Walk Reports and Photos 2019 (May - Aug)

Sunlit Uplands of the Chilterns Saturday 22nd June 2019

10 walkers, 21 miles - leader Bola Baruwa

Sunlit uplands (no unicorn)
of the Chilterns delivered! 
10 walkers including the leader, Bola enjoyed a hilly 21 miles walk in the Chilterns from Leagrave to Harlington, Bedfordshire. 

Despite replacement bus, we arrived at Leagrave in good time.
The star attraction was Barton Hills National Nature Reserve, a downland and woodland with fantastic views, We also had the pleasure of visiting the source of the River Lea, Warden Hill, Lilley Hoo, Telegraph Hill, Pegsdon hills & Sharpenhoe Clappers.

We had a glorious day, though was hotter than expected, hence couple of retirements. 

The group had a 40 mins lunch stop in The Raven, Hexton.  Hexton has a quirky village shop, namely, Country Matters with just about everything on sale and the all important tea room.

We arrived at Harlington station just after 5pm, followed by a short bus ride back to the hubbub at Luton station. 

Photographs by Barry Arnold; more from Barry and Paul Maddocks are on the Group Facebook site


A Lambeth Walk Saturday 15th June 2019

22 walkers, 18 miles - leader Ian Fairweather

We started at 10.00am having waited 15 minutes for latecomers due to a cancelled train from Clapham Junction. There were 22 starters including the leader. Weather conditions were fair with no rain.

 

This was a repeat of a walk I have led in 2016 and 2017. There was slight disappointment in West Norwood Cemetery as Mrs Beeton’s grave had been removed for restoration. We stopped for 45 minutes lunch in Brockwell Park.

 

There was an additional pub stop at the Fentiman Arms near the Oval for refreshments as it was hot. Some people retired to Vauxhall Park. The walk finished at Blackfriars at 5.15pm. There were about 15 completers.

 

No injuries.


Awayday in Norfolk Midweek daytime Pop-up Tuesday 11th June 2019

9 walkers, 10 miles - leader Ron Williamson

Having booked their rail tickets in advance, today’s intrepid walkers were determined to get their money’s worth despite the forecasted dire weather forecast. Three planning an overnight stay in Cromer had their preparations blown away whilst a fourth decided that a day’s decorating was the best option even at the expense of an unused rail fare.

The grim prediction proved to be accurate as we alighted at the forlorn Cromer station to face an onshore gale and driving rain. Resolutely we set forth and fortunately the first 8 miles were inland where some shelter was available from the worst of the storm. The first check point at Felbrigg Hall was reached without incident and revitalised after an extended coffee break it was time to locate the Norfolk county top of Beacon Hill. No problem but also no views as all was a sea of grey.

Now downhill through extensive National Trust woodlands which kept us immune from the worst of the weather but presented a few navigational problems. With a promise of a tea shop ahead, dodging the spray from traffic along a short road section was an added entertainment.

Alas the tea shop was shut! The now drenched and down hearted crew unanimously decided that enough was enough and decided to make haste to the nearest town to seek refuge. A quick visit to the promenade confirmed that to continue along the shore would be fool hardy and that an amble along the beach eating ice cream somewhat unconventional.

So we finished in Sheringham some two hours early and 6 miles short of our objective. Now followed the best part of an hour drying out and eating fish and chips in a local cafe before catching an early train to Norwich and believe it or not locating a rather posh recently opened Wetherspoons close to the station. “A great waiting room”

A good day out with a soggy cold walk but having the bonus of warm company

Photographs by Gavin Fuller; more from Gavin are on the Group Facebook site


Essex Heartlands Saturday 8th June 2019

10 walkers, 21 miles - leader Ron Williamson

The 175 year old, Tudor style, grade 2 listed building of Ingatestone station was the starting point for today’s walk. All had come prepared for the promised wet and blustery conditions, waterproofs seemed a wise decision as within a mile we were thoroughly drenched, not by the weather it must be said but by ploughing through a field of head high crops.

The leader promised that the worst was now over and miraculously the weather gradually improved, the forecaster rain failed to materialise and by mid-afternoon the threatened gales had become a welcome cooling breeze. Only a couple of footpaths with waist high nettles slowed progress for one poor soul who had insisted on bare legs below the knees.

Ingatestone is only 20 miles from London and 27 mins by train, but the only opportunity to purchase refreshments, passed on our 21-mile journey to the centre of the city of Chelmsford was in Roxwell, where the village shop was open but even here the pub was closed. A good walk, far from the maddening crowd, if you are able to eat alfresco, so a dry warm day needs to be booked.

