Walk Reports and Photos 2016 (May-Aug)

Woods & Commons, Wednesday 31st August 2016
 
8 walkers 6 miles - Ldr Marita Sanders

Numbers were modest due to big problems at London Bridge Station when National Rail decided that trains would spoil the newly opened Concourse.

Marita led a good walk along the Capital Ring and the London Loop via Chislehurst Common to Petts Wood.

It was also at a good pace to get us to the Wetherspoons on time.  Yep you got it she is My Fair Lady.

Report & photo by Keith Lane
 
 

Sevenoaks.... and More, Saturday 27th August 2016

21 walkers 21.5 miles - Ldr Dave Strachan

We started off from Sevenoaks Station at approx 09.50 as one or two of the trains were running late, we left with 21 happy walkers and one excited dog!... as it was a warm day we were glad of the tree cover on stretches of the walk, the first half of the walk was the longer part of the walk at 12 miles, which most of the walkers were glad of.

Lunch was at the King Hendry the eighth pub outside the historic Hever castle, the pub was a real treat with a nice big garden to fit us all in and great home cooked food served nice and quickly, the staff were also very helpful and filled up our empty water bottles with smiles on their faces, if ever you are in the area I would recommend it for a visit! 

The second half of the walk mainly followed the Eden Valley way along the river from Hever passing through Penshurst and through the grounds of its fabulous Penshurst place (a stately home with magnificent gardens) and onwards to Tonbridge but before we arrived in Tonbridge I had one more surprise for the weary walkers on this very warm day, we stopped off at the Ice cream hut at Haysden country park about a mile and a half from the finish, unfortunately the ice cream machine was closed down for the day but that lead us to the delights of the “home made” yoghurt and blackberry ice lolly!... which along with the strawberry and cream ones I can highly recommend!... I think almost everyone enjoyed the ice cream stop and was glad of the cooling effect of the ice lollies!.

We then left the country park for the final half hour to Tonbridge and arrived at the station just after 18.00 where everyone made their way home.

21 Walkers started lost 2 at Hever but gained one!.... so 21 started and 20 finished!... 

Report by Dave Strachan

 


Richmond to Kingston, Wednesday 24 August 2016

 
15 walkers, 8.5 miles - Leaders John and Gail Elrick
 
The hottest day of the year and problems on the rail and tube did not deter the 14 walkers who managed to get to the start at Richmond station. We headed off along the towpath and across Petersham Meadows (still with cows) to emerge at the eerily quiet Petersham Road which is completely closed for August whilst new gas pipes are laid. Heading up to Pembroke Lodge we stopped to look at the Ian Dury bench, which remembers the pop star who died in 2000, and Poet's Corner in remembrance of the 18th century poet, James Thomson, who died at Richmond in 1748.  From there we stopped briefly at King Henry's Mound but it was too hazy to see St. Paul's Cathedral along the protected vista.
 
Emerging on to Ham Common we saw Dave who had finally managed to catch us up after a long delay on the train at Clapham Junction. On reaching Teddington Lock we stopped at the RNLI lifeboat station to admire the black granite monument opposite the site of Toughs Boatyard where over 100 little ships were organised to help in the Dunkirk evacuation in May 1940. The new RNLI lifeboat based at Teddington is the 'Peter Saw',  a gift by Hilary Saw in memory of her late husband Peter Saw, who had been an active London LDWA member.
 
After a brisk walk along the towpath, accompanied by some vivid lightning, we emerged at Kingston where some of the group left for home whilst others retired to the nearby Wetherspoons pub.
 
Report by John and Gail Elrick
 
Photos by Godfrey O'Callaghan
 

A Summer Crossing of Map 135, Saturday 20th August

15 walkers 18.6 miles - Leader Jerome Ripp
 
A footpath starts from the exit of Ashurst station, joins the Sussex Border path briefly and then meets the Wealdway which we followed all day with some minor diversions and loops.Strong winds and a few squally showers ruled out the planned picnic at Camp hill Clump but the wild weather was in keeping with the vast expanses of Ashdown forest with colourful heather in profusion and superb views. Lunch was at the Foresters Arms in Fairwarp with village green opposite; the only habitation that we passed all day. The fast pace of the group helped us to arrive in Uckfield, fittingly along a footpath to the station entrance, in time for the 16.34 return train.

The Thames Path (linear), Wednesday 17th August

9 walkers 9 miles - Leader Peter Buchwald
 

(Report and photos from Chris Dent via FaceBook)

The group nearing the end of Peter's Richmond to Putney walk with the harvest moon arising in a hazy late evening sky. Followed by a nice pint or 2 in The Rocket (Wetherspoons, of course).


Box Hill and Ranmore Ramble, Saturday 13th August

24 walkers 20 miles - Leader Chris Dent
 
(Report, photo and walker numbers from Steve Garnsey via Photo Competition).
 
