been featured in many films including "The Dirty Dozen". We strolled past an impressive farmhouse and stables, and a final climb to West Wycombe village with the church and mausoleum on the summit. Red kites were a feature the entire weekend and they soared around the viewpoint. We then explored the picturesque village of West Wycombe with its coaching inns and cottages. Lunch in the sun-filled beer garden at the George and Dragon. Just time to visit the annual cactus show at the village hall, such a vast variety of cactii on display with some rather splendid lemon drizzle cake served by the W.I. Our route back took in more hills and fields of maize before the climb to 'The City'. Back at site we had more surprise guests, and the barbecue was soon blazing away with the red kites circling. We then tucked into a sumptuous feast with Nick offering around an exceedingly rare blue Cypriot wine. Campfire lit, we gathered around for Coogee on the ukuleles, with some new songs debuted on the sing song.

On Sunday the sun woke us early and over many rounds of tea we struck camp to Boom. We headed for Chinnor for the steam railway. At the station café we stopped for bacon butties and cheered the arrival of the steam train. Brian led the 5-mile walk along the Ridgeway. After climbing to the ridge, we took the chalk track eastwards. At a meadow full of sheep and lambs we waved at the steam train chuffing by. At Bledlow village we strolled past the manors and cottages with wisteria and rose gardens in bloom. We reached the ever-delightful Lyde Gardens and wandered around the water gardens with its tropical features. As the afternoon sun beat down, we stopped at the village green for a jolly decent Sunday roast at The Lions. We took in the views of this timeless village with the steam train's whistle ringing out in the distance.

Campers and guests were Brian, Runi, Coogee, Kevin, Louise, Harpreet, Nick H, Mark A, Laura, Louis, Dee, Michael L, Kumar, Saraph, Rohini and Malcolm on delivery duty.

Report by Brian
On a perfect warm sunny evening we joined the many runners for the annual 5k run in Langley Park. This is held in May on a midweek evening to coincide with the rhododendron season. The colours were spectacular and we explored the pathways through the specially created rhododendron gardens, different colours around each corner. We then joined the 5k run, recognising many from the Northala parkrun. The route takes in the wide variety of Langley Park, all created by Capability Brown in the Georgian era. The San Remo cafe stayed opened late in the evening to offer all runners well deserved refreshments after the run, a unique setting for a perfect evening outing.

Report by Brian
On a bright sunny Sunday afternoon eight intrepid cyclists met for coffee at Paul's by South Kensington Station. Ian had already cycled a marathon, from Harrow via canals. Mark P used his initiative to hire a Brompton from the lockers nearby, a rather splendid facility and just £5 for a full day. Our route headed along the new cycling paradise of Exhibition Road, passing the museums and colleges into Hyde Park. This park has a network of cycle routes, all busy with cyclists on a wide variety of models including many on the ubiquitous lime e-cycles. We waved as a large group of well-dressed city chaps cycled past on lime e-cycles, their bowlers visible in the distance. We cycled by the Albert Memorial, Serpentine and the first of the day's palaces, Kensington Palace. Con led us through the Kensington Palace Gardens, full of imposing embassies, and pointed out the secret mansion used by MI5 for covert activities in WW2. After listening to Con's oration, we cycled into Green Park and stopped at the second palace, Buckingham Palace. The area was perfect as on Sundays all nearby streets are car free.

We then cycled along the Mall and found ourselves at St James' Palace, possibly the most significant of the royal palaces. It was home of the court during the Tudor, Stuart and Georgian era and is still where newly arrived ambassadors present their credentials. Motorcycle Mark pointed out the nearby gentlemans' clubs, Nick detouring to find a back route inside. We cycled through St James Park, full of picnickers on such a warm sunny day. Then through Whitehall and Westminster on Cycle Superhighway 3. The route is all segregated from road traffic and is so convenient for the increasing number of cyclists in London. After admiring the Palace of Westminster and the Abbey we joined the Embankment CS3 and cycled along the Thames. As the sun was well over the yardarm, we stopped at the floating Tattershall Castle. Pimms for all in the sunshine on the open deck as we looked across at the South Bank after a perfect cycle day in the historic quarters of London.

