Chiltern woodlands, paths and lanes. Surprisingly few ups and downs
Meet at Marylebone. Buy OPDR to Beaconsfield. Banbury train dep. 9.43, arr. Beaconsfield 10.12. Pub lunch at the Harte and Magpies, Coleshill. EX 172. Distance: 9 miles approx. Leaders: Gillian and Stuart who will meet the group at Beaconsfield.
Photo: Hodgemoor Wood. Andrew Smith. CC ASA Generic 2.0
Eight Poly Ramblers turned out on a wet and murky Saturday morning for a walk on the borders of Kent and South East London. By the time we alighted the train at Swanley the rain had subsided to a drizzle and we headed off led by Peter along quiet lanes and across muddy fields. After 3 miles we arrived at the Five Bells in Chelsfield where the staff were very friendly and five of us enjoyed a good meal. After lunch Sandy and Nigel decided to call it a day and we left them in the pub waiting for the bus. The weather seemed to be improving and there was even a hint of sunshine as we continued.
Although we were within the London area, there was plenty of wide open countryside with horses grazing. Such a shame that some of the country lanes were blighted by fly tipping. Some of the worst I have seen. In spite of a few wrong turns, all was going smoothly as we headed towards Swanley, but we were brought to an abrupt halt by the discovery that the footbridge over the railway had been closed by Network Rail. We retraced our steps and tried to find a footpath under the bypass but conditions on the ground bore no resemblance to Peter’s or Geoffrey’s maps. In the end, with the light fading rapidly, we decided to head back to the road where we had a 2 mile walk through Swanley in the dark to the station (note to self: remember to pack torch and reflective arm bands for next unscheduled walk on unlit country lanes after dark). We estimated that we had covered nearly 12 miles in total instead of the advertised nine. All’s well that ends well though as we all survived and were back in London soon after 6pm.
Thanks to Peter for leading and participants for their (generally) good humoured stoicism.
15 Polyramblers on this pleasant walk along the Stort Navigation. The day started a bit nippy but soon turned warmer, if a bit cloudy. Within 5 minutes of leaving the station, we were along the canal. After the first lock, the walk became more rural, passing Rush Mead Nature Reserve. The canal was busy with fishermen and narrow boats whose owners were getting their boats ready for the winter or enjoying a warm autumn day. We stopped to admire some Highland cattle in a field. We continued along the canal, passing a few more locks until we reached Sawbridgeworth with its maltings and granaries. We stopped there for lunch with a few people heading for the cafe of the antique centre and others having a picnic. We resumed our walk along the canal until we reached Harlow Mill and managed to catch an early train back to London.Continue reading SATURDAY 28th: BISHOP’S STORTFORD to HARLOW MILL (LINEAR):→
Despite dire warnings of pouring rain, weather bombs, storm Brian etc, 9 of us + one small dog screwed up our courage & went on the walk. As it happened there was very little rain & what there was came mostly at lunch time which hardly mattered. The terrifying gale & flying trees didn’t happen either which was fortunate as the walk was mostly in woodland; there was just the pleasant sound of wind in the tree tops & we had a beautiful day. There was some discussion about what the leader’s role should be if a large oak were to come flying through the air in our direction; some thought they should sacrifice themselves in a noble attempt to save the group, some -well, the leader- disagreed, thinking that would be a pointless gesture & how would the survivors find their way to the pub without them? Luckily it remained an academic argument; we found our way to 2 pubs, a village shop that does tea & coffee & made it to the train in perfect time .