Around 24 started the hike, but some dropped out en route and we finished with about 19. I don't vouch for those being accurate numbers, though they're about right. I remember a conversation at the end that there were five drop outs (again, I think it was five) with one wag saying it always happens on Chris's walks. That wag, a certain Mr Christopher Dent, added that they'd spoken to him about their plans before the group set off.
 
Chateau Denbies anyone? A hint of the wine to come, via a vine-eye view of Dorking and Tower Hill behind it. Taken during Chris Dent's figure of eight walk in the Box Hill and Polesden Lacey area August 13th

Great London Plane Walk, 11th August

11 walkers, 8 miles - Susanne Waldschmidt

Linear Start Mornington Crescent (Northern Line)
Finish Baker Street   Start 6pm  Moderate Pace
A warm summer evening and in spite of Olympic Games 11 walkers showed up.
An 8 mile walk, though leafy squares and parks taking in 6 celebatrees plus
plenty more.
Finished at 9pm by hugging the lonely elm in Marylebone High Street.


The Surrey Semaphore AKA Berrylands to Horsley, Saturday 6th August 

23 walkers, 19 miles - Ldr Dave Williams

22 walkers & 1 leader set off from Berrylands for an odyssey through the Surrey countryside not knowing what to expect & that was just the leader! 

However inspite of the leader's inadequacies which became more & more apparent as the day wore on we made good progress & reached Claygate ahead of schedule to enjoy a leisurely lunch & some of us even sampled the local brew with differing verdicts.

Suitably refreshed we set off to cross Esher Common & soon reached Cobham where some of us enjoyed an ice-cream & other local delicacies !

Next we reached the undoubted highlight of the day, the Semaphore Tower at Chatley Heath but sad to say that the magnificence of the structure was completely lost on the majority of the Group, a bunch of cultural heathens with 1 or 2 notable exceptions !

We traipsed on through woodland which afforded us plenty of cover , which was very welcome in the increasingly hot & humid conditions.

We soon reached the sanctuary of Horsley having covered 19 miles with no complaints which was a rarity in itself for me !

Report by Dave Williams

Photos by Keith Lane


1908 Olympics Walk, Wednesday 3rd August

14 walkers, 8 miles - Ldr Rob Myers

After leading this walk in 2012 I decided to repeat it a few days before the opening ceremony in Rio. 14 of us gathered at White City where I gave a 10 minute talk on the 1908 games before we visited the site of the White City Stadium which was demolished in 1985. After a short walk through Westfield and the Royal Crescent we did a circuit of Holland Park and then proceeded to Kensington Gardens where I pointed out the location in 2012 of the African Village and Russian Pavilion. We crossed into Hyde Park to reach the Serpentine site of the 2012 Triathlon and 10K Open Water Swim events. We followed the route of the Triathlon cycle course through the Queen Mother Gate and Wellington Arch to reach Buckingham Palace before crossing into St James’s Park which together with Horseguards Parade formed the 2012 Beach Volleyball venue. Finally most of the group completed an enjoyable evening with a couple of pints in Wetherspoons.

Report by Rob Myers

Photos by Keith Lane


Great London Tree Walk  Sunday July 31st 2016.  Putney Bridge to Twickenham

19 walkers, 20 miles - Ldr Susanne Waldschmidt

The last rays of the summer sunshine bought 19 enthusiastic tree huggers, plane spotters (the arboreal variety) and even some walkers out to walk from Fulham Palace to York House Gardens in Twickenham.  During the whole walk we seemed always within an acorns throw of a tree.  We viewed 9 celebrity trees but there were plenty of others with a WOW factor, especially in Chiswick Gardens and Richmond Park. Entering the Park via Bog Gate was a first for almost everyone and we were soon treated to the sight of a very large herd of rutting deer.  The final celebrity tree was on its last wooden legs and was looking rather sorry for itself but this was more than compensated for by an historical (and functioning) gents urinal and some naked nymphs. (This is for the benefit of those who bailed out early in Richmond).  A relaxing and enjoyable walk and thanks to the tree experts, who augmented my own rather meagre knowledge. 


Cutty Sark and More, Thursday 29th July

17 walkers, 7 miles - Ldr Dave Williams

Wetherspoons (if only to use the toilets) to Wetherspoons walk from Greenwich to Tower Hill.  Passing the statue of St Pteter the Great  (I thought there were two of these but apparently not) following the Thames with Dave’s cunning detours of interest. 

The high point was Stave Hill built on the rubble of the demolished Russian Dock which led us to Rotherhithe passing the Brunel Museum and the Angel Pub where it was the custom of the “Hanging Judge” (Jeffreys) to have a drink in the afternoon watching his victims being hung across the river {well it was before TV was invented)

Then along to Tower Bridge under a beautiful sky to  the Wetherspoons - yea.