Cyclists were Con, Brian, Tim P, Nick, Ian, Lisa, Mark P and Mark P.

Report by Brian
Surprisingly it was a very Sunny Sunday morning. Walkers started to arrive, dressed for the sun: sunglasses, hats and knees were out. First things first, coffee and ice cream (yes) were enjoyed before the start. A short introduction to the walk, and we welcomed a new member on their first walk. For the first time, I decided to do this walk anti-clockwise. We set off towards the canal and Stockers Farm. Great to see horses grazing in the fields, a perfect time to chat and remember this was where Black Beauty was filmed. We headed towards Cripps Farm and Hill End, following Hillingdon Trail via Mount Pleasant. Enjoying the scenery and chatting, I decided (without telling the walkers) to do a cheeky little detour. Fingers crossed that it would be open, the well-known little gem known as Mitchell's Village Tea Rooms.

Perfect setting for olde worlde tea, coffee and a delicious homemade assortment of cakes, superbly served in enchanting, dainty floral cups and saucers with a mixture of teapots (very reasonably priced). Of course we had to partake, enjoying the atmosphere, surrounded by nature. It was hard to get the walking started again, but we managed. Through fields, with an amazing display of daisies, buttercups and tall grasses. With a few ups and downs, on to Bayhurst Country Park, where we sat under tall trees and enjoyed our well-earned lunch break. We carried on towards the Ruislip Woods, where walkers were eager to head towards the Lido beach, and the train could be heard. Realising it must be very busy, we carried on with our route, via ANZAC Cemetery and church. The group was very interested in looking around and remembering the soldiers. On our final leg towards Ricky, we arrived for a stop at the White Bear. Drinks and banter on the menu. What happens in the pub stays in the pub!

Many thanks to Kumar, Karen, Marianne, Dee, Michael, Jass and Ragini.

Report by Runi
On a beautiful sunny day, perfect for a seaside trip, one hardy HAWOGer met me at Brighton Station (a hardy HAWOGer is worth two common or garden HAWOGers so, you know, points). A cool breeze was present for most of the walk which meant conditions were fairly pleasant even going uphill. The most 'challenging' part of the challenge was actually accessing the trig points, having to negotiate grumpy golfers, a locked gate and a chain link fenced enclosure. However, each trig point did make for a great opportunity for a group photo. Having made good time we turned inland and descended to the pub. The wind turned itself off and we were greeted with a view of yachts seemingly in the doldrums of the sky floating above the lush rolling hills of the South Downs.

The Smugglers Rest is right on the sea front and along with some very pleasant outside seating offered a personal favourite, Sussex Best beer. The yachts had by this time placed themselves back in the channel. Without wind the day grew hot. So it was decided by both to have a second pint. The final stretch took us along the 'mostly' flat coastline and through the marina. We chose to forgo the pier, which was now extremely busy, instead electing for a ride on the Volks Electric Railway, the oldest running electric railway in the world. After a climb back through bustling Brighton, we returned to Brighton Station slightly ahead of schedule at 5:35pm, having had a minor delay in start at 10:10am due to a late train. The good pace possibly could have been down to the hardy HAWOGer receiving a message from home that he had beer in the fridge and an option of a kebab if he hurried up.

Thanks to Malcolm for his company on the walk, making for an enjoyable day.

Report by Joe
On a fine sunny day we met at Wimbledon Park and strolled along by the lake towards Wimbledon Common. We passed an interesting building which we realised was part of the lawn tennis club. We assumed it was the original tournament location. We arrived at the windmill and had ice cream and coffee. Onwards towards the common in much needed shade past the memorial into Richmond Park. It was at this point that we began to notice having web like silk on us. I then remembered a conversation I overheard in the cafe about the explosion of green caterpillars and realised it was the silk we were covered in. Soon we were at Isabella Plantation to experience the rhododendrons and azaleas. We carried on across the park to Henry's Mound and a obligatory look at St Paul's. We ventured on to the Roebuck and sat with a pint overlooking Turner's View at the Thames. Last stop Richmond town and a pint on the riverfront.

