All posts by Michael

BETCHWORTH (CIRCULAR) 11 MAY

The weather forecast for the day was one of storm and tempest, but apart from a few spots of rain the weather was pleasant with sunny intervals.

The actual walk was one of two halves!  Eleven of us sent off towards the hamlet of Mogador (to see some hobbits!) from Betchworth. This initial part of the walk was to include a steep climb up to the top of the North Downs Way, but a deliberate mistake(!) by the leader led to a more easy ascent with views of the Weald and South Downs in the distance.  With some further adjustments and the use of Stuart’s modern technology we made it to the Sportsman Inn in Mogador where the leader successfully fought off an attempt by several walkers to enter the pub with the promise of another pub nearby!

Unfortunately, the myriad of paths crossing Banstead Common led to the leader selecting an option requiring both old and new technology from Geoffrey, Mike and Stuart to find Walton on the Hill where, after an extra mile, we stopped for lunch and the choice of two pubs.

Two walkers left at this stage to watch rugby and attend a concert.

They say bad luck comes in threes and heading to Headley the concert goer used slightly older modern technology to tell us that a padded jacket had been left in the pub, resulting in Chris having to leave the walk.

The second half of the walk proceeded without incident, although some felt the use of orange topped posts (OTPs) to guide walkers through Headley Heath, with Box Hill in the distance, to be one OTP too far!  The final leg revealed fine views of Reigate Hill and to the surprise of the leader we actually arrived back at Betchworth station in time to catch an earlier than planned train.

Phew! What a day!  Thank you to my fellow walkers who came along.

Kim

Photos by Siew Kee and Gillian

 

ST ALBANS to WATFORD (President, Pope and Ovaltine) SATURDAY 4 MAY

Nineteen Polyramblers gathered at St Albans City station. I led them towards the Cathedral in the city centre, then put it to the vote whether to take coffee at the cathedral refectory. I did not need to use my casting vote as like the Brexit referendum the noes favoured the ayes by 1 more vote out of 19 and the noes had it! We thus proceeded through the 14th cent. Abbey gateway, down Abbey Mill Lane, over the Ver and across Verulamium Park. The footpath continued past a main road, across several roads of houses, until we reached the quiet of the first field on the edge of the city. Here I explained to the party, that, in AD 209 Roman Soldier Albanus was led out of Verulamium, and executed for refusing to renounce Christianity. The Abbey is built on the execution site, and the tomb of St Alban within. Nicholas Breakspear, attended the Abbey School. He was elected to Papacy in 1154, and became Pope Adrian IV, the first English Pope. In 1877 the Abbey became a cathedral on creation of a new Anglican Diocese.

We continued through fields and a wood and passed beside the National Rose Society grounds. Our route continued around the “confluence” of the M25 and M1 motorways, thence a straight track and lane past Millhouse Farm into Bedmond, the birthplace of Pope Adrian IV. We needed lunch and it started to rain.  Some eager polyramblers sought refuge in a bus shelter to eat their food. We knew The Bell PH did not do lunches. However the rest of the party ordered drinks at the counter, and I was given permission by the publican to eat our food indoors there, to the great relief of all! The refugees joined us in the pub eventually.

Suitably refreshed we continued south down Bedmond High street, turning right at Sheppey’s Lane going westward near the site of the Ovaltine Dairy Farm near the M25, which we crossed twice over footbridges.  Just before reaching Kings Langley we had sight of the Ovaltine Factory in the valley, often visible from passing trains on tne Euston Line. Then we came across the former Ovaltine Egg Farm, an example of 1930s architecture. The track led us under the LNW railway, then turning left onto the road, we arrived at Kings Langley Station where 4 of the party ended the walk, choosing the shorter 7.5 mile option.

Kings Langley is where William Le Carter helped build a Royal Palace in 1369 for Edward III. President Jimmy Carter of the USA in the seventies is descended from William Le Carter.

I and the rest of the party continued on the full 11 mile option, crossing the road then taking a short path down to the Grand Union Canal. We followed its towpath southwards for 3 miles in the late pm sunshine; we passed under a broad mid eighties M25 viaduct, an older mid seventies M25 bridge(yes there are two M25s here!), passed locks, Hunton Bridge, Grove House Bridge. We left the canal at bridge 167, the footpath into Cassiobury Park, formerly the home of Earls of Essex. We crossed the park via a stream and model railway, and emerged into Metroland style houses at  Cassiobury Park Avenue, which took us to Watford Metropolitan Line station, our final destination and train home.

GEOFFREY WATERS

Photos by Kim and Gillian

27th April Great Missenden to Amersham

There were only five of us on the train at Marylebone so we were somewhat relieved to see another five waiting at Great Missenden. It was misty but dry and mild  as we set off through pleasant rolling country with  open views. We crossed the railway to reach the old village of Little Missenden, stopping to admire the 13th century wall painting in the church of St John the Baptist. Continuing, we were soon in Penn Wood part of one of the Chilterns ancient woodlands. Chairmaking, centred on High Wycombe  flourished  from the mid 18th century  and Penn Wood was an important source of timber. Although chairs were assembled in factories,  the legs and spindles were usually  made in situ in the forest,  on hand powered lathes. Continue reading 27th April Great Missenden to Amersham

Easter Monday 22nd April. Christ’s Hospital West Sussex

For the second Club outing of a weather-blessed Easter weekend, seventeen ramblers alighted at Christs Hospital station for a sunny walk through bucolic Sussex countryside. First we entered a sylvan glade with the nascent River Arun running through it and ubiquitous wild garlic. Fields of bluebells then followed before we reached the old Shoreham to Guildford railway line, now a foot & cycle path called the Downs Link. Fringed with dandelions in places and with views of the Low Weald, this took us to the old station house at Slinfold where we walked into the village and stopped at the Red Lyon pub for lunch. Continue reading Easter Monday 22nd April. Christ’s Hospital West Sussex

Sunday 14th April Rainham to Rainham Marshes

Despite so-called “planned” engineering works causing travel disruption both on the trains and the underground, 30 of us met up at Liverpool Street station, 10 Polyramblers and 14 London Blind Ramblers. It was just as well the LBRs had brought some sighted friends to help guide them! We paired up and set off. The path was mostly smooth. Robin and Maria set a good pace. Birds tweeted in the brambles. Was that a Cetti’s Warbler we heard? We passed a couple with a child examining a greenish eggshell beside the path. They thought it was a duck egg which a crow had stolen from a mallard nest, broken open and eaten the contents. The A13 hummed in the background until we climbed the slope up to the riverside path, passing Tilda’s rice mills (one of Europe’s largest), which receives grain from Italy, Canada, India, Thailand and Uruguay. Continue reading Sunday 14th April Rainham to Rainham Marshes