Newsletter - February 2019

Silbury Hill

I'd like to begin this edition by welcoming all our new members as well as those from other groups who have chosen to receive our monthly newsletter. I'd also like to thank Tim James for sending me this excellent photograph from our most recent walk. For those of you who don't recognise the mound in the background, that is the mysterious Silbury Hill. I can't help thinking the photo has been altered in some way. Why else would Lesley Bellis be near the front of the group?

In this month's newsletter:

  • Committee Meeting on 15th January 2019;
  • Pewsey Downsaround (PDA);
  • Dorset Giant;
  • Hadrian Hundred;
  • Mid-Wilts Way;
  • In Case of Emergency (ICE);
  • Gluten-Free Cake Recipe; and
  • Forthcoming Walks



Committee Meeting on 15th January 2019


The key points from the recent committee meeting are as follows:

  • Andy Todd reported that the walks programme is full up to June 2019. Thanks to all of you who volunteered;
  • The start and finish of the proposed 50-mile social walk later this year, will be Devizes;
  • The start and finish of the proposed 50-mile challenge event in 2020, will be Westbury;
  • Richard Hotchkiss is currently setting up an electronic bank transfer system for the group;
  • To satisfy the LDWA's insurers a register of those attending our walks will be introduced, commencing on Sunday 3rd February 2019. It will be done as unobtrusively as possible and be managed by Lesley Bellis, who will also undertake the role of Safeguarding Officer;
  • Data protection will be added to the Secretary's role; and
  • The committee agreed that single-use plastics should be eliminated from our flagship event, the Pewsey Downsaround (PDA). 



Pewsey Downsaround (PDA)


From Lesley Bellis:

"Thank you to the following for volunteering to assist with our annual PDA.  This is a gentle reminder that we will require copious quantities of home baking, mainly savoury and some cake.  If anyone can offer a bake of any size please let me know. Please keep your receipts so the group can reimburse you the cost of ingredients. All bakers will receive eggs as a thank you. Bea Therin, Sheena Findlay and I walked the 17-mile route a couple of weeks ago and discovered that a lot of new fences had been erected. Could we please have some volunteers to assist with walking the various routes to check that our descriptions are accurate. Please let a committee member know if you can assist."

List of volunteers so far:

Janette Armstrong Bruce Barclay Lesley Bellis
Steve Braithwaite Andy Ford Clive Frankham & Mel Moden
Richard Hotchkiss Wendy Hughes Phil King
Virginie Lapendry Roger & Sandra Pounder Clare Staff
Roger & Pauline Swift Bea Therin Jo Walker




Dorset Giant


From Lesley Bellis:

"We have volunteered to run a checkpoint for the Dorset Giant on the weekend of 13/14th April 2019. We have 8 volunteers so far and the information I have at present is that we will be marshalling CP1 in a car park at Abbotsbury, grid reference SY579 852. We will be open to entrants on the Saturday at 1115hrs and closing at 1245hrs. We will be serving cold drinks and snacks, mostly cake. The volunteers will have to be at the checkpoint an hour earlier. When the checkpoint closes some of us may pay a visit to the local swannery."

List of volunteers for the checkpoint:

Lesley Bellis Jan Cox (Heart of England) Graham Instrell
Virginie Lapendry Clare Staff Andy Todd
John & Jo Walker    




Hadrian Hundred


From Lesley Bellis:

"Our checkpoint will be open from 0200hrs on Sunday 26th May until around 1900hrs that night. We are sharing the checkpoint with the Kent group, each doing a shift of around 8 hours. We are taking the first shift and we will need to be in position at Watersmeeting Farm on Alston Moor - grid reference NY814337 - from 0100hrs. We will handover to Kent at around 0900hrs. We will be serving hot and cold drinks and snacks. Some of the volunteers will be staying at the Forresters Hotel, 52-53 Market Place, Middleton in Teesdale, as this will provide an easier route to our checkpoint. There is also plenty to do in Middleton, which can be accessed via the A1(M), coming off at Scotch Corner. Those who have booked are going up on Thursday and returning home on Tuesday. The start and finish for the event is at Hexham.

We will be offering financial assistance at £100 per car for volunteers as well as a limited edition polo shirt for those walking and volunteering, though colour has yet to be decided. It will bear our logo on the left and Northumberland’s logo on the right. If anyone has any questions please let me know."