Thanks to Jeremy and Ellie for joining me on the walk.

Report by Nick
Our first evening walk of the season started and ended at the Queens Head (established in 1540) in Pinner. On a perfect sunny evening five walkers followed the Pinner Association "10 walks around Pinner" guide north via Moss Lane and the East End hamlet cottages (15th century). We continued through Metro-Land suburbs of Pinnerwood Park with rose gardens and manicured lawns. Then onwards to the lush meadows of Pinner Hill. We admired Pinner Hill House and the fine Victorian Pinner Hill Farm (very ornate timber and brickwork). We next climbed to the summit of Pinner Wood and the viewpoint from the Georgian Mansion of Pinner Wood House. Our route then descended south, passing several detached villas on the private roads of this secluded quarter. Kevin and Louise impressed us with local knowledge when pointing out former homes of Elton John and Bob Holness. The walk ended back at the Queens Head for well-earned refreshments and confirmation via text from Joe that no negative points had been earned.

Walkers were Brian, Louise, Kevin, Peter M and Lisa.

Report by Brian
Our bank holiday walk was to the French renaissance-styled chateau of Waddesdon Manor, the creation of the Rothschild magnate in 1883. From Aylesbury Vale Station we took the Waddesdon Greenway following Akeman Street, the Roman road to St Albans. On the Greenway we crossed the HS2 route which runs through the estate. Waddesdon has a priceless collection of the highest quality French furniture and decorative arts in its 45 rooms. The paintings include great works by Reynolds, Gainsborough and a fabulous collection of the works of the 17th century Dutch masters. One unexpected delight was the writing desk of Marie Antoinette, full of hidden compartments and intricate details. After the tour we had lunch in the National Trust tea rooms and then explored the colourful gardens with its great variety of trees from around the world.

Walkers were Brian, Con, Mark P, Derek, Prem and Soraya.

Report by Brian
8 walkers met me at Baker Street ready for our walk and later we were joined by Karen, so including myself 10 of us enjoyed the fairly good weather. We headed off to Regents Park and as always everybody is amazed at the beauty of this park. The planting was wonderful and we made our way via the open air theatre to the rose garden. Unfortunately not all the roses were in bloom, however the waterfall and lake are still magical. The secret garden remains closed due to flooding but the avenue with the urns which were beautifully planted up and the mirroring of these up the path is lovely and clever. We then made our way onto crazy Camden and headed for the Ice Wharf where most people decided to rest and eat before a few chose to explore Cyber Dog.

We then met back and began the last stretch of our walk along the canal to the newly renovated Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard. The weather remained dry and we decided to go to the Lighterman pub for some drinks.

A big thanks to Jeremy, Joan, Christine, Con, Coogee, Dawn, Heddy Sandie and Karen for joining me.

Report by Pauline
On a superb sunny Sunday morning and the warmest day of the year so far, 15 keen walkers met up at 10:30am at Chipperfield Common car park for the 10-mile walk. After introductions and a brief description of what was planned for the day, we set off in a clockwise direction, crossing the common to join the Hertfordshire Way at Top Common and walk the steady incline towards the adjoining Berrybush and Langley Lodge Farms. Through the farms to the pastures beyond we crossed the fields, fortunately without cows grazing, to Berrybushes Wood, where we paused to take photos of a magnificent display of bluebells. Continuing round the edge of the wood, we made a steep descent to a farm track in the valley below and then climbed the steep ascent to Little Westwood Farm and Bucks Hill House. Crossing a lane we walked down through a small wood to Bottom Lane before negotiating a sharp incline towards Newhall Farm. With the hum of traffic on the nearby M25 in the distance, we then headed along a straight wide farm track for about half a mile to Micklefield Green. Negotiating the busy Sarratt to Croxley Green main road, we carefully took the footpath that runs along the inside of the hedge adjoining the road and within fifteen minutes arrived at Cock Inn at Church End for our 45-minute lunch break. Here, the group split in two, with some enjoying a drink and snack at the pub, whilst others took advantage of the beautiful weather to have their packed lunches in the churchyard of Holy Cross Church opposite.

