Sunday, 27 September 2009

Wivelsfield Circular

The walk started at around 9.20 am with a party of five - Clare, the leader, Patrick, Michele, me and a new member of the RA - and the Hampstead Group - who had not been on a led ramble before but walked a lot as part of his job as a postman. Unfortunately, after a very short distance he found the pace rather challenging and with the prospect of another 19+ miles agreed that his best option was to turn back.

[left-to-right, Jane, Clare and Michele.]

The weather was dry and warm but very hazy. The ground was very dry and firm underfoot and one notable feature of the walk was the numerous stiles we encountered. Many of them were small versions of the ladder type:

Our route also took us through fields containing free-range hens

llamas (or alpacas?)

and also many juicy blackberries

The most strenuous part of the walk was a stiffish climb up to Ditchling Beacon. From there we followed the South Downs Way to Blackcap then had a steep descent through woodland before reaching the 'Half Moon' at Plumpton for our lunch stop. Our return route to Wivelsfield took us past Plumpton racecourse and the Polish war memorial adjoining 'The Plough' at Plumpton

We stopped at 'The Cock Inn', Wivelsfield Green for a refreshing drink and arrived back at Wivelsfield Station at 5.23 pm just as the London-bound train was pulling in to the platform - excellent timing. We had walked 21 miles at an average speed of 3.5 mph whilst on the move (3.2 mph if only the lunch and 'tea' stops totalling 65 minutes are excluded).

[Report by Jane Rosoux, with many thanks....]


Saturday, 12 September 2009

East Finchley to Finsbury Park, A surprisingly green walk.

This is the Fiftieth post to Rambling On..., the Hampstead Ramblers' Blog. It is total coincidence, but it happens to be about a walk that I led this morning, (with kind assistance from my wife, Angela).

Angela and me, photo courtesy of the Legal Eagle.

The walk was a short one, some four miles long and taken at an easy pace. I am pleased to say that the party comprised a very creditable 18 Humans and one dog, Molly, owned by Hampstead stalwart June Craig. It goes to show that there is a demand for walks of all lengths, and that Saturdays can be as popular as Sundays.

We started the walk from East Finchley Tube Station, crossing the road to enter Cherry Tree Wood. The archer at the top of the tube was setting his aim eastwards, and so did we.

As you can see the sky was blue and the weather was warm and sunny. I'm sure this was a factor in making so many people decide to come along.

The route proceeded into Highgate Wood, where we stopped off for a browse in the visitor centre. After we left, we passed the children's play area, where we noticed a stunning totem pole depicting the wildlife to be found in the wood.

I suspect you have to be Very quiet to see the bears!

Crossing over into the Ancient Forest and Nature Reserve that is Queen's Wood, we called in at the Cafe. This is a little gem hidden in North London. There is always elegant music playing, the coffee is good and the blueberry and polenta cake is scrumptious. We took a look round the organic garden at the back. They have a selection of fruit and vegetables growing there, they make their own compost and plant feed, and they even have a bee hive! (perhaps for the bears?).

Some of the other wildlife spotted included a wild cat...

And a warning notice about a dangerous new species, the Lesser Spotted Jogger, (Latin name Lycra trainus).

(Click the photo to enlarge, as you can with all the pictures above).

The party going through Queen's Wood.

At Highgate we joined the Parkland Walk, the old disused railway line which is now a Nature Reserve. It runs for over two miles down to Finsbury Park.

At the end of the walk ten of us enjoyed a coffee at the park cafe. A big thank you to everyone who attended, including members from Richmond and South Bank Ramblers.


Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Rochford Circular

Ten Ramblers joined Walk Leader Jane Rosoux on the South coast near Southend last Sunday.

As we moved out to the coast the countryside ...

gave way to a more bleak, windswept landscape...

Our walk was planned to be 15 miles long,

though some navigational difficulties led to us walking 17!

History, both ancient and modern, surrounded us. We walked through the site of the court of King Canute, Canewdon.

The village lock-up would have been used to detain miscreants overnight until they could be transported to the county jail.

This pill box was part of the coastal defences from the second World War.

The low-lying, flood-prone estuary land even led some of the local farmers to build structures on stilts....

Finally, we were all puzzled as to what the crop was in this picture. Any suggestions or ideas? Just click on "comments" below right and share your thoughts.


Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Bramble Ramble

Last Sunday saw Maija Roberts leading 11 other Ramblers on a 9 mile circular walk around Balcombe in West Sussex.

The Blackberry bushes around Ardingly reservoir were incredibly tempting, and we actually stopped for a Bramble break!

There were some kingfishers about too...

Lunch was taken at St. Peter's churchyard in Ardingly. We received a wonderful welcome, all of us being offered a hot drink. The parishioners even lifted up the mats in the nave to show us the memorial brasses below...

This couple had 18 children, 10 sons and 8 daughters!

The stained glass was splendid too

The afternoon found us having tea at Wakehurst Place, where we spotted this handsome stag...

I end this post with a group photograph with a message for all motorists...

Walk Leader Maija is pictured above 5th from left.