We met at Chorleywood station and were rewarded with some lovely early morning sunshine. We walked across Chorleywood Common and picked up the remainder of our group from the car park at Chorleywood Cricket Club. Final tally of 17 so I had to appoint a backstop person.
We headed off towards the River Chess and followed the river for a while before heading up to Chenies. We then followed a route to take us west of Chenies before returning to the village for lunch at the Bedford Arms. We had our own room for lunch and 10 of us enjoyed an excellent meal although strict portion control was observed for some of the dishes. A few of the group joined us in the pub once they had their lunch and part of the group decided to head back to Chorleywood.
We left the pub about 3pm and light was fading by the time we reached Chorleywood Common. It was difficult to find the woodland path back to the station so we had to rely on a local dog walker to guide us back.
A fun day with the group and a very enjoyable lunch at the Bedford Arms!
Report by Mary
Chorleywood Common - Photo by Brian
Views across Chess Valley - Photo by Brian
Mist on River Chess - Photo by Brian
Chenies House - Photo by Brian
Bedford Arms Hotel - Photo by Brian
Christmas Jumpers - Photo by Brian
Crossing the Chess - Photo by Brian
The day started bright as we left Beaconsfield station at 10:00am, the bare trees and soggy leaves making the walk quite bright and easy walking, although it was a bit muddy in places from the rain the day before.
As we headed up towards Coleshill the light drizzly rain found us and chased us all the way across the open fields making us muddy wet and miserable. It had truly settled in and so at that point we decided to shorten the route as the mud was making it slippery and slow going. From Winchmore Hill we deviated via the main Chiltern Way towards Penn. Marin took on the navigating from the front as he walks fast but we soon learned that his famous catch phrase 'trust me' should be completely ignored. We were saved from going the wrong way a few more times as we slipped and trudged through the rain soaked fields, laughing at our little mishaps.
At lunchtime we found solace in a pub at Penn where Mick and I ate our sandwiches, and Marin and Nathalie enjoyed a big dinner. 'Trust me' went the wrong way once or twice more but we were saved from any mistakes due to the acute awareness of out trusty leader and on we went towards Knotty Green. The weather nice now and our spirits high, we avoided too much deviation (even though the train line was not on the map) and ended up back in Beaconsfield in good time for a lovely coffee and to recap our day.
Despite the weather, the day was very enjoyable and much fun with a few almost wrong turns. Shortening the walk was a good decision.
Thank you for the support on my walk of Marin, Mick and Nathalie.
Report by Claire
The first weekend of the festive season saw 25 intrepid walkers gather at South Downs bunkhouse and B&B. After decorating the house for Christmas, we were all taken by surprise by Santa. His knee was well and truly abused and we all found out who had been naughty that year.
Saturday brought mixed feelings as the British weather did its best to dampen spirits. However rain did not stop play and along the river we made our merry way to Arundel castle, passing the beautiful lake and cathedral. Huge scones and sausage sandwiches were consumed in the boathouse after an exhausting saunter. We met up with the geocachers in Arundel before heading by train to the second castle in a day at picturesque Amberley.
Back at the hostel, people saw the other side of Rob and Sandra as the festive quiz could have turned quite nasty. Luckily a turkey hat saved the day. A fabulous first Christmas meal was gratefully received in the local pub, served by the Virgin Mary herself.
Sunday was not a day of rest as we cleaned away the signs of Christmas. A few headed to Amberley to check out the local pottery for local people, and museum. Brian slipped into Amberley castle but escaped before being thrown in the dungeon for inappropriate dress.
Thanks to every for making it such a special weekend. To Brian, Humay, Jeff, Nick, Rob P, Leo, Mark, Mike S, Rachael, Dee W, Anne, Sandra P, Sasha, Diane, Liane, Cathy T, Zoe, Kim, Jennifer and Susie. And of course our quiz master extraordinaire Daniel.
Report by Jan and Martina
Santa arrives - Photo by Brian
Amberley village - Photo by Brian
Kim's Bookshop - Photo by Brian
Arundel in the mist - Photo by Brian
Amberley Castle - Photo by Brian
Christmas meal - Photo by Brian
Mike S and Brigitta with her dog Jacki joined me at West Drayton station for the start of our 11 mile walk. We started off through the waterways where the bird life was abundant. Onward then to and through Harefield where we had a slight hiccup as we tried to find the route through to Love Green, which we did find after a couple of false starts. From Love Green we walked through Langley Park, where a patient Nathalie was waiting. I had expected to arrive there by 11:15am, but we actually did not get there until gone midday. Nathalie was cheerful and full of energy having missed her train to West Drayton, and took the next one to Langley where she had a short walk to the coffee shop to meet us.
After a little break we walked into Black Park which was very beautiful as usual. It started to drizzle slightly as we had our lunch under a big tree, but it only lasted 5 minutes. Apart from a loose huge dog trying to spoil things, it was nice and peaceful. From Black Park we were homeward bound past Pinewood, and Iver Heath. Woods, fields and beautiful views abounded, and we returned to West Drayton via a different path through the mirrored waterways arriving back before dark at 4:15pm.
It was a lovely walk, enjoyed by those that came. I would like to thank those members for their support. Thank you Mike, Brigitta, Nathalie and the dog Jacki.
Report by Claire
By Little Britain - Photo by Claire
Swans on aqueduct - Photo by Claire
Black Park views - Photo by Claire
After a wet start to the day it was great to start the walk on a dry note. We headed up from Finchley Road station to Hampstead to find Shepherd's Well, the source of the River Tyburn. After locating the plaque that confirmed this we carried on down to Swiss Cottage, tracking the route to Regents Park. We arrived at Charlbert Bridge which crosses Regents Canal. Here could be found evidence that the Tyburn was aquaducted at this point and carried on into the park. More evidence from the array of lakes and ponds gives us our first sense of real water.
Onwards to Baker Street passing a bustling 221B for Sherlock fans. We entered Baker Street Station and the Circle Line towards Paddington revealed a conduit containing the Tyburn passing overhead in all its cast iron indignity. From here the brook once babbled through the Tyburn Estate south of the station. On the far side it handed on the name to Tyburn Street (now Oxford Street) and Tyburn Lane (now Park Lane). After the notoriety of the Gallows (now Marble Arch), residents began to refer to their village by the name of the new parish church St Mary-on the-(Ty)burn. In the 17th century it underwent a further whitewash of fashionable French to become Mary-Le-Bone. The course is easy to follow along Marylebone Street with its twists and bends giving more of sense of walking along a riverbank. It was now time for a café stop at a hidden gem sniffed out by Brian. After the short walk to Oxford Street we came to the point where we could have discovered a conduit in the basement of an antique shop but only to find the place had closed down.
Not to be fazed we headed on to Brook Street where we were drawn to a grate in the centre. This was our first discovery of our brook right in central London. Chris provided a torch and we could all see the water rushing beneath. The stream has actually defined many boundaries. We find one in Bruton Lane with a stone plaque. The stream exits Mayfair via Shepherds Market, where the original May Fair was conducted on its banks. From here we enter Green Park and now the course is clear thanks to the King's Scholar Sewer which runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. Through Pimlico, much of the Tyburn flows beneath the wide and winding Tachbrook Street. At the end the course dives beneath a housing estate and reappears just in time to join the Thames. The obligatory pictures were taken by the plaque, reminding us of our journey with a legend of place names, then across the road to the Grosvenor pub for gruel and grog.
Thanks to Brian, Anne, Chris, Coogie, Pete and Rob for joining me on this walk.
Report by Nick
Shepherds Market - Photo by Brian
Café in Marylebone - Photo by Brian
Christophers Place - Photo by Brian
Seeking views of the river - Photo by Brian
End at Pimlico - Photo by Brian
Three members joined Mick and me for this beautiful walk from Shenley.
We set off by 9:40am and headed north east across fields dotted with oak trees in full autumn dress, their golden colours looking beautiful against the clear blue sky. It was beautiful open country as we headed for and crossed under the M25 towards South Mimms. The walk to North Mymms (where the mi changes to an my) was a lovely gradual incline through a beautiful wooded area to the beautiful historic North Mymms park. One of Britain's finest Jacobean homes built in the last days of the 16th century and now used as a wedding venue. We were unable to see the house from the entrance but that alone was very impressive. The photos of the house on the website are worth a look. Heading past the war memorial, we once again were in touch with the M25 but soon left it via open fields to reach a breezy bench for lunch and then the welcoming arms of the Crooked Billett pub in Colney Heath.
All refreshed with coffees, beers and whisky, the endless chatter continued as we followed the trail down the west side of the Bowmans Lakes where there were endless birds and water fowl etc., until we got to Willow Farm. We had another stop there to take in the lovely views. Mick fed the swans, and we admired the huge pigs in a muddy enclosure opposite. The park and trees of London Colney were delightful, and then the wide-open spaces of the Arsenal training grounds and the rolling meadows supporting a nice equine population, and some stunning trees.
I was delighted that we did our 11 miles in such good time, getting back to Shenley by 3:30pm, well before dark. Conversation throughout the day was delightful, vitamin D well topped up due to the beautiful autumn sunshine. I hope Mary does not get a brown envelope through the post, and all in all a great day. Thank you to Mike, Mary and Coogee for supporting Mick and me on this Shenley Shuffle.
Report by Claire
Colne Valley view - Photo by Claire
Farmhouse on the way - Photo by Claire
Autumn fruit - Photo by Claire
Our ride across London from west to east coincided with Remembrance Sunday and the centenary of the end of WW1. At Northala cafe our delayed start (Kerry's fry-up) allowed us to hear the gun salute from the aerodrome to signal the minute silence. After observing the silence we set off eastwards alongside the Grand Union Canal, which was very quiet, and we were soon at Little Venice. Our customary coffee break was at the barge café, very popular with walkers and cyclists that day. We then joined Cycle Superhighway 3 (CS3) passing through Hyde Park. CS3 was opened in 2016 and is a double lane traffic-free cycle path from Paddington to Limehouse via Westminster and the Thames embankment.
Reaching St James Park the commemorations were in progress with parades, bands marching and veterans laying wreaths at the memorials. Nick led us on a detour to Waterloo for a Banksy and then we rejoined CS3 to follow the Thames via the Tower to the Limehouse Basin. At Cable Street we came upon the mural to the famous stand against the black shirts. We had a late lunch at the riverside Captain Kidd looking across to Rotherhithe. We stayed later for a visit to the Tower for the torch lighting ceremony in the moat before a final stretch on CS3 and trains back west.
Report by Brian
Start at Northala - Photo by Brian
Aqueduct over North Circular - Photo by Brian
Little Venice - Photo by Brian
Arriving at Hyde Park - Photo by Brian
RAF memorial - Photo by Brian
Horse Guards Parade - Photo by Brian
Remembrance parades - Photo by Brian
Cable Street mural - Photo by Brian
Zero plus me for my walk last Saturday.
Weather and route pleasant, not quite as flat as I'd thought - there were some gentle ups and downs and reasonable views. I'd brought my DAB radio for company as conversation with sheep just doesn't cut it any more. The waterfall at Eythrope reflected the blue sky and the River Thame was flowed pleasantly on my left as I headed west. I had company for tea at St Nicholas Church in Nether Winchendon - a reminder for Armistice Day 2018 was sitting on the bench opposite the church.
St Mary's Church at Long Crendon was my lunch stop before onwards and gentle upwards to Ashendon and (must be) my highest point of the day. Then variety of paths down to Upper Winchendon, detour north to near Waddesdon before finishing through the lovely Eythrope estate and back to Stone.
Circa twenty miles completed between 0930 and 1630. See you on a walk soon.
Report by Steve
We had an early winter's weekend in the Peak District at the end of October.
We stayed at YHA Edale and walked from the hostel on the Saturday up to Kinder Scout and back via Jacob's Ladder. Most of the morning we were ascending while it was snowing and higher up walking in a dusting of snow. The cold was forecast, the snow wasn't. Both lovely nonetheless! We stopped for lunch just before Kinder Downfall, navigation easy, and then lost our path over Kinder Scout - like many others! Heading more south than we wanted! The usual faffing ensued before we got to top of Crowden Brook (cue more faffing) before following it down to Upper Booth and back to the hostel via pub in Edale. About 13 miles distance.
Saturday evening most of us ate at the hostel - really good food at reasonable prices. And kids ate free (Daniel, Lochlan).
Sunday's walk saw five of us driving to Bakewell for a 6 mile walk to Chatsworth Estate and back before late lunch in Bakewell. And even later of course because the clocks went back the night before. Three of us finished the day with a visit to the Bakewell Old House Museum - excellent value at a fiver for each adult. Ten went cycling around the Lady Bower Reservoir. Weather sunny most of the day which brought out the vibrant colours of the woods around the reservoir. Easy traffic-free route with views of both dams and memorial to Dam Busters who practised techniques of bouncing bombs (used in WW2) on the reservoir. Good cafe at the end for hot drinks and food.
Thank you to (girls) Caroline, Diana, Jan, Martina, Nathalie, Tessa and (guys) Brian, Coogee, Daniel, Humay, David, Jeff, Nick, Phil and Radeinic for joining Carol, Lochlan and me on the weekend.
