Walk Reports and Photos 2012

 Saturday 22nd December - Peter Saw's Christmas Walk

18mls-Ldr David Rossington

In spite of the rain and unpromising forecast, 11 of us met for a walk from Norbiton Station to Richmond on 22 December.  The walk was conceived by Peter Saw, who sadly passed away this year, and  Hilary Saw was present at the start to offer us hot mince pies which we greatly appreciated. The rain wasn't too bad at all and lifted for the afternoon, and we had an excellent walk through South West London, including parks, two river systems, a cemetery, and a New England style housing estate. The colours in Richmond Park towards the end of the walk were magnificent: dark orange bracken, beige grass and well camouflaged brown for a herd of stag deer that we passed along our route.

 Sunday 2nd December - Cheshunt Circular

20mls-Ldr Lonica Vanclay

The train doors closed at 8.54.........but then we sat at the platform and sat some more. Finally an announcement - a broken down train so the train cancelled, another cancelled and another. Oh no - am I jinxed - first the cable car didn't go and now the train! But it was such a beautiful blue clear sunny day that going home was not an option. A quick change of plan as we were assured a train was due to depart to Chingford - so we piled out at the station there at 10.15 - an hour later than intended! We had liased with those at Cheshunt - and they had all driven to Chingford - thank goodness for mobile phones. So 17 set off with me and we managed a rather nice 16 mile walk through the forest then down to Waltham Abbey and back along the canal and London Loop getting back just before dark - with two shortish snack stops rather than a pub lunch and a steady pace throughout. Not too much overlap with Steve's walk a few weeks earlier - and much less mud - partly as the ground was frozen and the subzero temperature kept it pretty solid for most of the day. Look out for the Cheshunt to Goffs Oak walk later in the year if I'm game to take the chance again that the trains won't break down!!

Sunday 18th November - Hoo Peninsula, Isle of Grain
19mls-Ldr Godfrey O'Callaghan

22 London group, 1 Kent group and a dog completed the 19 mile walk (19 mls. 500 yds. to be exact according to a Google Earth Fly-Over emailed by Nicole). The group enjoyed exceptionally good weather with barely a hint of a breeze - in fact the early sheltered miles along the Medway had people reducing their layers. The water - of which there was plenty - was often a mirror like calm.

At lunch, those attracted to the local hostelry were well looked after. Sandwich eaters sat in Cooling churchyard - and cool it was despite the sunshine - and were later joined by the imbibers for a brief reflection on Pip's first encounter with Magwich. A few meters down the road we almost joined a wedding party - having been mistaken for the brides family - who were lined up for photos with a backdrop of the impressive Cooling Castle gateway.

The pace was good as headed between lakes, waterways and along the banks of a Thames swollen by the incoming tide, into a setting sun that slowly settled into a colourful sunset. A contented group arrived at Higham Station at twilight after a satisfying day out.

Saturday 15th September - The Tring-a-ling mystery
21mls-Ldr Jerome Ripp

A group of 11 set out from Tring station on a lovely late summer day with clear blue sky all day. An early steep climb into the hills above Aldbury with a perfect photo shop image of the village from a gap in the trees and then into the Ashridge estate for a huge loop which lead across the clearing where the college could be seen at one end and the Bridgewater monument at the other. There were various attempts to guess what was the mystery; was it contained in the 3 lovely churches that we visited at Little Gaddesden, Studham and Whipsnade or was was it the route itself which sometimes did some interesting zig-zags? The Red Lion at Studham provided a very good lunch for some while others made full use of the vast common opposite. The Chiltern way, Icknield way and Ridgeway paths were all used and of course we climbed Ivinghoe Beacon for a fine view of the locality and the Whipsnade Lion. A very fine 21 miles.

Wednesday 8th August - Not the Jubilee Walk Part 2
9mls-Ldr Susanne Waldschmidt

I was amazed in the middle of the Olympic Games to have a party of 17. It was a lovely hot evening and we continued our exploration of the back streets of Central London. It was good that everyone appreciated the little gems like Postman’s Park and bits of the Roman Wall. There was a real buzz in Central London and nobody seemed to be in a hurry what with all the distractions. A very enjoyable and relaxing walk.

Sunday 29th July - Bushey Park and Richmond Park
10mls-Ldr Chris Dent

9 people

If the first day was typical of a good summer's day, Sunday offered the alternative of a typically bad summer's day and we were rained upon, heavily, at the viewing point in Bushy Park. To keep us entertained, rolls of thunder crashed and lightening lit up the heavens. This was acceptable until someone asked what might happen if the barriers received a lightning strike. Clearly it would provide a new meaning to the Great British Fry Up!