Report & photos by Keith Lane

 


Princes Risborough to Saunderton, Saturday 23rd July

14 walkers 21 miles - Ldr Peter Buchwald

We walked along uninterrupted lanes

Under the shade of leafy trees 

Guessing at the form of the land

Screened from burning light of sun.

Our vistas suddenly were revealed

A lonely painter sat on a hill

Partitioning canvas with dark runes

Wild flowers rampaged at our feet.

That perfect day of English sun

Revealed a multitude of beatitudes

We witnessed weddings in the sun

Frayed our way through undergrowth

Eat ice creams at the Hellfire Club

And wandered up a steep hill home.

 

Report & photos by Peter Buchwald

GPX file:

Princes_Risborough_to_Saunderton.gpx


Chessington Summer Adventure, Wednesday 20th July 

8 walkers 8 miles - Ldr Jerome Ripp
 
A walk on tracks in shady woodland with only a few hundred metres on tarmac. Surprising that it was all in the London borough of Kingston. Horton country park, Epsom and Ashtead commons, a brief water stop at The Star pub Malden Rushett, Prince's Coverts, Great Oaks, Claygate common and Winey Hill. A short climb but a fine view of London to north and east.


Box Hill & Leith Hill, Saturday 16th July

27 walkers 20 miles - Ldr Lonica Vanclay

Attracted no doubt by the prospect of summitting not just one but two of southern England's highest peaks (Box and Leith Hills) in the same day, 27 walkers joined me for this 21 mile walk.  Fine enough weather and lush countryside with nettles at their prime.  Great views and the usual mix of forest and fields made for a lovely walk.  Everyone enjoyed the laid on entertainment of morris men at both the morning coffee stop and lunch stop pubs so we knew it was England and high summer. However lovely the countryside though, near the end everyone just wants to get home, so, as is often the case, the closer we got to the end and the prospect of still making the earlier train, the quicker the pace.  We flew past the Denbies vineyards and nearly all of us managed to run and jump on to the 5.27 train just before it pulled out, yours truly among them.  The others will have had to while away the hour until the next train in the nearby pub.    Lonica Vanclay

 


London Squares, Tuesday 12 July 2016

13 walkers 7.5 miles - Ldr Lonica Vanclay

13 walkers joined me (Lonica Vanclay) for a brisk walk from Embankment to Notting Hill passing  as many squares, embassies and blue plaques as could be fitted into the 7 mile route.  We didn't count them though!  This being wealthy west London, we couldn't go in or through most, so had to content ourselves with admiring the greenery from outside the fences.  Amazingly, the rain held off too.

Photos & trackfile - Paul Lawrence

GPX Download: LondonSquaresLGLV11.8km380ft2pc2h30mNais2016-07-12_1831pm7.4mls


Away Day to Wiltshire, Saturday 09 July 2016

4 people 22 miles - Ldr Jerome Ripp

Salisbury start at 9.45 Romsey finish at 18.00

Route: Avon valley path to Trafalgar park, climb to Pepperbox hill for picnic lunch, lovely ridge walk along Dean hill, descent to join Test way. Delightful Wiltshire/ Hampshire countryside with rolling hills, long views with Salisbury cathedral spire seen for many miles, overgrown vegetation to bash through, a mixture of sunshine and strong breeze, muddy woods near the end. The group lacked quantity but had quality, the only issue was decking who should be back marker! Overall a great awayday.

 


Circuit of Hampsted Heath, Wednesday 06 July 2016

8 walkers 6.5 miles - Ldr Charles O'Toole

Eight people turned up some from  as far as Richmond. A perfect summer evening's walk from Hampstead tube round the Heath, discussed geology history botany and literature. All pleased. Pictured at the Pergola, a little known London treasure.

Photo of Group

 

A Lambeth Walk, Saturday 02 July 2016

14 Walkers 17.5 miles - Ldr Ian Fairweather

We had 14 including walk leader.  Approximately four ‘first timers’ who were between the ages of 20 –30 approx.
 
Walk was approximately 17.5 miles. We stopped for lunch in Rockwell Park.  Started at 10.00 and finished about 17.15 at Blackfriars. 
 
Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Photo of Group

 

Ruislip Woods, Thursday 30 June 2016

11 walkers, six miles - leader Peter Aylmer

 The last in my series of three evening walks this month. As before, I got to take a back seat in leading, with walkers taking it in turns to interpret the directions I had drafted for my forthcoming Cicerone guide to London.

