Walk Reports and Photos 2016 (Jan-Apr)

Chilworth circular: Kathy LoRaso memorial walk, Saturday 30 April 2016

25 people, approximately 9, 15 &18 miles - Ldr Don Newman

A joint walk with CLOG (Central London Outdoor Group) to remember Kathy LoRaso, a member of both groups, who passed away in 2015.  There was a shorter circular version, and a longer linear option that most took back to Guildford.

The walk remembered and celebrated the contribution Kathy LoRaso made on the group committee and for her catering and other duties at the Founders Challenge and the National hundred. A little on the cool side, the weather otherwise delivered a perfect spring day. It combined with the fresh spring colours in this most beautiful part of Surrey for a very memorable occasion and one which Kathy herself would have been very enthusiastic about. The walk was based on the Founders Challenge short route with lunch at the Hurtwood Inn. During the walk the group gathered at a viewpoint on Winterfold Hill and, led by Don, recalled some personal and very individual memories of Kathy.

Report by Godfrey O'Callaghan

GPX file by Paul Lawrence for circular (shorter) walk: click here to download

GPX file by Paul Lawrence for linear (longer) walk ending at Guildford station: click here to download

Photos by Paul Lawrence and Don Newman

Photos by Don Newman

The Beverley Brook Walk, Wednesday 27th April 2016

10 People  8.1 Miles – Ldr Alan Laycock

Start Time 6:28pm  End Time  8:51pm

The walkers met at New Malden Station for what was introduced as a Hill, Style & Mud free walk.  Initially the weather was kind to us passing through Wimbledon Common, and Richmond Park in pleasant evening sun but having reached Palewell Common there were ominous dark clouds in the sky which soon resulted in a mixture of snow and hail.  A thunderstorm with very heavy rain followed.  Few of us were equipped for such appalling weather and, so it was, a rain sodden party crossed Barnes Common in the dark to disperse in Putney High Street.

Photo by Ian Fairweather

Click link below to download details of the Beverley Brook Walk


Godalming circular: hills and commons, Saturday 23 April 2016

15 people 18.5 miles - Ldr Jennifer Caddy

Bluebells were a feature on the walk. Enough were in flower in some woods to give a noticeable carpet of blue.

It was a cool, cloudy day with occasional bursts of sunshine but no rain. Most paths were dry but one was awash with mud. Fortunately, there was a well-trodden escape route up the bank. As we squeezed between trees and a fence, nine llamas in the adjacent field spotted us and stared.

From Godalming station we headed east by the River Wey Navigation, turned south to Munstead and Thorncombe Street, entered Winkworth Arboretum and walked along the public footpath to the cafe where we stopped for refreshment. After this we continued to Hydon Heath, climbed up Hydon's Ball for a view of the South Downs, passed the church at Hambledon, crossed Buss's Common and arrived at Witley, our stop for lunch. Some ate in the pub; the rest ate in the churchyard where the peace was soon disturbed by a man cutting the grass.

After lunch we took a route through Witley, Thursley and Rodborough Commons, walked briefly alongside the River Wey as a large group of people headed downstream in canoes and on paddle boards, joined the Fox Way and continued to Godalming station. We arrived there at 4.15pm in time for the 4.25pm train back to London.

GPX file by Paul Lawrence: click here to download

Photos by Gavin Fuller

Saxon Salt ("pop up"), Tue 19 April 2016

9 people 12 miles - Ldr Ron Williamson

On a glorious spring day, what does your heart desire?