List of volunteers so far:

Janette Armstrong Bruce Barclay Lesley Bellis
Jan Cox (Heart of England) Clare Staff & Tim Roger Swift
Bea Therin Andy Todd  



Mid-Wilts Way


As its name implies, this is a 68-mile long trek that goes right through the heart of our home county of Wiltshire. It starts at Ham (near the border with Berkshire) and heads west then south to end up at Mere, close to the Somerset border. It lends itself to 3 sections:

  • Sunday 9th June 2019 - Ham to Knap Hill car park (22 miles)
  • Sunday 7th July 2019 - Knap Hill to Steeple Ashton (22 miles)
  • Sunday 28th July 2019 - Steeple Ashton to Mere (24 miles)

The proposal is that group members park their cars at the day's destination and take a minibus to the start. There will be a £10 charge for those signing up for all three legs, and £5 each for 1 or 2 sections.

The minibuses are already filling up fast. At present 10 of the 16 available places have been booked. If  the minibuses are over subscribed, those walkers will be placed on a waiting list. They will not be required to pay their contribution to the transport cost until they are allocated a seat.

Please contact John Walker, at, as soon as possible if you wish to join this walk.



In Case of Emergency (ICE)


A reminder that emergency situations can develop anywhere and for anyone, so the simple act of carrying your emergency contact information in a convenient manner makes sense for everyone. Walkers are therefore encouraged to carry up to date ICE cards in an accessible place, e.g. a top rucksack pocket, so that if something should happen on a walk, the walk leader or emergency services know about any medical conditions and who to contact.



Gluten-Free Cake Recipe


As a coeliac of 30+ years, I sometimes struggle to find food which is good for providing energy on walks, and which tastes like it hasn't been made in a cardboard factory. Corinne King and I had been discussing the subject as we walked the Cotswold Way last year, and she has very kindly provided the following recipe for an orange and Cointreau polenta cake:


  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g Demerara sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 100g course polenta
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 tsp Cointreau
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder


  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 250ml orange juice (3-4 oranges)
  • 30 ml Cointreau (Orange blossom water can be used instead of Cointreau)
  • 125g golden caster sugar


1. Preheat oven 160C/320F/gas 2 1/2. Grease a 20cm springform tin, line the bottom and sides with greaseproof paper and grease

2. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and creamy (don’t worry if it is gritty). Beat the eggs, one by one then stir in vanilla essence

3. In a small bowl, combine the ground almonds, polenta, orange zest, Cointreau and baking powder, then stir into cake mix

4. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the surface is light brown and cake coming slightly away from the sides of the tin

5. Remove tin from oven, leave to cool for ten minutes and then turn out onto a plate. This cake will be quite fragile so handle carefully.

6. To make the syrup, crush the cardamom pods, then put all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer over a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until reduced and thickened slightly. Set aside to cool.

7. Prick the cake all over with a skewer then brush generously with the syrup.

Delicious served with a dollop of creme fraiche or yoghurt and an extra drizzle of syrup.

(Corinne didn’t use the cardamom pods)



Forthcoming Walks


Finally, here's the usual look ahead to all the group walks and challenge events that are taking place this month within a 50-mile radius of the geographical centre of Wiltshire.

Date Name Type Mileage Organiser
Sat 2nd Feb 2019 2020 Hundred Route Check, Part 2: Foresters Oaks – The Bryn Group 20ml. South Wales
Sun 3rd Feb 2019 A Gentle Meander Group 17ml. Wiltshire
Sun 3rd Feb 2019 Signs of Spring Group 16ml. Dorset
Sun 3rd Feb 2019 Snelsmore Common North circular Group c20ml. Thames Valley
Wed 6th Feb 2019 Ewelme towards Ibstone Group c15ml. Thames Valley
Sat 9th Feb 2019 Coopers Hill Group 17ml. Bristol & West
Sun 10th Feb 2019 Deer, Trees and Views Group 16ml. Dorset
Wed 13th Feb 2019 There's another estate to get into Group 15ml. South Wales
Thu 14th Feb 2019 Lower Wye with 365 Steps Group 16ml. Bristol & West
Sat 16th Feb 2019 Cotswold Tracks Group c18ml. Wiltshire
Sat 16th Feb 2019 Gallow’s Pole Group 50ml. South Wales
Sat 16th Feb 2019 Gallow’s Pole: The Abbreviated Version Group 19ml. South Wales
Thu 21st Feb 2019 Out of the Box Group 16ml. Wiltshire
Sun 24th Feb 2019 May Need to Gallop for this one Group 16ml. Dorset
Sun 24th Feb 2019 Monarchs and Nobles Group 18ml. Bristol & West
Sun 24th Feb 2019 New Forest Challenge Challenge 26 or 18ml. Wessex


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That's it for another newsletter. All our newsletters are available via the Wiltshire LDWA website. If you have anything to contribute to future editions, please can you get it to me by the 20th of each month. I look forward to seeing you out on our group walks this month.

Warmest regards


Secretary of the Wiltshire LDWA