Chris Dent had led a merry walk through lesser known bits of the area and then took the pace to the lunch pub at The Boaters Inn where we had a good view of the race on a large screen TV. The sun appeared to be out during this part of the race but when we set off for Richmond Park to see the race through on its way back to London the heavens once more spilled their contents over the watching crowd.

After the race had passed through we headed to Pembroke Lodge and some got chatting to a gentleman who turned out to be Lizzie Armistead's (she won a silver medal in the race) family Doctor who was clearly thrilled at her achievement. And for all those who asked why the Women's event featured less riders and a shorter distance, Lizzie A (a Yorkshire lass through and through) is determined to fight that piece of sexist IOC cant - a hangover from days of yore when young women were, well, less appreciated amongst the sporting classes.

Thanks to Chris for leading an interesting walk, showing his local knowledge by taking us on lesser known and very attractive paths.


Saturday 28th July - Men's Olympic Cycle Road Races
15mls-Ldr Godfrey OCallaghan

14 people

Olympic Viewing

Firstly an apology to those who would have preferred a traditional day walk - perhaps you found one with another group on the day. However, for some members of London Group the opportunity of combining a shorter walk with an Olympic event was there for the taking.

14 turned up although our walk's secretary, in pain, went home. After watching the race start on a huge outdoor screen in Leatherhead we set off for Box Hill. The plan was to move around the course to see the race at different points but the vast crowds made that close to impossible. Instead we found a good spot in the sun and sat the race out there and Sue Cannell hung her Manx flag in support of Mark Cavendish - not that he stopped to say "hello". But he did ride at the front of the chasing group with the other four GB team members every-time he came past!

After the race had left the area we managed to extricate ourselves from the masses and found our way to a pub, the King William above Mickleham, where they had a screen in the garden. It seemed half of England had got there before us though - but the beer was good! A day of excellent weather and a wonderfully relaxed ambiance.

Wednesday 25th July - Not the Jubilee Walk Part 1
8mls-Ldr Susanne Waldschmidt

First a sincere apology for all the confusion about the starting point. This was not helped by the British Museum deciding to cover up its lions on Montague Place. In spite of this act of sabotage the resourcefulness and ingenuity of LDWA members, who managed to read between the lions,* won the day. I do hope nobody was left abandoned in Mortimer Street!!

7 of us were present for the Ancient Olympic Games Tour and we were joined by more.

15 of us set off in sweltering temperatures to explore the leafy spaces and back streets of London. There were security barriers and Olympic Road closures to negotiate but fortified with an ice-cream we finally got into St James Park. The sky high Merry go round on the South Bank was indeed a wonder to behold but it was agreed that the children’s Carousel at ground level looked more appealing. Finally our resident Weatherspoons expert guided us to the nearest hostelry for well deserved refreshment. Regrettably his services will not be available on the next Jubilee Walk as he will be otherwise engaged.

Photos are available on the website and include a naked athlete and some rather dodgy looking characters in the ladies’ loo in Lincolns Inn Fields.

*The perpetrator of this truly dreadful pun will be thrown to the proverbial beasts if he hasn’t already been banished to deepest Shropshire.

Sunday 22nd July - Greensand Way Linear Walk Part 6
21mls-Ldr Susanne Waldschmidt

Beautiful hot and sunny day but only 7 walkers. I guess I couldn’t compete with the Tour de France. We left Paddock Wood to walk to the River Medway, guided by a Staffordshire Terrier, who seemed to know the way better than the leader. The peace of the River Medway was shattered by an enormous Second World War re-enactment. After this eventful start we had a restful morning coffee at teapot island Yalding, where we joined the Greensand Way. One of our party spent the time on the walk productively counting and categorizing oast houses. There were lots!!! The two short pub stops were very welcome.

 Thursday 19th July - Canada Water to Tower Hill

7mls-Ldr David Williams

15 people

Wednesday 11th July - Stamford Hill to Broadway Market
8mls-Ldr Ali Pretty

Thursday 5th July - Highgate via Hampstead Heath
9mls-Ldr Peter Rusell

Sunday 1st July - Darenth Valley Circular
22mls-Ldr Lonica Vanclay

22 people

22 walkers joined me for a Darenth Valley circular walk. The rain only rained for half an hour or so and by the afternoon it was lovely. The valleys and hills were very green and the poppies and other flowers as well as the nettles were out in force. We headed east then south for an early (and rather slow) lunch in Stansted; then on to the North Downs and westwards down into Otford. We were all tempted by the tea shop there (where I found myself helping to waitress to help speed things up) and given the enticement of England playing football that evening as well as the Tour de France some took the shorter flatter route back to Eynsford with Gordon; others climbed the ridge on the west side of the valley to make sure we got a few more feet of ascent in as well as some good views before descending back down to the valley and returning to Eynsford.