A walk in the wide open spaces of Essex ✔️

A coffee stop by the side of the canal (Paper Mill Bridge) ✔️

Extended walks through bluebell woods ✔️

Good company ✔️

Far from the madding crowd with only a handful of other walkers to compete with ✔️

I lunchtime pub that is actually open (OK OK don't get picky you can't have everything)

Visit and guided tour of a restoration of an old Mill (Beeleigh Falls near Maldon ✔️

Finding that the village pub that you come out to on the High Street at Maldon is in fact a Wetherspoons (delirium) 

A bus service to Chelmsford Station running on time ✔️

Ron's walk had it all, almost, and a very good time was had by all (almost)

Report by Keith Lane

Photos by Keith Lane

 Epping and the North, Sat 16 April 2016

19 people  20 mile walk.- Ldr Dick Bowman

19 intrepid souls dared to turned up at Epping Station on Sat. morning for a traipse around Epping Forest led by Dick, little realising what lay in store for them !
Fair to say no-one went home disappointed, everyone without doubt got their money's worth, some more than others !
With the recent inclement weather conditions underfoot were somewhat testing to say the least which was sadly confirmed after the mid-morning pause when disaster struck, this unfortunate writer suffering a serious footwear malfunction which sadly forced him to abandon the walk soon after !
However I'm pleased to report that the remainder of the walk proceeded smoothly with the rest of the Group soldiering on.
There was certainly enough mud to go round for everyone & with the sun making a belated appearance it was a very satisfied party that returned to Epping well pleased with their day's efforts which was in no small part down to Dick's sterling effort in putting together such an absorbing walk.
(Ghost written by Dave Williams)

GPX file by Dick Bowman: click here to download

Map: click here to view interactive map

Photos by Joelle Paul

Springtime in London, Tue 12 April 2016

12 people  6 mls - Ldr Susan Cannell

A total of 12 like minded walkers set off along the Thames Path (south side) in a westerly direction to Lambeth Bridge.   Crossing to north side making our way to the Houses of Parliament we stopped briefly to look at some of the significant memorials and a statue of Emily Pankhurst.Circling both St James' and  Green Park we were treated to the natural beauty of spring such as trees in blossom, wild and cultivated flowers enjoying the mild weather together with a variety of very beautiful and moving monuments. Sadly time did not allow us to enjoy Hyde Park In its  springtime glory.Finishing about 8.30 in Trafalgar Square we adjourned to a nearby hostelry to enjoy a well earned drink  food and time to catch up with friends. Thanks to everyone who came.

GPX file by Paul Lawrence: click here to download

Photos by Keith Lane and Paul Lawrence


950 years Commeneration, Sat 9 April 2016

10 people  19 mls - Ldr Jerome Ripp

Mud, brown mud, black mud, swampy mud, clay mud, slippery mud, sludgy mud. If this was the case in 1066, maybe Harold and his army thought that William would just turn round and head back to Normandy. Anyway, despite all this and the grey leaden skies, we did have a good walk heading east from Robertsbridge to gain high ground as an army might have done to Staplecross and later south east through dense woodlands to Seddlescombe for lunch. The afternoon was spent on various sections of the 1066 country walk as we headed south towards Crowthorne to pick up tracks that William's army might have used on their way to Battle which we reached just as the clouds cleared and good weather arrived. 

No photos

Playground of Kings, Wed 6 April 2016

11 people  8.5mls - Ldr Dick Bowman

This walk did exactly what it had said on the tin: we journeyed into unknown lands with repeated exclamations of surprise as we turned a corner. We followed the Thames Path up the east side of the Isle of Dogs and had close-up views across the river of the O2 & the surrounding spectacular developments. We saw the remains of the East India Dock, now mostly filled in & built over. The highlight was Trinity Buoy Wharf at Bow Creek, the outlet of the River Lee: a lightship, Container City, London's only lighthouse, two enticing cafes where we didn't have time to linger and Faraday's Shed.

In Orchard Place several signs outlined the history of a forgotten past - it was still a slum in the '30s. We gasped at several extraordinary art works! Passing Billingsgate Market we turned into the Canary Wharf complex: Dick led us indoors and up escalators to the Crossrail Place Roof Garden - Wow!

The evening was full of contrasts and it was a relief to return via Cabot Place to the west coast Thames Path and more familiar territory for the return - past the remains of the Great Eastern's slipway - to The Ferry House and Island Gardens. A very creative, intriguing and interesting evening's walk..

