Saturday 10th July A grand day out

On a drizzly Saturday 10th July 25 polyramblers and guests assembled at Epping station and took the Green Heritage Bus number 339 to North Weald Station. The bus conductor was very friendly and gave a commentary on the journey and we were all issued authentic tickets from his Gibson ticket machine ( Danny is this the right one?). It took many of us back a few years to our younger days. At North Weald we seemed to enter the world of historic re-enactment with all the volunteer officials in period costume, resonant of Wallace and Gromit or Thomas the Tank Engine, to reflect the heyday of the steam train and some of us bought refreshments for the journey or for their lunch. As a bonus we had a quick trip in and out of Epping Forest on a small diesel train before proceeding to the main journey on the shiny black and brass steam train which took us to Chipping Ongar.

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FOLKESTONE TO DOVER – 4 JULY

A  different group (including myself) of Polyramblers originally walked this ramble back in October 1985, a photo of which captures that event on the front cover of the club’s history book ‘Walking through the Years’.  By popular demand I was asked to repeat this walk. So I chose a Sunday with no apparent trackwork on the rail timetable.
This time I walked into my local station (then unstaffed)at 0740, to leave plenty of time to meet Polyramblers at St Pancras for the 0937 to Folkestone. A man rushed out of the barriers saying there were NO TRAINS!   Indeed the 1st train was showing cancelled on the screens, but the next, at 0816 to be on time. I thought I should be OK on that. However, at 0800, it also changed to cancelled, with no prospect of anything else leaving until 0916!

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AMERSHAM CIRCULAR – 3 JULY

Twelve Poly Ramblers and Daisy the dog met at Amersham on a warm and humid Saturday morning.  Rain looked on the cards and there was a yellow warning for thunderstorms.  After a mile or so of suburban streets we headed up to the outskirts of Stanley Hill cemetery and then to Jubilee wood, planted for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.  We crossed fields in the direction of Chalfont, passing Beele House where the film star Dirk Bogarde once lived.  Eventually we arrived at the edge of Harewood Downs golf course,  identified by Yvonne as the main hazard of the walk, the footpath going right across the fairway.  The golfers were keen to direct us into the woods but we made our way round the edge and cautiously crossed the necessary fairways without incident.  By this time the weather had cleared and the sun was out.  We exited the golf course to find the Ivy House pub immediately on our right.  A lovely pub though situated next to the busy and noisy A413.   An hour or so later, replete with beer and sandwiches, we crossed the road and headed down to the river Misbourne and one of the many sites of HS2 works.  Fields had been dug up to construct a new bridge for the lorry traffic but the contractors had committed to restore the site to fields when the work was complete.  From there it was a level walk through wheat and barley fields following the Misbourne to Old Amersham, passing more HS2 works and the  new sewage works.  On reaching the outskirts of the town, three of the group decided to take the direct route up the road to the station while the rest of us enjoyed the more scenic route through the memorial gardens and uphill through the woods.

Thanks to Yvonne for leading a very pleasant walk with no rain .

Gillian

WOOLWICH TO BELVEDERE – 26 JUNE

On a reasonably warm and sunny morning, seventeen members met up at Woolwich Arsenal station to commence our Thameside walk. First was a stroll through the Royal Arsenal complex with its many attractive old buildings and expensive-looking new flats. A sculpture of sixteen bronze figures, reminiscent of an Anthony Gormley, welcomed us to the Thames Path along which we headed east. After a short while, we detoured into a park to climb Gallions Hill ,constructed from rubble and soil excavated during construction of a nearby housing estate. There were a few grumbles that a flat walk had been promised but the panoramic views from the top silenced most of them! Returning to the river, we passed Tripcock Point, off which occurred Britain’s worst peace-time disaster when the pleasure cruiser Princess Alice sank in 1878 with the loss of some 700 souls.

After a stop for a picnic lunch, we continued past the Crossness Pumping Station with its rather mundane exterior hiding a magnificent interior. Leaving the Thames, we headed through a nature reserve with frisky horses looking for sustenance before arriving at the Morgan Belvedere pub where we found our own sustenance. A staggered return to the nearby station heralded the end of an enjoyable walk.

Photos from Ida, Nita and Gillian

Danny

 

 

Faversham to Whitstable June 20th 2021

This was a ten mile walk from Faversham to Whitstable following both the Saxon Shore way and the England Coast path. We were advised in advance to remember our swimming costumes, however, the overcast weather didn’t quite live up to our expectations. We started our walk at Faversham the oldest market town in Kent an important seaport and a centre for brewing. The Shepherd Neame Brewery is still an important industry. We wondered through some old fishing huts now used as a craft and antiques centre before reaching the estuary with a number of fishing boats moored up. Our route took us through mudflats following the sea wall, where we stopped for our picnic. The sun had broken through and it was ideal for the walk. There was a wonderful array of wild flowers, grasses and butterflies. We stopped at Seasalter (a centre for salt production in the iron age and raided by the Vikings) for a well-earned ice cream seated on the sea wall with views of the Isle of Sheppey across the estuary of the river Swale. We arrived in Whitstable, famous for its Native Oysters which were collected from beds beyond the low water mark. The annual Whitstable Oyster festival takes place during the summer. We wondered past a number of beach huts arriving at Whitstable’s delightful pebble beach and the Old Neptune Pub. Father’s Day made any chance of a meal at the pub unlikely, however we stopped at a well-known outdoor eatery selling Oyster’s, chips and some excellent cider and Kent Lager. We all enjoyed a sit-down on the beach with our food enjoying the sun and views and one brave person swimming. We hastily departed for the station as the trains only ran hourly and ended up taking a circular scenic route to the station. Gini caught up with us, having stopped to buy some fish, with just one minute before the train arrived. Thanks, Jackie, for a lovely seaside day out.

Hilary