Thursday 28th June - Cultural & Historical East End
Ldr Gordon Parker

16 people discovered Tower Hamlets Cemetery's mature urban woodland before pounding east London's pavements for 6 or so miles. We marvelled at the history in every street as we found echoes of medieval peasants, 19th century philanthropists & an Aboriginal cricketer as well as 20th century feminists. Architecture took centre stage but was rivalled by the surprising amount of greenery & open spaces, all looking beautiful & being satisfyingly well used on a lovely summer evening. Our leader was determined to impart detailed information about public housing since the 18th century but before he could follow the trail to look at Europe's first local authority housing, he was overwhelmed by demands to visit a public house - & we repaired to the Wetherspoon's at Liverpool Street Station.


Saturday 16th June - Walk to Arundel
Ldr Jerome Ripp

A cool blustery day but 11 of us braved the strong winds to have a 24 mile circuit of the Downs to the north west of Arundel. Woodlands and open hillsides (total ascent 3500 feet), a tiny country churchyard for our picnic lunch and an extra deviation to the lovely village of East Dean for afternoon refreshments. Was it the leader being kind or had he gone wrong in the woods??

Anyway, all was mended with a return on the Monarchs Way and a succession of fine views with the threatening rain staying away to the end.


Wednesday 13th June - 13 Bridges Walk:London
Ldr Peter Buchwald

21 people

From Tower Bridge with its ancient fort
To the bustling South Bank rotisseries
And back again on the London Bridge
To the quiet of the evening City.

At Southwark to the sybaritic South
Over the wobbly Millenium Village
Towards the grand dome of St Pauls
Offices where men in suits partied.

Across the Blackfriars, small shops
Then danced to a band at Waterloo
Passed sculpture gardens at Hungerford
And milling crowds at the London Eye.

The Mother of Parliaments by Westminster
The walk across the Lambeth Bridge
Past a lonely riverside bar in a boat
Crystalline offices at Vauxhall afar.

The sleepy Chelsea riverside blocks
Battersea park with its Peace Pagoda
Bohemian houseboats at Albert Bridge
To the narrowest Battersea crossing.

Images on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/52606553@N06/sets/72157630145244766/


Saturday 2nd June - Putney to Westhumble
37.2 Km Ldr Peter Buchwald

7 people

Putney was shrouded in steamy mizzle
The tranquil timber boat houses awakened
As hardy Thames boatmen prepared skiffs
For a dynamic day on the glassy river.

The chattering Beverley made our way
From its confluence with the Thames
Through open pastures of Richmond Park
And umbrageous Womble-filled alleys.

At last an afternoon sun glimmered out
Shining down through leafy treetops
In the viridescent Surrey woods and glades
As we made our way to a roborant pint.

Images on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/52606553@N06/sets/72157630048456468/


Sunday 27th May - A Walk to Sheffield
Ldr Jerome Ripp

A glorious walk in summer with strong sun all day. 12 of us met the challenge of "mad dogs and Englishmen" to enjoy a walk of variety and fun. North east out of Haywards Heath to find much needed woodland shade to Scaynes Hill and then joining the Sussex Border Path and Ouse way to reach Heaven Farm for a very early lunch surrounded by free range chickens. We all felt quite hen pecked. A circuit of the substantial Sheffield forest with more shade and then a tea break at Sheffield Park to see the Bluebell Railway. There were some quaint old fashioned advertisements including one for Venus Soap which rather tickled the fancy of one group member. Via a very old manor house at Wapsbourne we regained the Sussex Border Path, rehydrated at Scaynes Hill and headed back to Haywards Heath just in time for the 5.25 train.


Saturday 19th May - Petersfield
22mls - Ldr Roderick Smith

A group of 12 met at Petersfield Station on a dry, sunny day. We walked up the Hangers Way to enjoy the view from the Poet’s Stone, and read “Adlestrop” by Edward Thomas at his commemorative plaque. On to the trig point at Wheatham Hill for flapjacks, before crossing the A3 to Stodham Lane and ascending to the Jolly Drover at Rake for coffee and cake! A quick descent from the ridge to Rogate and on via Fair Oak to Elsted saw the group arrive at The Three Horseshoes in good time for lunch overlooking the South Downs. After lunch we took the long climb up to the top of Beacon Hill for a great view of the Isle of Wight before walking west along the South Downs Way. A short descent of the Milky Way took us into Buriton for the remains of the cakes, before walking to Petersfield Lake, and thence via the Town Square back to the station. A steep walk of 22 miles in 9 hours.