Report by Steve
10 of us met in the historic village of Aldenham, on the outskirts of Watford. It has been mentioned in the Domesday book and it is also in a conservation area. We met at 10:00am outside St Johns Church. It is 750 years old and there is good reason to believe that an earlier Saxon church stood on the site. We then proceeded to do a 6 mile walk around the surrounding woods and fields. The pace was set very easy and we managed to get 30 geocaches which is a brilliant day's treat for us. The autumn colours were in full spring and a lovely breeze of the day gave way to the leaves tumbling about us as we walked through the wonderful forest. It was quite a magical place, we all forgot about our worries as the sun shone down on us and such a splendid day.
After admiring the views of JFK's old house, we finished the day at a local pub for Sunday lunch and wished Maureen a very happy birthday. I want to thank Nick, Rachael, Mike, Maureen, Nathifa, Dee, Chaney, Rob Roy, Ellie and Bobby for joining myself and Daniel on such a lovely Sunday afternoon. I hope to see you on my next one.
Report by Martina
Just 2 of us met at the Bull in the centre of Wheathampstead. We headed east and before long we found the Hertfordshire Way. The paths seemed well marked, often tree-lined or on the edge of woods. Our first port of call was Ayot St Lawerence which housed Shaws Corner. Here I filled in the gaps for my companion Mick by giving him a few examples of the author's books whilst in return he told me about his mechanical (car) woes! We then headed south-east, coming off the Hertfordshire Way and onto a lengthy stretch which afforded beautiful views of the open countryside with (very) gently rolling hills on each side of us. We eventually took a sharp left on a bridge onto the Ayot Greenway path. The original explanation maintained we would come to a series of stiles to take us off this path across country, however, these stiles never materialised. So my course of action was to go on the road in order to take us to our next port of call.
We only required a short stretch of road to arrive at Ayot Green and what a green it was, both large and peaceful (apart from the hum of the A1(M)). Bathed in sunshine we feasted on our packed lunches. For our dessert, we popped into the Caldicott Arms for a swift half. For the final leg we wended our way down a beautifully landscaped golf course which became more photogenic as we had the majestic Brocket Hall and the River Lea in the background. As our breath was being taken away we were rudely interrupted by an over-officious groundsman who told us that we had transgressed onto the fairway. We managed to find the Lea Valley Trail which led into a wood which followed the river back to Wheathampstead.
I would like to thank Mick and the weather, scorchio all the way, for making it a pleasant ramble.
Report by Humay
Last weekend 6 of us met for the first of 6 weekends away, to start walking the North Downs Way.
We stayed in a B&B in Shere. On Friday evening, 4 of us headed into the village for dinner. After trying unsuccessfully to find the way in the dark through a couple of fields to reach the village, we returned to the B&B where the landlady kindly gave us a lift into the village, returning to pick us up after dinner.
On Saturday, we made our way to the start of the national trail in Farnham. Starting shortly after 10:00am, we headed east, passing south of Seale and through Puttenham. After crossing Puttenham Heath, we stopped to eat our packed lunches outside the Watts Gallery artists' village. After lunch, we continued our walk, cutting across the southern edge of Guildford, before heading up St Martha's Hill for some fine views. After a break, we had one final descent and ascent to take us to the end of the day's walking at Newlands Corner, after around 15 miles. In the evening, we were more successful in finding our way across the fields for dinner at the White Horse pub, which featured in 'The Holiday' film.
On Sunday, we started walking again from Newlands Corner at around 10:30am. We stopped for lunch on the edge of Ranmore Common. After lunch we headed gradually downhill past Denbies wine estate, which seemed to be very popular with ladybirds. Finally we headed up a very steep incline to the top of Box Hill, where we finished the weekend's walking after around 11 miles.
Thanks to Amanda, Anna, Emma, Karen and Marin for joining me.
Report by Phil
Four of us, me, myself, I and my trusty hound (no but seriously there were four people who told me they were coming but were put off by the rain). So myself and my companion, Monty dog, set off on this rainy autumn morning. My phone switched on waiting for the possible last minute latecomers.
The weather made no difference to Monty who bounded off excitedly through Chorleywood Common. I managed to pass the pleasant Black Horse country pub, without stopping for a pint by the fire, and continued through the allotment. After a short hike along a country lane, we arrived at Rickmansworth lakes. Perfumes of Mother Nature rose from the earth and the decaying fiery leaves fell from the trees. Monty was soon swimming in the river's and lakes' edges. I kept him near the shore to avoid disturbing the wildlife. A heron rose from the misty lake like a great ghost and flew off gracefully. After walking past three lakes and down the Grand Union Canal, we headed up into Rickmansworth town.
Taking the opportunity of a welcome chance to get warm and dry, we stopped at Caffe Nero. Reassured by Humay's advice during an early morning chat, that the rain would stop by 1pm, I discarded my rain trousers in exchange for some gaiters. Suitably refreshed and chafing at the bit after my caffeine fix, we set off again towards the river Chess. As fate would have it, the heavens opened again by the river, but Monty was delighted to have another chance of a swim. We continued along the Chess valley by the beautiful River Chess, and horse paddocks, then across the M25 towards Chorleywood House. The rain had made interesting channels of the leaves in the woods, which reminded me of the Spanish 'acequias' or water channels. We stopped for photos by Chorleywood House and then headed off home for Monty's bath and a dry off.
The walk was enjoyable and one I would be happy to do again, with a few more people and hopefully better weather.
Report by Paul
11 met on a very warm sunny day of this long Indian summer. From Saunderton we climbed to the Bledlow ridge and walked south with excellent views along the valley. In the sunshine the beech woods were dressed in flaming gold and yellow autumn colours. We met up with a Chiltern Walking Festival group whom we encountered at various spots as walking the same route. We stopped at Bradenham village, picture postcard perfect, with pub, village church, cottages and manor house all enclosing the cricket green. A red kite soared down to land on the wicket as we walked by. The paths were covered with dense layers of fallen leaves, with the sound of beech nuts crunching beneath our boots as we hiked through Naphill and Downley Commons.
We reached Hughenden Manor for late lunch in the busy courtyard café. At the Apple Festival we partook of some of the rather splendid samples of traditional English apple varieties grown in the orchard plus some freshly pressed apple juice. After exploring the woodland craft and beekeeping exhibitions and our packs now full of apples and honey we set off on the last stage through Hughenden Estate to Wycombe for trains back to London. New recruits Tony and Julie joined regulars Brian, Steve, Efisia, Sandra, Rob, Jackie, Zoe, Linda and Jackie.
Report by Brian
Views over Hughenden Valley - Photo by Brian
Bradenham village - Photo by Brian
Cattle country - Photo by Brian
Lunch at the manor - Photo by Brian
Apple festival - Photo by Brian
At Hughenden Manor - Photo by Brian
Four of us went on the walk today through some most wonderful countryside only 40 minutes drive from Harrow. The weather was amazing and we were so happy we had postponed from the day before to avoid the all-day rain. We set off from the car park and then through the beautiful autumn colours of trees and hedges. We are learning all about the different trees by the shape of their leaves. We found sloe and elderflower berries which kept us returning to gin. We then climbed to the top of Stony Hill and the views were amazing. We managed to get 23 caches with amazing adventures. The walk was mostly through wonderful woods and amazing trees.
Thank you to Shannon, Tessa and Daniel for joining me.
Report by Martina
On another fine sunny autumn day Brian, Kerry, Coogee and Diane set off from Epsom town; we ascended the old village tracks up to the racecourse on the Downs. We then cycled along Stane Street (Roman Road to Chichester) now an excellent bridleway full of challenging descents and climbs. At Mickleham Downs there were several walking and cycling groups including the inevitable Duke of Edinburgh hikers. A lovely climb on the plain took us to Headley Heath and the welcome CTC café.
After burgers and teas we began the next section through heavily wooded hills for the climb up to the North Downs summit. At Colley Hill we were rewarded with panoramic views over Surrey and Sussex as far as the South Downs on the horizon. We headed north through the fern covered sandy heathland of Walton Heath (host of major golf tournament the following week) before reaching the charming village of Walton on the Hill. We then took in a very fast technical descent before the unique crossing of Epsom racecourse via bridleways open on non-race days. As it was such a fine day we stopped for Pimms at the rather posh racecourse pub; our tables alongside the running track with stunning views across the Downs.
Report by Brian
Arrival at Epsom - Photo by Brian
Stane Street horse riders - Photo by Brian
Mitchelham Downs - Photo by Brian
Lunch at Headley Heath - Photo by Brian
Views from North Downs - Photo by Brian
Pimms at the racecourse - Photo by Brian
9 of us met at Princes Risborough for the steam railway walk. The connection between Chinnor steam railway and national rail network was just opened last month. After breakfast baps at the Café de la Gare we climbed aboard the heritage carriages for the scenic journey passing the Chiltern hamlets and cricket pitch on the way. At Chinnor we alighted from the steam train and walked to join the Ridgeway National Trail. On such a sunny day there were great views of the Oxfordshire Plain below. We reached the sleepy village of Bledlow and after touring the famous Lyde Gardens we had a leisurely lunch at the Lions pub watching the steam train pass back and forth in front of our tables.
We then climbed along the Icknield Way footpath up to Lacey Green and the impressive windmill on the ridge. This was the last open day of the year so we took advantage of the guided tour of all the levels. After a quick coffee at the village pub next door we set off north for the gentle descent back to Princes Risborough for trains back to London. Walkers Brian, Rob W, Jeff, Humay, Sandra, Rob, Linda, Helen, Nick plus Bobbie and Elie.
Report by Brian
Chinnor steam railway - Photo by Brian
Tight fit in carriage - Photo by Brian
Ridgeway walk - Photo by Brian
Lions of Bledlow - Photo by Brian
Lyde Gardens - Photo by Brian
Bledlow village church - Photo by Brian
Windmill at Loosely - Photo by Brian
We set off Sunday morning just after 10am from Chenies. The sun was out and we followed the River Chess. As we stood in front of Latimer House looking south we probably enjoyed the best view of the day, the wildlife in the river and the trees just starting to turn colour. We followed mostly woodland paths to take us up to Ley Hill. From there we headed to Flaunden, our route at one time blocked by fly tipping.
We reached the Bricklayers Arms in Flaunden just after 1pm. We received a warm welcome, before being ushered outside to have our coffees. On the day, walking conditions were perfect, there were no muddy parts of the route and we continued on well-trodden paths down to Sarratt, meeting lots of other walkers on the way.
From Sarratt we walked downhill to cross the River Chess on the way back to Chenies. As we crossed the river there were three swans in the water. A very nice moment as we neared the end of the route. Thanks to Mick and Claire for joining me on the day. We did over 13 miles, finishing at 4:30pm.
Report by Mary
10 of us met at the White Horse in Hertford. We set off on a circular countryside walk and proceeded to do a total of 25 caches and 8 miles. We started at the local church which dates back to the 13th century. Pranshi found this very easily and was very pleased so she did the geocaching dance. We then continued around the Cole Green Way walk which is a rail trail which runs east-west from the eastern edge of Welwyn Garden City to Hertford. We passed through some lovely hamlets.
It was a lovely walk through rolling hills and forests. The weather was so on our side and it was hard to believe it was the end of September. Most of my companions were new to geocaching but they soon got bitten by the geocaching bug and they couldn't wait to do the next puzzle and find the treasure. There was lots of competition between Aarish, Swarit and Daniel to see who found the next one. Sid was very kind to climb a few trees to get the treasure. We ended up doing a total of 25 caches which is a personal best for me and we even did a multiple one where we had to work out some maths. We had two pub stops, one half way around and one at the end.
Thank you to for joining me on this amazing day: Pranshi, Swarit, Aarish, Shuchi, Prabha, Kamlesh, Sid, Rahul, but a special welcome to Prabha and Kamlesh who had travelled all the way from Delhi.
Report by Martina
We arrived at Radlett station at 9:50am and waited around until 10am but no one braved the weather. It was raining hard but Daniel and I had all our rain gear on and set off at 10:10am.
Radlett is a lovely little village with markets and quaint churches and you could see this area is very affluent. The cars outside the houses cost more than my flat. We proceeded to walk the 5 ish mile trip around the Radlett area and we got our 600th cache. Daniel is getting so good at finding the treasures now. The weather could not put a dampener on our spirits and the flask of tea helped. We then headed back to the car at Radlett but first having a spiffing tea stop with some tiffin. We then did another walk in the nearby Shenley and it had stopped raining by this time. We then went for Sunday lunch in a lovely countryside pub.
Thank you to Daniel who always comes walking with me even in this rain. It was a lovely walk and beautiful countryside with well kept paths. I will be revisiting again on a warm dry day.
Report by Martina
10 of us met at the Towpath café on the Regents Canal for the annual Open House walk. New joiners Mark and Vijay joined regulars Brian, Jan, Rob, Gilly, Coogie, Liane, Jeff and Humay. Our first destination was the converted Dutch Barge by Jupiter Wharf. We then had the tour of Hackney New School by the Kingsland Basin. After exploring Adelaide Wharf developments we went on a very illuminating tour of Suleiman Mosque. Gilly posed many semi-relevant questions to the guide as we took in the tiled artworks and impressive dome. At Shoreditch Town Hall we found free refreshments before our tour. The highlight was the assembly room (scene of boxing matches in the 60s) and the rabbit warren of basement rooms with many interesting features now left exposed.
