BELOW WINDSOR CASTLE – 22 JANUARY

I met a group of Polyramblers including a new member, at Paddington station. We boarded the 1013 train, run by TfL, to the delight of freedompass holders who could enjoy a free ride to Slough. The train gathered up more of us en route, and outside the main entrance of Slough station, we all assembled with even more in the group who had travelled by other means. So we eventually set off with as many as 28 in the party. It was quite a cold day.

Our route took us across through several pedestrian crossings over the busy A4, then south along the Windsor road, where after some 200 yds we passed through a gateway and path into the cemetry of St Mary’s Parish Church. I considered giving a talk to the party here on the tarmac outside the church building, but changed my mind due
to the large size of the party.  So we carried on along Albert Street, Dachet Road, passing over the M4 and down onto a footpath via The Myrke taking us past rows of terraced houses and onto another footpath leading us into Agars Plough. Continue reading BELOW WINDSOR CASTLE – 22 JANUARY

CHORLEYWOOD TO CHESHAM – SUNDAY16 JANUARY

Twenty one Poly Ramblers gathered at Chorleywood on a cold but sunny Sunday morning. We headed through the village and then uphill through woods, under the railway and along a long sunken muddy path to reach the busy A404. Crossing safely we reached the 12th century village of Chenies and paused to admire the Grade I listed manor house, visited by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Continue reading CHORLEYWOOD TO CHESHAM – SUNDAY16 JANUARY

OTFORD TO EYNSFORD – 8 JANUARY 2022

The weather forecast was for heavy rain all day but that didn’t stop 14  Poly Ramblers from meeting outside Otford station for a ramble through the Kent countryside. I was reminded that Poly Ramblers are hardy souls and are very committed to their weekly ramble whatever the weather. It also brought back memories of another occasion years ago when I led the same walk when the snow was falling thick and fast and this didn’t stop the walk from going ahead either.

After a briefing from the walk leader, we set out through a churchyard to the centre of the village of Otford where we made a diversion to look at the ruins of a sixteenth century archbishop’s palace frequented by Henry VIII and his court. The walk continued around an old village pond complete with duck house until a footpath led us away from a busy road to run alongside the river Darent. The leaders had chosen this path thinking it would be a less muddy alternative than the usual route, but it also proved to be extremely muddy and slippery as it wound its way across fields eventually meeting a golf course. From here we turned down towards a road which led us to a path up the first of our steep climbs. Unfortunately, the sky was so thick with mist and rain, we were not rewarded with the normally splendid view that there is at the top of this hill. However, what goes up has to come down as the saying goes and the path down into Shoreham village was steep and slippery and had to be managed with care. Shoreham is a pretty characterful village with the river Darent running through the middle. The group divided up with some people going for lunch at the Kings Arms and the remainder who had brought their own lunch to the Honeypot Cafe where the owner kindly allowed them to eat their own lunches undercover from the rain. It hadn’t stopped raining all morning, so we were glad of a respite inside somewhere dry and warm. The heaviest of the rain came down whilst we were at lunch as we could hear it beating down on the marquee rooftop at the Kings Arms.

After a good meal and friendly service, we were ready to face the elements again. The puddles outside had grown even bigger and it was still raining but everyone was still committed to finishing the walk! The afternoon walk continued along the river Darent, passed Samuel Palmer’s beautiful Georgian manor house (a nineteenth century English landscape painter), up another steep hill and eventually into a wood from where we emerged on to another golf course. The golf course had a lovely open aspect to it and from here we walked downhill to reach the gatehouse of the sixteenth century Lullingstone Castle which has been owned by the Hart Dyke family for centuries. Within the grounds which are open to the public in the summer is a World Garden containing plants from all corners of the globe. The owner apparently hatched the plan for the garden whilst he was a hostage of a terror group in Colombia. From the castle, the path continued along a tarmac lane passed an English Heritage site containing the remains and mosaics of Lullingstone Roman Villa. We didn’t have time to stop and go inside, but instead continued with our walk along the lane passing under a high nineteenth century railway viaduct. Eventually we reached the village of Eynsford with its old packhorse bridge and ford. At this point, the group disbanded, with half deciding to go into the Riverside Tea Room for tea and cake and the remainder hot footing it up the main road to Eynsford station for the train back into London.

Despite this being one of the wettest and muddiest rambles I can remember, spirits had been high and all in all it had been a very enjoyable day out.

Mary and Chris

CHARLES DICKENS’ LONDON – WESTMINSTER TO FARRINGDON 2 JANUARY

I was surprised and slightly alarmed when 30 people (23 Poly Ramblers and 7 guests) turned up at Westminster for my Charles Dickens walk on a mild but slightly drizzly Sunday morning.  Luckily the combination of Covid and the New Year weekend meant that London was quieter than usual and hopefully the large group was able to hear at least some of what I said.

The start of the walk at Westminster marked Dickens’ burial place in Poets Corner at Westminster Abbey in 1870 and one of his early jobs as a parliamentary reporter. We strolled up the north bank of the Thames, pausing briefly to admire the Battle of Britain monument and then through Victoria Embankment Gardens and Whitehall Gardens. On reaching Hungerford Bridge we paused near the site of Warren’s blacking factory, where Dickens was forced to work at the age of 12, his father having been imprisoned for debt at Marshalsea. We headed up Villiers Street, had a look at Buckingham Street where both Dickens and David Copperfield had lodgings, and continued to the Strand and Wellington Street. Dickens edited his magazine All the Year Round here and had a suite of private apartments. Continue reading CHARLES DICKENS’ LONDON – WESTMINSTER TO FARRINGDON 2 JANUARY

Monday 27th December Osterley Park Circular

Despite the inclement weather and disrupted transport, a reasonable respectable eight members were in attendance for the post-Xmas ramble around Osterley Park and its environs. After meeting up at the temporarily closed Osterley Station, we headed past the permanently closed original station which is now a second-hand bookshop. Entering the park, we walked up to the redbrick Osterley Park House which was built for Thomas Gresham, the founder of the Royal Exchange in the City of London. Continuing over the M4 motorway and across a field with early signs of growing wheat, we reached Norwood Green. The aroma of mulled wine from the Plough pub led to an unscheduled stop for steaming mugs of warming alcohol and delicious homemade brownies provided by Lorna. Suitable refreshed, we joined the Brentford Arm of the Grand Union Canal and walked along the towpath to Brunel’s unique Three Bridges where three modes of transport cross in one place.

At the bottom of the Hanwell flight of six locks, we stopped for lunch at the Fox pub. The food was not to everyone’s liking but the beer tasted good. After another stretch on the towpath, we skirted Warren Farm. It could have been the site of QPR’s new training ground if it hadn’t been for the concerted opposition of some local residents, including one of our members who shall remain nameless!

A final length of road walking brought us back to our starting point after a pleasant few hours.

Photographs courtesy of Ida.

 

Danny