Things really got interesting when we reached the edge of Bayhurst Wood country park, with twenty yards or so of greasy mud-slime - not there the other times I've walked the path and a dramatic illustration of what a wet summer can do. Navigationally though the main problem lay in Mad Bess Wood. We were following in part the Hillingdon Trail, but here it has two sets of waymarkers, old old and one new, which don't tally with each other or even in one case within themselves - pointing us through more mud-slime when we didn't need to go there. So our attention might have been diverted away from the magnificent oak standards which help define these woods as a National Nature Reserve.

The concrete dam of Ruislip Lido was something of a relief after all that, and the local waymarking in Park Wood was exemplary. With no further alarums (though I had to change one 'left' to a 'right' - the guide-book writer's nightmare), we reached Northwood Hills tube, or for the majority, the Wetherspoons next door. It's been due to close for some time, goodness knows why as it seemed to be thriving, but they hung on just for us.

Photo by Peter Aylmer

 

The Other Way in Essex, Saturday 25 June 2016

12 walkers, Ldr: Dick Bowman

At 26 miles, I believe that this was the longest group walk on the London LDWA calendar so far this summer. The walk largely followed two footpaths; the Essex Way from Epping Forest towards Toot Hill and Chipping Ongar, a little after which we picked up  the Three Forests Way near Fyfield, towards Bishops Stortford.

There were four ‘pit stops’ on this walk, which were perfectly timed. The first at St Peter’s Church, Shelley after our first 9 miles, the second at Abbess Roding, then later at Bretts farm shop in White Roding, a great find, as was the Cock Inn Public House in Hatfield. 

The unseasonably heavy rain we’ve had in the South East of England over the last couple of weeks was certainly evident under foot throughout the walk. 

We were fortunate with the weather, being mostly sunny all day, but it was humid, especially in the fields. Despite the rumbles of thunder and spectacular lighting seen afar, the rain-heavy black clouds seemed to bypass our route until the very last few miles, as we headed towards our finish. It was quite refreshing! At least it gave us a boost to get to the station on time and to finish the walk in 10 hours, which included our well-earned breaks. Well done to all!

Report by Helen Franklin

Twelve walkers, well-led by Dick, set off on a 26.6 mile "marathon" trip around some of Essex's well- but also lesser-known paths.

We splashed through "some" mud and pools of lying water. (You were right Dick, we loved The Marsh!) but mainly followed beautiful long grassy trails, woodland tracks and "snaked" through fields of yellowing barley and fresh green wheat. Colours were heightened by bright sunshine under wide east country skies.  The tree-line views in the distances were at their Essex best.

Four much-needed and interesting refreshment breaks fuelled our progress, including one at Abbess Roding, site of St Edmunds church of which the medieval abbess of Barking was patron.

All twelve walkers finished the trail, well satisfied with our day's prowess.

Report by Dorothy Shepherd

GPX file by Dick Bowman:

theonlywayinessex.gpxdownload

Photos by Joelle Paul & Gavin Fuller
 

Happy Valley, Wednesday 22 June 2016

Seven people, six miles - leader Peter Aylmer

We braved the misery of Southern Railway to gather at Coulsdon South station to try out another of the walks in Peter's forthcoming book.

There's a yew tree avenue at the start before we swooped down into and up out of Happy Valley, a chalk dene on the fringes of Croydon. In its upper reaches we crossed beautiful wild-flower meadows full of yellow-rattle and orchids. 

Crossing back through the valley again, we reached Chaldon church, just over the Surrey boundary. Alas it was locked - not surprising at 8pm. Those of us who had been there before recommended the others to come back to view its 'Heaven and Hell' wall painting, full of monsters that are still scary after more than 800 years.

After a longer stretch in the valley bottom, we enjoyed glorious evening light on the ridge of Farthing Down, with distant views to the City. And the return train most of us wanted was conveniently late, so we caught it instead of missed it!


Newport to Great Chesterford, Saturday 18 June 2016

10 people, 18.5 miles - Ldr Keith Lane

If you are in Saffron Walden in time for morning coffee to go to Molly's coffee & cake shop in the High Street.  The service is warm and relaxed and the coffee is very good

If you are in thge village of Ashdon in time for lunch then you will find that the publican of the Rose & Crown will cheerfully allow you to sit in their garden and eat your own food.

If you are in Great Chesterford in time for tea you will find the service at The Crown and Thistle public house swift efficient and friendly.

So how to get there?  By way of big skies, open expanse of countryside, massive fields of wheat & barley & walking highways. Even on a damp grey day, more in keeping with October than June, the majesty of this Cambridgeshire, Essex border country shone through.

