OTFORD TO EYNSFORD (KENT) 16 FEBRUARY

It was a mild but grey and misty day when 14 Polyramblers set out from the train station in the small quaint Kent town of Otford.  The sun didn’t show its face all day and the low cloud meant the normally spectacular views of the Darent Valley were covered in mist but at least it stayed dry.

The walk out of Otford took us across flat and muddy fields until we reached a short but steep hill.  Our climb would normally have been rewarded with a stunning view but it was not to be today because of the low lying cloud and mist.  A steep downward slippery chalky path which we negotiated carefully then took us down into the picturesque village of Shoreham where we had an excellent lunch at the charmingly old fashioned and cosy pub (complete with a coal fire!), the Kings Arms.   We added a new word to our vocabulairies, an ‘Ostler’,  as a wax model, set into the wall of the pub, of a man who used to collect money for looking after pub goer’s horses, was a reminder of the centuries of history of the pub.

The afternoon walk took us through a wide variety of different scenery, from a riverside path, to another short steep hill, woodland, and a country lane that led us passed the 16th century Lullingstone Castle supposedly frequented by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and the remains of a Roman Villa, now a museum.

The walk into Eynsford village brought us  to a charming pack horse bridge and a ford over the river Darenth.

Some of us had hoped to finish up the walk with tea and cake but sadly this was not to be as we had arrived just as the café was closing.  This was however, probably  better for our waistlines.  So we hot footed it up  a hill to Eynsford station where, we rejoined the remainder of the party and caught the train with only minutes to spare.

Mary

Photos by Mary and Gillian

 

OXTED to WOLDINGHAM – 9th February

Warnings about hills, stiles and mud had probably put some people off, so it was 9 elite walkers that assembled at Oxted [a generous description for some of us! Editor]. We got mixed up at the station with another group of walkers who were also heading north, but they looked a good deal more determined than us so we let them go ahead. We made our way through Oxted, stopping to say hello to a large and friendly ginger cat. From there, it was over the M25 and our first climb of the day, and then along a ridge following the Vanguard Way. The sun was shining and the views were good. As we dipped down off the ridge, we met our first small herd of English Longhorns with their distinctive brown and white markings, and horns going in all directions.

Our second climb took us to the top of Nore Hill from where you can see the London skyline. As we made our way to the pub, there was some impressive and delicate funghi to be seen, beautifully offset by brilliant green moss. Snowdrops were out and daffodils not far behind.

At the pub, we were met by another Polyrambler who had made her way by train and bus. We were well served with large helpings of food. The friendly locals seemed to own several, equally friendly dogs between them. Hopeful eyes followed our every move as we ate – they were disappointed! As we left the pub, a bit of light rain came our way, but it was only a 50 min walk downhill to the station. The llamas I had encountered on the recce were nowhere to be seen, so we had to make do with some attractive hens as a point of interest. A surprisingly good day out for early February.  Sandra

Photos by Mike and Gillian

Limehouse to Greenwich 2nd February 2019

We were lucky enough to be rewarded with sunshine and glorious views of London on our walk which took us along the northern bank of the Thames and then via Greenwich foot tunnel  to Greenwich Observatory and Point Hill one of London’s best but least known viewpoints.

Nineteen Polyramblers met at Limehouse station, I was particularly pleased to see walk members who had been too busy to participate in more recent walks. The cold weather prevented a lot of runners and tourists crowding the Thames Path, enabling us to enjoy the views largely uninterrupted.

We arrived in Greenwich, making our first stop St Alfege Church completed in 1714 by the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. The interior contained some excellent wood carvings and included a cross made from medieval nails from Coventry Cathedral. We were treated to a piano recital which added to the enjoyment of the visit.

Following lunch in various cafes we made our way to the Observatory to enjoy the unrivalled views of London’s landmarks. We continued our walk along the broad pavement of Black Heath Avenue to enter the flower garden winding our way between flower beds and graceful cedar trees and past a massive Sweet Chestnut tree, passing a lake to arrive at Blackheath gate.

We continued alongside the perimeter wall to discover Queen Caroline’s bath and the Rangers House, an English Heritage building containing the Wherner collection of over 700 works of art. We continued through the rose garden which will look splendid during the summer months.

Finally, we reached the highlight of our walk via a pretty cobbled street to arrive at ‘The Point’ one of London’s best but least known  viewpoints. We completed our walk finishing at Greenwich station I couldn’t resist pointing out one of my favourite shops ‘The Junk Shop’ on the way! We enjoyed the DLR train back with great views of Canary Wharf.

Hilary

26th January, Fulwell to Mortlake

An impressive 20 Polyramblers assembled at Fulwell Station on a cool day, with rain forecast for later. We were soon entering Bushy Park, second in size of London parks only to Richmond Park. Skirting Upper Lodge, built by Lord Halifax and occupied by the Admiralty after the 2nd World War we admired the recently restored water gardens at the rear. We then followed the Longford River along which a strip of  woodland has been created, the area being fenced off from the main park and its deer..  It was pleasant in January but would probably  be spectacular during the azalea season. We stopped briefly at the Pheasantry for its facilities and met up with Mary, whose journey had been delayed by her bus breaking down. Continue reading 26th January, Fulwell to Mortlake

Sunday 20th. Princes Risborough Circular

A healthy turnout of 22 walkers started out from Princes Risborough station on a circular walk that followed sections of the Ridgeway and Chilterns Way. It was one of those rare bright sunny frosty January mornings that showed off the beautiful Chilterns at their best. We had an early stop for lunch at a pub where most walkers opted for the Sunday roast which was very slow in being served but was good food and worth the wait. After a long lunch break the cold was really noticeable when we got outside. We resumed the walk and there was a beautifully restored old windmill located behind the pub.