GPX file by Dick Bowman:
click here to download

click here to view interactive map

Photos by Chris Dent and Stephen Lannon:


Greenwich to Bexley beside Rivers Thames and Cray, Sat 2 April 2016

15 people  22mls - Ldr Marita Sanders

The first Spring Forward walk on the programme was set in sunshine.   22 miles mud-free walking mainly alongside Rivers Thames, Darent and Cray.  Fifteen walkers, including eleven women, so progress with the gender balance item addressed at the AGM?   Still lots of football related conversations on the way and a Liverpool link – the tree mounted portrait of John Lennon facing the stile into Churchfields Wood for the last mile.

Photo by Julie Welch:



Leatherhead to Dorking, Sat 26 March 2016

22 people  20mls - Ldr Keith Lane

22 brave souls met at Leatherhead Station and 21 finished at Dorking Station.  Being Easter Saturday the leader "shelled" out on Easter eggs to help his fellow walkers feel "eggstatic" despite the conditions.  The drier conditions for the past two weeks were undone by the heavy rain last Thursday and the mud and floods hampered parts of the route.   The wonderful views from the north downs and the surrey hills were obscured by mist and low cloud but there was ample space to walk in as even dog walkers were in short supply.

The gusting strong wind from the south suggested that it could take us 5 hours to get to Leith Hill and half an hour to get back!

On top of Leith Hill the tower came in handy to shelter behind as the wind was considerably in "eggcess" of bracing.

However the promised heavy rain did not materialise until we got back to London when it poured in biblical proportions and over the 20 mile route we climbed 2,600 feet.

So despite the weather a good time was had by all and the day was considered to have been "eggcellent"

GPX file by Paul Lawrence:
click here to download

click here to view interactive map

Photos by Keith Lane and Paul Lawrence:



Sevenoaks Circular (pop up walk), Tue 22 March 2016

4 people 11mls - Ldr Roderick Smith

Tuesday 22 March 2016.  Four members caught trains at 1015 from Charing Cross and Waterloo East and met at Sevenoaks Station.  The walk started at 1100 and went uphill to Sevenoaks War Memorial and the Vine Cricket Club (c.1734) before crossing rugby grounds and descending into Knole Park (National Trust and Sackville Family home).  Through herds of deer and across the golf course to Godden Wood and on to pass the Bucks Head Inn.

After a short climb near Seal Chart we followed a wooded greensand ridge past St Lawrence Church before plunging off the ridge down to Ightham Mote completing 5 miles in two hours.  After a 40-minute lunchbreak at their National Trust café we joined the Greensand Way to return to Knole.

There were far-reaching views of 30 miles to the whale-backed South Downs with sparkling warm spring sunshine as well as bluebells in flower and very young lambs to delight the eye.  Downhill through Sevenoaks to the station saw us just catch the 1530 train, returning to Charing Cross by 1600.  A fine short notice walk on dry ground covering more than 10 miles in 4½ hours. 

GPX file by Adam Dawson:
click here to download 20160322.gpx

click here to view interactive map

Photos by Adam Dawson:



Wetlands Explorer, Sat 19 March 2016

26 people 18mls - Ldr Peter Aylmer

We started as 24, picked up new members Kyla and Katie at the Angel so peaking at 26, though after lunch at the Ferry Boat Inn in Tottenham one or two split off at intervals for mundane tasks such as cooking the dinner!

The group set off along the Regents' Canal, with a quick detour round Victoria Park, before tracing the course of the New River through Canonbury to Clissold Park in Stoke Newington - a good place for a morning stop. Just beyond here we had a look at the first of two London Wildlife Trust wetlands projects, the Woodberry Wetlands - it opens on 1 May so we were a bit early. A road stretch took us through Stamford Hill on the Sabbath, meeting the Ashkenazi Jewish community on their way to and from the synagogue, the married men resplendent in their brown shtreimels or fur hats - no ear covering alas, or some of us might willingly have borrowed them. The Lea then took us to the Ferry Boat Inn, which had an area ready for us.