We walked past the tramshed with Damien Hirst art works and via the first council estate around Arnolds Circus. Our route took in the many fine examples of street art in this artistic quarter. After visiting the Goldfinger-designed Haggeston School we discovered the next 2 venues were closed with no prior notice. We decided to detour to the Georgian splendor of St Leonards Shoreditch. Today was the Communitea event with drama and poetry readings. The afternoon ended with a rather spiffing feast of teas and home made cakes at this very welcoming church.
Report by Brian
Start at Regents Canal - Photo by Brian
Tour of houseboat - Photo by Brian
Views inside mosque - Photo by Brian
Music Hall at Shoreditch - Photo by Brian
Making hay - Photo by Brian
Tea at the vicarage - Photo by Brian
On our final evening walk of the season we had Kerry, Nick, Rachael, Derek and Diane (plus Jockey, Ellie and Bobbie) on our easy 3 mile walk around the canals and parks surrounding Uxbridge. After crossing Fassnidge P we joined the canal, admired the many narrowboats and houseboats along this section. As it was a clear evening we reached the end point just as the sun was setting over the canal. We had some welcome drinks at the General Elliot canalside gardens as we listed to the live music from the open mic sessions inside.
Report by Kerry
Our off-road ride took place on a fine sunny day on the Thames. Kerry, Dean, Coogie and Brian alighted from the GWR train and headed south via farm tracks before tackling the climbs and descents on the bridleway through the Chiltern beechwoods. We descended to reach Whitchurch village with a detour to the impressive medieval church. Our route then followed tracks through the estate of Hardwick House before we reached Mapledurham. Everyone recognised the village from the film "The Eagle Has Landed". Dean and Coogie recreated the scene with JR and Rose on the stairway. The village is untouched by time and has just been the location of the "Vanity Fair" drama now being broadcast.
Our lunch stop was the tea gardens of Caversham Court with fine views across the Thames. We then joined the Thames Path (bridleway for this section) for an easy ride to Sonning village passing the locks and marinas, and seeing the rowing clubs out practising. We reached the riverside gardens of the Great House Hotel, the deck chairs being perfect for watching the boats drift by on such a sunny afternoon.
Report by Brian
Cycle track near Goring - Photo by Brian
Pangboune village - Photo by Brian
Mapledurham Church - Photo by Brian
Horse riders join trail - Photo by Brian
Sonning pub garden - Photo by Brian
8 of us started the walk at the cafe and proceeded on the 8 mile walk around Langley Park and Black Park. We were only supposed to do 6 miles but we had discussed at the start and all were up for a longer walk.
We were very happy to have such nice weather on a lovely September day. We had a lovely walk in the glorious sunshine but also introduced the new members to the art of treasure hunting which is geocaching. We found approximately four or five quite hard caches and thanks to Jennifer, Susie and Mark for jumping straight in and following me down lots of rabbit paths to find that elusive tupperware box whilst crossing streams and trees.
We then went on to Black Park and found a wonderful lake where some people were powering up some remote controlled boats. We then found a wonderful cafe at the other end of the lake and playground for Daniel and stopped for lunch. After lunch we walked back to Langley Park and to the top of a mount from where we could see Windsor Castle. We then proceeded back through Langley Park through all the amazing different trees, back to the start point where we sat and had another cafe break with cake and tea. Thank you to all who joined me today and hopefully we will do more soon.
Report by Martina
Five on my green easy event on Saturday. Gentle paced walk from Cholsey station to Wallingford partially along the Thames. Weather perfect - sunny and warm. Loads going on in Wallingford; Bunkfest in full swing, we saw morris dancers, street singers, stalls and heaps of people in the town centre which can't have changed much in the past few hundred years. Like going back in time. This year we didn't visit the Agatha Christie museum or remnants of the castle. We had lunch and enjoyed the various activities.
We departed Wallingford just after three, joining a path along the steam railway line, which was only diesel this year. Walk about 6 miles plus town centre walking. Thanks to Brian and Jeff for joining Carol, Lochlan and me.
Report by Steve
Thames Path views - Photo by Brian
Wallingford marketplace - Photo by Brian
Festival views - Photo by Brian
Music in the streets - Photo by Brian
Music on steam train - Photo by Brian
3 of us met at Chalfont and Latimer station on the Bank Holiday Monday morning for a walk taking in several villages in South Buckinghamshire.
We set off promptly at 9:25am, heading north-west and then south-west through Little Chalfont. Continuing south-west, we reached a main road which we had to follow for a little longer than I had originally intended, but we were finally able to turn off and head across country to the village of Coleshill, and shortly afterwards Winchmore Hill. We then headed west and then south to the village of Penn, and then south-east to Forty Green, where we stopped for lunch.
After lunch we carried on through the village of Knotty Green, after which some tricky navigation through woods brought us to Seer Green and then to Jordans, where we stopped for a mid-afternoon break. After our break, we headed north back to Little Chalfont, completing the 20 mile walk in very good time, reaching the station at 4:20pm.
Thanks to Amanda and Anne for joining me.
Report by Phil
A merry band of 23 bank holidaymakers descended on Weymouth for the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Friday saw regular arrivals of hostellers throughout the day, with Mike S making a marathon journey of 7 hours just for one night. Despite typical showers at evening, the mood was buoyant and we welcomed Dee from her luxury B&B, and Natalie and Alpa popping in from the isle of Portland. Cathy demanded to know who Alpa was sleeping with, but never found out.
After the kitchen crew directed by Martina and Humay cooked up a storm for 23 people, Saturday brought sensational weather and an exciting bus journey. Jacquie managed to find us despite risking coming later and campervan Anne recruited a potential new member from the bus at Durdle Door, who stayed for lunch. We oohed and ahhed over the gorgeous sight of Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door and walked into the glorious sun to meet the campers at White Nothe. Tea stop and pub swiftly followed and Natalie surprised us all by arranging an impromptu party at the Smugglers Inn. We meandered home with smiles and managed to keep Jeff in sight all the way, no mean feat. Sisters Susie and Jennifer regaled us with tales of home before most of us went for a well earned pie. We met up with the intrepid geo-cachers, who left no stone unturned in their 8 mile scramble for treasure. Kim passed her novice badge and was awarded by Martina with a trackable. Music from the festival sent us to sleep.
Sunday brought a different world. 12 brave cyclists managed the Rodwell Trail until a sudden gust blew Bev nearly over the bridge to the Isle of Wight. The hardy ones continued up the hill to the Olympic Rings and magnificent view over 19 miles of Chesil beach. Chris and Paul, Archie and Ollie, Liane and Brian managed to keep up with Rob C, designated sheepdog herding up the stragglers on the wind-blown bikes all over the island. We were met by campers and the reappearing Mike S who had a day trip over to Portland and the museum. The festivities continued in Sandra and Rob's adopted new pub and Jan, Humay and Liane showed the locals how we dance in London Town.
On Monday most people (Brian, Dean, Kerry, Cathy, Gilly, Colin and the trio - Mike, Cathy and Humay) descended on Dorchester for the historic town centre and cultural delights of Thomas Hardy. They enjoyed a spiffing cream tea in the afternoon at Alms House tea shop in the courtyard of a Jacobean manor plus music festival at Maumbury Rings - ancient henge site and roman amphitheatre. They also managed to meet the Mayor of Casterbridge. And far from the madding crowd, Jan and Rob braved the nerve gas in Salisbury.
Many thanks to all for such a wonderful and happy adventure. See you all next year in Margate!
Report by Jan
Our latest mountain biking ride was a tough day riding the South Downs Way from Hassocks to Eastbourne. Regular cyclists Brian, Kerry, Coogee and Dean met at Hassocks station and began the steep climb to the Jack and Jill Windmills high up on the Downs. We joined a tour of all floors of the windmill with tea and cake to follow. Then a fast ridge route (pushed along by the west to east tailwind) with some challenging descents on the way. Lots of walking groups on the Way with a few cyclists and horse riders also enjoying the views. We descended to Lewes for lunch at a café in the historic high street and a short ride past the priory and castle.
After lunch we continued on road to Rodmell and Monks House (home of Virginia Woolf) to climb again on Southease up to the South Downs. Then eastwards passing Firle Beacon with panoramic views north and south. Our last stop was a charming tea shop in the scenic village of Alfriston before the final section to Eastbourne and trains back to London.
Report by Brian
Start of ride - Photo by Brian
Jack Windmill - Photo by Brian
Climb to Downs - Photo by Brian
Alfriston Village - Photo by Brian
For our latest camping expedition we stayed at an orchard in Kent; the site specialises in glamping so is full of bell tents. After pitching camp regular campers Brian, Leo, Martina, Gilly and Coogee, plus Daniel and Freddie explored the historic town of Sandwich. We had fish and chips by the market place before back to site for campfires and marshmallows.
On Saturday we awoke to glorious blue skies and breakfast cooked by Gilly and Martina. We set off on the long coastal cycle ride from Deal to North Foreland (Botany Bay). The sunny weather meant that all the beaches and resorts along the coast were lively. Sustrans route 1 was well signposted; we stopped at Pegwell Bay for the Viking ship and the beach café. Climbing to Ramsgate the views over the yachting marina were stunning, the clear skies also affording the coast of France (25 miles away) to be easily visible. Arrival at Broadstairs we had to park the bikes as the town was choc-full for the annual folk festival. Bands were performing at the bandstand, the promenade walk and in the terrace gardens. We had our picnic on the beach whilst Daniel took over some sand castles kindly prepared by other children. Leo led Gilly and Coogee on an extended ride taking in the very scenic Botany Bay with its imposing chalk stacks and white cliffs. The intrepid trio undertook some cave exploration and beach games before cycling back to camp. We had a very late barbecue (long story) with the campfire roaring into the early hours.
On Sunday we discovered another steam railway! The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch railway crosses the unique peninsula of Romney Marsh which takes on a dystopian almost post-apocalypse landscape viewed from the train approaching Dungeness. At the terminus we alighted to walk around Dungeness Point. Overshadowed by the looming nuclear power station we explored the rundown beach houses (some now art galleries) and the 19th century lighthouse. Our climb to the top of the lighthouse was rewarded with panoramic views across the bleak pancake-flat landscape of the area. In the garden of the station café (with real ale pop-up bar) we enjoyed late afternoon drinks listening to the folk singers' rousing rendition of old sea shanties before catching the steam train back to life as we know it.
Report by Brian
Breakfasts in the sun - Photo by Brian
Glamping tents - Photo by Brian
Sandwich market place - Photo by Brian
Coastal ride - Photo by Brian
Views over Ramsgate - Photo by Brian
Botany Bay - Photo by Brian
View from Broadstairs promenade - Photo by Brian
Broadstairs beach - Photo by Brian
Train to Dymchurch - Photo by Brian
Views over Romney Marsh - Photo by Brian
Songs at the end of the line - Photo by Brian
Our latest cycle event was an off-road route on another baking hot day on the coast in Essex. The C2C train (packed with seaside passengers) swept us along the coast to Hadleigh Woods. Returning cyclist Dean joined regulars Brian, Kerry and Coogee on the Olympic mountain biking course there. We managed to stay on the bikes for the majority of the tracks; fast hairpin descents and some jumps were involved. Kerry did one tumble but bounced back onto the bike before we could take photos. We had lunch at the Hadleigh Castle tea rooms, with views down to the sea and the Kent coast in the distance.
Our route was then along tracks to the beach resort of Leigh on Sea. This is one of the hidden delights of Essex. We enjoyed some cooling ice creams on the quayside, watching the Mods arrive on their Vespas and the boats drift by. Then eastwards on the cycle track on the beach promenade through Chadwell, Westcliff and finally to Southend on Sea. Every beach side café was advertising award-winning fish and chips so we gladly took advantage of this before the final expedition along the "longest pier in the world" for views across the sea on another scorchio afternoon in Essex.
Report by Brian
Olympic mountain biking course - Photo by Brian
On the podium - Photo by Brian
Hadleigh Castle - Photo by Brian
Ice creams at Leigh on Sea - Photo by Brian
Coastal cycle path - Photo by Brian
Longest pier in the world - Photo by Brian
At the end of the pier - Photo by Brian
I arrived early Saturday morning to find trusty stalwarts Mark, Sasha, Nick and canine companion Bobby settled in at Westons campsite. After a hearty breakfast bap at the campsite bar, Sasha and I made our way down the hill in picturesque Dorset countryside towards the village of Corfe Castle while the boys took the Priest's Way, an old footpath leading to Swanage.
After exploring the delightful station, looking much as it did in the 1930's, we took the steam train to Swanage. On arrival, we purchased some provisions and met up with Nick and Mark at Durlston Castle on the coast. We walked several miles in the glorious sunshine along the scenic Purbecks coast till we came to a cove so small it isn't mentioned on the OS maps. Sasha and I dipped our aching feet in the water while Bobby seemed most impressed by the incoming waves. Shortly afterwards we arrived at 'The Square and Compass' pub, an excellent venue which was hosting a fair, complete with band and three bars.
Later that evening, we went to Swanage which had a fair of its own. We watched bands, devoured some excellent fish and chips from that day's catch, then watched an impressive fireworks display over the sea. A return to the campsite and we sat around the camp fire for a while mulling over the excitements of the day.
