On a very sunny Sunday morning 10 of us gathered at Daisys for coffees and pastries. Newly reopened, the cafe's outdoor tables were busy with locals taking advantage of the fine weather. Our route was from "10 walks around Pinner" from the Pinner Association. We followed the Celandine Way through meadows, parks and wooded glades to reach Eastcote House Gardens. The walled garden was as delightful as ever, radiantly coloured tulips dominating the borders. No luck at second cafe here (staff faffing for England) so we pushed on through Eastcote fields to arrive at Kings Cafe in Ruislip sports fields. This cafe is old school, and we enjoyed lunch there, watching the many sports events taking place.
On to Ruislip Woods, we followed the paths to the famous beach at the Lido. Here we met Rob W who was on a marathon cycle ride. The fourth cafe was busy as was the just reopened railway around the Lido. We continued through Ruislip Woods, Tim indicating some of the trees before Runi and Liane asked plaintively, "are we stopping for lunch?". Jolly good idea said all so at the next park we had our picnic (second lunch) stop. Route back took in quiet tracks and lanes of Pinner, stopping to admire the many knitted hats adorning the postboxes. Back at Daisys, some, no names, stopped for a rather spiffing tiffin to end the day.
Walkers were Brian, Tim B, Martina, Gilly, Liane, Christine, Runi, and all the Cathy's, J, O and T.
Report by Brian
8 walkers met at Tring station on a bright sunny Sunday morning. Note to walk leader - Tring station has 2 entrances, next time he should specify which one to meet at. We set off along the Hertfordshire Way towards the village at Aldbury where we paused for a short while by the village stocks and pond for a few photos. We then picked up the Chiltern Way which rises steeply from the village through woodland up to Aldbury Common. We continued through the woods along the Chiltern Way where we came across a clearing giving clear views of the Bridgewater Monument, which was built in 1832 in memory of the third Duke of Bridgewater, who lived on the estate. We continued on our way along the path, arriving in Little Gaddesden where we picked up the Icknield Way. This trail took us down a steep hill though woodlands, where the ground was covered in a thick layer of wild garlic. At the bottom of this hill we stopped for lunch.
After lunch we continued on towards Ivinghoe Beacon. Instead of heading straight up the beacon we continued along the path to Gallows Hill where we stopped to take in the views of Dunstable Downs in the distance. We then headed up Ivinghoe Beacon where we then picked up the Ridgeway path and its views towards Pitstone Hill. After Pitstone Hill the path took us downhill all the way though woodlands with the finish of Tring station in sight less than a mile away. We arrived back at the station after completing 11 miles, with 15 minutes to spare before the train home was due to arrive.
Walkers were Phil, Mike D, Dee, Lesley, Karen E, Anne G, Brian F and Malcolm.
Report by Malcolm
Alpa, Judith, Marian, Michael, Runi and I met at a sunny Hatch End station - with a quick dash for a coffee. While we were fewer in number than planned, we gained two more walkers who asked us how to get to Old Redding avoiding the main road. Happy to oblige - we didn't charge for our services! They followed us at social distance. On the footpath through Grim's Dyke golf club, we passed the most modern landmark on our walk - a vaccination station. The greatest danger to us at that point was probably stray golf balls, but the golfers waited patiently as we passed. On through Harrow Weald woodland, we arrived at Grym's Dyke hotel via the gardens that Lady Gilbert (wife of one half of Gilbert and Sullivan) had designed at the turn of the twentieth century. Though it was tempting to stop for drinks on the terrace, which now appears to be open, we continued on to the viewpoint at Old Redding, however this is currently somewhat obscured while the car park area is being landscaped. The walk was a trip down memory lane for more than one of the group and Mike pointed out views that were familiar to him from growing up in the area. After Bentley Priory and the deer park (one deer!) we parted ways with Judith and Alpa at Stanmore Common. The remaining walkers took in the impressive houses of Little Common before heading down, past Stanmore Hall, to the broadway where we were lucky enough to find an outside table for a meal in the sunshine for before making our way home. Thanks again to all who joined me yesterday.
Report by Michela
Seven of us met at Rickmansworth Aquadrome on Wednesday morning. It was a lovely sunny day and after introductions we proceeded along Bury Lake, turning off at Stockers Lake entrance. We walked halfway round the lake enjoying the wildlife but not too happy about the number of midges. We turned off from the lake to proceed to the canal towpath but first stopped off at the weir enjoying the sound of the water. We entered the canal towpath at Springwell Lane and proceeded towards Harefield. We passed canal boats, two locks and Harefield sewage works where we noticed some interesting plants growing in the canal that looked like cabbage. We then reached the Coy Carp pub but did not partake in a drink. We then headed back to Rickmansworth Aquadrome for our picnic lunch.
