Walk Reports and Photos 2018 (Sept - Dec)

 The "Pop Up" Winter Solstice Challenge Walk, Friday 21st December 2018

16 walkers,14 miles - leader Keith Lane

In the deep mid-winter 10 diehard walkers stood at Trafalgar Square to welcome Dawn. Unfortunately Dawn did not show up so we witnessed sunrise ( 08:03 actually) and more importantly the opening of The Lord Moon of the Mall (08:00 actually) upon which we descended for breakfast.

During the course of our meal 6 other walkers joined us and so it was that 16 walkers departed at 09:30 to walk through Covent Garden past the Law Courts and into the Temple to pause at Temple Church and the spot where the Great Fire of London was finally extinguished.

Using a route of Medieval Alley Ways we partook of the St Pauls conservation area and past the Monument to the Riverside and thence to Canary Wharf. The Second Wetherspooons was mobbed by de-mobbed Builders and a democratic decision was made to abort the coffee stop and stoically march on to Greenwich which was greatly aided by gale force winds in the Millwall area

The Clock House at Greenwich, thankfully had a couple of spare tables which afforded a pleasant, inexpensive and labour saving (using the App by some) Christmas lunch

Following the south bank of the Thames the tide had ebbed, the wind had dropped and, the clouds diminished to provide an unseasonal mild and partially sunny afternoon.

We ascended Stave Hill well before sunset and continued pausing at the appointed time (15:53 actually) to mark the end of the shortest of days and looked forward to the evenings lengthening and to the Spring.

At Tower Bridge, another democratic decision took place and instead of the appointed Wetherspoons, Liberty Bounds, Tower Hill we headed for the closer Pommelers Rest which also had the advantage to the Leader of being within a short distance of lLondon Bridge station

Unfortunately by not using all the appointed Wetherspoons the Challenge Walk was not successful. Oh well, maybe next year?

Report and photographs by Keith Lane

Therer are many more photographs on the Group Facebook Page


Mainline Stations Walk, Saturday 15th December 2018

19 walkers, 16 miles - leader Susanne Waldschmidt 

In spite of terrible weather forecast 19 walkers showed up at St Pancras
Station for the chance to explore all 12 London Mainline Station. The rain
held off until Charing Cross. Nice dry picnic spot with free loos, coffee
and plenty of food by the historic site of the last of the Eleanor Crosses.
16 stuck it out to the bitter end in spite of being cold and wet. At 4pm
finally we reached paradise, the Weatherspoon's at Liverpool Street Station.


Report by Susanne Waldschmidt 


Meon and Butser, Saturday 8th Decenber 2018

14 walkers, 17 miles - leader Nigel Heys

Fourteen people left Petersfield Station in sunshine and followed the Hangar's Way to Queen Elizabeth Country Park where the morning coffee stop was held with the opportunity of using the café. From there it was up Butser Hill (see photo)  and down to East Meon for lunch where most people used the Izaak Walton pub. There was a steep climb behind the church to help the digestion and it started to rain.

The route was passed Bordean House and Ventom's Farm to Cold Hill where a shoot was in progress across the public footpath. The group diverted down a steep slope to rejoin the public footpath below the shoot with pheasants plummeting to earth. Fortunately no one was shot or hit on the head by a pheasant. The group deserves commendation for their conduct under fire.

There were no further incidents en route to Petersfield Station.


Report and Photograph by Nigel Heys

There are more photographs on the Group Facebook page



An extended Wetherspoons Odyssey (Hamilton Hall, Liverpool Street Station to The Rocket, Putney), Sunday 2nd December 2018

25 walkers, 17 miles - leader Dave Williams

25  incl.some ' old faces ' & 1 notable Slinker turned up for my W'spoons Odyssey.

Every W'spoons we passed offered a possible loo stop which we took full advantage of !

Fortunately there were no disasters to report apart from a couple of Slopers & we reached our 16th. & final W'spoons The Rocket at Putney just before 4pm where some of us enjoyed a celebratory pint or 2 & a meal.


Report by Dave Williams


A "Roming" we go, Tuesday 13th November 2018

Mid week POP UP Emerson Park Station to Romford Station

10 Walkers, 14.5miles - leader Ron Williamson


A glorious autumn day with blue skies and warm sunshine encouraged today’s walkers to eagerly add an additional 3.5 miles to the promised 11.

