Saturday 7th November. Coulsdon circular

Report by Geoffrey. On approaching the concourse of London Bridge station, we were greeted by the 2nd dilemma of the day – our 0945 train to Coulsdon South showed as CANCELLED. The 1st dilemma was that the BBC weather forecast was right, ie dull with blustery showers and we assumed this kept many polyramblers tucked up at home in their warm beds! Our leader Ken decided we should board the 0950 train to Coulsdon Town to minimise delays. Five of us intrepidly set off on this train alighting at Coulsdon Town station (pka Smitham) to be confronted by a confusing system of paths footbridges and a new A23 Bypass which we didn’t expect. After another half mile we reached Coulsdon South station where we meant to start from, and used its facilities! From here we soon reached  Farthing(or Fairdene) Downs but took shelter along the wooded path at the side of the valley.

We continued southwards past Coulsdon Common and the Fox Inn. It stayed wet and windy until we reached our pub: The Harrow, on the outskirts of Caterham. It was about 1.30  and the pub rather full, but we all managed to get a seat inside in the end. We didn’t leave till about 2:30 so Ken at this point decided to shorten the walk and divert it to Caterham station, otherwise we would have to be walking in the dark approaching Coulsdon. So fortunately we finished the walk in the daylight by descending just 2 miles along the leafy wet residential roads from the pub, downhill all the way to Caterham station at the bottom of the valley. And we got a train back before 4pm. I was extra lucky as a quick 2 min connection at E Croydon got me home well before 6pm. Thanks Ken

Farthing Downs view by Dudley Miles, though sadly it wasn’t like this when our plucky group were there.

Holmwood to Dorking via Friday Street

Despite an early start, a very respectable 14 of us assembled at Holmwood Station. We were rewarded when,  just before our arrival, the sun came out, lighting up the wonderful autumn colours. We made our way uphill to Coldharbour, enjoying views to the south. There we were greeted by the new landlady of the Plough Inn, who in the spirit of free enterprise was offering discounts to diners. I don’t recall having been there as a club – one for the future perhaps. Onward and upward past the cricket ground and to Leith Hill Tower and a cup of tea at the cafe. It was a lively scene, with walkers, cyclists,dog walkers and families with small children all enjoying the sunshine and views towards the South Downs. Turning north our walk took us largely through woodland to the Stephan Langton Inn, surely Surrey’s most remote pub, for an agreable lunch. Our afternoon route took us north and east to Dorking, through mixed woodland and farmland. Much of our walk was through the Wooton Estate, the former home of the Evelyn family. At Dorking, the majority headed for the station apart from Stuart, Gillian and myself who found a small pub where we  raucously watched the rugby world cup final along with about 200 others. A grand day out, though perhaps not with the ending Stuart would have chosen.

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Eleven polyramblers set off from Buxted, in dry weather though with rain forecast. We made our way out of the village and then through fields and woods towards Poundgate, with the occasional stretch of lane, and pretty views. It was a good time of year to be doing the walk as the trees were turning and the colours were lovely. Towards the end of the morning we had to cross a golf course, which we negotiated successfully, helped by the fact that there were surprisingly few golfers about. Shortly after we arrived at the Crow and Gate pub, our lunchtime stop.
Rain started while we were in the pub and continued for a bit, but then the sun came out. Our route took us through fields and woods again – at times following the Vanguard Way – and there were more good views. We arrived back in Buxted with time to spare, so some of the party went to the pub by the station, and others waited at the station itself.


Photo by Pam


Geoffrey’s big birthday celebration and walk from Flitwick

Geoffrey reaches 60, having completed over 37 years of club membership!

It was over 10 years ago when I moved to Flitwick. That year, being in a rural location as I am, I thought it fitting to hold a 50th birthday ramble with party to follow, included as an event in the club programme. This worked well so I decided to do same for this year, having reached 60. This time I added on a morning coffee and chat pre-ramble.

Although the programme stated “train arrives at 11.11 where Geoffrey will meet the party”, it was only about 10.40 when my sister remarked there are some people coming to the front door. I opened the door to be unexpectedly greeted by Siew Tin, Siew Kee and Kim and cakes (!) etc – they had travelled together by car. I let them in and so started to prepare coffee. 20 mins later I set off to the station, Harriet then texted to say she and Nigel would be on a later train due to a missed connection at Blackfriars. At the station the train arrived at 11.10 and about 14 polyramblers disembarked so I led them back to the coffee party. Harriet and Nigel were a wee bit lost in Flitwick, and I collected them from the local paths half an hour later.

Continue reading Geoffrey’s big birthday celebration and walk from Flitwick


After leaving Woking station and town centre, 16 Polyramblers were soon walking along the quiet (apart from the interruption of cyclists) Basingstoke Canal.  The canal is bordered by trees and the autumn leaves were covering the water.  We reached St John’s lock and, soon after, we crossed to the other side of the canal that meandered alongside woodland.  We had lunch at the Nag’s Head pub and then made our way to Brookwood Station where we met our guide ‘on the other side’  of the railway.  We did a tour of the cemetery led by a member of the Brookwood Cemetery Society.  The weather was suitably grey for such an activity but it remained dry.  We learnt that the cemetery opened in November 1854 and was the largest in the world.  It had its own railway and a private station outside Waterloo station.  In the cemetery, there were two stations to serve each part of the cemetery: one for the Dissenters and one for Anglicans.  The tour concentrated on the Victorian era but the cemetery continues to serve all faiths and many nationalities.  It was designated as a Grade I Historic Park and Garden in 2009.  The cemetery has many majestic trees, many planted when it was opened – such as the giant sequoias – and is a haven for fauna and flora.  Our guide took us to the grave of famous people including Caroll Gibbons – famous musician, John Singer-Sargent – famous artist, Dr Robert Knox – anatomist and Edith Thomson who was hanged for adultery.  We stopped at several beautiful memorials and mausoleums to learn their story. In the grounds, there is also St Edward Orthodox Church and we were welcome by a member of the St Edward Brotherhood, the monastic community that serves the Church and shrine of  St Edward the Martyr.  We only skimmed the surface of Brookwood Cemetery; it is a very extensive place.  Our guide was knowledgeable and our visit was very interesting.  There is also a large military cemetery but this will be for another visit. 


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