Photos by Bola


Woodlands of south-east London, Tuesday 14 June 2016

Six people, seven miles - leader Peter Aylmer

We started from Abbey Wood station, which has both an abbey (Lesnes Abbey) and a wood (Lesnes Abbey wood, full of glorious beech trees) though for Londoners will be more famous soon as an eastern terminus of Crossrail. For much of the way we followed the Green Chain Walk, through Bostall woods - a lovely glade - Plumstead Common, and up past the oaks of Shooters Hill, the hill that is not the road, with its views back to Essex. We spent a few minutes on Shooters Hill the road before passing the folly of Severndroog Castle - seven counties in view from the top, if you can pass it when it's open - and an interlude through Jackwood before the wonderful Oxleas Wood. One of London's great ancient woodlands, it was due to be obliterated by a road scheme in the 1990s, until sense final prevailed. A brief leg through Shepherdleas Woods took us to Falconwood station (wood yes, falcons no) or rather the eponymous pub just over the road.

Photo by Peter Aylmer


Downe South, Saturday 11 June 2016

13 people, 19 miles - leader Peter Aylmer

With National Trust woodlands, any number of nature reserves, a bijou village at lunch time and the haunts of Charles Darwin as a centre piece, there was always going to be plenty of interest as we explored London's south-eastern outer reaches, but it just so happened that a very 21st century display totally stole the show.

From Chislehurst station (reached alas by rail replacement bus service), we headed up into Petts Wood, the ancient woodland rather than the commuter suburb of the same name. We passed a memorial to Francis Edlmann who in 1927 purchased the wood in order to stop it being turned into yet more housing. From here the London Loop took us through Farnborough and its pretty churchyard to the High Elms country park - alas no high elms these days. Leaving the Loop, we reached the giddy height of over 550ft before dropping into a downland hanger. On the hanger's upslope we crossed Downe Bank, where Darwin carried out much of the research which led to his theory of evolution.

Over lunch at the Queen's Head in Downe, a rumble of thunder showed how unstable the weather was, but though we had an hour of two of afternoon rain, it never reached torrential proportions. We passed Darwin's home Down House and even had a quick peep into his back garden plus a spin on his 'thinking walk' before contouring round above the West Kent golf club, perhaps the only golf club whose rough is a London Wildlife Trust reserve. It was here we saw Spitfires and a B17 performing above the nearby Biggin Hill airfield. But better was to come.

As we crossed a dripping wet cornfield, the Red Arrows team set off for their part in Biggin Hill's air show. We soon realised the cornfield was set aside as their crash space - warning signs and tape were in place beside the right-of-way we were following. For half an hour the Arrows wheeled, soared and gyrated in the skies immediately above us - fair to say we didn't rush this stretch! We certainly had a better view than those on the airfield itself, and it was quite the most remarkable half-hour for any LDWA walk.

Beyond Leaves Green and a down-and-up through another downland jewel, it was clear just how much time we'd lost while admiring the aeronautics. We saved a mile at the end by diverting north through Frylands Wood instead of the planned route through Frith Wood, though both are equally delightful, before one last rise (2000ft of ascent over the day) up Hutchinson's Bank, a hotspot for rare orchids. That left one last wildlife sighting to be made, the New Addington gorilla. It's a wood carving near the tram stop, but one or two might have been worried just for a moment.

Photos by Peter Aylmer, Dalbir & Steve Lannon

 

Lakes Trip - Hawkshead
 
There is a report and gallery here.
 

Evening walk to commemorate Kath LoRaso , Wednesday 8th June 2016

24 people 6.5 mls - Ldr Godfrey O'Callaghan

Some 24 walkers from both London Group and Central London Outdoor Group (CLOG) turned out for this evening walk of 6.5 miles in memory of Kathy. After an earlier heavy downpour the air cleared and the evening turned out to be quite wonderful for walking. The route took in many of her favourite paths and roads around Hampstead, Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill and Regents Park. At a spot close to the Parliament Hill view point we stopped to reflect on the contribution Kathy had made to the two walking groups and for people to offer any personal memories of Kathy. We were not in a hurry, the walk being more of a meander, and therefore finished a later than normal, but all the better for it. The very last part through the lower gardens of Regents Park, in the deepening dusk light, heavy with evening fragrance. A time of day Kathy loved. 

Click link below to download GPX file
Kathy Loraso memorial evening walk.gpx

Click link below to view a zoomable interactive map of the route
Kathy Loraso memorial evening walk.html

Photos by Adam & Bola


Circular from Guildford, Saturday 4th June 2016

24 people 21 mls - Ldr Nigel Heys

Twenty four members left Guildford Station and walked past Guildford Castle on the climb to St. Martha's Church along the Pilgrim Way. We continued past the Albury Estate to Shere  where there was a break for coffee, ice creams and toilets. We then headed south through Winterfold Wood to Winterforld Hill. From there it was along the Greensand Way to Shamley Green for a late lunch break at the Bricklayers Arms. Only two found the morning too much and found the bus back to Guildford. Te rest continued partly on the Greensand  Way before heading north to Bramley and joining the Downs Link. This was used until the Wey Navigation was reached and we finished the return to Guildford along the Wey Navigation.