Report by Tim
Just me, myself and I today on my 14 mile walk from Goring and Streatley station. I knew you weren't waiting for me. Good job I'd bought my DAB radio to listen to on route as I had my freedom and knew I wouldn't be praying for time.
I know, you meant to come but no one managed to wake you up before you could go go. You bad boys and girls. Maybe you heard a careless whisper it would be too hot and longer than stated. It wasn't. Nice walking temperature with some rain late morning. And a gentle breeze throughout - definitely not club tropicana.
Navigation mostly good apart from in Gutteridge's Wood where I turned a different corner at The Acre to the one intended. Compass told me I was heading in wrong direction. I'm your man though for correcting navigation errors - lots of experience! Gotta have faith. So my walk was not quite flawless. But if I'm gonna do it I said I'll do it right right.
I had lunch at Woodcote, watching a cricket match with lots of teenagers and young guns having some fun. All I will say to you all is to remember to enjoy summer, it won't last, Christmas will soon be on its way. I say lets go outside and don't let the sun go down before we've had a good day's walk.
I went to the edge of heaven and back and had the view of the memorabilia outside George Michael's Goring home all to myself. Amazing! In fields adjoining the church of St John the Baptist in Whitchurch Hill I saw horses, cowboys and angels (well bulls to be correct). That's just too funky for me. I didn't see a monkey though.
One side effect of walking 14 miles on my own I had plenty of time to think about what to put in this report. Far too much time you're very right in thinking! And to consider whether Carol has everything she wants for the weekend. I make it 23 hits if I'm correct; see if you can spot them all without cheating.
Report by Steve
Friday saw the isle of Purbeck invasion from West London. After an initial meeting in the bay, we headed back to the campsite. Some took the opportunity to see some of the bands that start the carnival weekend off in the local bars, after which we all gathered at the campsite for a campfire which we were told was the only campsite in Britain allowing campfires. The campsite fireman then showed us his party trick, fully sitting in the fire with his fire suit on, unmissable. Soon the cloudy skies abated so we could see the remnants of the partial moon eclipse with stargazing and stories under the watchful eye of a bright red Mars.
Saturday, after a stormy night and the clearing up we headed in to Swanage to meet the hostel folks at the clock tower. Not that far along the beach part of the walk we found ourselves having a quick tea stop at a delightful café overlooking the beach as this was the last opportunity until lunch. We then climbed the long stint to Ballard Down but well worth the effort as we were rewarded with views over both sides looking at Bournemouth and Poole and back to Swanage Bay. The walk descended gradually to Old Harry Rocks where we stopped for a short break taking in the majestic chalk stacks that mark the most easterly point on the Jurassic Coast. Next stop South Beach café in Studland. With the sun still on side we then ventured to walk around Redend Point only to be thwarted by the easterly tide left over from the storm. A quick detour to the lunch destination at the Banks Arms with stunning views over Bournemouth beach. After meeting up with the rest of the group not walking we made our way out of Studland to our next steep ascent back to Purbeck Way. By now the wind was unforgiving and it was time to part company, with the hostel crew heading to Swanage town and the camping contingent heading to Ulwell via the Obelisk. After the campsite barbecue we all went into town to listen to the music at the marquee and the incredible firework display. After a late night drink at the pub we headed home.
Sunday, the rain was set for the early part of the day so a steam train ride to Corfe Castle was organised. A few brave souls managed to get to the top despite the weather. We then returned to Swanage for the carnival procession which after an initial wet start brightened up just in time to not waste all their efforts. Our numbers now depleted being a Sunday we met up for a well-deserved curry.
Monday, as the Sunday walk was cancelled half a dozen of us met up on Priests Way for a walk to Worth Maltravers along the coast via Dancers Ledge and Winspit Cove to the legendary Square and Compass pub for a much deserved lunch then an inland walk along the Priests Way back to Swanage.
Many thanks to: Rachael, Martina, Gilly, Jeff, Brian, Humay, Mario, Mark, Jacqui, Sandra, Rob, Maria, Liane, Jan, Tracey, Brian, Richard, Anne, Maree; the Young Ones: Daniel, Sam, Lol, Eadie, Maddie, Eva; the dogs: Freddie, Bobbie, Ellie.
Report by Nick
Lunch overlooking Swanage Bay - Photo by Brian
Corfe Castle Steam Railway - Photo by Brian
Start of walk - Photo by Brian
Climb to Ballard Down - Photo by Brian
Views at Old Harry Rocks - Photo by Brian
Studland Beach Cafe - Photo by Brian
Toasting marshmallows on campfire - Photo by Brian
Swanage Carnival - Photo by Brian
On another very sunny and hot day our small group of 4 riders took the fast Chiltern train to Aylesbury for the Grand Union cycle ride. Aylesbury is at the end of a branch line of the canal so we found the canal basin and easily navigated along the canal towpath. The towpath at various points has been upgraded with investment from Canals and Rivers Trust and other funding. We followed the branch line for 6 miles until we reached the main canal at Marsworth (about 2 miles north of Tring), and here we found the delightful Bluebells Cafe. We stopped here for late breakfasts and cold drinks.
After this we continued south east along the canal, the towpath on this section less well maintained, until we reached Berkhamsted, where we decided to stop for a drink. Just before this I had a rear puncture which was quickly patched, however maybe too quickly as upon reaching the pub I discovered I still had a slow puncture so patch number 2 was tried and this time was successful. In Berkhamsted we took the opportunity to visit the remains of the castle and fort which was free and open to visitors. We then continued along the canal through Boxmoor and Aspley, the towpath busy with walkers and cyclists on such a fine day. We passed under the M25 at Kings Langley before reaching Cassiobury Park near Watford. Here we left the canal and headed to the station at the end of a thoroughly enjoyable and successful ride along the Grand Union Canal. As the canal stretches for 150 miles from London to Birmingham perhaps we will return to explore further parts of this important waterway. Thanks again to Jan, Brian and Kerry for joining me on this ride.
Report by Rob C
Start of ride - Photo by Brian
Joining Grand Union Canal - Photo by Brian
Busy locks near Berkhamsted - Photo by Brian
A fabulous day was had by all. With amazing sun, great food and wonderful company we met at 2:00pm for the full festival experience. After a dust bowl wash Heather, Maree, Pete, Jan and Rob C settled down to watch over 20 bands play. We were joined by Hayley, Rob W, Nathalie, Nick and Jeff for headlining act Hayseed Dixie, banjo playing Ace of Spades and Living la Vie da Loca. Thanks to everyone for an amazing day.
Report by Jan
Courtyard of the Old School - Photo by Brian
Village green on the Hill - Photo by Brian
Just the 2 of us left Tring station just after 10:30am and we soon found the Grand Union Canal towpath, which we left at the first canal bridge onto a lane passing two farms before we reached a copse and a path that passed some old chalk pits that took us on our first climb that took us to Pitstone Hill. We then headed into the woods of Norbury Towers which houses a nature reserve which skirts this ridgeway. My walking companion Anne was suitably impressed by the breaks in the trees which afforded dramatic viewpoints of the Chiltern Hills and beyond. Our attention was drawn towards the display boards outlining the many species of butterfly and other natural rarities.
A steady climb out of the Grims Ditch and the woods took us to the Stocks golf course, from here we meandered our way between holes, fortunately the ball striking was up to par, and we safely found a kissing gate with a path with high hedges; once more we were in shelter from the sun as it was another scorchio day.
This bridleway took us into Albury where we headed towards wooded slopes, a detour around open fields took us to those woods, we climbed steadily to the dramatic Bridgewater Monument. This comprised of a Doric column topped with an urn and viewing platform. The inscription at the bottom said that the Duke of Bridgewater was "the father of inland navigation". The eponymous character was Francis Edgerton who first developed our canals in Bridgewater in Lancashire in 1755 and this monument was erected in 1832. This being a National Trust monument there was a café selling hot and cold food, and a natural lunch stop.
We moved on, climbing down and out of the Ashridge Estate back into Aldbury, a most attractive village with a pond, stocks and timber-framed houses. We visited the St. John the Baptist church which prompted both of us to make references to St. Mary's on Harrow on the Hill, the latter being older but both similar in internal and external appearance. The final part of the walk took us on the Hertfordshire Way. One side of the path skirted the golf course and the other a more dramatic view across the valley; we then dropped to join the Ridgeway national trail, this passed Westland Farm and the road back to Tring station.
Although a short walk, Anne thought it was just right for the hot conditions and our eventual needs, the footy and the tennis. So thankyou to Anne G for joining me on this walk.
Report by Humay
Our fourth camping trip of the season was another blistering hot weekend this time in Suffolk at a new site for us. Regular campers Brian, Leo, Jan, Martina, Rob C, Gilly, Diane, Maureen, Maree and Coogie were joined by Daniel and Freddie. We pitched site under a perfect blue sky helped along by ice creams and Tony on the wireless. Maureen and Maree found their pop-ups easy peasy, Gilly adding the festival bunting to decorate our pitches. After fish and chips at the site café Martina and Diane lit the camp fire for us to listen to more of Leo and Tim's campfire yarns.
On Saturday we picked up the hire bikes and set off on the trek. This part of Suffolk is flat and full of quiet rural lanes and cycle tracks � perfect for cycling. We soon reached the "lost city" of Dunwich and explored the medieval Friary and Lepers Hospital. Then to the beach for more ice creams, paddling in the sea and sun bathing for others. Northwards through the vast meadows and hay stacks typical of the region. Freddie led the way in his basket, passing a cricket match before we arrived at the charming resort of Southwold. On the promenade lines of jolly beach huts decorated in vivid shades of blue were our guide along the front. Reaching the elegant and recently restored pier we stopped for some elderflower cordials on the boardwalk. On to the lighthouse where we arrived just in the nick for the last tour to take us to the summit and lookout for excellent views as far south as Sizewell B and Orford Ness. Our way back was on Sustrans route 31 led by Rob C; we circled the Latitude Festival site, the music booming across the countryside. Back on site, Tim and Martina prepared a lavish barbecue with lashings of pop before we lit the campfire and star gazed under the vast East Anglian sky.
Sunday was another scorcher, Gilly cooking a spiffing fry up breakfast for us, helped along by Coogie's invigorating coffee. Tim set off for his day at the Latitude Festival; he was most impressed by the literature and R2 stages. Leo had arranged a day out canoeing for the rest of us on the Alde Estuary. We cast off in our Canadian canoes to explore the very scenic marshlands and reed bordered river. Avocets and bitterns were spotted overhead and water skiers raced by. Passing some pink coloured farmhouses (the colour of Suffolk) we alighted at the Snape Maltings arts and festival site where, amidst sculptures by Moore and Hepworth, we enjoyed some cooling drinks by the quayside in this delightful county.
Report by Brian
Coogee and Gilly prepare breakfasts - Photo by Brian
Breakfasts in the sun - Photo by Brian
Campfire lit - Photo by Brian
Start of bike ride - Photo by Brian
Crossing Dunwich Heath - Photo by Brian
On Dunwich Beach - Photo by Brian
Lunch on Southwold Pier - Photo by Brian
Southwold Promenade - Photo by Brian
Canoeing on Alde River - Photo by Brian
Snape Maltings view - Photo by Brian
Latitude Festival - Photo by Brian
Three of us turned up at the Grenfell Arms to set off for Windsor via Bray on a beautiful summer evening, the very lazy pace of the ride and the gentle flat route was ideal for an evening ride. We took the towpath on the outward journey passing by Oakley Court (St Trinians and Frankenfurters Castle) onto Eton over the bridge for a well deserved drink at the Bargemans Arms. A slight detour via a golf course got us onto the Jubilee River. As twilight descended we made it back to Maidenhead and a well deserved locally brewed pint at the Grenfell Arms.
Thanks to Mario and Rachael for joining me.
Report by Nick
4 of us met on a gloriously sunny evening for the latest evening walk of the summer. We arrived early for drinks in the beer garden of the canalside Fox Inn. Recent joiner Maree joined regulars Brian, Rob W and Jan. The normally tranquil garden was noisy due to a certain sports event taking place.
We took the canal path passing the series of locks before taking the Brent River path to Churchfields meadows. Brunel's magnificent viaduct framed the horizon; we viewed several new 345 EMUs speed by high above us. We then walked through the Bunny Park Zoo and made it through the labyrinth of the Millennium maze. In Hanwell village area Rob noted several Arts and Crafts Mansions whilst Maree recounted her adventures in Sinai and at gymkhanas. Arriving back at the Fox we found a table outside for cooling drinks as the sports event was just reaching its conclusion.
Report by Brian
Canal path at Hanwell - Photo by Brian
Brunel's viaduct - Photo by Brian
Only me for my Woods and Waters 20 mile walk in the heat on Sunday. Good job I like my own company and B.O! I'd brought my radio and headphones as I sensed that it might only be me. Every cloud though (there were some, in the morning, and a nice breeze too), the silver lining being I finished at 4.15pm.
Took me ten minutes to find the right path out of the car park (why a simple clear footpath isn't there is beyond me; loads of other signs and paths added to the confusion). Compass was key. Path out through woods to Cookham then briefly along the river (tea stop) before less obvious paths to Winter Hill and across the river to Marlow for lunch in the All Saints church graveyard (all the best places).
