On the Saturday after Christmas twenty Poly Ramblers were booked in for a ride on Mail Rail, the 6.5 mile underground railway which carried post between Paddington and Liverpool Street from 1927 to 2003.
Thirteen of the group turned out early for a stroll around historic Clerkenwell. This took us past a house that once belonged to Janet Street Porter and then to the medieval Gateway to the Priory of the Knights of St John. We crossed Clerkenwell Road to Clerkenwell Continue reading Postal Museum and Mail Rail visit→
A group of 16 Poly Ramblers and 3 guests gathered in Marlow on a mild and sunny November morning. The sky was blue and the autumn colours were fantastic. We knew that rain was forecast later but hoped we might avoid it. We headed towards the river, pausing briefly to admire the larger than life statue of Olympic rower, Sir Steve Redgrave. We crossed the town bridge and left the river behind, heading south across fields to cross a busy dual carriageway into Bisham Woods. There we had a short stop to sample Stuart’s homemade Anzac biscuits – very appropriate for the centenary of Armistice. Continue reading SATURDAY 10th NOVEMBER: MARLOW and COOKHAM DEAN (CIRCULAR):→
We had a beautiful walk on Saturday weaving our way between Hampshire & West Sussex. It was mostly through light woodland & on such a lovely sunny day, the sunlight filtering through golden leaves was very uplifting! We had a look at the curious Tuxlith chapel & its more modern neighbour, St Luke’s, both appearing to be in the middle of the wood. The chapel was built in the twelfth century & is now considered ‘redundant’, presumably because it’s so small, but is ‘under the care of the Friends of Friendless Churches.’ St Luke’s is Victorian & not so romantic but still a lovely church & clearly well used.
Lunch was at Flying Bull in Rake- not a gourmet pub, thank goodness- but friendly & efficient.
The afternoon took us through more woodland & we had a good refreshment stop at the Deer’s Hut in Griggs Green. After that we found ourselves going past Foley Manor where one of our number remembered having spent holidays as a child & learning to swim. We got to Liphook station in good time & without having lost the small, autumn leaf coloured dog who honoured us with his company.
12 Polyramblers on this walk, or 13 if you count Stuart who missed the beginning of the walk and only found us at the end. But there could have been 15 as Mary and Joyanna did not find the group and went exploring on their own. The Grosvenor family has owned 100 acres of Mayfair since 1677 when Sir Thomas Grosvenor married Mary Davies, heiress to part of the Manor of Ebury. This area took its name from the May Fair – an annual two week long fair of vice and impurities, held until well into the 19 century. The walk took us away from busy Marble Arch and Oxford Street to quiet streets lined with beautiful 18 and 19 century houses and mews for their stables and servants. We passed Grosvenor Square, the second largest square in London and went to South Audley Street where the Halloween decorations outside the Thomas Goode shop were amazing. Mount Street has lovely houses with terracotta decorations. We also saw, outside Number 2 the ornate lamp post with a trap door which was used by the Soviet Embassy as a dead letter drop during had Cold War. This was revealed when a double agent was extracted from Russia. We followed Bourdon Street, Avery Row and a maze of narrow lanes before reaching Brown Hart Gardens, built on top of an electricity transformer station. In the middle of Mayfair are model dwellings built in the 19th century to house the poor which must be worth a lot of money now. We passed Claridge’s Hotel, went up Davies Street and finished the walk at Bond Street Station.
If anyone would like to redo the walk in daylight the details can be found here
Five intrepid walkers set off from London only to arrive at the start and find no leaders in sight. We had been to the station, but had to park about ten minutes away. The five agreed to meet the leaders halfway. We set out on a sultry day with the crows singing Enrico Morricone spaghetti western tunes, as the sweat poured out of the follicle challenged leader’s head.
The walk took us through sunny autumnal scenes and a vista of surrounding hills, meadows and woodland. We also passed through the historic hamlet of Bassetts with several 16th century timbered buildings. Two walkers got very excited every time fallen sweet chestnuts were found on the walk and the writer took a tumble not looking where he was going! Shaggy Parasol mushrooms were also spotted, but not collected for later consumption. Just as well, as I later found out that edibility is a bit touch and go!
A picnic lunch took place outside the Rock pub I didn’t think would be reached in time with refreshments then taken inside. Early into the last stage of the walk it became apparent that the train travellers could catch an earlier than planned train back to London. An agreed increase in pace through satisfyingly crunchy fallen leaves ensued, despite the squirrelling chestnuters hanging back to collect more rich pickings en-route. The usual brief encounter with Alpacas, a typical traditional British countryside scene, made us all feel at home (well walkers home kind of thing)!
Kim. Photos by Ida, Siew Kee and Kim
The Polytechnic Rambling Club – Walking with friends