Walk Reports and Photos 2013

Saturday 14th September - Surrey Summits revisited

25mls-Ldr Jerome Ripp


The prospect of heavy rain and a 25 mile walk across the Surrey hills was sufficient to deter all but the hardy 10 who showed up at Milford station. A short walk took us to Chichester Hall at Witley which was where I had started the 100 km challenge walk in 1989. At the time, I thought it was a superb route and decided that it would be nice to walk it again 25 years later. 

Well 25 years suddenly passes and here i was again for the first of three walks of the route. 

Much of the day was spent on the Greensand way in woodlands with low cloud, muddy paths and damp conditions but fortunately only light drizzle. The morning section to Shamley Green was rather slow going but we speeded up once we had some fuel inside us for the afternoon section going over a range of summits from Winterfold to Leith Hill. The tea hut was closed but even this did not dampen our spirits and the long descent into Dorking was accompanied by the vague suggestion of blue sky. With a few optional extras, where the leader decided to go down a path and then return, we reckoned it was close to a marathon distance but a fine walk enjoyed by all. On now to part 2 in March and part 3 in June.

Wednesday 28th August - Riversides, Parks and Military Heritage

Ldr Paul Lawrence

Monday 26th August - Capital Ring Week End Part 3-Grove Park to Richmond

25mls-Ldr Susanne Waldschmidt

20 people

The sunny weather bought out 20 walkers including Colin Saunders, without whose excellent guide to the Capital Ring, I would most certainly have got lost. A more leisurely day. Morning coffee, a picnic lunch in beautiful Norwood Grove and afternoon tea near Wimbledon Park, where the friendly owner of the cafe insisted on taking pictures of us. We must have all looked very photogenic by then!! Then the last stage. Hilary Saw joined us for the walk through Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park. Finally we were back in Richmond and a well deserved drink in the Orange Tree. 9 of us had completed the whole ring and were duly certified by Colin. It was a great weekend with a lovely crowd of people. Lots of blistered feet but lots of fun as well. It seemed just the right way to remember Peter Saw.

To the 9 completers.


Richard Allison

Danusia Brzezina

Gabriel Farmer

Paul Lawrence

Pip Lloyd

Pawan Nandrajog

Purbasha Mishra

Marita Saunders.

And of course Susanne who completed the Capital Ring TWICE during August 2013.

Sunday 25th August - Capital Ring Week End Part 2-Highgate to Grove Park

26mls-Ldr Susanne Waldschmidt

19 people

19 walkers showed up.  It was not raining.  The toilets in Clissold Park were sweet relief and the cafe at the View Tube had scrumptious cakes.  Things were looking up.  However this was to be a long day.  Nearer to 28 miles than 26.  The Woolwich Ferry was enthusiastically boarded, though there were a few complaints about lack of bar facilities on board.  A couple of hardy, determined types took the Foot Tunnel. The rest of the day’s walk was along the Green Chain and we arrived at Grove Park, tired and footsore but in good spirits.

Saturday 24th August - Capital Ring Week End Part 1-Richmond to Highgate

25mls-Ldr Susanne Waldschmidt

17 people

The day dawned drizzly but in spite of the weather 17 turned up at Richmond station, some to devote the entire weekend to the challenge of completing the 78 miles of the Capital Ring. The drizzle turned to light rain but it didn’t seem to deter anyone and even added a little atmosphere to the trudge along the Grand Union Canal. Then without warning, the heavens opened and torrential rain poured down. The situation looked desperate. Then a vision appeared, a large red sign saying WELCOME The Ballot Box. We democratically elected to enter. The staff seemed unfazed by the appearance of what looked like 17 drowned rats and soon we were enjoying a long, leisurely and dry lunch (sod the picnic sandwiches). The rain eased and the party continued but further trials were yet to come, namely the Cherry Tree Walk toilets, the stench from which bore no relationship at all to the delicate scent suggested by their name. Undaunted by the day’s difficulties we all arrived at Highgate with no losses and no drop-outs whatsoever.