Then onwards to Little Marlow, Bourne End and and past Odds Farm Park through woods again to Egypt and return to the car park at Burnham Beeches. Lots on the radio to keep me company, very hot in the afternoon, and a fantastic thirst when I got home despite drinking 2 litres on route. Can't wait for the heavens to break!
Report by Steve
I was very happy to meet Michael at Harrow on the Hill station. He has been on most of the walks I have organised. We took the Chiltern railway train to Wendover where we met Paul who has just become a member. At 10:00 we started walking under a beautiful sun. We crossed Wendover. The main street old houses are really beautiful. An English folklore group was dancing and playing music. It was very nice. It was hot but soon we reached wooded and shaded areas. It was very pleasant to walk under the trees. We did not suffer from hot temperatures. Most of the walk went through shaded woods. So it was not too difficult to climb Boddington Hill and then Haddington Hill which is the highest point in Buckinghamshire. Paul had the opportunity to ask many questions about the group.
At 1:30pm we were back in Wendover. We had a well deserved drink at the Red Lion Hotel, formerly a 16th century coaching inn. Michael and Paul went back home, happy with the walk they had done. Many thanks Michael and Paul for joining me on this walk.
Report by Christophe
23 eager campers travelled to Hailes Fruit Farm for a weekend of camping in scorchio weather again in the Cotswold Hills. Debutant campers (with us) Susan, Maureen, Vedna, Maree, Anne, Jacqui and Linzi joined regulars Brian, Rob W, Rob C, Jan, Leo, Nick, Diane, Gilly, Mark, Sasha, Mike D, Humay, Martina, Nathalie, Martin and Emma, with Daniel, Arthur, Christopher and Freddie making up the party.
Since our last visit the site has added features, the best being the café which served us fish and chips, with excellent ciders and fruit juices from the farm shop. The newcomers settled into the bell tent and we witnessed another group summit; this one between Leo and Gilly, outdoing each other with tall tales and non sequiturs.
Saturday was another blisteringly hot day as we ambled to Hailes Abbey Halt to flag down the steam train. We had our own carriage to enjoy the wonderful views along the Gloucester and Warwick preserved railway. Bacon baps and drinks were served to our tables as we steamed to Cheltenham and then to Broadway. At Broadway we alighted to explore this enchanting Cotswold town with impressive manors and inns around the wide market street. Our walk took us south partly along the Cotswold Way, through the villages of Buckland and Laverton. Leo managed to bag drinks at the upmarket Country Hotel while the rest climbed the hills to take in the stunning views on such a cloudless day.
At Stanton we rested at the Mount Inn with perhaps the best views of any pub in the Cotswolds. From the balcony terrace we could see the Malvern Hills in the distance as we refreshed with some cooling drinks. The village of Stanton is built of the local Guitings honey-coloured stone which reflects back when the sun shines on it. We continued south to Stanway House, the 17th Century Jacobean mansion before arriving back at site.
Nick, Mike D and Martina prepared a lavish barbecue for the group, lots of supplies from the farm shop. Later around the campfire Nick and Gilly swopped anecdotes of encounters with the famous, some of whom were unknown to anyone else. Susan outdid all with her tales of time spent working on death row at Folsom and San Quentin.
On Sunday we awoke with birdsong and the whistles from the steam locos. After many mugs of tea we struck camp and set off on the day's easy walks. Martin led one group on the short walk to Sudeley Castle, an early Tudor palace famous as the home of Catherine Parr. The delightful landscaped gardens have featured in several period films. Mike D led another group on a tour of Hailes Abbey, the Cistercian establishment alongside the campsite which was a pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages. Brian led the rest of the party on the walk to Winchcombe, the ancient Saxon capital of Mercia. The abbey church is outstanding. Nick and Martina found a few geo caches in the churchyard. After exploring the alleyways and features of the town we had a rather spiffing final cream tea at the tea gardens on another lazy sunny afternoon in the Cotswold Hills.
Report by Brian
Friday evening drinks at site - Photo by Brian
Rob and Mike light campfire - Photo by Brian
Start of walk - Photo by Brian
Hailing steam train at Hayles Halt - Photo by Brian
Arrival at Cheltenham - Photo by Brian
Our own carriage - Photo by Brian
Broadway town views - Photo by Brian
Shaded pause - Photo by Brian
Climbing from Buckland - Photo by Brian
Views from Mount Inn - Photo by Brian
Stanton village - Photo by Brian
Stanway House - Photo by Brian
Cream teas at Winchcombe - Photo by Brian
The Thames Path evening walk took place on another sweltering evening of this great summer. Being around the solstice it was perfect for enjoying the long hours of daylight along the river path from Kew Bridge to Barnes. New recruits Maree, Ben and Anne joined regulars Brian, Rob W, Gilly and Jan. We met on the riverside terrace of One over the Ait for drinks before setting off. The towpath on Strand on the Green was crowded with lots of drinkers sitting outside the many pubs on this section of the path. There were also several canoe clubs out on the river on this fine sunny evening, with joggers and cyclists joining us on the meandering route.
At Barnes Bridge we crossed the Thames with great views upstream from the footbridge. Walking through the heritage area of Barnes village Rob pointed out the blue plaques and the impressive architectural features of the riverside, and Ben indicated the purported mansion of a television celebrity. We arrived at the Common to take in some welcome cooling drinks in the front terrace gardens of the Sun inn in this very tranquil corner of London.
Report by Brian
Start by Kew Bridge - Photo by Brian
Strand on the Green - Photo by Brian
View to Mortlake - Photo by Brian
On Barnes Bridge - Photo by Brian
6 of us met at beautiful Egham station. We headed of at 10:20 after checking that there were no latecomers.
We went south past amazing houses and the very quaint village of Egham. We continued on our walk through mostly woodland areas which we were very grateful for in the scorching heat of the day. The first two caches were totally eluding us until new cacher Marania found them with ease! It seems she is made to find things. I then had to crack the whip as we hadn't gone far and caterpillars and butterflies were taking the children off the path. We then continued on and Daniel and Amber found some handmade caches carved as horses and rabbits. Then it was Oliver's turn and no 15 cache was in the bag! We were on a roll! We ended up passing lots of horses and foals and met up some fellow catchers. And found two rope swings. Our total score was 22 caches got at the end and no DNF's. We ended up in the Crown pub for a late lunch and refreshments.
Thank you to Harpreet, Amber, Marania, Oliver, and of course Daniel my geocaching kid, for joining me. Hope to see more of you soon on another lovely walk.
Report by Martina
Five of us met on a splendid summer morning in the peaceful village of Ewelme in south Oxfordshire.
The day was set to become hot and it did not disappoint. From the start the pace was brisk. Heading up Rabbits Hill we had a splendid view back over Ewelme and the surrounding country. Butterflies were in abundance of all shapes, sizes and colours. The route went roughly south through Oakley Wood and passed a fine scrapyard, where clearly the owner was passionate about Range Rovers, they were in various states of decay, or perhaps this was where they came to die, like the mythical elephant's graveyard. Thankfully the rest of the walk was in keeping with the majesty of this particular area. We passed through Woodhouse Farm and followed a gentle ascent to my favourite point on the walk. Here we rested and looked back at the Oxfordshire plains and in the distance Didcot Power station, never too far from view at a number of points on the route. One of the group asked which way Oxford lay, I was not entirely sure, however, two very helpful locals and a their beautiful golden lurcher dog proved very informative. The two ladies had a slightly lengthy debate as to the exact position of Oxford, whilst managing to have a whinge about Rowan Atkinson, who, apparently was the owner of an enormous white building way off in the distance. Eventually we parted company, aware that Oxford was definitely out there, somewhere!
The one possible watering hole turned out to be closed and looked as if it had been so for many years. We had to make do with a lunch stop at the side of a wheat field. Two of our group, can't say who, were clearly in the early stages of a budding romance, "Give us a sandwich, I've finished all mine". I had promised the group a grand finish to the walk in the form of a pig farm, just to the north of Ewelme. The pigs in question seemed to have it all - small nissen-type huts were spread out over a gigantic field and also, what appeared to be a number of yurts dotted around. We were uncertain as to the purpose of the yurts, perhaps a feeding station, or maybe somewhere to hang out in the evening... When we arrived back at Ewelme I wanted to show the group the Almshouses next to St. Mary's Church. Well worth a look if you are in the area. The houses are part of the Ewelme Almshouse Charity, which gives accommodation for elderly persons in financial need. And finally, the church were offering tea, cake and cold lemonade, all very reasonably priced! This was a real treat on such a hot day.
Thank you Caroline, Emma, Karen and Dale for a grand day out.
Report by Mike
We had our annual summer garden party in the grounds of the church yesterday. On a fine sunny evening on the hill Jan and Rachael set out a vast array of home made cup cakes, sandwiches, salads, tarts and pastries. We welcomed along around 25 new joiners and regulars.
We made a special presentation to Christophe who has led many walks for the group even though he only joined under a year ago. He is returning to France next month. We also awarded the Cotswold Outdoors voucher to the winner of the early rejoiner raffle. Well done to Jan and Rachael for hosting the evening and to everyone who brought along a cake.
Report by Brian
Arrival at the Party - Photo by Brian
Presentation to Christophe - Photo by Brian
8 of us made it to Hampshire for the historical walk from the Watercress Steam Railway. We arrived at Alton via Waterloo and were greeted by a singer on the platform performing the evocative songs of Vera and Gracie as the steam locomotive chuffed towards us. We boarded the historic carriages and watched the scenes unfold at each station. This was the 1940s festival with vintage vehicles, passengers and staff dressed in service or demob outfits, re-enactments, and a real ale carriage.
Our walk started at the historic market town of Alresford taking in the chalk downlands. We passed several restored mills and the famous watercress farms of the area. The towns were also decorated for the festival with bunting and flags displayed everywhere. As we returned to the station we were in time for more period dancing including "On the Town" sequences. Dean and Sarah joined in when the audience was invited to take part and showed their prowess at the jitterbug. We explored the station and spotted Captain Mainwaring and Pike strolling by, before we boarded the steam train back to Alton and London.
Report by Brian
Period dances at station - Photo by Brian
Main street in Alresford - Photo by Brian
Village on Watercress Walk - Photo by Brian
Steam locomotive at Four Marks station - Photo by Brian
We joined the Ealing cyclists for the annual Sunset ride from Ealing to Richmond Hill. Around 30 cyclists followed the very scenic trail along the canal and Thames Path. We then entered Richmond Park via Ham Gate before arriving at the Roebuck pub high above the Thames. We joined the other London cycle groups (from Hounslow, Kingston and Hammersmith) taking our drinks onto the Turners terrace to take in the sunset above the famous view.
Report by Brian
Four takers for my 15 mile walk in near perfect weather. One (Jolenta) at the tube station in Amersham New Town and three (Anna, Keith, Marin) at the car park in Amersham Old Town. We departed promptly, quickly heading through Shardoles to Little Missenden where we stopped for tea in the grounds of the 11th century St Johns church.
Then south ish to the edge of Holmer Green before Penn Street and lunch on Winchmore Hill on its green, under a tree for shade. Post lunch we headed more east for a while to the edge of Knotty Green and then north ish paths to a few miles from Amersham for a quick tea stop. A relatively flat walk with lots of woods. We departed the car park 09:45 and returned at 15:20, a good pace to match the good company.
As always, thanks all for joining me.
Report by Steve
19 of us gathered at Manor Court farm for the first camping weekend of the year. Kent was bathed in sunshine as we arrived and set up camp. The farm overlooks the Weald of Kent, and has very good facilities. After putting up tents we enjoyed some local fish and chips whilst chatting to the very welcoming manager, Sue, and a Dutch couple arriving on cycles and aiming to cycle the entire coast of England. Martina and Rob then lit the campfire which was the setting for the long awaited summit of Leo and George who bonded around the campfire in the early hours.
On Saturday we awoke to Tony and sounds of the 60s before setting off on the walk. The Wealdway route on the ridge offered panoramic views of the wooded valley with oast houses standing out in the distance. We passed through the very picturesque village of Groombridge with its historic pub and church facing each other across the village green. The meadows by the river were a carpet of buttercups in the morning sun with wild garlic and forget-me-nots bordering the stream. Our lunch stop was the captivating High Rocks hotel with its terraced gardens alongside the steam railway halt. The steam loco whistled to signal its arrival as we took in this timeless scene. We then explored the sandstone High Rocks outcrop with its 11 intertwined bridges and viewpoints.
After lunch our route continued through forests to reach Tunbridge Wells where we explored the colonnaded walkway of the Pantiles with its elegant regency architecture. A gin festival was in full flow here and the Pantiles were busy with music, stalls and a very merry ambiance. Several of us partook of some refreshing artisan gin and wandered around the festival. We then caught the heritage train through the countryside back to Groombridge. We stopped for some drinks at the Crown Inn by the green. The Miss Marple tone was further evoked when the lady verger, sitting next to us with her cat, glass of wine and novel, invited us to explore the village church and outlined its history and features. Back on site Tim and Neil led the barbecue preparations. Amongst the offerings were sea bass and minted lamb burgers. Around the campfire Nick told us a few more anecdotes about his encounters with the famous of Berkshire including both Jeremys (Irons and Paxman).