Photographs by Keith Lane


Alton Circular, Saturday 1st June 2019

21 walkers, 21 miles - leader Lonica Vanclay

It was a beautiful sunny day so 21 people were there at Alton ready to join me for the walk. Hampshire at its wildest and finest. 

Woods and wheat fields and grand sweeping vistas.....the enjoyment of which was only heightened by the profusion of nettles hiding the paths, the array of stiles some of which were definitely eroded, makeshift and shonky and most exciting and unexpected of all (given it was high summer) a little boggy bit where we all had a chance to cool our feet.

Just 3 of us missed the train by a second and had to wait half an hour till the next one.

Photographs by Gavin Fuller; more from Gavin on the group Facebook site


Braintree to Maldon, Midweek Pop-up Thursday 30th May 2019

5 walkers, 18 miles - leader Ron Williamson

A walk which utilised two way marked routes North to South through mid Essex.

The John Ray Walk starts conveniently at Braintree station and visits locations associated with an extraordinary man heralded as the father of English natural history. A comprehensive guide can be downloaded which describes the life and achievements of the 17thC botanist. The visitor centre at the huge medieval barns of Cressing Temple proved to be an ideal refreshment stop. The last mile is at present difficult to follow as the official way seems to traverse a building site for a new housing development with no diversions indicated, probably best to stick to the main roads.

The Blackwater Trail closely follows the route of the former Witham to Maldon Railway. A pleasant green corridor between the two towns passing through the villages of Wickham and Langford the main points of interest being the only surviving wooden railway viaduct in the country and the restored station at Langford whose station master was the first female to hold such a position.

A satisfying stroll in unfamiliar country the unexpected bonus being the barns at Cressing Temple well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Photographs by Godfrey O'Callaghan



Hadrian Hundred Volunteer Weekend Friday 24th-Monday 27th May 2019

Leader Susanne Waldschmidt

As promised the weekend proved to be a subtle blend of Wetherspoons, walking, waitressing and of course a wall.

14 of us descended on Hexham Town to help out at Headquarters for the Hadrian 100.

After seeing off the 100 on Saturday morning we enjoyed a little tour round Hexham with its beautiful abbey. Then we took the AD122 bus to Hadrian’s Wall to walk the first 16 miles of the 100 Route in reverse. This was a stunning walk along the most iconic part of the wall. Soon a most wondrous site was to be seen, walkers coming at us from the opposite direction. First a few runners and then the hordes arrived. Hadrian had not made it easy for walkers. Some were already looking tired with the relentless ups and downs. After a welcome break for snacks at Checkpoint 2, just before it closed, we continued to a nice pub next to the first checkpoint. We were all glad to be walking the wall the easy way. The weather was still OK but soon clouds were to be seen in the distance and we even felt the odd spot of rain.

Not much usually happens at Headquarters until Sunday afternoon. However it soon became clear from early morning that the weather had turned out even worse than expected with heavy rain, strong winds and fog on Cross Fell in the middle of the night. The trickle of retirees rose into triple figures. The Northumbrians were overwhelmed. Our multi-skilled London force quickly organized itself into 2 groups to deal with baggage and to serve food and drinks to exhausted walkers. There wasn’t even time for breakfast.

It was a long 24 hours though there was a buzz in seeing walkers come through the door having completed one of the toughest 100s ever. We all managed to snatch a few hours of sleep but one stalwart kept going the whole time. There was a mutiny from one Londoner who refused to serve teas but then he had a lot of baggage to deal with!

We set off on Monday to enjoy some culture (not Wetherspoons) in Corbridge Roman town, where some of us enjoyed a fascinating tour of the site. The weekend ended with a farewell drink in the Angel Corbridge. It had been almost as exhausting as the 100 itself, but the camaraderie and wonderful countryside had made it all worthwhile.


Hills of the North 2019, Tuesday 21st May 2019

19 walkers, `16 miles - leader Ron Williamson

This is one of my favourite London walks made extra special by the 18 members who were able to join me on a glorious spring day. We were privileged to be joined by one of our newest members Carolyn (no. 44299) on her first walk with the LDWA and Joy (no 10) whose memories go back to the very beginnings of our organisation.

A visit at the very start to the roof garden at 120 Fenchurch St with its stunning view over the City set the precedent for the remainder of the day as our effort were rewarded with sweeping vistas from Primrose Hill, Parliament Hill, Highgate and Alexandra Palace.

A very busy day visiting The Royal Exchange (posh loos), Guildhall Art Gallery, Roman Amphitheatre, and the Metropolitan Achieves with time for the mandatory coffee and lunch breaks and even afternoon tea in the sunshine at Ally Pally.

Thanks to all who came for contributing to a most enjoyable day.

See you next year!