Opposite the pub we entered the Walthamstow Fisheries, currently used for recreational angling but the site of another London Wildlife Trust project to create the Walthamstow Wetlands. When it's ready next year, there will be a through-route to Walthamstow Marshes, but for now we looped round reservoirs 2 and 3 and diverted through a pretty terraced estate by Blackhorse Road tube before reaching the marshes. We were soon back on the Lea, but cut off into the Middlesex Filter Beds - where once the reservoir water was made drinkable, now a nature reserve - where the 'Nature's Throne' artwork was a great place for the afternoon break. The Lea splits into navigation and river at the filter beds, and we chose the latter to continue before heading across Hackney Marshes and the Wick Woodlands before a longer Lea stretch took us to the wonderful Three Mills at Bromley-by-Bow. Had TfL been running the District Line, that would have been the walk end, but instead the twentieth mile took us to the Stratford finish.

GPX file by Peter Aylmer
click here for wetlands.gpx

click here to view interactive map

Photos by Peter Aylmer



There will be mud, Sat 12 March 2016

12 people 18.5mls - Ldr Dick Bowman

12 bold souls (mixture of members and non) refused to be intimidated by the walk title and pre-publicity, enjoying a leisurely stroll through some of the byways of Epping Forest.

Morning north from Chingford across Warren Hill, along Loughton Brook to Baldwins Pond for a brief stop before viewing the deerless (as usual) Deer Sanctuary and a lunch stop at the Forest Gate Inn.

Returning in the afternoon down the western fringes of the  forest through Warren Plantation, a change of terrain as we crossed the Woodridden Estate. Tea at High Beech was followed by a half-lap of the speedway track (haunted by the ghosts of the 30,000-strong crowds drawn in the 1930s) before we hit the real mud of the day passing down Pepper Alley and the West Essex golf club.  An ascent of the south face of Pole Hill brought us to the Lawrence of Arabia memorial obelisk before the decline back to Chingford station.

Sadly, no photos on the day - and the afternoon views over the Lee Valley and that London were largely of mist.

For those who want to tread in our now-lost footsteps, a GPX file of the route is attached.

Click here to download GPX file

Map by Dick Bowman



The Lower Wandle, Wed 9 March 2016

3 people 5mls - Ldr Peter Buchwald


The bustle of Wimbledon High Street at dusk
Crowds of people doing their evening shop
Luminous puddles reflecting darkening sky
A commuter train whizzing past above meadows. 

The river goddess gurgled happily at our feet
While cyclists, flashing headlamps, hurried by
A Gothic dome of leafless branches over us
The winter twilight gradually closing in. 

Private apartments now line the open river
Where factories and workshops once abounded
The Wandle delta is now quite different
With Putney lights reflected in the Thames. 

Photo by Peter Buchwald




Bishops Stortford circular, Sunday 6 March 2016

12 people  20mls - Ldr Lonica Vanclay 

12 keen walkers and 2 enthusiastic dogs set off from Bishops Stortford with me for the 22 miles - although 2 people left us - for good reasons! - at lunchtime.  Lunch at Stansted Mountfichet was remarkably quick with few lunching mothers in evidence and having kept a fair pace we made it back with 4 minutes to wait for the 17.09 train.

The sun peeped through occasionally, the rain and predicted hail held off and even the mud wasn't present throughout the whole walk.  We saw horses, sheep, deer, lots of Ryan airplanes at very close quarters and a few other walkers - not to mention the villages, fields, canal and woods. 


Sorry - no photos this time



Bishops Stortford to Epping, Sat 27 February 2016

20 people 19mls - Ldr Dave Williams

Dave proved that it is possible to walk from Bishops Stortford to Epping despite Harlow being in the way !

Surprisingly, the route was essentially due south - confounding conventional thought that, from Central London, Epping was "out East" and Harlow was somewhere "oop North" !

Dave had 19 starters at Bishops Stortford, and Roderick joined them after starting from Bishops Stortford half an hour later.  Luckily he caught them before they reached Sawbridgeworth ... and then they were 20 for the rest of the walk, including Wetherspoons in Harlow


Photos by Roderick Smith




Borough Green, Sun 21 February 2016

33 people 20mls - Ldr Peter Jull

Wow 33! 60% Kent, 4 Sussex, the rest London.

