Walk Reports and Photos 2017 (Sep- Dec)

Jingle all the way,  Hammersmith to Limehouse, Saturday 23rd December 2017

13 walkers, 17 miles - leader Chris Hedley 

There were 13 of us on the 23rd December walking from Hammersmith to Limehouse via Putney, Wandsworth, Battersea, Victoria, Waterloo, Embankment, Blackfriars, Southwark, Tower, and Wapping. Five of us continued to the madness of Canary Wharf shopping centre on the last Saturday before Christmas. 
 
Most of us wore our Christmas emblems.  Only Neil turned up in full Santa kit. 
 

The Thames Down Link, Saturday 16th December 2017

20 walkers, 18 miles - leader Keith Lane

The Thames Down Link starts at the mouth of the Hogsmill river as it flows into the Thames at Kingston and finishes at Boxhill and Westhumble Station after approximately 18 miles.

It can be divided into three sections:

  • The first follows the Hogsmill river upstream.  
  • The second is defined by where the Link leaves the river just before Horton Country Park and onto Epsom Common, Ashford Common, and Ashtead Hall Park where there is a nature reserve. 
  • The third follows Stane Street which is a bridle way following the line of the Roman road which joins up with the present  A24 at the foot of Boxhill.

20 walkers met at Kingston station on a freezing but sunny morning and walked through the Market Square now unfortunately spoilt by modern paving and viewed Clattern Bridge which is the oldest bridge in Surrey and the Coronation Stone which currently stands in the grounds of the Guildhall.

At about halfway, lunch was at or near the Cricketers Public House on Epsom Common which was not an ideal venue due to the lack of seating outside but we coped. As the afternoon wore on the weather turned warmer and hence the mud muddier but good time was made and having passed Boxill & Westhumble Station we reached Dorking station via Denby‘s Vineyard in time for the 16:26 train.

Report & photo by Keith Lane

 


Dome to Dock, Wednesday 13th December 2017

Leader Ian Fairweather

Unfortunately no one tirned up to join Ian and therefore the walk was cancelled


Saxon Shore backwards, Saturday 9th December 2017

18 walkers, 20 miles - leader Peter Aylmer.
 
Three castles, two estuaries, and a national nature reserve. Except that the leader got it wrong in his briefing and there are in fact not three castles  but two (one of which is the home of Jools Holland), though to make up for it there are two Thames-side forts near the end, which once guarded London against intruders down its river. This is a walk that's far better on the ground than it looks on the map - by no means just a plod round an estuary: first, the tidal foreshore of the Medway, then a slight rise by green lane to Northward Hill, not only a nature reserve but a glorious viewpoint for a magnificent Thames panorama from Southend to Tilbury and beyond. Lunch in a super local pub, the Horseshoe & Castle in Cooling, with a literary diversion after to the village churchyard, site of Dickens' superbly scary opening scene in Great Expectations where Magwitch grabs Pip by the collar. And to cap it all, a splendid winter's day, chilly but bright.

Report & photos by Peter Aylmer


Hills of the North, Wednesday 6th December 2018

17 walkers, 11 miles - leader Ron Williamson

Start  11:00   Finish 15:45

 A cheerful band of Pop Uppers came from far and wide to experience the delights of a classic London walk.

Members from as far afield as Brighton, Southend and Harlow assembled on the main concourse  of Kings Cross station with the objective of making their way through North London to a destination at Wood Green. The route was satisfying throughout as we travelled via Regent’s Canal, Camden Town, Primrose Hill, Crouch End, Parliament Hill, West Hill Highgate, Queens Wood, Highgate Wood and Alexandra Palace. 

A spring In everyone’s step, with the exception of a sloper who abandoned ship at Highgate, saw the miles fly past and the uphill sections become a joy to behold rather than a cross to bear.  

Refreshments on route at Hampstead Heath and Alexandra Palace added to the jovial spirit and it is with the same spirit that a decision has been made to not name and shame our sloper on this occasion.

Report by Ron Williamson

Photo by Keith Lane


 

Osterley - Hampton Court, 3rd December 2017

24 walkers, 16 miles - leader Dave Williams

The leader was more than a little surprised to find that 24 hardy souls turned up at Osterley on a rather dank,  miserable morning.
 
However the weather forecast proved to be correct with conditions markedly  improving throughout the day. 

After a not so brief stop in Syon Park we reached lunch at Richmond where we had 2 departures although this was offset by the arrival of the ubiquitous Mr. Dent who kept us amused with his usual antics !
On reaching Kingston a few saddos succumbed to the rather dubious delights of John Lewis & an even bigger saddo ( who shall remain nameless ! ) and who had been having withdrawal symptoms hotfooted it to the local W'spoons !
 
