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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ☺️
Posted in Walks
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.
Don led Dermot, Esin Helen Nicola and Pam on a great weekend trip to Goring and Streatley Youth Hostel. The weather was fine, the villages interesting and attractive, the river flowing through, the lock and the weir.
Don had visited the previous weekend to research the walks and hostel and assess the size of the members kitchen – and incidentally found out that we could leave our stuff in a side room to save carrying it all day.
He brought lots of the basic food, supplemented by a shop at Tesco beside the station, and Dermot brought food for the evening meal (very tasty pasta and pesto and salad). We were even able to make fresh sandwiches for the Sunday. We walked alongside the river to the north on Saturday and up into the hills and woods (and poppy-filled fields) south to Pangbourne on Sunday. The train service here is excellent, running every half hour even on Sunday, which made transport easy despite the almost non-existent bus service.
Coincidentally it was the weekend of the bi-annual Goring and Streetley Festival so we had an evening walk and caught a glimpse of Mica Parris, the star of the show, although the real stars were the afternoon local brass band, performing for free in the church hall with good tea and cakes. Our walk took us past places where Oscar Wilde and Jerome K. Jerome stayed, houses where Danny la Rue and George Michael lived and river and water mill views that Turner painted. There was a wonderful sunset reflected in the water on the way home.
Posted in Walks
Tagged Goring, Streatley