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.

Sheila

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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!

Veronica

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14th July 2016:London Loop 12, Cockfosters to Enfield Lock

Four of us did this nearly-ten-miles semi-rural walk through northern Enfield, on a day more and more like mid-summer as the hours passed. With a few navigational debates, but no disasters, we traversed the western side of Trent Park, once the home of Philip Sassoon – a more sensitive Conservative politician than those we heard about that afternoon – then up a grassy slope and through to the site of the moated medieval Camlet House. After a little more woodland we crossed the busy Hadley Road into open farmland with hundreds of hectares of broad beans. By following Salmon’s Brook for a mile we gained the Ridgeway, another busy road to cross with care. Then along a farm track down and up past the imposing Red House to an eerily abandoned farmyard. Continuing up the slope we gained the delightful woods of Clay Hill which gave access into the rugged park of Hilly Fields. Here Red Rope tradition dictated that we have a picnic lunch on a log. Gaining another woodland track, we found the Old Course (abandoned a century ago) of the New River, then the Turkey Brook, taking us along the northern fringe of the 17th C Forty Hall estate. We next walked N (on a diversion) on Forty Hill to Myddleton House. This was the home of the remarkable horticulturist EA Bowles who spent a lifetime (1870 to 1964) tending a wonderful garden around his mansion. After taking tea here (courtesy of the Lea Valley regional park, whose HQ this is) we were ready for our final footslog E, tracking the Turkey Brook, getting over the Great Cambridge Road and through the northern fringe of Ponders End to Enfield Lock rail station. This walk through the unspoiled countryside of the historic Enfield Chase gave great exercise and a lot of topographical and historical interest. Next, on Thurs 28th July at 11.00, we will find our way back to Enfield Lock Station, and the nearby Royal Small Arms Factory surrounded by “Enfield Island Village”, for the start of the next stage from the Lea Navigation through Sewardstone and Epping Forest to Chigwell (9 miles). Join us!

Steve Butters

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10th July 2016:Farnborough circular

Don led this walk at short notice, Claire having unfortunately broken her arm. There was a good turnout of members despite last night’s partying. We took a bus from Bromley South to Farnborough village and set off through the churchyard and into High Elms Country Park. In the woodland Don pointed out the graves of the Lubbock family who previously owned the estate. Flowers marked the grave of Eric Lubbock, Lord Avebury, who won the famous Orpington by-election for the Liberals in 1963. Later we saw a dene-hole, where chalk was dug out to enrich the farmland, and a substantial tree growing out of a tree trunk which fell in the storm of 1987. At Downe church we saw the grave of the Darwin family, though Charles Darwin is buried in Westminster Abbey. After a drink at the village pub, 3 members of the group decided to stay on and visit Down House, home of Charles Darwin. The rest of us walked through the beautiful Cudham valley to Cudham village where we stopped to eat sandwiches and watch the cricket. Returning through woodland with many lovely beech and other trees, we stopped for tea at High Elms cafe. The three who visited Down House caught us up at the bus stop to catch the bus back to Bromley.

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9th July 2016:Party

Helen and Dermot hosted a London Red Rope party at their home. It was warm enough to sit in the garden and there was lots of lovely food and drink and much discussion of current events!

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3rd July 2016: Rickmansworth wild swimming walk

Pam led this circular walk from Rickmansworth with an opportunity to swim in the lake.

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30th June 2016: London AGM

The London AGM was held as usual at the Royal Oak pub, in Tabard Street SE1, where some members enjoyed a meal before the meeting. Officers reported on the year’s activities and were thanked for their work to keep the club running. There was agreement that the programme of Sunday walks had been very successful with volunteers coming forward to lead walks almost every weekend. Some midweek walks are also now taking place, notably the London Loop on alternate Thursdays. The trips programme was much diminished, to some extent due to the lack of a volunteer to book them. Members are encouraged to come forward with suggestions for trips which they would like to book and organise themselves. The committee are happy to advise. There had been a successful trip the previous weekend to Puttenham Camping Barn in Surrey and a New Year trip has been booked at Clapham, Yorkshire. The existing committee members were reappointed unopposed.

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