Sunday was a very leisurely morning. After breakfast and many mugs of tea in the sunshine we somehow managed to strike camp before Rob C took a group for climbing at nearby Harrisons Rocks beginning with bouldering then learning how to belay and climb with ropes. The rest walked to Groombridge Place to explore the stunning landscaped gardens around this 17th century moated manor house. The gardens also featured a birds of prey display, and a tree top rope walkway attempted by a few including Daniel. We ended the day with tiffin at the Groombridge tea gardens on another lazy sunny afternoon in this historic corner of Kent.
New campers Jessica, Christophe, Sasha, Diane and Coogie joined regulars Brian, Tim, Jan, Martina, Neil, Lara, Mark A, George, Leo, Nick, Rachael, Robs C, P and W, plus Sandra with special thanks to Daniel, Coco, Ellie and Bobbie.
Report by Brian
Fish and chips on arrival - Photo by Brian
Time for tea - Photo by Brian
Passing Groombridge Place - Photo by Brian
View over the Weald - Photo by Brian
High Rocks Gardens - Photo by Brian
Gin Festival at Tunbridge Wells - Photo by Brian
Spa Valley Railway - Photo by Brian
Crown Inn at Groombridge - Photo by Brian
Campfire started - Photo by Brian
Gardens of Groombridge - Photo by Brian
Chess on the lawn - Photo by Brian
Birds of prey show - Photo by Brian
Another beautiful Sunday morning as we set off from Ibstone at 10:15. We followed the Chiltern Way on mostly woodland paths down to Northend. We then took a route through Longhill Hanging Wood and reached Pishill at about 12:15 where we had a picnic lunch under a willow tree and then made our way to the Crown Inn for refreshing drinks. We were entertained by a procession of vintage cars turning up in the pub car park.
After lunch we headed south to Stonor. There was a VW festival taking place in the grounds of Stonor House featuring a live band as we walked past. Made our way to Southend with fantastic views as we walked into Turville. We then headed back to Ibstone enjoying the last steep climb of the day and some welcome woodland shade. Finished at 16:00 having completed 12.2 miles. Thanks to Liane for joining me, it was great to have one more than when I did this superb route last summer!
Report by Mary
On Friday a cycle ride from Ferring to Shoreham-on-Sea with its amazing coastal views through the popular seaside town of Worthing. After the heavy rain there was a very nervous campsite owner about my choice of where to camp, especially when the heavens opened again in the afternoon, but that was it and an extremely hot weekend was the order. The plan to descend on the local pub was thwarted by its closure so relaxing at the campsite was the verdict.
On Saturday we took the car option to the top of the South Downs Way near Storrington. George Sanders lived there. As we walked on what was a double sided viewpoint we came across the Elizabethan mansion Parham House in the valley below. Once we descended Amberley Hill we came across the gurkha suspension bridge, which was rebuilt by the unit after the original was demolished by a falling oak. As we neared Arundel from South Stoke we could see the Castle in the distance. It was now time for lunch at the beautiful riverside pub, the Black Rabbit. Onwards to Arundel for a look around town including the rather quaint military antique shop. A barbecue was arranged at the campsite with campfire after a rewarding day walking with 4 teenagers.
Sunday saw us take the long walk up to Chanctonbury Ring with rewarding views over West Sussex. The pub for the last day's drinks was the Fountain Inn, famous for the Wings video "Wonderful Christmas Time" and the local of Lord Olivier.
Many thanks to Eadie, Rachael, Lol, Peter and Michael for joining me.
Report by Nick
9 of us made it to the first evening walk of the season. On a warm evening we climbed to the viewpoint at Haste Hill. Extensive views across the woods and golf course. We then crossed the Woods led by Linzi who used local knowledge to guide us to the beach area. We enjoyed the views across the Lido and debated which Cliff Richard film was shot here before Kerry took over the navigation to lead on a detour via the River Pinn to the house of a local celebrity. We then crossed the cricket field to end the walk with drinks in the popular garden of the Case is Altered.
Report by Brian
Our latest cycle ride was on another scorchio day starting from Ruislip Manor site. Our route took in the Colne Valley then up and through the Chiltern Hills. We had refuelling stops at the Merlins Cave at Chalfont St Giles and the Royal Standard at Forty Green. Several red kites tracked our progress near Tylers Green and a RAF WW2 bomber soared above from the air show at West Wycombe. After a few more climbs we at last reached the birthday barbecue at Wycombe where current and former members, and all recent chairpersons, enjoyed burgers and beers on a very sunny afternoon on the hill.
Report by Brian
Crossing canal - Photo by Brian
Barbecue started - Photo by Brian
View from Wycombe - Photo by Brian
Penn village pond - Photo by Brian
Three of us met in Hemel Hempstead on a glorious sunny day to enjoy the countryside. Following the Chiltern Way, we passed near the scouts HQ at Felden, then continued across some open fields, with the sun now beaming down brightly on us. We continued on the Chiltern Way marvelling at the huge greenhouses just on our right hand side. Switching to the Hertfordshire Way we then walked through some woods which provided some welcome shelter from the strong sunshine. We walked up the hill reaching the pub stop in Chipperfield for some welcome rest.
After food and drink we then walked past Chipperfield common where the locals were out enjoying the atmosphere. We walked through Chapel Croft, marvelling at the large country houses before going through Scatterdells Wood, a few more fields and an underpass to reach the estate at Shendish Manor. Our route took us on the golf course before we reached Apsley to join the canal towpath. It was then a pleasant waterside walk, past the many people who were fishing, and several locks and bridges. Reaching Hemel Hempstead quite quickly, there was a busy crowd looking at the various market stalls on the canalside. We continued, ending the walk back at Hemel Hempstead station.
Many thanks to Susie F and Jennifer F for joining me on this walk.
Report by Mark P
We set out on a day that started dull but went on to be a scorcher. Three were late but said they would catch us up.
We walked through the beautiful village of Chalfont and the surrounding Chiltern Hills. The views and countryside were very majestic and we also got to walk through a few woods. The humidity of 66% today made for a slower walk and we only managed to do half the walk which was just over 6 miles. I plan on returning here again in the near future to finish the rest of the walk. The three never were able to catch up unfortunately but well done to Martina and Daniel for always keeping going. They ended up doing 12 caches and lots of smiles.
Then tiffin in a wonderful Turkish cafe beside the station before heading off home on the train.
Report by Martina
We met on a gloriously sunny morning at Tide Tables by the riverside. Over coffee and cakes some reflected on the previous day's wedding and others on Chelsea's victory. We then set off on the Thames Path, passing impressive mansions Marble Hill House, Orleans House and finally Ham House. We entered Richmond Park at Ham Gate for our circuit via the Tamsin Trail, then busy with cyclists, walkers and a marathon race. Reaching the Isabella plantation we toured the gardens to view the stunning display of colours with the azaleas and rhododendra in full bloom.
After lunch at Pen Ponds we cycled to Robin's Hood to reach Wimbledon Common. On such a fine day the common was full of sporting groups and picnickers. After touring the village and lake we stopped for tiffin at the famous Windmill before crossing Putney Heath to rejoin the Thames Path.
New cyclist Jackie joined regulars Brian, Kerry, Rob W and Kerry, with Gilly and Freddie linking up for Isabella and the stops.
Report by Brian
Tide Tables on Thames - Photo by Brian
Marathon race in the park - Photo by Brian
Arrival at Isabella - Photo by Brian
Spectacular colours - Photo by Brian
Busy park cafe - Photo by Brian
Unexpected sights on Wimbledon Common - Photo by Brian
The warm weather and blue skies attracted a number of groups who were setting off from Tring station for a walk in the Chilterns. Having identified the HAWOG contingent, the ten of us set off and were soon making our way along the Grand Union Canal. The group were treated to the sight of a kingfisher, first at rest and then in flight, spotted by Mike "sharp eye" D. After leaving the canal we made our way up through woodland and along the Hertfordshire Way. As we reached the road that would take us in to Aldbury, a quintessential English village with its own stocks on the village green, a vintage car ground to a halt in front of us. Some of the more mechanically minded in the group decided that the front suspension had given way. Unable to provide much in the way of assistance we carried on to the Greyhound Inn for refreshments. Having quenched our thirsts we made our way to the Bridgewater Monument where we stopped for lunch. We then headed towards Pitstone Hill, where we were rewarded with magnificent views over the Vale of Aylesbury. Picking up the Ridgeway we made our way back towards Tring station where we departed for home. Thanks to all those who joined me on this lovely walk.
Report by Dave S
8 of us met at Watford station and made our way around the 5-6 mile caching route. Three were new to geocaching but probably not a new hobby for them but Sasha kept saying she didn't like it but kept looking for it if we couldn't find it! I think we are turning her! After the caching route we made our way to our first refreshment stop and had a bevvie to celebrate Rachael's birthday, you only turn 35 once! We then continued on to Cheslyn House and Gardens where we were amazed by the shrubbery and aviary, a gem of a garden which we will definitely go back to. We then headed back to the train for our trip home in the warm sun with another beautiful trip behind us.
Report by Martina
6 of us met last weekend for the last of 4 weekends walking the South Downs Way.
On the Saturday, we walked the 12 miles from Southease to Exceat. The day started dry, but unfortunately that didn't last, so we were glad to finish the walk by mid-afternoon and head back to the B&B to dry out. In the evening, we ate in an excellent tapas restaurant which was only a stone's throw from the B&B, before returning to our accommodation where some of the group watched the remainder of the Eurovision Song Contest.
On the Sunday, we walked the final 8 miles of the 100-mile national trail, taking in the Seven Sisters between Exceat and Eastbourne. We completed the walk by around 1:00pm, after which we celebrated our achievement before heading home.
Thanks to Amanda, Anna, Emma, Karen and Marin for joining me once again.
Report by Phil
Walking through the rain to the Cuckmere River - Photo by Phil
Starting the Seven Sisters - Photo by Phil
Approaching Birling Gap - Photo by Phil
Beachy Head - Photo by Phil
Group photo - Photo by Phil
Approaching Eastbourne - Photo by Phil
Finished! - Photo by Phil
A sign of things to come was the weather we could only have dreamed of, sweltering temperatures every day. After assuming the name of the pub called the Hostelerie was a hotel. We had a wonderful surprise on Friday with this neo-Gothic inn our watering hole for the weekend. Then back to the hostel for the famous homemade chilli.
Saturday saw us wake up to a glorious day, with breakfast on the terrace and incredible views to set us up for the cycling day ahead. Down to Symonds Yat to hire bikes and catch the rope ferry over to Symonds Yat East, where the mother of all hill climbs was waiting for us. Once negotiated, the fantastic views were worth it, we didn't have time to spot any peregrine falcons but carried on with gentle gradients to the disused railway tracks in the Forest of Dean. After a break at the bike hire café we carried on to Park End where the pack became split. No mobile phone signal exacerbated the problem, but we carried on to make an unusual detour to the Peregrine Way. After a steep descent the only choice to reach the path was a ten foot drop where we lowered the bikes in a fantastic team effort to not thwart our journey. We crossed the Biblings rope bridge to reach the starting point. Back to the pub for a sumptuous barbecue and live music.
The next morning we were again set for a glorious day, with the unusual request by an elderly volunteer at the hostel to "move your cars now" to allow a horse trekking event to take place, he was from then on known as Lord Goodrich. It was then time to set up the inflatable kayaks with some very nervous crew, but once we got our sea legs it was enjoyed immensely for one of the most scenic trips on a British river. However Colin thought he was on a cruise ship and never adjusted his lilo position. Once we reached Symonds Yat the boats and crew all piled into the van for an asylum seeking trip to the pub, some ventured off to do geocaching and a lucky few managed to get into Goodrich Castle before it closed.
On the Monday we set off to the Sculpture Trail in the Forest of Dean with fascinating sculptures and the centrepiece a huge stained glass window suspended on a tree-lined avenue.
My thanks to Martina, Daniel, Jan, Sughanda, Rachael, Mark, Nick, Neil, Colin, Aled, Rob, George and Brian for joining me on this incredible if a little experimental weekend.
Report by Nick
Group photo - Photo by Brian
View from hostel over valley - Photo by Brian
Breakfast on the sun terrace - Photo by Brian
Ferry taking cycles across Wye - Photo by Brian
Cycle track in Forest of Dean - Photo by Brian
View from Symonds Yat rock - Photo by Brian
Cricket at Parkend village - Photo by Brian
Equestrians and canoeists - Photo by Brian
Canoeing from Welsh Bicknor - Photo by Brian
Colin takes it easy - Photo by Brian
Goodrich Castle - Photo by Brian
Sleepers at sculpture park - Photo by Brian
Stained glass window in the forest - Photo by Brian
This was a very straightforward linear cycle ride from Ware in Herts to the Thames. After taking the train north from Liverpool Street we joined the canal at Ware and headed south on sustrans route number 1. Our first stop was the Tudor Rye House gatehouse, just before the Rye House Karting and Speedway Stadium which was a noisy interruption to the otherwise tranquil canal side scene. For much of the route the canal passes lakes, reservoirs and marshlands. Some Wherries from the Norfolk Broads were passed near Bromsgrove. We found an excellent community café for lunch by Tottenham Marshes. The Lea Regatta was taking place and the canal was full of rowers and crowds near Lea Bridge.