On leaving the pub we joined the familiar Chiltern Way, high above the Chess Valley, to continue our walk through the well managed Sandfield Wood, Dawes Common and open farmland towards the buttercup horse pastures of Rose Hall and Bragman's Farms. Following the way for a short distance along a lane, we turned towards Newhouse Farm and the outskirts of Flaunden and Black Robin's Farm. From open farmland the countryside now changed to woodland for the final stretch back to Chipperfield Common. Lower Plantation and Woodman's Wood were negotiated before we arrived at Belsize to walk the short climb back to our starting point at the car park, where eight of us stopped at Blackwell's Café for a well-earned drink and chat, whilst others made their way back home.

What a fantastic day. A perfect walk that was enjoyed by everyone, namely Michael L, Andy F, Claire A, Deirdre, Jas, Jiten, Kalpna, Kumar, Laurence, Mike D, Rajinder, Rohini, Runi, Saurabh and Simon.

Report by Michael
On a very wet morning three very hardy walkers huddled under a tree a stone's throw from the canal where we were to start our walk. Not expecting a stampede of people to join, we waited a while and then set off on the picturesque stroll along the tranquil canal from the historic Fox in Hanwell to bustling Brentford. We were later joined by another arrival and a surprise guest, who chatted for a short while. As you step onto the towpath, the gentle lapping of water against the canal boats created a soothing soundtrack to the journey. Tall trees lined the path, their branches reaching out to form a leafy canopy overhead. We passed quaint bridges over the water with ducks, swans gliding lazily by, together with herons and cormorants adding to the idyllic scene. Along the way we visited the impressive Boston Manor House with its ornate ceilings, grand rooms and restored wallpaper. All were very taken with an exhibition of homemade spoons. We returned to the canal with fascinating glimpses into the engineering marvels of yesteryear. Tim regaled us with tales of dredging a gun from the canal. Finally, as you approach Brentford, the pace quickens and the canal bustles with activity, marking the end of the tranquil journey through this enchanting waterway. We had a lovely drink and cakes in the very swanky Feather and Heart cafe to round things off.

Walkers were Tim P, Sally, Karen and Soraya.

Report by Soraya
A fantastic turnout - 9 of us on a slightly rainy and cold morning set out from Tide Tables Cafe at Richmond Bridge. Through Petersham (via some snorkel-worthy puddles), into Richmond Park and straight up our only hill to King Henry's Mound (it was a burial mound back in the day). The protected view of St Paul's was pretty special (and clear), including the high rise immediately behind it (the unprotected bit). And so, on to Isabella Plantation - it never disappoints this time of year: stunning colours - azaleas, rhododendrons, mandarin ducks. Exiting Richmond Park, onto Ham Common, then swift right onto the old carriageway run up to Ham House. A view over Ham Polo Club, then a Hammertons ferry ride across a fast flowing Thames (ferryman was just a little bit expert) to the opposite towpath.

We all picked up the pace at this point - tea and cake stop The Stables Cafe (Orleans House Gallery) - fabulous. Then the really unexpected treat: Marble Hill House (free entry): 3 storeys of Georgian magnificence. And so, last leg back to Richmond past the old ice rink site - where we discovered the area's forgotten Belgian link: over 6,000 Belgian refugees came to live and work in the area (and the munitions factory sited here) in 1914 after their country was invaded. We parted company at Richmond Bridge, some going home via The White Cross. A really great day - even the sun put in a solid, late appearance.

Thanks to Tim, Rob, Amanda, Rob, Angie, Louise, Catherine and Brian for joining me.