The remainder soldiered on & made it in plenty of time to catch the 4.05 from Hampton Court ( unfortunately there were no takers for the Maze ! )
 
The leader is looking forward to all the letters of complaint that will be winging their way to the hierarchy ! 

Report by Dave Williams  


Leith Hill Wander, 25th November 2017

17 walkers, 18 miles - leader Nigel Heys

Sixteen walkers braved the frost to reach Dorking Station to explore the back alleys of Dorking on their way to The Nower. The first photo shows  us at The Temple there where a seventeenth affected by train cancellations awaited us. From there we headed up to Simons Copse for a drink break with the target Leith Hill visible on the skyline. Suitably refreshed we went down to the valley before starting the long steady climb to Leith  Hill.

Since it was clear and sunny we admired the view (second photo) before descending along the Greensand Way to Holmbury St. Mary where people either picnicked or used the newly reopened King's Head for lunch (muddy boots welcome).

The afternoon route was through Abinger Common across to Wotton with its isolated church before climbing up to the North Downs Way. We used the Way to Ranmore Common with views of Dorking in the valley below.

The final stretch back to Dorking Station was through Denbies Vineyard, the largest in England, but all the grapes had been harvested.

Report by Nigel Heys

Photos by Nigel Heys & Keith Lane


Otford Circular, Saturday 18th November 2017

19 miles, 20 walkers - leader Helen Franklin

20 walkers left Otford 2 dropped out (1 literally).

Photos

 


Visit to Bough Beech Reservoir, Saturday 11th November 2017

19 miles, 6 walkers - leader Jerome Ripp

The Weather forecast of heavy rain all day may have been a factor in the reduced numbers but apart from some light early drizzle and grey low clouds, the day was perfectly good for walking. The Eden Valley Walk was followed from Edenbridge, the promised castle, Hever, was shrouded in murk and gloom, the promised nature reserve seemed to be an imaginary one but fortunately Bough Beech Reservoir was still in evidence although looking quite short of water as we gazed on it from the eastern hillside. A 2 minute vigil at 11 and then an off piste section where those of us who had not been in the boy scouts were shown how to climb over a gate. The Greensand way lead us to lunch at the Community shop at Ide Hill with another view of the reservoir. The afternoon section took us along quiet country lanes and tracks via the NT area of Crockham Grange and the Vanguard way back to Edenbridge with skies brightening finally for a vivid sunset.


Report by Jerome Ripp


An Ecclesiastical Odyssey, Wednesday 8th November 2017

11 miles, 22 walkers - leader Ron Williamson

Start  11:05   Finish 17:00
A large turnout of members gathered outside Barbican station with a challenge to follow the idiosyncrasies of an aged walker. Some 6 hours latter most had completed the task but probably not too certain as to where their roving had taken them. Thanks to discipline and dogged determination, however, the group had managed to visit all 58 sites listed in The Friends of London Churches literature and explored in greater depth 10 of the churches.
Once again London had revealed more of its wonderful treasures , and left us determined to make time to return and explore more fully.
We may have successfully negotiated the twists and turns of our route, but our electronic gadgets could not agree on how many miles had been completed with readings between 10 and 14 miles.
The distance quoted is, therefore, based on Ron’s law of thumb.
Some stats.  For those interested in such things
Sites passed                                                                        58 (100%)
Of which extended visit (average 4 mins. )                         10
Named thoroughfares used                                              179
Significant changes of direction (intentional)                    223
Significant changes of direction (unintentional)                    2
Walkers lost and never found                                               0
Walkers sloping off                                                               3
Challenge completed by                                                     19
Finally look out for next year’s challenge when we seek to balance the spiritual and secular worlds by visiting 57 varieties of London watering holes. I am not sure what to recommend as a training syllabus but have been overwhelmed by those volunteering to join any free initiation programmes.

Photos by Keith Lane

 


O Captain, My Captain, Sunday 5th November 2017

20 miles, 13 walkers - leader Julie Welch

20 miles… plus a few more for the hard cases. 13 walkers convened at Upton Park on a lovely late autumn day to link the start and finish of the career of Bobby Moore, England’s only World Cup winning captain. At the West Ham end, we paused in Green Street to gaze upon the sad sight of the old Boleyn Ground, now a building site, and then, passing the statue of West Ham’s famous World Cup trio Moore, Hurst and Peters, with an add-on in the form of defender Ray Wilson, we detoured to ‘Flanders Field’, now a community run sports and social centre, to see the pitch where Bobby was discovered as a schoolboy in the 1950s by West Ham scout Wally St. Pierre (the name effortlessly remembered by stalwart West Ham fan Dave Williams). Then it was on to the Capital Ring and through the Woolwich foot tunnel to Greenwich for lunch.