Emerson Park station, the eight station on the single track railways east of London to be visited this year, was today’s starting point. Our route took us through Fielders playing fields into the immaculate gardens of Langtons before crossing the River Ravensbourne and entering Harrow Lodge Park. Bypassing Hornchurch High Street on local roads and footpaths we quickly reached the pleasantly landscaped Ingrebourne valley, an area once full of gravel pits and derelict industrial sites but now a country park and part of the rapidly maturing Thames Chase.

After 4 miles with the sun in our faces it was necessary to turn west and cross the “high ground” of the once notorious Mar Dyke Estate to reach the valley of the River Beam, another area which has been transformed into a pleasing green corridor.
Now with the sun behind us we continued past where the Beam River becomes the Rom through the Chase to our own oasis, a cafe which had been closed for nearly four years before reopening just a few weeks ago.

The excitement of the walkers was now almost bubbling over as we traversed the wide expanse of Central Park Dagenham to reach the training grounds of a well known Premier League club. Alas, as often is the case, our high spirits soon faded and almost died when the next footpath proved impassable and a diversion on tarmac was needed to reach our destination of Romford station.

But wait, all was not lost; Romford has two Wetherspoons capable of raising our morale.


Report by Ron Williamson


Potters Bar to Welwyn North, Saturday 10th November 2018

13 walkers, 17 miles - leader Jerome Ripp

A beautiful autumn morning with bright warm sunshine and wonderful tree colours for our route along the Hertfordshire Way passing 3 pillboxes, through Northaw and wealthy Cuffley to lunch at Little Berkhamstead. A passing shower as we left set the scene for a spectacular weather change; ominous clouds rolled in, the temperature dropped and by the time we stopped for group photos (see Bola's handiwork on Facebook site) at a war memorial and later a modern Trojan Horse, we knew that the storm was not far off. We just reached the isolated church in Rectory wood for sanctuary as the heavens opened. We managed to avoid the worst but now feeling quite moist decided to cut out the loop around the Garden City and instead finish at Welwyn North which was just as well as more rain and early darkness were just on the horizon.


Report by Jerome Ripp


West Sussex Literary Trail part 1 Saturday 3rd November 2018

Shelley and Penn Horsham to Pulborough

7 walkers, 20 miles - leader Peter Buchwald

The grassy Wealden landscape
Runners out on a Saturday morn
Woodland under cool winter sun
The ancient church at Itchingfield

Lunchtime beers in a country pub
The Quaker's Blue Idol House
Curious bulls at sunset time
In grassy emerald green fields.

This peaceful wooded fertile land
Once gave form to great minds
Romantic revolutionaries like Shelley,
Social reformers like William Penn
Who railed against all tyrannies
And formed our modern democracies.


Report and Photographs by Peter Buchwald


Circular from Fenchurch Street, Wednesday 31st October 2018

12 walkers, 13 miles - leader Ron Williamson

9 walkers joined Ron at Fenchurch Station. A Slinker joined at Liverpool Street Station and there were two Slopers.

Ron conducted his master class in London Walking with surgical precision and we arrived at Tower Hill just before the stated time of 17:30 having covered the 13 miles predicted. Just 4 of us finished the day in the nearby Wetherspoons.

Ron’s knack of grabbing good weather days did not disappoint and the day was relatively warm and sunny with a stunning sunset as we crossed the Thames to welcome us to the Southbank.

A list of all the places we visited is attached and we agreed that a Blue Guide tour would not have matched this. Well worth the LDWA membership fee, alone, I say.


Report by Keith Lane


Ron's description of places visited    Oct_31_London.pdf

Photos by Keith Lane

Photos by Godfrey O'Callaghan










Southend Millennium Way, Saturday 27th October 2018

19 walkers, 22 miles - leader Ron Williamson

A late start cause by train cancellation and a latter delay when some members made an unintended diversion, but we got there in the end. The promised wintry weather conditions did not really materialise and whilst somewhat colder than of late it remained dry throughout the day.

18 including 1 guest started out from Thorpe Bay to be joined at midday in Rochford by another. This well known Sloper has apparently now decided to jump ship and become a Slinker (one who joins a walk other than at the start). 15 walkers reached Southend High Street as darkness fell so we had 4 Slopers but all for good reasons.

Never the less if you wish to avoid the risk of being identified in future reports remember ,” Never a Sloper or Slinker be”.