Photos by Penny Mayor


Golders Green Tube to Muswell Hill, Wednesday 1st June 2016

8 people 7 mls - Ldr Peter Russell

This was a walk straight to the warmth of the pub on an overcast evening when even the rhododendrons had lost their sparkle compared to my walk-out last week but the company and art works made up for the return of winter.

At Golders Hill Zoo a recreation of Dungeness beach with beach huts on shingle reminded us all of summer except the seagulls were replaced by White Egrets and a Sacred Ibis.  At Hill House pergola the protected view of Harrow was invisible but the Shard was just visible by the time we got to Kenwood House.  Here Douglas's dog won a play fight with another bantam weight spaniel on points with Dave as referee.

A swift walk through Highgate woods took us to the de-luxe Wetherspoons of Muswell Hill.  Here we grabbed the last long table.  The youngest person on this all-male walk appreciated his cheap buttermilk chicken and Guinness whilst the old lags drank Jail Ale from Dartmoor.

P.S.  Rod asked me how to get back to Finsbury Park but declined my suggestion of following the Parkland walk with a poor excuse of having just completed that well-known 100 mile event. 

And here is a song that might have been played at sunny Weymouth 80 years ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uny1K5jnkYo

Photos by Rod Smith


Pilgrimage to Dreamland (Canterbury to Margate), Saturday 28 May 2016

8 people, 21.6 miles - Leader Dick Bowman

8 starters and 7 finishers for this never-to-be-repeated traverse of the varied countryside of Thanet.

The morning spent mostly in the woodlands along the Stour Valley Path, passing through the villages of Fordwich and Wickhambreaux (the latter a shining example of car ownership leading to environmental ruination), admiring three jolly piglets and the industrialised strawberry factory along with the steam and traction engine collection at Preston Court Farm before a lunch stop in Preston.

Afternoon with completely different landscape, first through orchard to recross the Stour Valley Path and continue making our way to Margate along the banks of the Stour.  Final refreshment stop in Minster before crossing the Thanet Prairies to finally drop down into Birchington and along the beachside to Dreamland (arriving exactly one minute after the rides stopped, and our leader having failed to negotiate an LDWA Late Opening).

Then the Low Speed Train (at the High Speed fare) back along the North Kent coast.

Observations:

These Kent villages seem to have been able to retain at least a few amenities by way of pub, shop and school.

Our leader can't tell the difference between a stoat and a scrawny squirrel.

If bluebells are your thing, then the Canterbury-Preston stretch is highly recommended in late April (and for misty woods, try it in October).

Margate closes at 5pm on Bank Holiday Saturday. 

Click link below to download GPX file
PilgrimagetoDreamland.gpx

Click link below to view a zoomable interactive map of the route
PilgrimagetoDreamlandInteractiveMap.html

Photos by Dick Bowman


London LDWA Dorset 100 Volunteers Weekend.    Fri 27th to Mon 30th May

15 people - Ldr Susanne Waldschmidt

The weekend got off to a splendid start when London LDWA volunteers and some walkers descended on the Swan, Weymouth (Wetherspoons of course) for a last supper and final drink before their respective challenges.

Saturday morning dawned warm and sunny.  Our sandwich makers were commended by the organizers for their skill and efficiency in preparing hundreds of sandwiches ahead of schedule.   At 10am we watched the masses set off.  We would not see them again until the next day.

We were now free to explore the Dorset countryside and we set off for a walk.  First the huge and impressive Iron Age Fortress Maiden Castle, whose mighty ramparts and Weapons of Mass Destruction (stones from Chesil beach) had foiled all attempts at invasion until the Romans.  We then followed the Inland Route! of the Dorset Coast Path.  Next the landmark Hardy Monument (he of Kiss me Hardy fame).  A caravan, by some National Trust picnic tables, provided a delightful Dorset afternoon tea, 'en plein air' with homemade cakes all served with floral china teapots and cups.  This surely was much more enjoyable than slogging 100 miles over hill and dale, merely enjoying the Hardy Monument from a distance.  We walked on to Abbotsbury and viewed its three most important buildings, the Abbey Church, the Tithe Barn and of course the pub (another Swan but this time not a Wetherspoons!) before setting off to walk the final 7 miles of the 100.  This seemed hard enough at the end of a 20 mile walk let alone at the end of 100 miles.

