Our beginnings..

Learn about our origins in the depths of the 1990s..

By Rob Myers, Colin Saunders and Douglas Robinson


LDWA London Group History

London was one of the last local groups to be formed. It wasn’t till 20 years after the formation of the LDWA that the idea was first mooted when the possibility of forming a London group appears in Strider 67 (December 1993) in an article in Tim Glenn’s local group section. The following paragraph appears:

“London Group?

"After talking to several members in the London area it appears there may be scope for a London group. That does not mean walks around Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben and Waterloo Station. The idea would be to form a local group from members in the London region to walk, basically, wherever they want to. There is in fact a great deal of countryside around London, and considerably more just beyond. If anyone is interested please contact me.”

So what happened?

Steve Clarke, then Strider editor, wrote to LDWA members in the Greater London area and got a positive feedback. A program planning meeting attended by 8 LDWA members was held at the Charing Cross Hotel on 2 June 1994. The magnificent 8 who must take credit for getting the group off the ground were: Ann Sayer (Chair of the LDWA), Steve Clarke and local members Colin Saunders, Paul Lawrence, Ken Fancett, Sylvia Nagarkar, Don Bolton plus one other whose name has been lost.

The first London group walk programme appeared Strider 69 (August 1994) and the first walk was on Wed Aug 17, led by Steve Clarke. It consisted of meeting in the Dickens Inn for a stroll through Wapping calling at 2 riverside pubs.

On one of our early outings - spot the familiar faces?
(NB - the "name that face" competition was won at the Christmas 2015 dinner by Janet Chapman.
If you can name any of our historic members who still remain anonymous, email london@ldwa.org.uk and we will update the captions)
(Additional names subsequently provided by Martin Tringham and Bill Thompson)

 Steve Clarke also led the first London country walk 20 miles from Kelvedon to Wakes Colne, Essex. The first programme consisted of monthly country walks led by Steve, Ken Fancett, Sylvia Nagarkar, and Colin Saunders, and also monthly pub meets.

The first AGM was held at Tanner’s Hatch YH in September 1995 attended by 12 members that elected a committee comprising of Ken Fancett, Sylvia Nagarkar, Paul Lawrence, Vala West, Don Bolton, and Colin Saunders. The first edition of the newsletter came out in November 1995 edited by Colin Saunders. At that time, there were just 36 members although, even then, it was quite a cosmopolitan group with members from Canada, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands and USA.

Now at the end of 2015, the group has more than 400 members and probably even more cosmopolitan. All communications are done electronically via the website, email or Facebook page. There are walks every weekend as well as many mid-week walks and social events.