Thursday, 28 May 2009

Jane Rosoux writes...

"I had a party of 19 on last Monday's Bank Holiday walk from Elstree & Borehamwood Station to St Albans which was around 13.5 miles in length and comprised members of at least six different groups - Hampstead and District, Hammersmith, Fulham & Wandsworth, North West London, Croydon, Richmond and North London and South Herts.

The group poised at Elstree station.

The weather was warm with sunshine from late morning and the vegetation was various shades of green with some buttercups to provide a contrast.

The lunch stop was at London Colney where many of the party picnicked beside the River Colne whilst others had a pub lunch in the 'Green Dragon' (below).

Nearby the pub, the Colne River was a safe haven for these swans and their cygnets...

You can get an idea of the size of the party from this photo..

In the afternoon we passed a City of London Coal Post....
That is "Coal Post" by the way. See Here for more info....

The final image shows the party walking down the disused railway track now known as the Alban way... All we needed was a sunset....

Monday, 25 May 2009

Battle to Rye

Here is Jane Rosoux's report on Saturday's 15 mile joint HRA / South Bank ramble.

Tim Johnson, who was to have led the walk, was unable to do so because of a temporary problem with his vision. However, he travelled with us on the train to Battle, supplied maps of his intended route, which was the 1066 Country Walk (which follows the steps of William the Conqueror) as far as Winchelsea, and put us on the right path out of Battle. Bob Burnell from the South Bank Group took over as leader and did an excellent job at route finding and the main party arrived at Rye at around 5.15 pm leaving plenty of time for a drink or a look round Rye before the intended train left at 5.54 pm.

Tim had planned the lunch stop at 'The Queens Head', Icklesham because although two thirds of the way along the route it served food all day and was the only pub passed, with the exception of one at Westfield which was too close to Battle. Bob set a fast pace from the outset and two members of the party had difficulty keeping up. When we arrived at Westfield at around 11.45 am he diverted slightly from the route to the pub with a view to stopping there for half an hour for a pre-lunch drink but unfortunately (or fortunately?) the pub was closed and shortly after returning to the 1066 Country Walk it was noticed that two members of the party were missing. They eventually turned up and said that they had lost the party at Westfield.

I had one of Tim's maps and agreed to act as backmarker but the three of us gradually fell further and further behind and at one point on the route (which was generally very well signposted) I went wrong and we had to retrace our steps. Eventually we decided we did not want to wait any longer to have lunch and picnicked in a field a mile or so before Icklesham, spending around 50 minutes relaxing in the sun. We then continued to Winchelsea where we stopped for refreshments and I left the other two and set off for Rye hoping to catch the 17.54 train, which I missed.

Whilst wandering around Rye I bumped into Penny Taylor who, unlike the rest of the party, had decided to look round the town and had even managed to visit a museum before it closed. I caught the 18.54 train with the other two (and arrived back at Charing Cross at 20.45), leaving Penny to have a leisurely meal before catching a later train.

I attach a selection of the photographs which I took on the walk, which was notable for masses of buttercups and a large number of sheep with lambs in the fields. It was clear that the shearers had not yet got round to the heavy-fleeced ewes and it crossed my mind that the farmers regretted not having 'easycare' sheep which shed their fleeces naturally.

Above shows a particularly awkward stile near the point where the three of us went wrong.

Above shows a converted oasthouse which is characteristic of the area

The photo above shows the deeply-sunken road leading to Winchelsea

The final photo above shows an old-style lamppost almost completely enveloped by a clipped conifer tree.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Harlow Town via Perry Green

Ten of us gathered last Sunday on a blustery and overcast morning for a walk through the Hertfordshire / Essex borders. Our leader for the day was Carole Swithern, of the North West London Ramblers

Carole checking the route...

A considerable part of the walk was through fields of oilseed rape. I have never been so close to the stuff before, and didn't realise it can grow to six-foot plus...

Rain showers in the morning gave way to sunshine as we approached Perry Green. The Henry Moore Foundation has its base here. The public footpath runs through it and enables the artistically-minded Rambler to see a significant number of Moore's monumental works in a beautiful setting. It is unfortunate that the foundation feels compelled to charge £12.00 Entry Fee to anyone who wishes to stray from the footpath.

The first views are of Large Reclining Figure (1984), pictured below.

The Ramblers Art Appreciation Society were suitably thoughtful...

Though it may have been too much for one of our party....

Some navigational problems on the return leg extended our route, and we ended up covering thirteen-and-a-half miles in the day.


