Sunday 2 December 2018: South Croydon Circular Walk

This walk, taken from a 1982 “Discovering …” series book, took us through back alleys from South Croydon Station to reach the wide space of Lloyd Park, sloping up towards the southern rim of London at Shirley. After asking a local resident we decided not to march across Shirley Golf Course (as recommended by our book) but took a lane south to reach well-wooded Addington Hill. A trudge up its stony paths was rewarded at the summit with views as far as Wembley and Walthamstow.  By now we had joined the London Loop, familiar to some of us, taking us through woods and across the tram line to the borough’s Heathfield House.  Here the local ecology centre was offering tea and cakes at bargain prices to supplement a picnic lunch in calm weather. Although cloudy, we escaped nearby showers and had a few sunlit vistas back towards the North Downs. Walking N through more hilly woodland at Littleheath, we turned into the home stretch: an unmade road with homesteader style houses and a last mile on the main road back to South Croydon Station. This excursion within the London boundary offered wooded hills, fine views and a restful lunch stop. Merit points for being charming to visiting families: Woody; for helpful navigation: also Woody, with help from Dermot; general knowledge quiz maestro: Mike.        (Steve Butters)

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6th Jan 2019 – East Tilbury circular walk

photos: John Aldous

Part One:
A suprisingly mild day for the first week of January. Seven Red Rope types gathered at the East Tilbury level crossing and headed off towards the nearby Thames Estuary. On reaching the sea wall the vast vista of the Hoo Peninsula and up river to Gravesend on the opposite southern shore came into view. The high tide was very flat with nothing but a brown glassy sheen suggesting water. Heading west, waterside of the sea defence we saw several feeding and flying flocks of Oystercatchers. Approximately half a dozen Egrets stalked in the mud flats shallow pools, startling in their white plumage against the drab background. Soon enough the late nineteenth century Coalhouse Fort was reached where we stopped for lunch. We contentedly picnicked watching a model yacht club sail their vessels in the adjacent small lake.
Part Two:
Off we set, after a small discussion regarding route direction we followed a rather toxic looking, orange, stream. As we pushed on the vegetation became denser and higher with almost impenetrable two metre high reeds (reminding me of the film Onibaba Two hunters with shotguns informed us we were on the wrong side of the stream and we were not in danger of being shot. Reversing our reedy adventure we were greeted by a troop of mainly piebald horses and ponies who looked at our efforts with what seemed like bemusement.
Part Three.
Relieved we gained open land and the amazing sight of the lonely Bata shoe factory. Decaying modernist architecture and ideals that must of been mind blowing in 1930’s Essex. Link is well worth a read.
An excellent walk where getting lost was as ever one of the highlights

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30th Dec 2018 -Blackheath post Christmas walk

A 5-6 mile, stretch those muscles, post celebrations walk from Blackheath. 

The walk meandered across Blackheath, through Greenwich Park and along the Thames to East Greenwich. A large group of us enjoyed good conversation, which continued up the hill to Joanna’s place for hot soup and crusty bread and the last of the mince pies, ready to see out the Old Year!

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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.


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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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