13th May. Saunderton circular via West Wycombe

On a greyish but dry morning 8 Polys met at Marylebone station and 3 more joined them at Saunderton, having driven. We set off and encountered a few muddy sections but the weather improved as we progressed. After navigating, with a little difficulty as the path was partly water logged, through the woods on Naphill Hill common, we reached Hughendon Manor (where Disraeli had lived). Some picnicked in the pretty gardens while others partook of the home made dishes served in the cafe. Continue reading 13th May. Saunderton circular via West Wycombe

EPPING FOREST (CIRCULAR) with the LONDON BLIND RAMBLERS 22 APRIL

Twenty-seven  excited,  noisy, uncontrollable  walkers  met (eventually) at the station at Theydon Bois (according to the Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names “Probably “valley where thatching materials are got” plus manorial suffix from the “de Bosco” or “Boys” family, here in the 12th century”) for what turned out to be a delightful walk in the warm summery April sunshine. Just a light breeze to keep us cool. Once we had negotiated a narrow path beside a treacherous ditch and our only steep although not very long climb and crossing the M25 (thoughts of Gerald) we were soon in the dappled sunlight filtering through the fresh green of the huge trees of Epping Forest.  Picnic lunch in the shade of the trees, seated on conveniently sited decaying logs. Forget ants in your pants, I was more worried about stag beetles! But no insect invasions were reported. Continue reading EPPING FOREST (CIRCULAR) with the LONDON BLIND RAMBLERS 22 APRIL

Sunday 6th May. Tower Hill to Greenwich

On a very hot Mayday bank holiday weekend, 29 Polys gathered at Tower Hill for Dan’s 70th birthday walk to Blackheath. Pushing our way through the crowds of tourists, we walked round the Tower of London, and through St Katherine’s Dock and on to Wapping, Shadwell and Limehouse. By the time we reached Millwall Dock on the Isle of Dogs, it was a very hot and thirsty party of walkers that enjoyed a birthday drink courtesy of our leader – thanks, Dan!. The rest of the walk took us through Mudchute Park and City Farm where there were donkeys, pigs, chickens, pigmy goats, sheep and lambs to be seen. We then arrived at Island Gardens for a  magnificent view of Greenwich and the Cutty Sark, and the even stranger sight of an enormous cruise ship moored nearby. Then it was through the foot tunnel for a late lunch in Greenwich, which several people had in Wetherspoons with others sampling the fare on offer in the local markets. Most of the group left at this point but a stalwart party of 8 continued to Blackheath, last seen heading for the Royal Observatory.

Thanks to Pam for photos.       Sandra

ICKNIELD WAY STAGE SEVEN: DULLINGHAM to ICKLINGHAM

Eleven of the Icknield Way stalwarts gathered at Kings Cross for the journey to Dullingham via Cambridge and Newmarket. We were sorry to be missing Mike who had a knee injury and Mary and Anna who had other commitments.  We managed to alight the train without leaving any personal belongings behind and set off at pace to retrace our steps for over a mile to the point where we left the path last June. The weather forecast was so awful that we were thankful that it was only drizzling, but many of us wore gloves. We arrived in the village of Stetchworth as noon arrived and Stuart decided we should stop for a swift half at the Marquis of Granby. Continue reading ICKNIELD WAY STAGE SEVEN: DULLINGHAM to ICKLINGHAM

A LIVERY HALLS EVENING WALK – 18TH APRIL

15 Polyramblers started from Blackfriars station on a warm, sunny evening, more like summer than April. There are 110 livery companies of the City of London and 39 of them maintain their sometimes elaborate and historic halls.  Many were destroyed in the Great London Fire of 1666 and during the Blitz and have been rebuilt 2 or 3 times.  We took in some of the halls starting with the Apothecaries, the Stationers and Newspaper Makers (Grade 1 listed building), Cutlers – with a frieze depicting the work of a cutler – and Haberdashers. We walked along streets with interesting names such as Ave Maria Lane and Amen Corner or full of history such as Giltspur Street with the Golden Boy of Pye Corner and West Smithfield with its memorial to Sir William Wallace. We also made a small detour via St Bartholomew the Great, London’s oldest surviving church. We continued along the maze of old City streets and passed Founders Hall, the Farmers and Fletchers, the Information Technologists who have the first new livery hall to open in the City for over 50 years. Then came the Pewterers, the Wax Chandlers, the Goldsmiths who still operate the Assay Office and test the coinage of the realm annually through the Trial of the Pyx.  We went by the Saddlers, the Insurers, the Brewers (1), the Girdlers, the Armourers and Brasiers, the Carpenters, the Furniture Makers and finally the Drapers. The full title of the Drapers’ Company is “The Master and Wardens and Brethren and Sisters of the Guild or Fraternity of the Blessed Mary the Virgin of the Mystery of Drapers of the City of London”. The livery companies have fascinating histories and many of the halls are interesting and beautiful buildings worth exploring on Open House London in September.

  1. The Memorandum Book of William Porlond, the Brewers Company’s clerk from 1418 to 1440 records the affairs of the Company during his time and is of great significance since it is a very early example of official written English – most other records up to that time were in Latin or Norman French. The Memorandum Book contains references to the protracted rows between the Brewers and Richard Whittington, Lord Mayor of the City of London.  The book also contains one of the earliest recorded instances of the game of football – recording that in 1422-23 the Brewers received 20 pence from ‘ye Footballpleyers’ for the hire of our Hall.

Dominique