Wednesday 16th May - Wimbeldon
7.5mls - Ldr Roderick Smith

A group of 16 met at Wimbledon Station on a sunny evening. We walked up Wimbledon Hill to Southside House, and Andy joined us at Cannizaro House. The group crossed the Common to Robin Hood Gate before walking past Dorich House to Isabella Plantation. The azaleas were a splendid multi-coloured sight; definitely worth the walk. Two left to return home nearby, and the group continued to King Henry’s Mound for the dramatic view of St Paul’s Cathedral. We descended to Petersham Gate and saw Captain Vancouver’s grave before crossing the meadow to walk beside the river into Richmond. The Queen’s Jubilee pageant barge was moored near Richmond Bridge in final stages of preparation. After a brief inspection the group completed the walk at The White Swan where most went in for food and drink. An enjoyable opening SEW of 7.5 miles in 2.25 hours.


Sunday 29th April - Berkhamsted Circular
21mls - Ldr Godfrey O'Callaghan.

The forecast was appalling. So I rather hoped that no one would turn up. Think again. The ticket office at Berkhamsted quickly filled with 19 walkers, smiling faces the lot. Admittedly the ranks were swelled by 8 affiliated members getting in some miles before a London to Brighton 100 km charity walk, but it showed the irrepressible spirit of people who, having the choice of staying in bed or walking all day in pouring rain, chose the later. If evidence of sanity - or otherwise - of LDWA members was needed then this was surely it. As it turned out the weather was not quite so bad as predicted. Much of the morning consisted of lightish rain and high winds. Only for the last thirty minutes before lunch was the great hosepipe in the sky turned fully on. After lunch the rain quickly cleared away and, eventually, blue sky and sunshine made for an agreeable finale.

The walk began by climbing up to and crossing Albury Common. From there the route descended steeply to Aldbury - not before one person managed to dirty their pants - before heading towards Invinghoe. Spurning the direct path we headed for the canal towpath at Bulbourne. The canal there is particularly picturesque; snaking around contours and descending via a series locks, it passes several old bridges, colourful canal boats, wetland nature reserves and two branching canals. After lunch, at the Rose and Crown, a long climb to and the steep ascent of Ivinghoe Beacon warmed everyone up. Easier paths then led to the National Trust's Dockey Woods, renowned for their display of bluebells. The remainder of the walk took the group across the varied scenery of the Aldbury estate before finally descending to the finish. We were fortunate to get a last train back to London with all others cancelled following a train breakdown elsewhere. Agreeable company and an enjoyable day.


Sunday 1st April - Harrow to Wimbledon on the Capital Ring
20.5mls - Ldr Godfrey O'Callaghan.

18 walkers started out from Harrow at 09.20 on a truly perfect day for walking; clear air, wall to wall sunshine and a following cool breeze which only became apparent at lunch on the sun-drenched Thames-side terrace of the London Apprentice. Close to the start gasps of surprise were emitted as walkers came face to face with the north face of Harrow-on-the-Hill. But after that the path was, for the most part, downhill or level until lunch. Spring blossom and fresh green foliage bursting from the bud softened the landscape of dark, stark, winter weary trees as the walk progressed over Horsendon Hill, along the Grand Union Canal, Brent River and the Brentford Canal to Syon Park for lunch at Old Isleworth. 5 retired at Richmond -including 3 guests - the walk being agreeable to those not sure of their distances. Those remaining battled their way through crowds of sun-worshippers spilling over onto the Thames-side path before heading across the welcome open spaces of Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common. The walk came to an end at Wimbledon Station at 16.45.


Saturday 17th March - Visit to an iron age hill fort
23mls - Ldr Jerome Ripp

Danebury Hill is a vast area to the south west of Andover with much to explore on top or just admire the fine views. Our group of 14 had set off on a rather dreary damp morning but the weather soon brightened and we had a very good day. Via some pleasant Hampshire villages and a long valley bottom we maintained a strong pace and had time to enjoy the area. Down to the lovely small town of Stockbridge for lunch with lots of variety much enjoyed by all. The afternoon was the Test Way to Chilboton Cow common and through Harewood forest; a very fast pace, some lovely scenes and pleasant companions for our 23 miles.