Wednesday 21th August - Regents Park

8 mls-Ldr Rob Myers

Wednesday 14th August - East End Stroll

5.5 mls-Ldr Gordon Parker

Saturday 10th August - Chris's Farnham Surprise 

20mls-Ldr Chris Ketteringham

9 people

The first few photos were taken at the Holy Cross Church in Binstead (we also had lunch in THE CEDARS pub in Binstead). The grave is that of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery who defeated the Germans in North Africa. There were 9 of us in total and the distance was 20 miles.Good weather, good company, great walk.

Sunday 4th August - A Hilly Guildford Circular 

25mls-Ldr Don Bolton

16 people

16 of us set off from Guildford station for a very long and hilly walk. Took a few photos at St Martyrs Church and then on to Newlands Corner to see the competitors on the Bike 100 ride. With so many people there it was impossible to get a drink and a big queue to use the toilets. One more, Margaret, joined us to make 17. Then down thru Albury and on to Brook where 3 lost Norwegians joined us making 20. These 3 left us in Peaslake but one more, Don Newman, joined making 18. Lunch in a severely under staffed pub in Holmbury St Mary where Margaret left us, then up Holmbury Hill and some more photos. Along the GSW to Pitch Hill and more Photos. Then along the GSW where we lost Don Newman at Jelleys Hollow leaving only the original 16 walkers. Made it back to Guildford for the 19.05 train to London. The walk was probably 25 miles done with good companions and in good weather. A great day out in the Surrey Hills.

Thursday 1st August - Parliament to Parliament Hill

8 mls-Ldr Susanne Waldschmidt

Sunday 28th July - Greensand Way Linear Walk Part 7

23mls-Ldr Susanne Waldschmidt

6 people

Six of us set off from Headcorn to continue our journey along the Greensand Way. The weather was perfect. Sunny but not too hot. A peaceful start to a day which would end in drama.

As we approached Ashford, we had to cross a field with a large herd of cows. Many of the cows seemed agitated by our presence, though we were trying to give them a wide berth. Suddenly one cow turned on Neal and charged. The rest of us looked on in helpless horror. Then something extraordinary happened. The cow was only inches from him when Neal sank to his knees in front of her. She stopped in her tracks. For a few seconds man and cow stared each other in the face. Then she backed away.

We all joked about the incident afterwards about ‘nealing’ and ‘cowtowing’. Also the cow had not charged as much as the hotel, where the orange juice topped up with soda had cost me and Claire £6.27 EACH. However we all were aware that Neal’s presence of mind and courage had spared not only injury to himself but almost certainly to us as well.

It was a day, none of us will ever forget and a warning to be a lot more wary of cows and also always to ask the price of a drink, before ordering and consuming it.

And finally the generosity of those kind souls, who all offered to buy the destitute Claire a cup of tea at Ashford International should not go unreported.

Sunday 14th July - Henley Figure 0f Eight

20mls-Ldr Lonica Vanclay

10 people

On the hottest day of the year to date, 10 people joined me for a lovely 20 mile walk round Henley, NW in the morning, returning to Henley for lunch then south west and east after lunch returning along the river. The lush woods alternated with fields and kept us cool while we walked.

Saturday 29th June - A 100 Celebration Walk

22mls-Ldr Jerome Ripp

18 people

A wonderful walk to celebrate my 100th lead of an LDWA social walk. The weather was kind; warm but not hot and a light breeze, the scenery of the south downs was superb and the company of 18 was delightful with many different local groups represented; Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Essex and Herts, Wessex as well as our own London group. From Rowland's Castle we headed west on the Monarchs Way then switched to the Staunton Way which took us to the tiny 10th century church at Idsworth in splendid isolation in the middle of a field for a celebration group photo. an early lunch at West Marden was followed by a series of stern hills and valleys via Stoughton, the Devil's Humps with fine views over the Solent to the Isle of Wight and Chichester cathedral, Kingley Vale and Walderton. Back on the Monarch's Way we headed west back to Rowlands Castle and a fine end with a view of Stansted Park to complete our 22 mile circuit.

Tuesday 25th June - Epping Forest Linear

7.5mls-Ldr Lonica Vanclay

10 people

It was a lovely warm summer evening and 10 of us strolled through the green leafy trees of Epping Forest – 7.5miles from Epping to Loughton. We shuffled through the leaves off piste for a while but mostly followed the paths; we admired Amesbury Bank, an Iron Age fort, which according to legend, is the site of the last stand by Boudica against the Romans in the year 61 and we learned about the enclosures which helped preserve this magnificent forest for use by all.