The second part of the day took in the Thames Path south side, with several convenient bailing-out points for those who didn’t want to go quite the full distance. We enjoyed a lovely tea stop in the gloaming at the Riverside Café before crossing Vauxhall Bridge to the north side, by which time the fireworks were popping, the bridges were illuminated and the lights of London were reflected in the Thames – just beautiful.

The Flanders Field detour meant we had clocked up the full 20 miles by Chelsea Bridge, but three of us opted to go the distance and were rewarded by a wonderful moonlit panorama by the Thames, past Fulham Palace and through Bishop’s Park, to Fulham F.C.’s ground, Craven Cottage, where Bobby Moore finished his playing career.

 


Escape from Romford, Friday 3rd November 2017

11 miles, 11walkers - leader Ron Williamson

"Autumn days fall by as fast as the leaves fall from the trees" how fortunate we were to spend one of those special days in the London countryside.
 A journey from metropolitan Romford to the urban sprawl that surrounds Fairlop station can never have been so rewarding as we meandered through grassy meadows, wandered through ancient  woodland  , passed through open park land and  found time to relax peacefully in the warm sunshine.

I can also report that after last weekend's mountaineering in Southend, bouldering  skills have now become a requirement for London's aspiring walkers.

 

Photos by Ron Williamson & Godfrey O'Callaghan

 


West of Southend, Saturday 28th October 2017

18 walkers  with only 9 finishers, 18 miles - leader Ron Williamson

The strange case of the missing walkers, the high-tech boot and the spooked pier.


A tough encounter with the barren, windswept, mountainous terrain of south east Essex  resulted in a drop out rate of 50%,with the leader, despite his local knowledge, only just managing to limp home. New boots were destroyed by the demanding landscape and the pride dented of those who failed to reach the final destination.


Thankfully for those of us of a nervous disposition the pier was out of bounds due to an Halloween event, although some felt sure that they felt like Zombies.


The nine survivors continued the team building experience with fish and chips for supper before departing from Southend Central station.


All are welcome to join in next year's Southend expedition but a few sessions at Boot Camp might be required if you wish to complete the course.

Ron Williamson

Photos by Keith Lane

 

 


 

Kent Peaks - Ashford & Swale, Sunday 22nd October 2017

18 walkers, 19 miles - leader Peter Jull
 
The 18 who left Charing station were soon 16 when it became clear that for a newbie intent on fitness improvement it was a step up to far from Sheerness sea wall, especially when the route started up the steep scarp of the North Downs.
 
With an LDWA group in full flow gently downhill the other side, speed was also go to be a problem and with a kindly word that an intermediate challenge might be more suitable he & companion were left with a map to explore at their own pace. The morning was pheasant country with birds frequently flushing from path side. A flock of fledglings herded in front for a field edge furlong. Despite the Brian associated heavy & blustery showers of the previous day the fields were pleasingly unmuddy. Children were monopolising the swings and picnickers also eschewed the seesaw in favour of the sit height playground wall.
 
The adjacent Alma at Painter's Forstal was full and the roast beef sold out but sitting in a sheltered garden corner was comfortable enough and food served commendably quickly but the landlord did bemoan the lack of notice of so many ordering coffees. The lengthy ladies loo queue completed, the afternoon route turned back south and being exposed to air movement increased from breeze to wind, it was in your face chilling. But that soon abated, clouds diminished revealing the sun and in sheltering woods layers were lost. The rustle of feet through autumnal leaves became so constant to almost be an irritant.
 
The high point in Swale's council area is spectacularly underwhelming, being a roadside hedge corner before continuing the gentle climb into Ashford. Photography to attest our passing concluded it was but half a mile to Ashford's only a few feet higher point in the middle of a fairly flat field before decent almost imperceptibly began. Its unremarkablenes was redeemed by a nascent view but the setting sun required the requisite photographs to exclude it. That view became more spectacular as the descent gradient steepened revealing Charing laid out below. But a lame knee was lagging and left limping across the racecourse while the leading lot were led though the village back paths before the leader returned for the chivalrous Londoners waiting for their laggard. All 5 were still in good time for the 5:50 train home.

 

Photos

 


Escape from Dagenham, Friday 20th October 2017

A Mid Week Pop Up Daytime walk
14 miles, 11 Walkers - leader Ron Williamson

It was a dull, dank, dismal, day in Dagenham as eleven members embarked on our latest escapade.
Five and a half hours and fourteen miles later the escapees strode into the sun kissed suburban station of  Upminster  full of the joys of spring, and thankful that they had not gone back to sleep when they had woken earlier to the sound of rain being driven against the bedroom window.
In between the objectives had been fully met, good refreshment stops discovered, and great company enjoyed.