Photographs by Godfrey O'Callaghan; more by Charlotte Minchell can be seen on the group Facebook site


Sea Flight, Saturday 18th May 2019

22 walkers, 20 miles - leader Roderick Smith

22 walkers from London and Kent Groups met at Folkestone Central Station, and set out at 09:50 on a 20-mile social walk on a warm day; no rain occurred although showers had been forecast.

We walked to the seafront (a Spitfire provided a dramatic flypast), and turned east to the Cinque Ports 100 checkpoint 10 before climbing to the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne and a brief refreshment halt where a 23rd person joined the Group. Along the North Downs Way to Dover Marina, and the Eight Bells for lunch. Sadly, views to Dungeness and across the Channel were obscured by thick mist; the clifftop views were quite breath-taking nonetheless.

After lunch, we climbed the Cinque Ports 100 route to the Blériot Memorial (110 years in July since he landed in Britain). Thence to the Cinque Ports 100 HQ at the Duke of York’s Royal Military School. After crossing the busy A2, we entered the fields of Bere Farm where the farmer kindly escorted us through two fields of very inquisitive cattle. We reached St Margaret’s, close to the Cinque Ports 100 checkpoint 12; some chose to head back to Deal, the original terminus for the walk but abandoned because of rail engineering works, and some headed back to Dover for an earlier return to London. The majority descended to the Pines Garden Tea Room and Museum; Fred Cleary provided a connection between Ron’s City Plaques walk of 12 April 2019 and this walk.

After refreshments, we walked to the South Foreland Lighthouse, and back to Dover at 17:35 via Fan Bay and the Langdon Visitor Centre. A small micro-brewery pub provided a welcome break while waiting for the return train to London. A successful and enjoyable, warm, rain-free day out.

Photographs by Barry Arnold on the group Facebook site


The Thames Riverside, Thursday 16th May 2019

8 walkers, 8 miles - leader Peter Buchwald

The walk was completed in about 2 hours 15 minutes.  Weather was perfect, warm and sunny.

Photographs by Peter Buchwald


The North London Connection, Saturday 11th May 2019

17 walkers, 20 miles - leader Ron Williamson

The objective of today’s walk was to find a varied route of some 20 miles within the M25 starting and finishing at an underground station in North London. Our hard-worked joint secretary deserved a lie in so where better to start from than his local station at which he managed to be last to arrive with only two minutes before start time.

Damp and dismal weather seemed to be reflected in our surroundings of Ballards Lane, however our spirits were quickly lifted as we followed Lover’s Lane across Dollis Brook and beside Finchley Golf Course. After barely one mile it was time to remove waterproofs and enjoy what became perfect conditions for walking.

With the sun now on our backs we crossed hill and dale as we topped out at Totteridge, passed Duck Island on the climb to Whitings Hill, and scurried between Arkley and Barnet on our way to the highest point of the morning, the aptly named Ridge, our lunch stop.

A group “weigh in” at Crossoaks Farm weighbridge and soon we were heading West along the Hertfordshire Way towards Letchmore Heath. Now walking into the late afternoon sun we crossed far reaching fields of oil seed rape and enjoyed a fly pass as we traversed London Elstree Aerodrome. A circumvention of Aldenham reservoir and a short stretch of the London Loop and we were within touching distance of our destination, but the crux of the route was yet to come.

The wide panoramic view from the recently opened London Viewpoint at Wood Farm Nature Reserve was now before us. Wembley Stadium and St Mary’s church on Harrow Hill, Alexandra Palace in the East and Heathrow to the southwest and over The City to Box Hill in the South a site worth a 20 mile walk.

Now all downhill through Stanmore Country Park to emerge from the undergrowth at the end of the Jubilee Line and another grand day in London’s fascinating countryside.

Photographs by Gavin Fuller, more by Gavin and Barry Arnold on the group Facebook site


London to Brighton Part 4, Saturday 4th May 2019

9 Walkers, 18 miles - Leader Jerome Ripp

The 4th and final section of the London to Brighton odyssey had been held over from last year due to transport issues. A sunny day with a bitterly cold strong wind and the last of the bluebells to admire in the woods. A steep climb up Wolstonbury hill and then some Open Access land encouraged the leader to add a loop around the appropriately named Round hill. Another stiff climb from Pyecombe and we were ready for an early lunch at the lovely Wildflower cafe at Saddlescombe farm with delicious home-made cakes. A section of the South Downs Way and then a long descent from the hills through Hazelholt Bottom and then in complete contrast to the loneliness of the hills, we hit the south coast urban sprawl. At Southwick we crossed Shoreham harbour to follow the last 4 miles of the Monarch's Way back to Brighton with an ice cream stop on Hove lawns to provide sustenance for the final stretch.