We noticed a lot of the ducks were courting each other and saw some babies which was a lovely surprise for this time of year. We also admired some of the quirky gardens that had been created along the canal path. We had a picnic lunch at the aquadrome and walked round another lake before making our way home. It was also getting chilly as the sun had gone in.
Thank you to Janet, Linda, Chrissy, Alpa, Runa and Jyotsna for joining me on this very pleasant walk.
Report by Christine
We met at Watford station on a beautiful sunny day. The walk took us through Cassiobury Park nature reserve area, where the sun reflected beautifully on the clear water. We walked along the canal past "Molly's Cafe" towards the ascent towards Whippendell Woods. We passed golfers and dog walkers, notably 5-month old spaniels. Pauline was quick to hear, identify and spot the songs of the birds, including woodpeckers. I need more lessons here! Through the woods with bluebells emerging to the next wood, sadly just two alpacas but one posed for a photograph, if reluctantly! Returning through the next wood, our adventure continued as we "retrieved" a dog for a dog walker who needed to answer the call of nature - the dog walker, that is. Back to Whippendell Woods and returning via Cassiobury Park to our starting point. A good pace, 6 miles in two and a half hours.
Thank you to Pauline M for joining me. Hope to meet again.
Report by Dee
Five cyclists met at the Aquadrome cafe for the second ride this year. We used Sustrans route 61, mainly traffic-free all the way to St Albans. First section was the Ebury Way around Watford then parklands and riverside tracks along the River Ver. Among the many allotments and scooter / cycle skate parks we were struck by one notable mansion, the arts and crafts-style villa with the sporting motifs around the facade. At St Albans we climbed to the impressive cathedral dominating the historic town. We had our picnic in the Abbey gardens, missing out on Coogee's gobstoppers for a change. We then explored the Roman walls and remains. In the Abbey parklands two cricket matches were taking place.
Our route was then via very quiet lanes west through Bedmond and the picture postcard Ovaltine model farm (built in 1930, just for advertising purposes). We reached the medieval church of Abbots Langley and explored the interior. Paul thought he had found some well-deserved tuck left for walkers until he saw the sign "food bank donations". We descended to admire the Art Deco wonder of the Ovaltine factory, now converted to apartments overlooking the canal. Our route then was the Grand Union Canal where Kerry rescued a cockerpoo from the waters. The dog ran frantically away from the canal to join its owner high up the slope; the owners sent their thanks later via Facebook.
Cyclists were Brian, Malcolm, Kerry, Paul and Oliver.
Report by Brian
We met on a bright sunny morning in South Hampstead after a slight delay due to the Metropolitan line being closed. We set off in small groups to a first port of call, the shepherds well where the source of the Tyburn river rises from a spring. The next leg was to walk down to Swiss Cottage and a short trek along the canal to Regents Park. This is where we encountered the Charlbert Bridge which happens to be a viaduct for the Tyburn, and drains give away the conduit. Beautiful fauna and flowers surrounding the first view of open water after a spot of lunch in the company of birds including a friendly heron.
We set off down Baker Street, passing the Sherlock Holmes Museum and a talk on the conduit in Baker Street station. Continuing on to Marylebone we found the group had taken on an alternative quest, working out the flags of countries from little known embassies. Mark took a detour to find Wimpole Mews, famous for the 60's chiropractor Stephen Ward of Scandal fame. The winding lanes of Marylebone give a clue to the existence of a river all the way to Oxford Street. Jackie managed to harvest some left-over sausages from a street stall, slightly burnt but delicious. A very quiet Oxford Street found us outside Gray's Antiques where if allowed we would see an underground water feature that is part of the Tyburn. We carried on to the city border and found a Banksy and interesting talk on Charles II. The next destination was Shepherds Market which was on the banks of the Tyburn and famous for the May Fair, a notorious festival of debauchery. The next step was Green Park and Buckingham Palace especially poignant following the recent death of Prince Philip. This is where the Tyburn becomes the Kings Scholar Sewer and a worker once asked what it was like under there said "what was coming down was not by royal appointment". The last leg through Pimlico and our journey was done. Many thanks to the folks that joined me on a stellar walk.
Report by Nick
We met at Richmond station, with a short bus journey to start of the walk. It was so lovely to see familiar faces and finally get out and enjoy everyone's company while doing some exercise. After some debate Janet agreed to be the sub-leader, thank you.