Report by Ron Williamson

Photos by Gavin Fuller are on the Group Facebook Page


Maldon from the South, (mid week POP UP) Wednesday 24th October 2018

11 Walkers, 18miles  - leader: Ron Williamson

Continuing a recent theme of investigating the countryside surrounding stations of the Essex single track branch lines, we alighted at North Fambridge a village on the edge of the Dengie peninsula north of the River Crouch. Our intended route was to progress northwards for some 7 miles along the western boundary of the Dengie to Maldon before heading back to Althorne through the heart of the peninsula.

Good progress was made through Cold Norton with its church a mile from its parishioners. . Somewhat surprised to find hills in this notoriously horizontal landscape we were glad of refreshments at Purleigh on top of the world. Onwards through the Essex vine yards, passing grand moated farm houses our approach to the Saxon town of Maldon was along a dismantled rail line which last saw passenger traffic nearly 80 years ago.

There is a lot to see of interest in Maldon and this nearly resulted in disaster. Less than a mile from our lunch stop and half a mile from our photo shoot the group had split in two. A fleet of immaculately restored Thames barges , the associated historic workshops and other marine artefacts proved such a distraction that some members seemed to forget there were still 8 miles to walk.

Eventually re-grouped we continued past Northey island, with its causeway still covered by the tide and were now experiencing the vast expanse of the Essex salt marshes a land so remote that it inspired HG Wells description of the Martian landing site in the War of the Worlds. The redundant church of St Marys’ Mundon added to this sense of isolation as we made our way back to civilisation at Althorne the deserted station waiting in the sunset for its rush hour.
We were fortunate today to have the services of Gavin our resident photographer whose pictorial account of our exploits can be seen on the facebook page.


Report by Ron Williamson


West of Guildford, Saturday 20th October 2018

11 walkers, 21 miles - leader Lonica Vanclay

It was a beautiful sunny autumn day - not a cloud in the sky.     Circular from Guildford to the west and back on the North Downs Way.   River, trees just on the turn, fields, fields of orange pumpkins, woods and fields - it was grand.  The Donkey pub even had 2 donkeys.    And the Compton chapel was a wonderful bonus.  We all got round safely -  though there was a momentary near casualty when someone finally figured out the gate would open and did not have to be climbed!

Report by Lonica Vanclay

Photos by Gavin Fuller are on the Group Facebook Page


An Alternative Essex Way, Mid week POP UP Thursday 11th October 2018

9 walkers, 15 miles - leader Ron Williamson

An Alternative Essex Way (Cressing to Chappel with not much in between)
Essex may have a population approaching 2million but they were nowhere to be found today. The only passengers at the lonesome Cressing station, we sauntered for 15miles and apart from at the lunch stop encountered only one Essexer, even at the end Chappel station was deserted.
An autumn amble, therefore, maybe for those seeking solitude unless of course you meet LDWA members romping across the wide open fields, thrashing through the undergrowth or gallivanting on exercise equipment.
A good route almost exclusively on well maintained paths and a first class lunch stop at the 15th century barn of the Markshall Estate. With only one train an hour from Chappel, however, it was a bit of a race after lunch. We one, with just two minutes to spare but ideally the route deserved more time for observation and contemplation as is the want of many Pop Uppers.

Report by Ron Williamson



"Eastern Chiltern Fringes” Saturday 6th October 2018

3 walkers 18 miles - leader jerome Ripp

The Chess valley from Rickmansworth to Chenies with gloomy darkening skies overhead; the Chiltern Way south to Chalfont st. Giles with light rain as accompaniment; a record 5 minute lunch stop in the churchyard; the South Bucks way with persistent heavy rain to Chalfont St. Peter and via a vast number of lakes, the Grand Union Canal back to Rickmansworth now so wet that we no longer noticed the rain. However we made it back by 3p.m. and my fellow stalwarts did say that that they had enjoyed the walk.

Report by Jerome Ripp


The Founders Challenge Marshall's Walk, Saturday 29th September 2018

9 walkers,  27 miles - Leader: Gordon Parker

It was a gorgeous day in the Surrey Hills, more like late summer than early autumn. We enjoyed fabulous views and forest shade, starting and finishing at Steers Field (thanks for the lifts from Box Hill & West Humble station) and stopping at Peaslake, Blackheath for lunch and Newlands Corner. 7 of us will be marshalling on the day and this was excellent preparation to empathise with participants then. Route completed in 10h 15m.