Report by Sally
17 of us met on a lovely day outside the station and after introducing each other, we headed off to the Perivale Nature Reserve. This is where we went to see the amazing bluebells. There are over 2 million bluebells in the reserve and lots of very old and ancient trees and shrubs. After about an hour of meandering through the reserve and learning all about the different types of trees and plants, we arrived back at the entrance where most partook in the coffee shop. We then set off walking towards Horsenden Hill. We climbed to the summit and saw the amazing views all over London, and Brian F pointed out the various buildings we could see. We then headed down to the gruffalo trail where we saw all of the animals: the snake, the fox, the owl and of course the gruffalo himself. We then headed into Horsenden Farm where we had our lunch of their famous homemade pizza and local brew. Some left us at this point and walked back down to Perivale but about 10 stayed on and had lunch.

When we finished our lunch we were walking out of the farm when we realised we had forgotten to see one of the most famous animals on the gruffalo trail, the Mouse. We quickly looked to our left and found a new home for beautiful mice that the conservationists have made. We then headed back to the station where we said our goodbyes.

Thanks to those who came on our lovely exploration walk with Daniel and me: Brian G, Joan, Malcolm, Victoria, Marianne, Sarah, Linzi, Brian F, Rohini, Betty, Rose, Nita, Jen, Rob and Bob.

Report by Martina
Two walkers met at High Barnet Station at 10:00 on a freezing cold but reasonably sunny Sunday morning and were treated to a brief on the history of Barnet. Once a village in Hertfordshire, in 1965 it gave its name to the fourth largest London borough which was originally planned to be named "Northern Heights". It has the only battlefield site in Greater London, that being the site which commemorates the Battle of Barnet in 1471. This was a battle in the Wars of the Roses. It is not known why the two sworn enemies, the House of Lancaster and the House of York, travelled 200 miles south to fight this battle. In later years, Barnet became known for its horse fair, from which the rhyming slang expression "Barnet Fair", meaning hair, is derived. Locals of a certain age still talk about "getting their Barnet cut", and many do - in Barnet High Street, which appropriately enough, is blessed with a lot of hairdressers! We walked our way through King George V Field, the steepest hill on the route. Magnificent views over London were to be seen from the top; you an see as far as The Shard. We then headed across Hadley Green, past some very expensive houses, including one once owned by the explorer David Livingstone, and through the wooded area of Hadley Common, which was as muddy as had been predicted. Once we reached the Great Northern rail line we took the "low road" towards Cockfosters, stopping off at Jack's Lake on the way. Unfortunately it's privately owned and parts are fenced off, so it was not possible to walk all the way round it.

Our lunch stop was at the Cockfosters end of the path which forms part of the London Loop, adjacent to the Cock Inn, where we had drinks to prepare ourselves for the return leg. For the return leg, we took the "high road" of Hadley Common, which took us onto a higher level through some footpaths which could often not be followed easily. However, we managed it despite the ever-present trip hazards posed by fallen trees and tree roots. We made it to the Great Northern rail line without getting lost and descended the steps to the "low road" to reach Barnet High Street via the western end of the common and Hadley Green. As a reward for our strenuous efforts, we rounded off the afternoon with tea and cake in Patisserie Joie de Vie, Barnet's best.

Walkers were David L and Cristina.

Report by David
Three of us gathered on a sunny morning. Saurabh declared this is his favourite walk. The potential muddiness soon became apparent as we waded through the waters of the River Chess. Bluebells galore at various points of the walk, and the new benches below Latimer House provided a scenic outlook for the lunch stop. Further mud and wading along the valley floor was all negotiated nimbly with our boots, which got a good clean at the end. The weather was much nicer than expected and most of the walk was completely dry underfoot.

Thankyou to Jas and Saurabh for their company and conversation on this very enjoyable walk.