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Best Foot Forward

The walks schedule is printed many months in advance. Hampstead Ramblers have a policy of travelling via public transport whenever possible, and our walks always start from a tube or train station. Quite often our transport plans are disrupted and we have to take train replacement buses or use alternative routes.

Thankfully it is rare that we have to find alternative walks leaders, but this is what happened on Sunday May 10th.

The original walk leader, Michael Way, injured his foot earlier in the week and was unable to lead the 10 mile circular walk around Henley on Thames. Michael contacted me a couple of days ahead to see if I could lead. Unfortunately I had foolishly done a 12 mile walk in new boots earlier on in the week and was sporting a blister on each heel the size of a hen's egg!

Ramblers are reluctant to let each other down, and Michael worked on a simplified route which anyone could follow without much difficulty. Michael turned up at the appointed time, with map and guidebook in hand. He couldn't walk, but he could do a good handover to anyone who might volunteer.

Luckily, Hampstead Associate member Barbara Luke volunteered to take over, and the 10 mile route was walked as planned. Michael's wife Olga led an alternative, shorter walk.

A good time was had by all on a day that was a testament to the dedicated volunteers who make the Ramblers such an enjoyable group to belong to.


Saturday, 16 May 2009

London Loop: Petts Wood to Hamsey Green

Pressure of work has led to a delay in posting these, but better late than never!

Walks Organiser Jane Rosoux kindly sent in these photos of her 18 mile walk on Saturday May 9th along part of the London Loop. Although the skies were overcast and some of the walk was quite urban in feel, there were still many points of interest and scenic beauty. Only two people accompanied Jane on this walk...

Jill and Clare pictured at a Greenwich Meridian marker stone.

The handsome Mandarin Duck was spotted on the lowest of the three Keston Ponds, where the party had a picnic lunch.

The walk passed the site where William Wilberforce first announced to Prime Minister Pitt that he was going to attempt to abolish slavery. A plaque marks the site.

This wisteria was growing at Heathfield gardens

And finally Jane spotted this beautifully blasted tree...


Thursday, 7 May 2009

Wednesday in Happy Valley

Jane Rosoux writes...

"I attach a selection of photographs taken on Wednesday's ramble from Coulsdon South to Whyteleafe.

The walk was led by Pat Hully, pictured below, right, behind the bench.

There were eight in the party and the 11 mile walk finished quite early at around 3.30 pm after 4 hours of walking. A lot of the walk took place in the Farthing Down and Happy Valley SSSI, which contained large expanses of meadow grasses,


buttercups and bluebells.

Although the sky was somewhat overcast at the start most of the walk was blessed by bright sunshine.

We had a look at the famous wall painting in Chaldon Church. [The painting dates back to just after the Norman conquest. Read more about it here]

and a little later had a picnic lunch in a field off the Pilgrim's Way with a view of the hills to the south.

Near Coulsdon Common we passed one of the remaining City of London coal posts [Read more about these here]

Finally, on the common itself was a small flock of Jacob sheep.


Sunday, 3 May 2009

Gerald Colton Way, Part 2: Kentish Town to Mill Hill

This morning saw 21 Ramblers gather at Kentish Town station for the second leg of the Gerald Colton Way. This walk was devised by Gerald, the first Walks Organiser of the Hampstead Group. It goes from the South Bank of the Thames at Waterloo and travels all the way to Wendover in the Chiltern Hills. Originally named The Mandela Way, we have re-named it in memory of it's creator to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hampstead Group which Gerald did so much to promote.

Today's walk was 8 miles from Kentish Town to Mill Hill, led by Maija Roberts, pictured below, centre.

The walk went from Hampstead Heath, up through the Heath Extension, and onwards to the Dollis Hill Brook Green Walk.

On route we saw this memorial:

The ARWS stands for Associate of the Royal Watercolour Society, and Walter was a leading light in the Nineteenth Century. The RWS is still going strong, and a link to its website can be found here.

Walter would certainly have appreciated this view, almost Japanese...

The moist banks of the Dollis Brook were lined with Ramsons, wild garlic.

Hampstead Group member Lorri with some of the plentiful Wild Garlic to be found...

Another walker who appreciated the exercise was Tess, who brought her owner Harriet along as well!

Walkers on both four feet and two are welcome to join us for the next leg of the Gerald Colton Way on Sunday 24th May, when we walk Mill Hill East to Radlett, (11 miles), leaving Mill Hill East Station at 10.30.