Friday, 30 January 2009

A Step Too Far?

I think I can safely say the Hampstead Ramblers will not be following the example of these Swiss Ramblers.


More Winter Wanders

This weekend there are even more walks available in London than normal.
Walk London, part of Transport for London, has organised a number of short and medium length walks this Saturday and Sunday. Check out the Walk London website for details.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

A Wander on the Wandle

Fierce weather forecasts this weekend probably explain why Annie Lynn's expedition into south London only had five ramblers. As often happens, the promised (threatened?) rain never really materialised.

Signs at Waddon station showed they supported walkers...

And tantalised us... How bad was Waddon before?

The walk followed the River Wandle along good paths. The Wandle has a long industrial history, the strong-running river powering water wheels for grinding flour, snuff and gunpowder. Examples of the industrial history crop up all along the trail.

Walking past the edge of the nature reserve a few of us were lucky enough to see an Egret. This was a personal first for me. Unfortunately I was not quick enough on the draw to photograph it! These Parakeets were with us all day, and obligingly stayed put.

The Wandle trail had some ingenious ways of slowing down cyclists. This version of a kissing gate keeps the water-wheel theme of the Wandle logo, with a helical path..

An opportune pause for a group photo...

From left to right, Angela, Michael, Katherine and Barbara. Annie is pathfinding at the rear.

Nearing the end of the walk lay the former grounds of Merton Abbey. The great socialist artist William Morris took over a printing press by the river here in 1881.

This waterwheel is just downstream from the site of Morris' printing press.

Morris named a wallpaper after the river...

Morris' Wandle chintz.

As Morris wrote to his daughter in 1883, ‘the wet Wandle is not big but small’ and that he would make the wallpaper ‘very elaborate and splendid … to honour our helpful stream’.

It's fitting to sum up the walk in Morris' own words... "The buildings are not so bad... The water is abundant and good... The place itself is even very pretty"...

Though he obviously hadn't seen this handsome property, on a riverside allotment!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Fifteen in the Forest

Our Ramble this week was a circular seven mile walk around Epping Forest.The gales and hail of Saturday night gave way to a sunny day with a promise of spring. As usual the transport system seemed to be against us, the dreaded Rail Replacement signs were out again on the Victoria Line.

The regular Rambling On bird spotting corner this week features the rare Plastic Owl, spotted scaring birds from the indicator board on Platform 2 of Chingford Railway Station.

The fourteen members of Hampstead Ramblers were ably led by Maija Roberts, the group Treasurer, pictured below, centre.

As Maija said "we've been blessed." Perfect weather.

The sun shone through blue skies...

Epping is timeless. Some trees are like ruined castles, proudly defying decay...

A personal highlight for me was finally finding Loughton Camp. The camp is an earthwork of ditch and ramp which dates back to the Iron Age. It is thought that the ramp was topped by fence posts and was used by the farmers as an enclosure for their livestock. It provided protection against bears, wolves and wild boar.

As you step down into the ditch you are stepping back in time...

Before we reached our destination, we took time to rest under this magnificent oak tree.

The days are lengthening, woodpeckers are drumming, Spring cannot be far away...