Escape from Romford, Friday 28th September 2018

10 walkers, 15 Miles -  leader Ron Williamson

Another visit to Romford, where each year we seem more desperate to escape further from its busy cosmopolitan centre.
Our voyage into the unknown initially led us northwards through various familiar splendid town parks across the busy A12 into Bedfords Country Park and the heights of Havering Atte Bower.
Then followed this year’s additional 5 mile loop into uncharted territory required careful navigating along paths that showed little signs of previous walkers especially when crossing the many recently ploughed fields encountered on route.
A bonus at an impromptu lunch stop at Stapleford Abbot’s somewhat isolated parish church of St Mary the Virgin, was picnic chairs for all and a portaloo but even these attractions could not prevent a desperate trio seeking refreshment at a nearby hostelry.
Across Stapleford aerodrome to briefly follow the Three Forests Way through Lambourne Woods and back to well known territory as we traversed the resplendent Hainault Forest. Then came the highlight of the day as we witnessed Gavin’s successful solo ascent, without oxygen, of the 29.029ft Mt.Fairlop only the second LDWA member to claim this summit (see November 2017 photos of the first climb). An achievement which was celebrated at a convenient meeting house in the centre of Fairlop
All in all a good walk in dry sunny conditions but would have been a mud bath if the ground had been wet.

Report by Ron Williamson

Photo by Keith Lane

Photos by Gavin Fuller are on the Group Facebook Page

Walk in Memory of Don Bolton and Sylvia Nagarkar, Saturday 22nd September 2018

24 Walkers & a Dog, 15 miles - Leaders Godfrey O'Callaghan  / Paul Lawrence

Walkers from the London group and Surrey area met at Guildford for a walk to remember Don and Sylvia. Paul Lawrence led the walk and provided historic references. Both Sylvia and Don had been enthusiastic workers for the cause and this rubbed off on many. Family members were present to join the walk. We chose popular paths in the area that both Don and Sylvia enjoyed walking on for both the scenic qualities and the hilly terrain. The weather didn’t promise much other than rain but it did stay dry for a couple of hours. That was enough to get to St Martha’s Church where we gathered for people to share their memories of two founder members of the London Group. As it turned out, the spot was also the place where ashes of Don had been scattered. With the rain gradually becoming more organised we headed for lunch at Shamley Green at the welcoming Bricklayers Arms, on the way passing through the quiet hamlet of Blackheath. Lunch over, some chose to head back to Guildford by public transport whilst others walked back using the Greensand Way and Wey-South Path. A different kind of walk but one for walking folk in memory of walking folk that had given of themselves for the the group we have today. Eulogies of both Don and Sylvia can be found on the London group website. Thanks to Paul for leading, to Gail and John Elrick for advice and to Godfrey O’Callaghan and Dave Williams for the route (and selfless reconnoitre of pubs in the area).

Report by Godfrey O'Callaghan. Photos by Godfrey O'Callaghan & Paul Lawrence - some taken in better weather on the recces.

Wandle Trail 30th Anniversary walk, Sunday 16th September 2018

31 walkers, 18.5 miles - leaders Ian Fairweather & Colin Saunders

We set off from Charing Cross with 31 walkers from LDWA and Ramblers along with other non-affiliated walkers. We walked along the south bank of the Thames through the Battersea Power Station site which has recently opened up. Unfortunately one of our LDWA members tripped up a kerb and cut his face quite badly and injured his wrist at the Wandsworth roundabout, so an ambulance was called. Fortunately we had a GP and a nurse in our number and I was carrying two First Aid Kits and he was patched up before being taken to hospital for stitches. This delay resulted in having to take our lunch break at Merton Abbey Mills instead of Morden Hall Park, but nobody seemed to mind. We finished at East Croydon at approximately 5.40pm

Colin Saunders, co-walk leader with myself, worked out that the actual distance was 18.5 miles.