We departed then to cycle across the famous Hackney Marshes, seeing football matches taking place at the largest sports field in the country. Next stop was the Olympic Park, lots of noise from the stadium where West Ham were playing Manchester City. Then onto the historic 18th century Three Mills Island and finally Limehouse as the Lea meets the Thames. We enjoyed some riverside drinks again at the Prospect Of Whitby watching the many vessels glide by. New cyclist Diane joined regulars, Brian, Nick, Coogie and Kerry.
Report by Brian
Rye House Gatehouse - Photo by Brian
Cafe at Tottenham Marshes - Photo by Brian
Lea Regatta - Photo by Brian
Football on Hackney Marshes - Photo by Brian
Olympic Stadium - Photo by Brian
3 Mills Island - Photo by Brian
10 of us arrived in Cambridge surrounded by cyclists. We set off on the easy walk to Grantchester alongside the tranquil River Cam. Reaching the village we explored the medieval parish church and then the Old Orchard. The house and tea gardens were made famous by Brooke, Wolfe and their set during the Edwardian era. We had lunch in the café before setting off back to Cambridge.
At Cambridge it was graduation day so crowds of graduating students and postgraduates were dressed up in academic costume (blue, green or red scarves denoting their status) to receive their degree at the Senate House.
We then took in a guided tour through the courtyards and grounds of the colleges. We found the extra guests at a historic hostelry by Magdalen Bridge for late afternoon refreshments before catching the fast train back to London.
Report by Brian
Start of walk - Photo by Brian
Old Orchard Grantchester - Photo by Brian
Punting on the Cam - Photo by Brian
Graduation Day - Photo by Brian
Mathematical Bridge - Photo by Brian
6 of us met at Berkhamsted station on an unseasonably warm Sunday morning. After waiting for the delayed train from Harrow, we headed off at around 9:40am along the canal towards Northchurch. After a mile or so, we headed up to Northchurch Common and Berkhamsted Common, before taking a mid-morning break near Ashridge College, from where we could see the Bridgewater Monument in the distance.
From there, we continued through Little Gaddesden, and on towards Studham, where we stopped for lunch on the edge of the common. After lunch, we headed south along some rather under-used paths to Great Gaddesden and then to Potten End, where a country pub provided some well-deserved refreshment. After a break, we completed the last couple of miles, reaching Berkhamsted at around 4:00pm, having covered 17 miles.
Thanks to Anna, Keith, Marin, Steve and Johnny for joining me.
Report by Phil
Bridgewater Monument - Photo by Phil
Bluebells! - Photo by Phil
Gaddesden Place - Photo by Phil
Walking through the woods - Photo by Phil
31 of us turned up for the Bluebells walk. This was the most we ever had! I was very glad to have Brian help me. We all headed off from Perivale station to the reserve. We collected our maps and Daniel got a pack for kids with 'activities and learning' as we went around. We soon were immensely impressed by a sea of bluebells. The smells of the flower were very powerful. We made our way around the 1 mile pathways completing the activities like wood necklace painting and identifying plants. The painting was for the kids but we had a few big kids on the walk like Mike and Cathy so it took a while longer than planned. When we made our way back to the cafe at the start. It was then I realised that we were a much smaller group. Seemingly a few had carried on to Horsenden Hill. We then had some lovely tea and cakes on the lawn and we were joined by 5 more.
We then headed up to Horsenden Hill and on the Gruffalo trail. Sasha and Humay had to explain all about the Gruffalo to the older kids in the group. We then went down the other side to the Ballot Box pub where we had a late lunch and refreshments. Nick was very pleased with his whopper meal. We all then headed back to the start to our transport home.
Thanks to all who joined me today and played with Daniel. He said it was a great day! Thanks Brian for helping me and see you all soon for some geocaching walks.
Report by Martina
Arrival at woods - Photo by Brian
Start of walk - Photo by Brian
Martina points out nature trail - Photo by Brian
Tim's tree house - Photo by Brian
Tea after the walk - Photo by Brian
This was a lovely 10 mile walk through the Chiltern countryside.
After leaving Great Missenden station at 9:45, we walked down the beautiful village's main street. We stopped at the Red Pump Garage petrol station, which was the Roald Dahl inspiration for the garage in Danny, The Champion of the World. It still has 1950-style pumps, with the white Shell Oil sign at the top. Then we went to the small church of St Peter and St Paul where Roald Dahl's grave can be found. Then the real walk started. We climbed a hill and followed the path up to the village of Little Hampden. We saw many sheep and lambs grazing in meadows. We stopped for lunch under an oak planted in 1952 when Queen Elisabeth II was proclaimed sovereign. I took nice group pictures. We crossed a rapeseed field. Flowers were starting to bloom. In one week this field will be all yellow! We had a look at Hampden House, named after the Hampden family. The Hampdens are recorded as owning the site from before the Norman Conquest. They lived continually in the house until 1938. Johan Hampden was one of the leading parliamentarians involved in the English Civil War.
We stopped at the Hampden Arms pub. This is a lovely pub. We had a rest, drinks and dessert. Neil ordered lamb and Mark got a warm soup. We went back to Great Missenden and arrived just as it was starting to rain. We enjoyed drinks at Matilda's café, named after Roald Dahl's character. With their smartphone, some showed we had walked more than 10 miles, maybe 12! We got on the train to Harrow / London at 4:32pm.
Many thanks to Dean, Anne, Yusmita, Levent, Hasan, Michael, Mark, Neil and Diane for joining me on this walk.
Report by Christophe
Our latest cycle ride was an off-road route of 25 miles through the delightful countryside of Sussex. We started on the Worth Way sustrans track stopping first at Worth village church, a very rare example of a Saxon church. We managed to do a short tour whilst families gathered for a christening. We continued on the Worth Way to the late medieval and Tudor era timber buildings in East Grinstead. We found a welcoming tea shop in the market place of this historic town.
We then headed south on bridleways with a short stop at a designer conversion of a chapel (owner was happy to give us a tour with some anecdotes about his colourful past). Thence to the excellent Deers Leap mountain bike centre. This is a challenging course through the woods and meadows with several fast descents and some ramps to overcome.
We then cycled through the Scientology HQ estate before exploring the Kingstone vineyard in the valley below. At Kingscote Bluebell railway station we arrived just in the nick to jump on the brake van for the steam railway to take us back to East Grinstead and trains back to London. New cyclist Coogie joined regulars Brian, Kerry and Neale.
Report by Brian
Worth Saxon church - Photo by Brian
Sackville College - Photo by Brian
Converted chapel and owner - Photo by Brian
Saint Hill Manor - Photo by Brian
Inside Scientology HQ - Photo by Brian
Deers Leap cycling - Photo by Brian
Kingscote station - Photo by Brian
Prompt start for my 20 mile On the Edge of the Chiltern Hills walk on Saturday. Just two takers, Michelle and Sarah who'd joined me about five years ago on a walk from West Wycombe which I led for the Ramblers. Just the three of us that day too, as I recall.
The cloud soon disappeared, the sun shone and the chill became warm as we headed across the top of Watlington Hill with views over Oxfordshire and down and south westish paths along the Swan's Way to the pretty hamlet of Ewelme. We stopped in the church grounds with views of rolling hills all around before continuing through the church buildings and south eastish paths to Nuffield and our lunch stop at 12:30. Cloudy after lunch, more south eastish paths to Swan Wood and north to Nettlebed and west to just before Bix and our turn home.
North paths now through Maidensgrove (blink and you'd missed it) and to Pishill church and our mid-afternoon stop. Post lunch our paths were more classic Chilterns with rolling hills all around as opposed to the morning which was flatter than I'd anticipated. From Pishill we took the direct north paths to Christmas Common and back to our start point.
We finished just before 5pm, a good pace, and good conversation. Thanks all for joining me.
Report by Steve
Five of us met in the charming village of Hambleden. The weather, for a change, decided to be OK. It was dry and cool with a hint of blue sky. As this was Easter Sunday and April Fools day, I was on my guard. As it turned out, there were no funny or dramatic incidents to report. The most excitement we had was getting out of a Starbucks toilet with a dodgy lock.
The route was very muddy and waterlogged in places. We headed south to the River Thames at Mill End, where we crossed the river at the weir, this is quite an interesting feature and worth a look when there has been a lot of rain. Henley soon appeared as we made light work of the two mile stretch of the river. We stopped briefly at Starbucks. As mentioned, the dodgy lock on the toilet door was our greatest challenge of the day. We then headed west through Henley (a lovely old market town, for those who have not been there). Beyond Henley we were out into proper countryside, with a nice gradient to get us warmed up and some gentle wooded sections. We turned north onto the Chiltern Way for a few miles and then came to Greys Court, a National Trust property. Steve had been this way before and guided us to a good spot to sit and eat lunch.
Following the Chiltern Way we came to Bix Common, here we went east to Middle Assendon and the start of the only real ascent of the day. As Steve disappeared into the distance Humay, Paul and I stopped for a breather and to admire the views. At the top we approached Henley Park, which was the highlight of the walk. The view from the park was exceptional, with Henley not far to the south and what looked like a pale blue line of hills many miles away. Before the descent into Henley we rested at a point called The Mount, a convenient fallen oak made a good seat. All we had left was the the return stretch of the River Thames, however, we were on the opposite side from where we were in the morning. On returning to the car park, Mary suggested that this may be a bit longer than advertised. As it turned out it was 1.5 miles longer, so we did about 16 miles. We agreed, without the mud this would have been a bit easier.
Thank you to all for joining me on a really enjoyable day: Mary, Humay, Paul and Steve.
Report by Mike D
Thursday saw the first arrivals at the bunkhouse and it was quickly decided that camping was off for a couple of hardy souls. So with 2 new recruits to the bunkhouse it was time to fire up the homemade from scratch chilli. As the place started to fill up a group of eager geo-cachers set off to find some nearby treasure. After a hearty meal an impromptu party began in the dining area with a rival mainly female alternative in the outdoor Hobbit Hutch.
Friday began with a promise of fair weather so we set off for the first waterfalls walk. The stunning array of different types and size was amazing. A hidden waterfall was discovered by a breakaway group who later arrived at Sgwd Eira to discover that the waterfall was too torrential to walk under. The leading group headed back while the breakaways carried on down where young Laurence decided to take a first attempt at the falls. He reported back that there was a path behind it so we were able to stick to the plan and carry on the other side to Pontnedfecchan. After passing Dinas Rock we headed into town where the first pub didn't allow dogs. Luckily we found a better one that did. Later the others joined us along with Rob and Sandra that had travelled up that day. The rain then came as we settled in for late afternoon refreshments. Back at the bunkhouse with Rob and Sandra settled in the Shepherds Hut with welcome hamper provided by the owner. Another night of relaxing and tired heads.
Saturday the rain hadn't abated so a decision was made to hold off the start of the walk, that saved us as it was then dry for the rest of the day after the half-hour delay. We headed up the Afon Mellte to Ystradfellte where we came across the access point to the pot-holing caves. After a quick check on food times in the pub in Ystradfellte, we carried on the planned walk, a little less pace than expected because of conditions under foot. After a few challenging climbs we took the road to the remains of Castle Coch. A scout round the mound was all that could be gleaned. Next another climb to the cairns above Forest Fawr where the snow-capped Brecon hills provided plenty of scenic memories. Back down the hill to a welcome stop at the pub with a roaring fire, lunch was much appreciated. The whereabouts of the geo-cachers Martina, Daniel and Rachael being long passed the agreed time to meet needed a trip up the hill for a signal, once contacted we made tracks back, some more friendly than others. At the bunkhouse a de-brief of the geo-cachers revealed why we never saw them as they had ventured into marshland to be rescued by quad bikes and further trouble led to the offer of a lift from the local farmer. Another night of more good friendly banter prevailed.
Sunday after the experience of the GC's we decided to take a detour through the remaining waterfalls walk and onto Henryhd though some impressive Brecon forest with all types of off-road vehicles enjoying the wide lanes. And all leading to our goal, Henrhyd Falls used as the Batcave in the Dark Knight Rises. Only option back because of the detour was a fast A-road, not ideal but nobody minded too much apart from me with the dogs. Then a stop in Pontnedffeccan for food and we entered our last night with an added appearance by the owner's son and friends. A magnificent weekend not spoiled by the weather and a great crowd of people.
Many thanks to Rachael, Martina, Jan, Sughanda, Kristine, Sasha, Mark, Nick, Brian, Neil, Robert, Jeff, Mike, Rob, George, Rob, Sandra, Laurence and Daniel.