For once the first muddy fields were not the shape of things to come. In Platt Wood the paths were nice and bouncy but multifarious and unmarked. After a long loop we emerged back where we had entered – oops.

Then ouch, a pavement trip with flat on face landing and we were down to 32. Not the bloodied fat lip but an unrelated tweaked hamstring, herpling back to the station. A detour completed, the wood was re-entered using the Wealdway, expecting it to be better signed. It was and on the other side we were back on track across the golf course, albeit half an hour late.

Assorted wees, laces and delayerings spread the field until regrouped at our eastern limit by Offham village green, From there it was straight south but stile congestion spread the field again. We couldn’t make Merry in Mereworth as the village pub had recently closed down so we regrouped for refreshments in the churchyard around the church portico – Mereworth church is 18th century Palladian extravagance in style.

A local lady invited inspection of the interior and many took up the opportunity. The church clock had struck 12 on arrival and then marked the quarter as we departed before getting chilled. Despite overcast skies it was dry and mild but a stiff breeze making it feel less so out of shelter. Noses were assailed by the strong odour of boot crushed wild garlic in one wood leading to a deceptively perspirational climb up to the next.

In here forestry work was obscuring the paths and left us crunching and stumbling over and through detritus and undergrowth. The exit track located it was down past Old Soar Manor (NT) and up through orchards to the next available pub, the isolated Golding Hop. At 2, food was finished and the beer queue long with drinkers inside and out.

Rested and recounted, which was only practically accurate when passing a point with so large a group; the size was also slowing the overall pace. Regrouped once more by St. Lawrence church high above Seal, the western extremities of the route were clipped but not the afternoon treat of 600ft high Oldbury Hill, steep steps up and steep gully down.

With expressions of hope for catching the 5.25, the next being an hour later, and stamina variances spreading the field again the long loop return on paths was substituted by shorter country roads and in the end we were home in time for tea, actually only coffee was available in the station Co-op, with 20 train minutes to spare.


Photos by Peter Jull


Pre-AGM Bloomsbury walk, Thu 18 February 2016

8 people 8.5mls - Ldr Ron Williamson

Ron had a good turnout for this early-season midweek urban hike, in advance of the London LDWA AGM at the "Perseverance" in Lambs Conduit St.   The group enjoyed an interesting 8-mile walk in lovely early Spring sunshine (included a tea stop), and arrived at the pub just in time for a swift pint before the evening's proceedings began.

Click here to download a GPX file (route)


Photos by Roderick Smith


Tilehurst to Twyford (linear), Sat 13 February 2016

16 people 18mls - Ldr Peter Buchwald

Lissom tree spirits entwined their lithe bodies
While they performed their naked winter dances
In forests with tall trees bereft of leaves
And naiads in the valleys wet their muddy beds.

Lunch at the Reformation in Gallowstree Common
Where we discussed the reign of Henry the Eighth
Eating soup and sandwiches under leadened skies
While steam evaporated from our dampened clothes.

Bare fields had turned to a quaggy slippy morass
And our feet sank ankle deep into the liquid mud
Different kinds of drizzle pattered on our heads
As we walked towards the tattoo parlours of Twyford. 


Click here to download a GPX file (track)

Click here to view the route on Bing maps

Photos by Paul Lawrence and Peter Buchwald

Photos by Paul Lawrence

Photos by Peter Buchwald


Walking on Water, Sat 6 February 2016

14 people 25mls - Ldr Jerome Ripp

14 walkers braved the elements and appeared at Guildford station for this long walk almost entirely by the river bank. The threatened rain and storm never happened and we had a pleasant day making good progress along the river Wey Navigation marvelling at how this canal was made in 1653. Lunch at the Anchor inn Pyrford near to where John Donne lived soon led to Weybridge and the Thames Path. The leader had done the recce for this walk in Dec. 2008!! and promised a "T and P" stop at Walton Bridge. Fortunately for him, the facilities were still there and suitably refreshed we motored on to Hampton Court where the promised 22 miles was nearly completed. A renegade group of 6 decided that they had had their money's worth but the hard core pushed on finally abandoning the river as we sped across Home Park to beat the closing deadline of 5.30 and darkness, just making it to Kingston station at 5.20 having completed an impressive 25 miles.