The Peoples’ Palaces (Crystal Palace – Alexandra Palace), Saturday 15th September 2018

22 walkers 24 Miles  - leader Ron Williamson

One of the first LDWA walks that I participated in visited Alexandra Palace and I remember looking at the vast expanse of London visible and thinking that I would like to walk across the city from the barely visible distant Crystal Palace tower to the Ally Pally. Sometime later after frequently scrolling through our walks programme and searching fruitlessly through Stroller the only way to achieve this goal seemed to be to volunteer to lead myself.
So many thanks to the 21 members and friends who met at Penge West station on a bright late summers morning and whose enthusiastic support enabled me to turn a pipe dream into a reality.
Despite attempts to scare people away, as we encountered a pack of dinosaurs, and then to leave them to their own fate in the maze before being exposed to the hidden dangers of Dulwich Woods, all reached the calm civilised enclave of Dulwich Park.
Onward through Brixton and Clapham Common and our final South London stop in Battersea Park, but some members were already falling by the wayside.
Across central London via. Chelsea, Kensington, Hyde Park and Marylebone into Regents Park for a quick refreshment break. Now the pace was hoting up with Primrose Hill to negotiate to be followed by Parliament Hill and Highgate Woods before the final mile past Muswell Hill to our destination.
Made it with five minutes to spare!
But only 13 had survived to the bitter (Wetherspoons) end.

Report by Ron Williamson

Photographs by Gavin Fuller are on Facebook  

Click below for Ron Williamson's information document on places visited


London to Brighton part 3, Saturday 8th September 2018

8 Walkers, 18 miles - Leader Jerome Ripp

8 of us set out from Balcombe only 15 minutes behind schedule despite the combined transport difficulties of “engineering works”, strikes and inadequate information. Ardently reservoir, very low after the record hot summer, lead to the Sussex Ouse Valley Way and a late morning break at Lindfield church currently under extensive restoration. The same path was followed down to “The Farmers” at Scaynes Hill for pub or picnic lunch. The Sussex Border path was then our companion to Wivelsfield Green and Ditchling before the final crossing to our finish at Hassocks with the South Downs just ahead waiting for the final section of this odyssey. Good walking weather and en route a few adventures; some provided generously by the leader (e.g. a circular tour of Eastern Road nature reserve outside Lindfield which required GPS technology to avoid going round and round for ever; some gymnastics to overcome barbed wire and a locked gate) and some provided by outsiders (e.g. a group of cows blocking a narrow bridge crossing until one brave walker got amongst them and ushered them away). The good-natured group enjoyed it all and even the 1 hour bus ride did not dampen spirits and with good connections we were back in London by 6.15

Report by Jerome Ripp


 Zoolander, Sunday 2nd September 2018

Sturry Circular

11 walker, 21.5 miles - leader Peter Jull

Start delayed not so much by a late train but a premature level crossing closure next to the station which caused a queue of traffic which took so long to clear we would have waited longer than the good 5 minutes we did if one kind driver hadn’t paused to let us cross the road. London grouped up with Kent there were 11 to cross that still busy road again but this time with a button to turn the lights red, eventually. Once through Britain’s smallest town , Fordwich, the climb out of the Stour valley was gentle and soon we were within smell of the first zoo and some free views of its elephants. The Clouded Leopard enclosure next to the path through Howletts though offered views only of the Clouded Leopard enclosure. A rural route led to the first orchard of Bramling apples, only because they were by the hamlet of Bramling. Through Wingham village and more orchards led to Zoo 2, Wingham Wildlife Park although the only exotic beasts spotted bar the dinosaurs by the car park gate were two llamas in a field across the road, not part of the zoo. Powerful binoculars may have picked out some of its speciality birds in the distantly visible aviaries. A naked orchard awaiting its pear trees was intriguing and the purpose of the structure of wires, canes and posts only discernable because we has just walked through its older sister. All their effort to keep the PRoW clear through the labyrinth was spoilt by wires for new hedge saplings right across the exit point. Hot and sunny (but not as hot as early summer) it was the pub garden for lunch in the Half Moon and Seven Stars at the north end of Preston. With Grove Ferry the only point at which to re-cross the Stour more road than ideal was needed to get back west with a re-grouping drinks stop at Hoath church. The mixed pace group spent much of the day well strung out but without losing the tailenders. Not really zoo 2.5 but more birds were seen passing a private aviary just before real zoo 3, Wildwood. Leaving the main track through East Blean Woods allowed glimpses through the back fence of deer but not the wolves. The last stretch back to Sturry was covered just in time to catch the train with the guard holding on for a few extra seconds.

Report and Photographs by Peter Jull