Photos by Bola

 


Docklands Exploration, Wednesday 11th October 2017

11 walkers, 8 miles - leader Colin Saunders

We reached Surrey Quays with no further misdirection and all remaining five went into the JDW.  For the record, we started with 11 and finished with 5!  I don't suppose there have been many if any evening walks that included a cruise!

Colin Saunders

Ps  Nor 5 foxes being fed crisps by a solitary lady in the dark

Keith Lane (who also contributed the photograph)

 


London Parks Way in reverse (3/3). Hammersmith to Kingston, Saturday 7th October 2017

18 walkers, 22 miles - leader Rob Myers

I was delighted with my turnout of 18 at the walk. A lot of people who had done either stage one or two returned for the finale. One person did all 3 stages. I decided not to use the Wetherspoons for lunch preferring the Druid's Head which I tried out the previous day. This pub offered brilliant beer albeit at £4.10 a pint. The food was excellent and reasonably price and was served after 15 minutes.

 

 


Between the A12 and A127, Wednesday 4th October 2017

9 Walkers, 17 miles - leader Ron Williamson

Mid week daytime Pop Up

An excellent walk through Essex countryside at its best and then into the ancient woods of what was the Thorndon estate , now a country park.
An unexpected bonus was the free 20% extra courtesy of Network Rail. Thanks to Brian from Essex and his local knowledge for guiding us on an alternative route. Nearly 3 miles extra , still we were warned in the small print to be prepared for diversions.
The oasis was located at Herongate and four walkers located the Spoons near the finish.


Ron Williamson


 


 

Kent hills, gardens and views, Saturday 30th September 2017

23 walkers, 20 miles - leader Jerome Ripp

A large multi-national group assembled at Sevenoaks station for a semicircular route roughly to the west and south of the town. The first section took us to Dryhill nature reserve for a circuit, there were several of these events sprinkled throughout the day; there was some muttering about going round in circles but these had all been carefully planned by the leader to offer pleasure to the group. In this case, some fine views of the north downs. South to Sundridge and Emmetts garden. There are public footpaths which lead surreptitiously to the tea room but on this occasion we went in the main entrance and although it is members only, it seems that the National Trust are trying to be more inclusive and we were all allowed in.
The route became quite varied as we went over Toy's hill and Ide hill, the third hill was Octavia who of course was one of the NT founders and we had a break at her memorial seat with a fine view south. We continued on the Greensand way now with some rain to add to the 4 seasons effect that the weather provided.The plan has been to finish with a crossing of Knole park but in an attempt to avoid a short section of unpleasant road walking, the leader went for a promising short cut which developed into an illegal crossing of Beechmont bank which involved some exciting bundu-bashing and a change of plan. Sanity was restored and a final estate agent tour of miiiionaire properties lead to the station.

 


 

Another Wethersppoon Odyssey, Wednesday 28th September 2017

 

6 walkers,  9 miles - leader  Neil Cook

 

We left Bromley and following the Ravensbourne we headed towards Beckenham Place Park and after amimi de tour we exited the park and onto the river pool and Lewisham and onto Greenwich for a well earned drink 

 


High points of Kent (part 1), Saturday 24th September 2017

7 walkers, 21 miles - leader Peter Jull

An unintentional clash with the end of the Surrey Tops inevitably diminished numbers with several usual suspects Topsing it the day before or marshalling. So it was 7 (mostly Kent) that set out from Aylesford but including Topser Neal who had finished 50 miles after midnight, been home and slept and was back for more. Fields of vines had vineyard owner Rex inspecting trellising methods, varieties and tastes and then relating his findings. Ascending the North Downs scarp was the stiffest climb of the day but the top not the target Maidstone council highpoint. The Bell in Bredhurst was a tardis but we chose the garden for lunch. The day, betwixt enquinox and equilux was definitely more summer than autumn, ideal walking weather. Dip slope valleys were downed and upped before playing real life Frogger across the A249. On recconaisance, approaching from the unadvertised side, a figure in combat gear, mask and with long gun had been disconcertingly encountered in the woods. Apocolypse's organiser asked us to wait while 80 such airsoft combatants finished returning to base then escorted us along the bridlepath through their woods. In White Horse Wood country park the group were dragged away from the trigpointed and toposcoped viewpoint to gain a few more feet and reach a much less spectacular wooded glade but with bench for photograph. Target achieved it was downhill, steeply at first, back to the start. More vineyards on the run in had Rex salivating again. Commendations to Aylesford parish council for well maintained public conveniences conveniently placed.

Report & photos by Peter Jull

 


The Only Way is Up-per Norwood, Wednesday 13th September 2017

6 walkers, 6 miles - leader Ian Fairweather

There were six of us in total on the walk.

Evening weather fine.