Report by Rajinder
It was a sunny but cool day when 4 women and a dog set off from Bookham Station into the Surrey hills. We admired the historic church and buildings as we strolled through the High Street, saving the pubs and independent shops till later. We were soon at the start of the paths leading into the woodland where we were lucky enough to spot the early purple orchids, chalk uplands being one of their rare habitats. There were lots of other wild flowers too including bugle, bluebells and wood anemones. It was hot when the sun came out and suddenly cold when it went in - so we spent the whole day taking our jackets on and off! We dropped down to Bagden Farm valley and then it was a steady climb through the woods to Ranmore Rectory, St Barnabas's Church and the old school. We had our lunch in Steer's Field with a magnificent view looking south towards Leith Hill, Holmbury Hill and Pitch Hill.

After a short length along the ridge, we turned north again through the beautiful oak and beech woods of Ranmore Common, admiring the fine prospect of the National Trust's Polesden Lacey house from Prospect Lodge. By request, we then took a short detour down to Tanners Hatch hostel where the group has spent some happy times. It's known by some as "the most beautiful hostel in the world" and the garden was looking particularly lovely. We then walked up to the Polesden Lacey entrance for a quick shufty at the shop and a coffee before heading back to Bookham where the handmade chocolate shop was inspected before some well deserved pints were sampled in the village local.

Thanks so much to Jan, Mariana and Soraya for joining me on this springtime ramble.

Report by Anne
On Friday, walkers gathered around for our first walk from the hostel. As we headed towards the coast, we found ourselves walking straight into a sea salt foam shower. There were strong winds and the sea was extremely rough, with big rolling waves crashing on the massive rocks. Amazing sound and creating bouts of foam which we all saw. It looked absolutely amazing. Although it was wet, we stood around in admiration. It looked like a flurry of snowflakes, very surreal. We pushed our way along the seafront, passing many colourful beach huts, towards the famous Beeston Bump. We climbed the steep slope; luckily some parts had wooden steps. Fighting against the wind, we managed to get to the top to admire the spectacular 360 degree view. Well worth it. Holding onto our hats, we then descended the steep slope and followed the natural trail to the remains of the Priory of St Mary in the Meadow, formerly known as Priory Augustinian. We then followed the path, passing the Maze, and headed back towards the hostel. Fish and chips were definitely on the menu as the group separated and headed for the many eating places, followed by drinks in various establishments including the famous Robin Hood pub. The evening was enjoyed by all and carried on in the hostel.

On Saturday, after a hearty full English, not forgetting the porridge and bananas, over 30 keen walkers gathered promptly for our coastal walk to Cromer, nearly losing a few walkers as they followed the wrong person. Back on track, it was a dry but windy start, but the sea was much calmer. We followed the Norfolk Coast Path, with grand views of the sea and the not so flat land, passing West Runton towards Wood Hill Caravan Park. We moved slightly inland and carried on, only stopping for a quick break at East Runton Gap. We soon realised Norfolk is not all flat. After checking with the coastguard we walked along the beach, following the England Coast Path towards Cromer Pier, watching brave hang-gliders just above us and some over the sea, disappearing and reappearing in view. Great to listen to Odile chatting about her amazing experience of hang-gliding in Italy. Reaching Cromer for our well-earned lunch stop, that gave the opportunity for the group to explore the town, renowned for Cromer crabs and its famous pier. An interesting walk on Cromer Pier leads to the RNLI Museum, which has on display a modern lifeboat. Rendezvous afterwards was at the famous Regency period Hotel De Paris, built in the 1820's, where many famous people have stayed. We made our way back through Cromer via cobbled paths, passing the railway station before taking the path around and passing the loop of Cromer Curve, Manor Farm, and skirting through woodlands by Earlham Plantation and through Fair Lady Plantation, with its magnificent tall trees, enjoying the surprisingly hilly Norfolk countryside and woodlands, passing its various campsites and stopping by the horse sanctuary. Great to see these magnificent beauties. We then carried on down the winding wooded paths, crossing the railway line and heading back to Sheringham. As we approached the hostel, some trotted off to the Robin Hood pub and the rest then followed. Plenty of laughter and banter, and drinks flowed. Then it was time to glam up for the evening, out to various restaurants including The North at Burlington restaurant, superbly arranged by Diane, where delicious food was enjoyed, before the party headed back to the hostel.