Working at Headquarters we enjoyed hot showers, proper meals cooked by our Dorset hosts and a quiet dormitory.  Soon though it was payback time.  We had to earn our keep.  Meeting and greeting returnees, pointing them to the correct loos and above all dispensing cups of sweet tea and loving care.  We worked in shifts and this allowed a few volunteers to enjoy a second 10 mile walk round Portland Bill led by Paul.  This proved to be most rewarding and they didn't even get lost!  (See report of walk below)

As Sunday night wore on there were triumphs and disappointments, blistered feet, stiffened limbs, heat exhaustion, severe cases of confusion (not sure which was ladies and which was gents) and lots of hugs and camaraderie.  Why do people subject themselves to this ordeal?   Maybe it's an addictive drug.  Three of our volunteers said they could hardly wait to join the 'Madding Crowd' and walk the 100 next year.  They were clearly hooked.

If you ever get the chance to volunteer at one of these events (or even to participate) I'd highly recommend you take it.  Anyway we will need more volunteers to pour out tea and sympathy for our future London champions.

Susanne Waldschmidt

Photo by Janet Chapman 

 


Portland Bill (LDWA London Marshals for Dorset LDWA "100"), Sunday 29 May 2016

5 people 9 mls - Ldr Paul Lawrence

There's been a good group of LDWA London members down in Weymouth this Bank Holiday weekend to support the LDWA Dorset 100 challenge walk.   We have been working in shifts since Friday evening so today five of us took advantage of a gap in the rota to make best of the good weather and complete a quick circuit of Portland Bill.

The weather was superb and the scenery spectacular.   Great walking over springy, dry, limestone turf with expansive views inland over Chesil Beach and out to sea over the Channel.   Interesting sights along the way, including the Tout quarry complete with sculpture park and work by Antony Gormley, and the spectacular lighthouse right at the end of the Bill.

We didn't rush, as the going was so good, but had to draw to a close mid afternoon to get back in time for the 6pm - 2am and then 2am - 10am shifts.

Despite the long hours, the camaraderie is great and if you ever get the chance to volunteer to marshal at one of these events (or even better to participate) I'd highly recommend you take it.

 

Click link below to download GPX file
Portland Bill crcuit.gpx

Click link below to view a zoomable interactive map of the route
Portland Bill interactive map

Photos by Adam Dawson


The City at Work, Tues 24 May 2016

11 people 9 mls - Ldr Ron Williamson

In the afternoon, Ron led another incredibly detailed and thorough walk though London.  This one traced the evidence of the Great Fire of London.  

The 350th anniversary of the fire is on the 2nd September this year and you may think, as did the author, that there is very little evidence left of the event but as Ron showed us there are 18 surviving buildings and 18 memorials. 

Ron also took us to the Wren churches built after the fire probably the most notable are St Mary Abchurch but restored) and St Stephen Walbrook which both have domes which preceded the the great dome of St Pauls.  The dome of St Mary Abchurch was rebuilt after the war following bomb damage.  It shows a simpler dome than St Stephens which is smaller but closer to the great of St Pauls Cathedral - a clear progression.

We also traced the history of synagogues, hard to find pubs and, of course the modern buildings littering the City.

In all Ron the walk consisted of 190 turns, 175 thoroughfares (but not one Road) - and 22 tired feet.

7 people 8 miles - Ldr Ron Williamson

After a rest in The Liberty Bounds (Wetherspoons? Of course) 5 of the walkers were joined by 2 others for the evening walk which consisted of the evergreen walk along the Thames to Limehouse Basin and then along the River Lea to Stratford where 2 walkers headed for the station leaving the rest of us to pay homage to the future home of West Ham (some as fans some as tax payers)

The evening weather was sunny with a cold wind but perfect conditions for views of the Thames and Canary Wharf.

Only 3 of us made it to the pub at Stratford (Wetherspoons? Of course).

Report by Keith Lane

Click link below to download PDF file 

The_City_and_beyond_Tue24th_May_2016_2.pdf


Radley to Cholsey on Thames Path, Sun 22 May 2016

6 people 22.3 mls - Ldr Paul Lawrence

 A rural section of the Thames Path almost all along the river away from habitations and railways, and with little sight of roads, much on lush water meadows (but very few cows, why?). Much is quiet with the only noisy interruptions from a moto-cross bike event across the river. Past attractive towns - Abingdon and Wallingford the largest and worth a separate visit. Wittenham Clumps, famous for a painting by Paul Nash, are long in view around a curve in the meandering river. Half a shower, although the other heavier half of it fell further along and made for slippery going on the final miles. Tea at Benson Waterfront cafe fortified us, with some later taking the convenient bus option from Wallingford, still at almost 20 miles and they had come all the way from Chingford taking 3 hours. The leader picked up a few tips for his planning of the upstream sections (thanks Richard!) hopefully to be completed soon, so as tick of this full route as completed. The Aurum guidebook is a useful companion to this historic river.