Saturday 18th May - Bentley Circular

19mls-Ldr Jerome Ripp

9 people

I was a late replacement as the original leader was unable to be present but with the help of his notes and some knowledge of the area we were able to have a lovely walk in glorious spring sunshine with magnificent tree colours and spectacular views. After the long cold winter suddenly everything has burst into bloom with cherry blossom, bluebells and lilacs all vying for our attention. The walk was enhanced by having a group who were so appreciative and enjoyed the walk without a word of complaint. The area we walked in was quite small but with a number of loops we were able to explore almost every path. Benley, Froyle, Long Sutton, Well and Lord Wandsworth colleges were the only places of habitation in an area of mixed woodlands and fields with a few contours to stretch our legs but no real hills. The pub at Well provided good food and service and for the picnic group, the covered top of the ancient well provided just enough space for a cosy six bottoms.

Saturday 27th April - West of Petersfield

20mls-Ldr Roderic Smith

10 people

A group of ten delightful people met at 09:30 at Petersfield Station on Saturday 27 April 2013 for a 20-mile walk. After initial introductions, the group walked through Petersfield Square, past the statue of William III, to the Lake before returning to the Causeway and following the Hangers Way to Buriton. There was a splendid sight of wild primroses shortly before reaching Buriton pond, and then had our first steep climb of the day through the old chalk workings. We followed the Hangers Way to a welcome break for mid-morning coffee at the Queen Elizabeth Forest Visitor Centre.

Fortified by coffee and cake we climbed the South Downs Way to the top of Butser in a cool north-easterly breeze. Distant views to the Isle of Wight were enjoyed by all before descending north-west to the Izaak Walton pub at East Meon for an excellent lunch – reasonable prices and good service; recommended. Sadly three adjoining thatched cottages burnt out only a month or so previously.

We left the pub after an hour, and visited the church, a 3-star sight in Simon Jenkins’ book because of its 12th century Tournai marble font. The kneelers and Millennium tapestry were admired. The third steep climb of the day followed immediately, rewarded by a “bird’s-eye” view of the village, with far-reaching views of the South Downs partly obscured by a distant hailstorm.

We walked past Bordean House to Froxfield before crossing fields and stiles to reach the “pub with no name” aka the White Horse for afternoon refreshment. The leader decided not to visit Hawkley for a fourth steep climb so we had a level walk to rejoin the Hangers Way at the Shoulder of Mutton hill. A brief stop at the Poet’s Stone for a magnificent view of the South Downs to Chanctonbury Ring was followed by a steep but dry descent. Passing through Steep, a brisk walk took us to finish at Petersfield Station at 17:45. A thoroughly enjoyable walk of more than 20 miles (32k) in a total of just over 8 hours, with a moving average speed above 3mph (5kph).

A photo is attached of the group at the Poet’s Stone (Edward Thomas, Adlestrop).

Saturday 13th April - Away day to Wiltshire

Ldr Jerome Ripp

5 people

Despite a long journey and severe weather warnings, 5 of us set out from Andover station to explore the border country to the north west between Hampshire and Wiltshire. The morning held up well with only some light drizzle and we made a good pace through some wet and swampy bottoms to the pub at upper Chute. But it has just closed down so we had to eat a spartan repast crouched in the small entrance which had fortunately been left unlocked. With the rain now established, the leader made an offer of a reduced walk but no one was prepared to bottle out so on we strode into Chute Causeway and a lovely Wiltshire bottom to Vernham Dean for a pub stop with a roaring fire which gave us opportunity to dry out a little. The return was through some steep slippery woodland and a roman road to get back before 5.30 having covered 22 miles. A spanking good walk despite the conditions.

Saturday 23th February - A Perambulation from Pangbourne

Ldr Duncan MacGregor

 32 people

A shared TV and London Group social walk ably led by our intrepid Duncan MacGregor, a man of tremendous navigational and organisational ability.

The TV group arrived early in our cars and waited for the London group to arrive on the 9.01 am train from the Big Smoke.