Sunday 11th March - Henley circular via Marlow
20mls - Ldr Dave Williams

Sunday 4th March - Henley figure of eight
20mls - Ldr Lonica Vanclay

12 people ignored the weather forecast and met at Henley station. We were soon reminded of how torrential rain feels, a sensation that has faded with recent talk of drought. Some of us had clearly been lulled into a false sense of security by last week’s springlike weather & were inadequately clothed when the rain turned to sleet & then snow. The fine Chiltern views were obscured. The pace quickened in a vain attempt to keep warm….

The midway point found us back in Henley after 11 miles: 7 of the group withdrew at this point but 5, determined to gain the accolade of “well ‘ard”, refuelled in a charming Italian bistro and continued. The leader tinkered effectively with the route plan and the sleet turned to rain then stopped and we concluded at Shiplake in time for a pint before catching the train from a platform lit by the westering sun.

Sunday 26th February - Hassocks Circular
22 Miles - Ldr Margaret Romanski

A walk in Hassocks

Photos Courtesy: Steve Garnsey

Saturday 11th February - Haslemere to Godalming
20mls - Ldr Peter Buchwald

2 men, 13 women

We walked in fresh fallen snow
Through enchanted frozen forests
Becharmed by the Queen of the North
In the low cold light of winter sun.

We contoured the Devil's Punch Bowl
Reached a clearing in the frost
Where we viewed the brumal country
At a point where a gibbet once stood.

We reached Thursley on a slippy road
Passed a model of the Atlantic Wall
Crossed sleepy Tilford's village green
Lunched in the pretty Barley Mow.

We proceeded in the warmer midday sun
Through fields and under leafless trees
Walking briskly to catch our train
Working hard to miss the witching hour.

Saturday 4th February - A literary/scientific walk
23mls - Ldr Jerome Ripp

A bitterly cold day with sub zero temperatures and the prospect of snow still managed to attract a group of 10 hardy Arctic explorers. The weather, the firm underfoot conditions and the almost complete absence of stiles enabled a brisk pace to be maintained and 23 miles were covered despite a late start due to the leader not checking underground closures. The route followed sections of the Chiltern Way and Hertfordshire Way and although never steep did have a significant number of undulations (1800 feet of ascent) giving a variety of fine views over the agricultural and lightly wooded landscape. The literary Highlight of the walk was the house of George Bernard Shaw at Ayot St. Lawrence where we also had lunch in a lovely 14th Century pub with oak beams, roaring fires and good food. The scientific highlight was the agricultural research station in Rothansted Park and surrounding fields where the first experiment to analyse crop yields and develop fertilisers was started in 1843 and is still ongoing. Other highlights were an ancient earthwork, "Devil's Dyke" supposed to be the site of a battle where Julius Ceasar defeated the British king; a Grecian temple, a view of Luton Hoo now a luxury hotel and of course members of the group. Jerome Ripp

Saturday 28th January - Otford to Greenhithe
21 Miles - Ldr Mike Ratcliff

A linear walk in West Kent via Shoreham, Lullingstone Roman Villa, Farningham, Horton Kerby, Brooklands and The River Thames.

Sunday 22nd January - South of Trafalgar Square
19mls - Ldr Susanne Waldschmidt

Start Trafalgar Square 8.45-  Finish East Croydon 16.30 No Walkers 22, 20 completed. Lunch Morden Hall Park. Excellent National Trust cafe.
We started with a brisk walk through the Royal Parks and the back alleys of Belgravia. This was followed by a whistle-stop tourof the National Army Museum with its excellent loos (the other exhibits looked pretty good as well). We continued along the Thames Path to Wandsworth and then followed the Wandle Trail. The unseasonably warm and pleasant weather had its downside when we had to battle through thick swarms of midges. A highpoint of the walk, apart from the riverside scenery, was the flock of goats being herded along the suburban street.

Sat 14thJan - 'Oranges and Lemons' East of Trafalgar Square
18.5 mls Ldr Lynne McKenzie

At 9am 33 walkers met at the Olympic countdown clock in Trafalgar Square. Armed with an information sheet about the days walk we set off along the South Bank under clear blue skies and sunshine which lasted for the entirety of the walk. There was a chill in the air but we soon forgot about that as we wentthrough the City via Bunhill Fields to Shoreditch, Stepney and on via Mile End Park and the Regent’s Canal for a lunch stop at Victoria Park. We lost one person at lunch but luckily Don joined us to retain the 33. In the afternoon we braved the throng of Broadway Market on to London Fields, Hackney Downs, Hackney Marshes and the Lea Navigation to reach the view tube over the Olympic Site (with a short unexpected diversion at the Greenway). A short stop to take in the view and on to finish at Stratford Station at 4.40pm. A very satisfying day for this first time leader as no-one was lost as we finished with 33 as we had started. A highly enjoyable day.  I may even try this leading again!