Too cloudy and dull for photos!


Watership Down and the Test, Sun 31 January 2016

25 people 17mls - Ldr Christopher Hedley

Another good turnout and a great day's walking - despite gloomy weather!

See Paul's photos to get a step by step record of the outing!


Photos by Paul Lawrence

London without the Gooners, Sat 23 January 2016

23 people 20mls - Ldr Julie Welch

23 people joined the walk and despite all week the weather forecast prophesying ‘wet and windy’, come Saturday it was delightfully mild and at one point we even saw some strange big orange thing in the sky. Sadly, nobody was wielding a camera.   "Gooners" were successufully avoided, and the walk made an excellent complement to Susanne's walk last weekend, which had similar starting and finishing points, but the opposite way round.

No photos today - weather too dull!


Hawksmoor Churches Discovery Walk, Sun 17January 2016

28 people 17mls - Ldr Susanne Waldschmidt

A great turnout for Susanne's excellent guided hike along the north Thames (mostly) from Trafalgar Square to Greenwich.   Taking in the 6 (and a half) Hawksmoor churches en route, with abundant coffee (and beer) opportunities as we walked.   We all learned a lot (even Susanne - who learned about Hawksmoor's mystical side) and came away invigorated after our first walk in probably 2 years that encountered snow.   OK so it was only a few square inches in Russell Square and despite Paul's predictions we didn't actually see any woolly mammoths.   But refreshing to exchange fields and mud for snow and pavements, at least for a day.

Thanks, Susanne!

Click below download a GPX file of today's track:


(NB some people have had problems viewing this fle - if that is the case, please email london@ldwa.org.uk )

PS: Some people have asked about the narrow alley that we passed through very soon after the start f the walk - Brydges Place which runs between St Martin's Lane and Bedfordbury and said to be the narrowest alleyway in London.   If you's like to learn more, click this link



1066 Classic, Sat 9 January 2016

13 people 18mls - Ldr Jane Bates

Despite an unpreposessing weather forecast, 13 undeterred hikers headed to Battle (a place not an activity) to join Jane's famous 1066 Classic walk.   After taking in the Abbey at Battle (built on the site of the Battle of Hastings), we headed over the Wielden fields to Tent Hill.   A brief history lesson revealed how William (who presumably wasn't the Conqueror at that stage) had camped his army here on the night before that fateful battle which sealed the fate of British history for the next 1000 years .   After feasting on pork scratchings at the strangely food-less pub in Boreham Street, we descended to the Pevensey Levels which although flat, were extremely hard going.  Recent heavy rain had reduced the path to a quagmire and even worse in places, so the final six or so miles were the hardest part of the whole outing.   A short road walk as night was falling took us through the brooding Pevensey Castle to the station in time to catch the 17:50 back to London via St Leonards.

A great day out and, apart from a shower at the end, the promised rain never arrived.  

Click here to download a GPX file of today's track.


Thames Path and the Green Chain Walk, Sun 3 January 2016

19 people 16mls - Ldr Laurence Foe

19 hardy souls turned up for the walk, one attendee came all the way from Norhamptonshire! We got soaked throughout the day and it only stopped raining 1/2 hour before the end of the walk. Lots of muddy paths and puddles which were unavoidable. We passed an amazing folly, called Severndroog Castle in Shooters Hill Woods and enjoyed a good service in the warm café on the hill right next to the Green Chain walk.

15 of us got to the end at Chistlehurst station, a few people having cut short their walk to return home due to wet weather. The weather was unsuited to photography!!

(No photos this time due to poor weather)


New Year Hangover buster-Five Thames Villages, Fri 1 January 2016

22 people 11mls - Ldr Susanne Waldschmidt

22 enthusiastic members turned up for a leisurely walk taking in both South and North Thames path.  The lunch stop in Syon Park Garden Centre proved to be a good choice.  Reasonable weather and some VERY interesting wild-life encountered (see picture)

Photos by Susanne Waldschmidt and Chris Dent