This walk took us to Teddington lock and weir. Constructed in 1801 the lock and weir were the most recent effort to confine the river and stop its meandering. The weir meant that finally the tidal flow of the Thames stopped here. Over the last century this area has been associated with comic literature, most of us remembering the famous Benny Hill. Our walk took us past two lovely churches, one on the dirtier side of the road, the small one being the original parish church, the other being modelled on Notre Dame in Paris and billed as the cathedral of west London. We carried on through Teddington High Street, coming past some horse stables in a street of suburban semis. We passed the National Physical Laboratory where Robert Watson Watt, the inventor of radar, worked, as did Barnes Wallis and Alan Turing after his code breaking success at Bletchley Park. Our walk took us to the lovely water garden. This was to become our lunch stop, where we gazed at the swans taking flight.
All fired up we continued through the lovely woodland garden, enjoying all the lovely colours just appearing. We ended at the pheasantry cafe, where toilets and hot drinks were much appreciated. We carried on through Bushey Park to the United States Army Air Forces Memorial and then onto the SHAEF Memorial. This is where the final stages of the invasion of France were planned, the first step in the road to end WWII. We carried on towards Heron Pond where we met lots of deer. We decided not to eat the caviar on this occasion. We passed Mutton Pond, then we found the water nymph Diane's fountain.
Thank you to Janet, Christine, Linda, Helen, Chrissy, Gilly, Chris, Maria, Martina, Judith, Elaine and Dan for attending this fabulous walk, it was really lovely to see you all.
Report by Diane
Six intrepid explorers met on a cloudy grey day at the Rusty Bike cafe in Uxbridge. Setting off at a good trot, we followed the canal towpath, dodging bikes with no bells and joggers galore. We noted all the workmen clearing the woods for the HS2 line which will completely change that part of London. Runi explained about the Denham graffiti art which was nearby. We passed numerous pubs along the way, which alas were shut, however this walk would be perfect on a sunny summer's day pub crawl. We stopped in Harefield at the bridge cafe near the Old Orchard pub. Jan was impressed by the carrot cake beckoning her from the window. Malcolm had his scotch egg.
After a 'Narrow Escape' (an aptly named barge) we passed the weir, with the pretty underwater cabbages and a proud mother duck with her ducklings bobbing about. Super cute. We continued onto Rickmansworth, with Anne discussing the virtues of Whisky Mac and Malcolm having his dessert (Snickers bar). We passed the Springwell Reedbed, the largest reedbed in London, home to the reed warbler. Talking of warbling, Jan gave us a quick rendition of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Arriving at the Aquadrome, we had a second lunch at the lake. Jan and Liane indulged in a ginger wine whilst Malcolm had another scotch egg. We managed 8 miles in about 3 hours.
Thank you to Malcolm, Jan, Anne G, Mark P and Runi for joining me on this thoroughly enjoyable walk.
Report by Liane
Easter Monday saw nine cyclists assemble for the first cycle ride of the year. We departed the Rusty Bike café and joined the Grand Union Canal south. Our route then took in Systran's route 61 through farmlands and country estates of Iver and Richings Park. Derek tested his new electric cycle on the hills, sometimes even waiting for Prem. We made it to the elegant, landscaped grounds of Langley Park where we encountered Victoria Meldrew on a path. Our lunch stop was at the lakeside café in Black Park. New recruits Muneer and Simon debated the merits of carbon fibre frames with Kerry and Coogee.
We then headed west to the very impressive golf course of Stoke Park (the location of Bond's golf duel in Goldfinger). We visited the famous church (scene of Gray's Elegy) and the monument to the poet. Our route back took in Pinewood Film Studios and Burnham Beeches (detour to see the pollarded ancient trees). At the picturesque village of Fulmer the magnolia trees were in full bloom by the late medieval parish church.
Cyclists were Brian, Kerry, Malcolm, Cynthia, Coogee, Simon, Muneer, Derek and Prem.
Report by Brian
What a beautiful day catching up with friends. Some we haven't seen for a while. We set off from Turville with a spring in our steps. It could have been the cold breeze which made us pick up the pace. We had such an amazing day walking the hills of the Chilterns. We saw countless kites and two looking at Riley for lunch. Never saw Diane run so quickly. Our walk took us through lots of woodlands and Dan pointed out some deer hoofprints. We then stopped for lunch and Martina put on an exclusive table with tablecloth (as per Malcolm's wishes). We dined first class before continuing our journey. Tessa then found a wonderful handmade geocache of a hedgehog. We traveled through lots of amazing villages and sorry my friends all the closed pubs we passed, including a vineyard. Until we meet again when we can sample the delights.