The train duly arrived on time and disgorged its cargo of Londoners. There were quite a few faces I knew from my distant and murky past.

Duncan spoke about our route through the beautiful Chiltern countryside. He told us that although the walk was a memorial to Steve Singleton who was down to lead this walk, we should be cheerful and upbeat as that is what Steve would have wanted.

The walk was about 20 miles long and took us through some lovely villages, forests, scrubland and farm land. There were hills a plenty which pleased some and dismayed a few others.

We had a mid morning break when many of the photos were taken. Hopefully some will be put in the journal alongside this article.

I, as chairman, made sure that the London group were made welcome in our area. It was great to meet them, say hallo to old friends and get to know other walkers. As is well known, Steve led a number of walks for the London group.

A collection for the British Heart Foundation was made during the day (see Forum). This is what Steve’s family wanted.

We had lunch at Rotherfield Peppard. As the London group usually eat in a pub, we, the TV group had a pleasant change from our usual short outdoor picnic and wallowed in the luxury of the pub and the restaurant next door, for 1 hour.

We all arrived back at Pangbourne station at about 4.10pm, happy and tired after a really good Chiltern walk.

I would like to thank Duncan again for leading 32 people, quite a task , but successfully done.

I know Steve would have been delighted that so many people walked in memory of him, our sorely missed friend and companion.

Happy Walking,

Martin Burnell,


Saturday 9th February - Princes Risborough to Saunderton

Ldr Peter Buchwald

14 people

The snow slowly blanketed the land
A fine white sheet shrouding distant trees
Slowly making our slippery way
With heavy earth clinging to our feet.

Newly ploughed fields ready for spring
Bare branched trees dripping on our heads
Carefully descending to the valley floor
We rested awhile at a small country inn.

Water laden air after the snow had stopped
A fine mist veiled the distant hills
A mausoleum of mystery on a nearby peak
The carnal caverns of the Hellfire Club.

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

Sunday 3rd February - River Chess & Gade Valleys Circular

19mls-Ldr Godfrey O'Callaghan

We were 27 before someone confused the multitude of runners gathering for the Watford half marathon with the elite of the London group. We never saw him again - or his kind lass who went back to look for him. Paul T showed empathy by joining the search, rejoining at lunch - to hearty applause. Concerned, the group nevertheless pushed on towards the Red Lion at Chenies.

Three rivers and a canal formed the core of the walk - the Gade, the Chess flowing through its picturesque valley and the Colne - and the Grand Union Canal which all flow into the same place at Rickmansworth. Water, water, all around but, thankfully, not from the heavens. Near to the finish the Gade had flooded the surrounding area, the twilight just enough to cause dark reflections in dark water which in some places flushed across the path softly rippling and chattering in the windless night air. 

TopMud: For the MudStruggler it has been a vintage year. For them a walk is no longer a walk without it. It hardly needs saying that the walk had its share. In truth not a great amount, but it was of the highest order - viscous and treacly - fully revealed in all its unvarnished glory - unlike the sneaky menace lurking beneath melting snow ready to rip the boot off an unsuspecting member!

Back at Watford those with electronic gadgets totted up the distance as around 21 miles, give or take the odd millimeter, and we were relieved the hear that the missing member was no longer missing but had given up and gone home.

Sunday 13th January - Waterways & Parks in North London

16½mls-Ldr Gordon Parker

22 people met at Mile End for a 16½ mile journey through history which included a 400,000 year old stone axe factory, the site of the 6th century Battle of Hackney, medieval common land, a beautifully refurbished Victoria Park, the site of the first all-British powered flight and the birthplace of Marc Bolan. We passed through several fine north London parks & enjoyed a mid-morning break in the Springfield Park cafe followed by lunch at the Finsbury Park cafe: both were excellent. Coming right up to date we witnessed a large Kurdish demonstration protesting the murder of 3 women PKK leaders in Paris the previous week. Marshes and water figured prominently including the Old River Lea and filter beds dating from 1849 in response to a serious cholera outbreak that had killed 14,000 East Enders; the second half of the walk followed the course of the New River to New River Head, just south of the Angel, Islington: 2013 is the 400th anniversary of this vital source of  the metropolis's fresh water.