Despite signalling problems on the District Line, 15 of us managed to get to East Putney. Special mention to Rita and Mike Trainers of whom we haven’t seen a great deal recently.
The weather was dry and bright, but decidedly chilly as we made our way up to Putney Heath and then to Wimbledon Common and its distinctive windmill. Richmond Park was in good shape and our route took us through Isabella Plantation. Some of the famous azaleas were in bloom but it might be worth going in another couple of weeks’ time. We had our lunch outside Pembroke Lodge, enjoying the view and the sunshine, though windproof clothing was the order of the day. We made a detour to King Henry’s Mound, and its protected view of St Pauls which was unusually clear.
Exiting through Ham Gate we crossed Ham Common, with its mature trees and frontage of historic buildings and reached Ham House and the river. After due consultation we changed the planned route to Teddington, and turned right, hoping to take the foot ferry to Twickenham, something which none of us had done. Sadly, we will all have to wait a little longer as there was already a small queue and a 30 minute wait. We carried on downstream but the spring high tide meant that the tow path was under several inches over water in places. Poor judgement and inappropriate footwear meant that some of us had to squelch the last couple of miles to Richmond where a few of us had a relaxing beer or two.
All in all, a good day to be out and about.
Arriving at Etchingham station in steady rain, 19 Polyramblers looked anxiously at the sky for signs of the forecast better weather to come. Taking no chances, we donned rain wear and set off along the valley.
There were great banks of primroses to be seen and a few early bluebells. By the time we had gained some height, the rain had stopped, the sun was on its way, and the views were very fine. We walked through a field of sheep and lambs, one of which was clearly injured. Gillian and I reported the problem to the nearest house, whose owner thanked us and said he would phone the farmer. Our good deed for the day.
Lunch was at Robertsbridge, a large village with many old timber framed houses. At The Ostrich Inn, 11 of the group tucked into large plates of food. One of the more interesting “locals” at the bar was a Jack Russell terrier, perched on a stool, from which vantage point he was able to sup beer from his owner’s pint glass! In fine sunshine, we walked back to Etchingham with time to visit the magnificent 14thC church before catching the train back to London.
Thanks to John and Caroline for an excellent walk. Sandra
An impressive 20 members got off the train at the small village of Newport, Essex. It isn’t on the coast or a river, but in Saxon times, apparently port meant market place. We made our way east across pleasant rolling farm and woodland, reaching the attractive 13th century church of St Mary’s, Debden. Our circular route took us back to Newport where an extended lunch was taken in The Coach and Horses. We were made extremely welcome, with our own room, though this may have been more for the benefit of there other customers. It was good to see such a well run and apparently thriving pub when so many are closing down. Some us us had a look round this most attractive village. There are almost 100 listed buildings for a population of approximately 2000, many being timber framed with decorative plaster or pargetting, characteristic of this part of England. Our group then made its way north to the strangely named Wendens Ambo and Audley End Station. All in all a very pleasant day out, with further signs of spring by way of cowslips and other wild flowers in the wooded sections. We were also rewarded with one or two spells of watery sunshine. Thanks Danny for doing the organising.
We were in sunny Somerset four our annual Youth Hostel weekend. 20 Polyramblers arrived in Cheddar yesterday after a pleasant journey by train and bus. Nice and comfortable hostel. We had tea and cake and our food supplies were delivered by Tesco (ordered on-line by Danny. We did a walk around Cheddar and had a nice meal at the Riverside Inn. In the morning, we had cooked breakfast prepared by group B. Then an 11 mile walk along the Strawberry Line to Axbridge and up to the Mendip Hills to Crook Peak. Late lunch in Cross at the New Inn. Back along the Cheddar Reservoir in glorious sunshine. We ate a delicious meal cooked by group A: chilli, one with meat, one veggie, one with no onions and one without tomatoes. Then 3 choices of dessert.
We had another cooked breakfast on the Sunday morning, this time cooked by group C. After tidying up, we went for a 5 mile walk in and around the Cheddar Gorge. It was grey and cold at first but later, there was a bright sunshine. We climbed steeply on the North side of the gorge and walked around the ridge to Piney Sleight where we came down before going up again to walk on the south side where the view was amazing. We came down Jacob’s Ladder (274 steps) and had a Sunday roast with local cider before going back to London.
An impressive 24 were out, surely a sign that spring has sprung. Especially good to have Ingrid and Tony along, of whom who we have seen all too little recently. We had a pleasant stroll along the towpath downstream from Marlow as far a Bourne End where we crossed over the railway bridge, for lunch at the Bounty. How refreshing to see a sign welcoming dogs, children and muddy boots. We took the towpath upstream before turning up and over a low ridge and down to Cookham. En route we called into the church at Cookham Dean with its painting by Stanley Spencer. A modest walk at 7 miles, but most enjoyable. Thanks Dan