28th October 2018: Hayes circular

A varied walk starting at Hayes, Kent started on the London Loop winding through beech and oak trees. A coffee stop was in a welcoming cafe in Keston where some of us partook toast and cake and then continued past the Wilberforce Oak, through muddy fields where we were caught in a hail shower. However, the weather was mainly kind to us and a post lunch stop at the pub at Leaves Green allowed us to miss the worse shower.Wilberforce oak

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9 September 2018 – Watton-at-Stone circular

A second experiment at a “leaderless walk”. 9 of us arrived on the appointed train. Navigation was definitely trickier without a leader; some trying to use a normal map, others the Saturday Walker’s Club map and others their instructions. We had a half-an-hour debate about whether to take a short cut that would save about half-an-hour! However it all turned out well with samples of the Hertfordshire puddingstone, red kites and lots of blackberries.

watton+at+stone

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29th August 2018: ” The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ” at the Scoop

The free shows which take place in the Scoop next to City Hall made a change this year from the Greek myths which have been performed each summer in the last few years. Some of us decided to go to the early show which was a family oriented version of “The Wizard of Oz”. The heavy rain last Sunday had knocked out the electricity at the Scoop but the company battled against this with a rather noisy generator and the loss of some of their special effects. They chose their own songs as those which are familiar from the film were not available due to copyright restrictions. However the performers still put on a very enjoyable show. The later show was to be the story of King Arthur but some of us went for a meal instead.

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26th August 2018: Benfleet to Leigh on Sea

Despite the weather forecast for heavy rain, 9 people set off to walk from Benfleet. The  plan was to walk to Southend with the option of adding more than 2 miles by walking Southend Pier and back.  At Benfleet station the route took us uphill to reach Hadleigh Country Park while the weather was still dry.  A pleasant path with views of the Thames Estuary between the trees and bushes took us in the direction of Hadleigh Castle which we glimpsed. However the rain was not far away so we did not take the path upwards to reach the castle ruins but continued down to Leigh on Sea. By now the rain was heavy so we finished our walk with lunch in Leigh and headed for the station and journeyed home.

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5th August 2018: Swanley, St Paul’s Cray and Petts Wood

Five stalwarts turned out for this London Fringe six mile walk on a blazing day. Network Rail placed a jinx at the start by closing an essential footbridge over the railway by Swanley Station. However, we were saved by Humphrey’s Plan B taking us west along a lane into rolling fields with a distant view of Canary Wharf to the north.

Pauls Cray Hill Country Park

The not-very-scenic Country Park

After more back ways and one mile traverse of a prairie-like country park we reached St Paul’s Cray. Here we picnicked on the village green.

Crossing the Cray

On the bridge over the river Cray

After crossing the Cray river we trudged up a long hill through a council estate, on the summit provided with convenience stores with ice cream. Finally, across more parkland to reach Chiselhurst Common and ancient Petts Wood. Humphrey navigated us through the forest to the safety of the London Loop path, then into Petts Wood suburb. This comprises spacious Tudorbethan semis and a lively cafe-lined high street. Though this model suburb seems sedate, people in the bistros and the Daylight Pub were in high spirits; it was almost France. Despite high temperatures, this proved a worthwhile hike across a little known segment of SE London.

Steve

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8th July 2018: Liphook Circular

So, I needed out of the big smoke … to immerse myself in green … walk … think. I was told ‘Try Red Rope’.  Met up with members of the London group for a 14k circular walk in Liphook, Hampshire. A little anxious that being the new girl, and not having walked for a while, I’d hold everyone up and would be left behind. Instead I experienced interesting conversation, lots of laughter and a caring group of people as we walked. This including beautiful scenery and different terrains, all at a doable pace. Thank you for a most enjoyable day. I’ll be back ☺️

Wendy

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24th June 2018: Box Hill Hike

box

This Sunday’s walk was the Box hill Hike. Six of us (Nigel our leader, Miriam, John, Humphrey, Hugh, and myself, Damien) began our walk from Box Hill and West Humble Station, walking over 11 miles altogether. The Hike itself is a tough 8 mile circular route that includes a 1000 feet of ascent (plus climbing Box Hill to begin the walk!). There was an initial steep ascent to Salomon’s Memorial, from where the Hike begins. From here on the Hike was a series of descents and ascents and interspersed by some lovely Downland and Meadows. The going was very tough, and made harder by the high temperature, but woodland canopy shaded us fro the worst effects of the sun. We stopped for lunch at the village of Mickleham, picnicking in the church ground, followed by liquid refreshment at the lovely Running Horses Pub. Along the way we were afforded great views across the Downs and enjoyed the company of a variety of Butterflies and Dragonflies. Towards the end Miriam decided she’d done one descent too many and wisely headed for Dorking, whilst Humphrey pressed ahead for his train. The remainder of us finished the hike at Box hill Visitor’s centre enjoying tea, ice lollies and ice cream. Overall this was an unusually tough day but no less enjoyable for this. Many thanks to Nigel for coming up with the idea and leading the walk,  and thank you everyone for such good company.

box wa

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