Report by Nick
Start of walk - Photo by Brian
Sgwd Clun Falls - Photo by Brian
Sgwd Yr Eira Falls - Photo by Brian
Quick way down river - Photo by Brian
Surrounded by moss - Photo by Brian
Hobbits Hutch - Photo by Brian
Taff Trail - Photo by Brian
Yoga Poses - Photo by Brian
Sgwd Panwr Falls - Photo by Brian
Sgwd Herhyd falls - Photo by Brian
Cream teas by the river - Photo by Brian
Just one elusive celandine joined 17 of us on the canals and celandine walk this Sunday. Starting in Uxbridge we made good steady progress along the Grand Union Canal until we joined the River Pinn at West Drayton. Upon reaching the fields at the start of the Celandine Route we were confronted by a ginormous red fairground building that had been literally put on top of the path. Undeterred I led the group through the buildings and lorries of the fairground that seemed to have sprung from nowhere. We then followed the route through Hillingdon, Ickenham, Ruislip, Eastcote finally ending up at Daisy's in Pinner where we separated into the cafe remainers and the pub leavers. 13.28 miles, no rain, only moderate mud, 2 hitchhikers joined us at Ickenham when we stopped for lunch and 1 old group member turned up at the pub to get into the sub-group photo!
A fab day, good to see lots of old friends and meet lots of new ones.
Report by Emma
Canalside at Cowley - Photo by Brian
On the River Pinn - Photo by Brian
On the River Pinn - Photo by Brian
Eastcote House Gardens - Photo by Brian
Some celandines - Photo by Brian
Tea and cakes at Daisys - Photo by Brian
We made our way to the starting point an hour earlier due to the clocks going forward. I already had a few messages from the usuals who were either sick or too tired to come. So we waited around for a while but no-one turned up. So off we set and soon had 3 caches in the bag and a trackable. We headed northwest and we didn't realise how hilly the Chilterns were. This was very up and down all day long. We brought lunch and had it about 1pm up high on a hilltop looking over god's own country and we were very much at peace. We ended up getting a record 29 caches and met with some lovely people on the way round.
Thanks to my right hand man Daniel who walked the 8 miles without complaining. The weather was excellent and the sun shining. We finished up in a local pub in Chesham for refreshments and headed home happy and tired but ready for the new week ahead.
Report by Martina
Four adventurous enthusiastic walkers met at Hatch End station despite the cold and snowy weather. Our walk took us down the main street of Hatch End and into open fields which were made beautiful by the snow. At times it was very muddy and slippery due to the weather. Following on from this we enjoyed walking alongside the Grims Dyke golf course which offered stunning views over Hatch End. After this we walked along the Grims Dyke. It is believed by archaeologists to have been built in the late Iron Age / early Roman period so it dates back at least 2000 years. We then walked through the woods on Harrow Weald common, Bentley Priory, Stanmore Common which we all agreed was truly breathtaking and gave some superb winter scenes. Having arrived in the Stanmore area feeling like frozen ice blocks it was decided to curtail the walk and have lunch. We ate in a delightful cafe and caught the bus back to Harrow. We look forward to completing this leg of the London Loop on a warmer and drier day.
Thank you to Christophe, Sasha and Suganda who joined me and helped to make the walk so enjoyable.
Report by Lara
Grim's Dyke plaque - Photo by Lara
Group photo - Photo by Lara
Start of walk - Photo by Brian
Devil's Highway - Photo by Brian
Caesar's Camp - Photo by Brian
Bracknell Forest - Photo by Brian
What a lovely day when 5 of us set off on our treasure hunt. The sun was smiling and the wind was keeping us moving. We started off at the meeting place of the Hen and Chickens pub but unfortunately it was not open until 11:30am. We then passed by 3 horse stables and patted the horses who came to see us. We then did a linear walk for 4.5 miles until we came to a lovely pub called the Bellcote where we stopped for lunch and to warm up, but the kids all played outside in the onsite playground.
After a few bevvies, medicinal of course to warm up, and lunch, we headed off west towards the town of Chesham and walked over the ridge of the hills and had some magnificent views. The pictures are all on our Facebook site. We then walked into the town of Chesham and then returned to our cars parked 0.5 miles out of town. Unfortunately the pub was still closed so we then drove 0.5 miles to the Crown pub in Ley hill for hot chocolate and cake. We did a magnificent 7 miles in the lovely Chesham countryside and found 22 caches. I also reached a milestone of 400 caches.
I would like to thank Harpreet, Ruben, Amber and Daniel who joined me. The tired cobwebs were definitely blown away and we were all truly happy at the end of this brilliant walk.
Report by Martina
Another good outcome for the navigation workshop. Six attendees arrived at the Costa in Chesham for a introductory chat and cuppa before we headed out. We began with pacing 100m and headed up the hill to begin. Setting the map using feature, measuring distance and calculating timings. We discussed different map scales, using varying scales, the legend and access issues. We walked along paths and bridleways, through farm land and into the woods, locating a now unused trig point. Pacing in the woodland was practiced and discussion turned to map grid references. Countryside code, emergency procedures and escape routes completed our discussion as the group put their heads together to plan the best route back to the station and gave an estimated arrival time. The weather held off despite the predicted forecast we used to prepare for our day. Thank you to all.
Report by Heather
Our latest cycle ride was an easy 25 mile ride from Chelsea Harbour to Crystal Palace. We took the Thames cycle path then crossed the Albert Bridge to enter Battersea Park. Insouciantly ignoring the no cycling signs we found the just opened riverside path to the new power station development. A forest of tower cranes now surround Gilbert Scot's masterpiece, the chimneys all splendidly restored. A quick detour took us to the brand new US embassy where the gun toting marine guards bid us welcome. We then pressed on via the scenic and semi rural Wandle trail, a sustrans route on "London's hardest working river". We stopped for lunch at Merton Abbey Mills, arriving just before a large group of ramblers.
The trail led on to Morden Hall and its 18th century Snuff Mills. A close encounter was had with the Croydon tram at a sharp bend before we stopped at the hidden gem of Carew Manor with its adjoining medieval church and dovecote. Rob C then took over as it was now his manor and we climbed to the heights of Crystal Palace, taking in the fine views south. At the summit we posed for photos by the sphinx and BBC transmitter before finding a welcome pub with jazz band and lots of local cyclists finishing their rides as well.
Cyclists: Rob, Rob, Nicky, Neil, Kerry, Brian and Bob.
Report by Brian
We were 11 walkers present at Chesham station. We set off at 10:20am. On this Sunday morning, Chesham St Mary's Church bells were ringing as if to celebrate our walk start under a beautiful sun.
After passing through a park and a field with horses, we reached Blind Lane, an avenue of trees, then Herbert's Hole, a muddy path in a dry valley. Following uphill, we stopped to admire Pednor House. This is a beautiful red brick house, built in the 17th century as a farm house. A beautiful dovecote, with a cockerel on the top, fills the centre of the courtyard. After cutting across another valley and climbing a steep slope, everybody was happy to stop at The Bell at Chartridge. We enjoyed a delightful Sunday roast. Once upon a time, Chesham had one pub for every every 100 men, women and children! The Bell pub was first licensed in 1862.
After descending and climbing another valley, we reached Captain's Wood, a local nature reserve managed by the Chiltern Society. This is a nest area for red kites. From the bottom of the valley we could see almost 10 red kites flying together. A real pleasure! It was time to go back to Chesham where we arrived at 3:30pm.
Many thanks to Jennifer, Susie, Jackie, Neil, Sheralyn, Julie, Linzi, Coogee, Michael and Olivier for joining me on this hilly walk. It was a pleasure walking with you.
Report by Christophe
Lovely fresh day today and no rain. We started our walk from Bushey golf club. 12 of us headed on our way in the beautiful green fields around Bushey. We soon found our first cache and some of the newbies were getting very proficient in finding the caches, yes you Tessa, Shannon and Sungita. We then headed off for a cache with a high difficulty level but Daniel found it within three seconds. We then headed past the Jewish cemetery in Bushey with its majestic white headstones, where Martina found her first of the day. We then completed our circular route minus 5 - 2 were tired and went home, 3 saw the Toby carvery and went in to sample the roast. The rest of us carried on until the end and then drove to a local pub where we had a well-deserved pint and a roast. Thanks to Tessa, Shannon, Sungita, Rujuta and daughter Kim, Brigitta and dog, Mark, Rachael, Nick, Mark and Daniel for joining me.
Report by Martina
Only five of us on my Tame(ish) walk from Thame today. Chilly, sunny, cloudy could all describe the day but muddy most described the walk. Not the 70's group but many of our footpaths had plenty of the stuff. One long path in particular just before our afternoon tea stop at Emmington will stick in our minds and boots for a good while. The path from Henton to Emmington, if you know it. Not the best of paths in good times. And with some of the mud having been squashed into the middle by vehicles, we had plenty of mud, long large deep puddles and what looked like alligators (from the squashed mud in the middle) to contend with. Fantastic.
We departed prompt at 9:30am reaching our tea stop at Ilmer church a few hours later. With pace a little less than I wanted I cut out our intended lunch stop (our only hill of the day) and we stopped at the church in Saunderton just after 1pm for lunch. A walk through Thame Park (private, footpath access only) took us back to Thame at the end and past the many new houses being built; it's not just me who noticed how flat it was around there. We were back at our cars at 4:50pm.
Thanks to Anna, Rachel, Keith and Paul S for joining me on this 20.6 mile walk.
Report by Steve
We all met at 10:00am for a cuppa and introduction chat. We spent some time looking at different scale maps, and discussed the outline for the day. Outside we started by adding pacing over 100m to our navigation tool kit. We walked onto farm land to cover map symbols and started by determining the direction by setting the map and using the compass.
Throughout the session we looked at distance timings and rules, contours, access, emergency procedures and leave no trace. Unfortunately the weather turned to rain in the late afternoon.
A great session enjoyed by all, with much encouragement to continue to practice.
Report by Heather
Upon descending from the train at Witley we discovered a Ramblers group assembling next to ours. After some last minute transfers of walkers we set off.
We headed west into the woods beside the Witley estate. This was the setting for the Xanadu-inspired palace (with underwater lair) of Whittaker Wright, the infamous Victorian railway magnate. We climbed the slightly boggy paths south with several river crossings on timber bridges and the obligatory railway crossing. A local shoot was underway with the sound of gunfire resonating through the woods.
After passing several impressive manor houses, we reached the timeless village of Chiddingfold and visited the medieval church with its outstanding stained glass windows. The Crown Inn was our lunch stop beside the village green and pond. The 13th century pub is one of the finest in England with its own stained glass windows and medieval stone fireplaces. Jan found herself sitting below an oil painting of a 17th century doppelganger so posed for photos.
After lunch we continued south, hiking through National Trust estates, passing hammer ponds and several timber bridges in the forests of ash and sweet chestnut trees. We reached Haslemere where Rob C led us to the newly restored railway hotel (featuring original railway carriage luggage racks above the booths) for warming drinks before taking the train back to London.
New joiner Adrian joined regulars Brian, Neil, Rachael, Jan and Rob C.
Report by Brian
Arrival at Witley - Photo by Brian
Climbing on Greensand Way - Photo by Brian
Crossing at Coombe Hill - Photo by Brian
Chiddingfold church - Photo by Brian
Village green - Photo by Brian
Jan and doppelganger - Photo by Brian
Lots of new recruits - Photo by Brian
Nathalie tosses the crepes - Photo by Brian
Our latest cycle ride was an easy 25 mile ride from Uxbridge to Eton and back. Four of us met at the new Rusty Bike Café at Fassnidge Park. We followed Sustrans route 61 via the Grand Union Canal and tracks through Langley. En route we passed several pill boxes and aqueducts on the Slough arm and then a moto cross festival by the GWR tracks.
Reaching Windsor we followed the Jubilee River through Eton and Dorney with a detour to Boveney village to visit the 12th century church and medieval manor. Following the Thames path we then found the 2000m long Eton College rowing lake, used for all races at the Olympics. Nick took advantage of the long straight to put his new (power-assisted) off-road cycle to the test, reaching 55kph at mid point. We then continued to Bray and late lunch at the historic Pineapple Inn with its vast range of huge sandwiches on offer.
Thanks to Nick, Neil and Kerry for joining me on this ride. Will plan another historical route next month.
Report by Brian
Rusty Bike Café - Photo by Brian
Dorney farmhouse - Photo by Brian
Boveney church - Photo by Brian
Olympic rowing lake - Photo by Brian
Pineapple Inn - Photo by Brian
Thank you Jennifer, Elyse, Susie, Georgia, Balbir, Erin, Debbie, Richard, Dean, Nikki, Paul and others for joining me on this walk from Amersham to Chorleywood.
The weather was fantastic, very sunny! However, a cold wind was blowing. 12 of us met at Amersham station.
The walk started at 10:15. We crossed Old Amersham. I like this town, the church, the old houses are beautiful. From Amersham to Chalfont St Giles, we climbed two hills and crossed a farm. Everybody was walking at their own pace and we often took a break to keep everyone in the group. We crossed several fields where the mud was sticking to our shoes. We saw a few red kites flying in the blue sky, a fox crossing the road near a farm, several sheep eating grass in a meadow, some bulls in a farm and riders on horses.
4 new walkers joined us at Chalfont. They missed the train at Harrow and arrived too late at Amersham. So in total 15 people joined me on this walk. I was happy to get such a good number.
We stopped for 1.5 hours at Merlins Cave pub, in Chalfont, for lunch. It's a nice place with good food and good beer! I recommend this pub. After having crossed fields in the morning, we crossed meadows and woods up to Chorleywood. Arriving in Chorleywood, I let the group go straight on. We arrived at the station on time, at 3pm. A lovely walk with very nice walkers under a sunny sky!
Report by Christophe