Thank you Dan, Diane, Malcolm, Tessa, Liane and my right-hand man Daniel.
Report by Martina
On a distinctly chilly Saturday morning I met up with Cathy, Elaine and Zoe at Baker Street for a relaxed meander through Regents Park to Camden Market and then back along the towpath to St Pancras. Pauline had given me all sorts of wonderful advice for things to look out for but we still managed to go wrong. It was just so lovely to be able to meet up again and resume the conversations which had been cut short last December. I was recording the walk on Strava for step count purposes for a sponsored walk and the route clearly showed how we went round in circles a few times.
It was odd to visit a very restricted Camden Town Market where there seemed to be more bouncers than visitors - annoying they wouldn't even let us stop to finish our mid-morning coffees! We all marvelled at the scale of development in Granary Square, and were very happy to find some lovely public conveniences there. Then it was an easy walk back on the towpath to St Pancras where we saw a restaurant still with its Christmas decorations up. So glad to be back on the trail - looking forward to meeting up with others soon.
Report by Judith
On a very sunny Good Friday morning 9 walkers assembled by Boston Manor. Our route was intended to take in four parks on a 7 mile walk. However, on such a fine sunny day we extended the walk to 12 miles and seven parks. Our route took in Elthorne Park, Boston Manor Park (with Jacobean manor house) and Watermans Park before lunch. At an early coffee break in Brentford, we took in the classic car collection by the river, Martina engaging with the owner who invited us to the forthcoming formal opening. We had our packed lunch at Brentford marina (tables kindly left out by restaurants on the terrace), new recruit David fully occupied with football conversation, with Daniel, Liane, Jan and Gilly discussing haircare during lockdown.
Our route followed the Thames through Strand on the Green, Chiswick Riverside and Dukes Meadow. In the parks and tree-lined lanes we took in the apple and cherry trees, their blossom vibrantly colourful. The magnolia trees were also in full bloom in many gardens in this quiet quarter of London. Carole took us on an unofficial circuit of Chiswick Marina "I know some of the yacht owners" to admire the impressive vessels moored there. At Dukes Meadow the lawns were full of picnickers and people playing sports. Our route then took in the Palladian wonders of Chiswick House landscaped gardens including camelias, very colourful in wooded glades.
Walkers were Brian, Jan, Martina, Liane, Delroy, Gilly, Karen Mc, David and Carole.
Report by Brian
7 of us met at Kings Langley station on a chilly Good Friday morning, and set off fairly promptly at 9:40am, heading at first along the Grand Union Canal. We then headed east to Bedmond, and then to Sergehill, from where I had expected to find a path that would take us further east and under the M1, to Chiswell Green. However we couldn't be sure exactly where the path was because the farmer had ploughed the field and not left any clues where the path had been, so we took an alternative that ended up adding over a mile to the original distance.
We eventually got back on track and reached the edge of Chiswell Green, from where we headed north, walking past the former Gardens of the Rose (closed in 2017, apparently), and then into St Albans, where we stopped for lunch in the grounds of the cathedral. After lunch, some of us took a brief look in the cathedral before we headed south west out of town, passing some of the remains of the Roman wall. Returning to Chiswell Green and continuing south west, this time we were more successful in crossing back over the motorway as planned.
We then picked up the Hertfordshire Way, heading west around the edge of Abbots Langley, and then returning to Kings Langley, reaching the station at around 3:30pm. Thanks to Amanda, Ghazala, Karen, Malcolm, Rina and Ujen for joining me, and well done for completing the eventual distance of almost 16 miles in such good time.
Report by Phil
The first group outing after Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed was attended by Liane, Diane and Dan. It was mild and sunny, making it ideal for a stroll through some of London's royal parks, to admire the trees in blossom in the Japanese tradition of Hanami. In Holland Park we visited Fukushima Garden and Kyoto Garden, with Japanese maples and koi pond with waterfall. We came across one of the park's peacocks. Nearby is the south west entrance to Kensington Gardens. We admired Kensington Palace, once the home of the late Princess Diana, with its view of the Round Pond. We enjoyed the Italian Garden with its fountains. We watched the hand-feeding of wild parakeets, and had our picnic by The Serpentine in Hyde Park. The Rose Garden delighted with fragrant, colourful beds of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils. We left Hyde Park at the south east corner, walking through Wellington Arch and into Green Park with its avenues of tall trees.
Report by Gilly