On Sunday, brekkie finished and check-outs done, we headed off to Sheringham Station, where as a bonus there was classic car rally for the St George's Day Run 2024 from Sheringham to Holkham Hall. Many walked around, admiring the cars and watched as one by one they set off. Some went on the steam train to Holt, some drove, and some experienced the local bus ride. The weather was perfect, with a sunny start to exploring Holt and doing some sightseeing before saying our final goodbyes. A perfect end to a perfect weekend.

A massive thankyou to all who joined Diane and me, making this trip one to remember: Martina, Daniel, Louise, Kevin, Claire, Mike, Cathy, Christine, Sally, Sima, Debbie, Elaine, Prem, Derek, Geetha, Sharon, Anne C, Laura, Vian, Coogee, Joe, Jeremy, Odile, Bharti, Simon, Mark P, Lisa, Kumar, Michael and Jill.

Report by Runi and Diane
9 walkers started off on a clear and bright morning, amazed at the good weather. We made Margaret feel at home as it was her first walk. Everyone chatted as we passed well-kept suburban houses till we reached the green of Warrender Park. Luna enthusiastically led us into Highgrove Woods, the former garden to Highgrove House. People commented that it was hard to believe these dappled woods were so near a station, that Winston Churchill had spent his honeymoon here and the Pembroke Park estate was the secret arm of Bletchley park in the war. The walk then continued along the Celandine Way from Eastcote to Ruislip with views of Ruislip Woods in the background. We reached the Manor Farm complex with Grade II listed Tudor buildings, craft sheds as well as the Great Barn and the lovely manger opened up specially and let us look round the Manor House even though he was busy preparing for Hillingdon in Bloom. After admiring the oldest piece of wallpaper in situ, we retraced the route along the Celandine Way and back to the pie and mash shop for lunch in Eastcote. Some were horrified by the thought of eel stock in the liquor, whereas others got takeaways in addition to lunch.

Walkers were Mick W, Dean T, Laurence, David L, Gertie, Katherine, Karen A, Margaret and Soraya.

Report by Soraya
On a warm sunny morning nine of us arrived on the GWR express at the wonderfully preserved Brunel-designed railway station at Charlbury. We explored the picture postcard perfect town with its medieval church and marketplace. Leaving Charlbury we walked through part of the grounds of Cornbury Park, impressive avenues of lime and plane trees guiding us along the track. At Finstock we passed several farmhouses of Cotswold stone and made an impromptu pub stop as one of the party had missed the train (no names, it was not the usual one). Joe awarded extra points for an unplanned pub stop and we admired the camping pods in the beer garden. Crossing several lush green meadows full of buttercups and dandelions, we took in the views of the Evenlode valley below. Our lunch stop was at the charming hamlet of Ramsden. The Royal Oak provided jolly decent fayre, Malcolm and Joe electing for the mussels. Coogee entertained us with an unrepeatable tale of his uncle and Alan Clark MP. Ramsden lies along the ancient Akeman Street, the old Roman road from Cirencester to St Albans.

In the afternoon sun we continued via paths and quiet country lanes through several hamlets of Cotswold stone, each featuring a Great War memorial on the village green with wisteria-covered manors facing the green. The walk ended at the prosperous market town of Witney. The majestic parish church sits at the base of the expansive village green lined by almshouses and coaching inns. We managed to fit in a third pub stop at the Fleece (extra points) before the bus to Oxford. Alighting by the Randolph we attempted a record-breaking extra pub stop but the Tolkien pub had closed a few years ago (points deducted). Just time to pop into the former prison now a boutique hotel next to the castle. Luna charmed the concierges so we could photograph the original Victorian galleried courtyard (Fletcher and Godber AWOL today). Catch phrase of the day: "I've still got me doughnuts left".

Walkers were Brian, Malcolm, Coogee, Soraya, Joe, Geetha, Sharon, Ujen and Marianne.

Report by Brian
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