Photos by Paul Lawrence

Click link below to download GPX file

RadleyCholseyRecce37km520ft1pc7h40mNas2016-05-20_1058 233mi

click below to view interactive map

20160531082528-47126-map.html


Richmond Circular, Wed 18 May 2016

11 people 7 mls - Ldr Peter Russell

I checked out the walk earlier on in the day when the dog and I were rained on. The evening walk was dry and dog-free.
At the Buccleuch riverside gardens we stepped through the grotto arches to see the statue of Father Thames. I set a quiz to identify 2 differences compared to the same statue at Ham House.
Richmond Park had a smattering of late bluebells under the ancient trees and many May trees were in full bloom. The Ham Woods and the Ham Avenues were fresh green compared to two weeks ago.
On our return leg some photographs of the Thames in late sunshine were taken.
We obtained the long table in the Waterman's Arms in good time to watch the 3 anti-Liverpool goals, eat Thai food and drink some perfect Young's bitter.
P.S. Paul Lawrence, annoyingly, got the 2 differences between the 2 Father Thames statues correct. The Ham one is intact whereas the Richmond cast has lost his left hand and big toe. Paul won no prize as the quiz master had a made a false assumption (missing right foot at Ham)

Photos by & Keith Lane & Paul Lawrence

Click link below to download GPX file
RichmondHamLGPR11.1km

Click below to view zoomable interactive map
Richmond interactive map


Courses for Horses (Joint with Kent Group), Sun 15 May 2016

12 people 24 mls - Ldr Peter Jull 

A cosmopolitan dozen from London, Kent, Sussex & Surrey, Colombian, South African, Scottish, English even, set off to walk Courses for Horses. Recce had revealed too many of the paths in this part of Kent are poorly maintained; stiles wobbly, broken, overgrown, just generally difficult; arable fields too rarely reinstated and then misaligned; waymarks missing, electric fences; so the route was now to be 24 miles to avoid the worst blockages. With vegetation growing at full spurt the first nettles were soon stinging and crops needing wading. Two Limousin bulls weren't scary but scurried of scared as we struggled across their huge hoof marked field now ankle challengingly drying. After elevenses silage on the stem was thigh high as a fresh path was trampled. Even a small rotavator rally had set up across the path at one point for us to dodge. The Drum at Stanford, which is hosting 2018 100 committee meetings,a hosted us for lunch where sitting outside was just too chilly though it was close to ideal for walking. Just after lunch the first horse course was reached, the recently retired Folkestone. Where thoroughbreds had thundered walkers now wandered. Farmers and other seem to conspire to discourage access the next course, Aldington point to point, but we made it to the jumps for photo posing. Still mostly on the level (less than 1200ft ascent all day) time was marching away as we marched on. Just before the end we'd missed the last race by 42 years with only the stable block left of Wye racecourse. Pushing on past overgrown hedging hurrying just caught the 7.20 heading for Victoria. 

Photos by Peter Jull

 

 


Greenwich Tops, Wed 11 May 2016

12 people 6.5 mls - Ldr Julie Welch

A balmy spring evening zig-zagging up and down the hills of Greenwich Park before heading towards Charlton House and descending into the maelstrom of Woolwich Road. We escaped by scaling Westcombe Hill and took in Greenwich Park's central mini-Alp before our finish at Cutty Sark.

Photos by Julie Welch & Adam Dawson

 

Click link below to download GPX file of the Greenwich Tops Walk

20160511.gpx 

Click here to download zoomable interactive map

 


 Circular from Amberley, Sun 8 May 2016

14 people 21mls - Ldr Andy Davies

A warm, clear and sunny day. Ground firm and dry throughout. We headed northeast from the station on the South Downs Way for half a mile then turned off southeast to The Burgh, weaving past Barpham Hill and Harrow Hill toward Sullington Hill then down on a path lined with a profusion of wild garlic in flower to the Frankland Arms (http://www.franklandarms.co.uk) in Washington for lunch - a good proper pub which I would recommend to other walkers. As food was served promptly in the garden we were on our way again within the hour, passing more wild garlic near Washington church and heading south to join the Monarch's Way, walking through a spectacular display of bluebells in the woods of Angmering Park. Tall slender trees well spaced with no foliage at lower levels allowed us to see bluebells so far away that they merged into a solid violet mass enhanced by the bright light green of the new leaves on the trees. The path by the banks of the Arun took us back to Amberley where most were keen to board the 6.20 train while two decided to stay on and enjoy the warm evening and a couple of excellent pints of Harvey's Sussex Best in the garden of the Bridge Inn.

Photos by Sarah Turner

 

 


Mile End to Stratford via Hackney Marshes & Olympic park, Wed 4 May 2016

10 people 6mls - Ldr Lonica Vanclay

9 walkers joined me to make a round 10 for a stroll through Victoria Park, Hackney Marshes and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park.  It was sunny, warm and the flowers and leaves were out - and the parks were packed with joggers, cyclists and picnickers.  It felt like spring had sprung at last.

Report by Lonica

Photos by Chris Dent: