25th September 2016:Winchfield

Jonathan generously came forward at short notice to lead this walk, having led one last week from Three Bridges.This walk in Hampshire was in an area most of us were not familiar with. From Winchfield station, passing some large houses with signs protesting against proposed development of the area, we walked along part of the Basingstoke Canal, busy with canoeists and kayakers and looking very pretty in the dappled sunlight. We passed some  beautiful old trees and there was woodland on each side, largely private.  Lunch was at the second of two quite large lakes with some swans, coots and geese which had been lacking on the canal. From here we crossed a few rather awkward stiles to reach the canal again and return to Winchfield. This was a lovely early autumn day, a few blackberries still lingering and sweet chestnuts in profusion on the canalside trees. We avoided two short, sharp showers, the first by sheltering under a canal bridge and the second by being at the pub at the end of the walk. Tim, who is a returning member, took the photos. We were also joined by John, a potential new member who looks forward to trips to the Scottish mountains, but enjoyed this walk as a pleasant change.

Red Rope returner Tim Jones commented, “From the green arches, tunnels, and cathedrals of mature Hampshire woodlands, via the waterside greenery of the Basingstoke Canal, to the wild blackberries and waterfowl delights of Tundry Pond, the hugely enjoyable variety of Jonathan’s well-led Winchfield Walk was a pure delight for the senses.”


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8th September 2016: London Loop, Final stretch: Rainham to Purfleet

The London Loopers completed their nine-month trek around the 150 mile London Loop on Thursday 8th September. This proved a bright, warm day with occasional gusty breezes. Starting at Rainham we walked through an industrial no-man’s land between the HS1 rail track and the Thames sea wall to reach the old Coldharbour ferry point, now dominated by Veolia’s waste processing silos with modern barges taking stuff in and out rather mysteriously. Behind stood a 1k long hill now being smoothed and grassed, actually a landfill mountain covering an old salt marsh. With the industrial moonscape behind us we walked along the margin of Rainham marshes with river vistas.stretching from Erith (where we had begun) to Canary Wharf and the City. The RSPB cafe and visitor centre provided coffee and information on wetland birds (egrets, redshanks, lapwings) as well as World War II history of an air force presence here. Finally another half mile on the river bank took us to the victorian Royal Hotel in Purfleet where we had a well-earned lunch to celebrate the completion of the project. A discussion of the next Thursday project centred on possibilities for walking the Essex Way from Epping to Harwich, or perhaps Harwich to Epping, beginning in October. We offer a small prize for anyone (not on the walk) who can identify all the shadowy characters in the photo attached.


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4th September 2016: Borough Green

Helen led this walk from Borough Green and Wrotham station to Old Soar Manor,Dunks Green and the Fairlawne estate.

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3rd September 2016: London Fire Garden

A group of Redropers went to see this spectacular commemoration of the Great Fire of London 350.

Fire Garden 1Fire Garden 2

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28th August 2016:Haywards Heath to Balcombe

Angela led this walk through the Ouse Valley with its magnificent viaduct.

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21st August 2016: Harlington, Bunyan’s Oak and Sharpenhoe Clappers

Fran led a group of 9 on this lovely walk in an area of Bedfordshire which has many connections with John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress. After leaving the pretty village of Harlington we crossed fields and had a glimpse of Bunyan’s Oak, now very dead but still standing. A very rutted green lane took us to Sharpenhoe village where our hopes of a pub were dashed -a pub no longer. From here we climbed steep steps up Sharpenhoe Clappers -a ribbon of chalk escarpment topped by a beech hanger where we stopped for lunch. The views from here on were magnificent, across a wide expanse of farmland into the far distance. On a bright, blustery day with a few spots of rain the clouds were scudding across the wide skies. A gradual descent through more fields and woodland, with a couple of minor hiccups in route finding, took us through Sundon Hills Country Park back to Harlington. Here we were pleasantly surprised to find The Old Sun pub where we stopped for refreshment before catching the train back to St. Pancras.


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31st July 2016: Southend Pier to Leigh-on-Sea

Seven of us were on this walk from Southend on Sea to Leigh on Sea including walking the 1.34 mile length of the longest pleasure pier in the world. We began the day by feeling rather bemused as between us we had paid three different ticket prices for the journey from Liverpool Street station to Southend Central Station, some paying two pounds more than others.

We started our day at the seaside by walking to the end of the pier which gave us good views of the open sea and back to Southend. We stopped for a while in the warm sunshine to have coffee/tea then made our way back to land and walked along the promenade by which time the tide was rapidly going out revealing the mudflats. We stopped for lunch on a high grassy spot overlooking the sea and amusement parks before continuing along the promenade to Leigh on Sea where we stopped for afternoon tea and cake and were aware that we could hardly see the water at all, just a huge expanse of mud.

Once back at Liverpool Street station I asked one of the ticket sellers why we had been sold different price tickets and was told that even they get very confused by the different choices of prices to Southend. I felt this doesn’t give much hope to the rest of us!



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