All posts by Hilary

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.


Cockfosters to Turkey Street 5th June 2021

This walk was section 17 of the London Loop. It is a long rural section through Trent Country Park, the farmland of Enfield Chase, Hilly Fields and finishing up at Forty Hall. Fifteen Poly Ramblers joined me at Cockfosters Station. The sixteenth Poly Rambler caught up with us at Trent Country Park which has some lovely wooded sections including a large lake. We passed Camelot Moat thought to have been the Seat of Geoffrey de Mandeville during the reign of William the Conqueror. We continued our walk following Salmon Brook and eventually stopped for a picnic at Hilly fields under a large Oak Tree. Unfortunately, Enfield Council had decided to do bridge repairs over Salmon Brook which was supposed to have been completed last year! We took direct action and got through the barrier and waded through the water or over stepping stones without getting too wet. In the meantime, Danny had moved on to the Rose and Crown Pub just half a mile further on where we joined him for a refreshing drink. I was informed that Dick Turpin had been the Land Lord of the pub. Our final stop was at Forty Hall a grade 1 listed Jacobean mansion. We just had time to explore the walled gardens walk around the lake and admire the ancient Cedar of Lebanon before finishing our walk at Turkey Street Station


Guildford Circular 17th April 2021

This was the first walk since lock down in December & it was a gorgeous reminder of why we would get up early on a Saturday. As we left Guildford we gazed at the curious sight of a huge hedge, sprayed with pink paint & chained to the ground. Hedging being much in demand & supply being short, hedge theft is big business now in Surrey & householders with large front gardens take what steps they can to deter persons who come in the night with forks & spades. An old sunken path took us out into fields where, being fairly flat, we saw more sky than most of us have seen for months. Then a meadow with three llamas dozing in a nice warm scrape they must have made & being gazed at with total concentration by a Westie, temporarily deaf to his owners’ irate calls. Just outside Chillworth we admired two fine pigs who, when younger, were covered with curly sheep-like wool but now just looked like abandoned rugs as someone said. After Chilworth’s ponds & water channels we took a small path that wended its way up the hill under dappled sunlight. through carpets of bluebells, celandines, wood anemones & violets. So beautiful was it, particularly after having been confined to a built-up environment for months, that we kept stopping to listen to the birdsong & enjoy the peace. We had a picnic in the sun at St Martha’s, high up on the North Downs Way & then walked down through the very different, more coniferous woods to the cafes & delights of Guildford.      


chiswick and Hammersmith Circular Walk 13th Dec. 2020

Ten Poly Ramblers met at Turnham Green station to begin our walk with a tour of the Bedford Park estate. (Norman Shaw architecture) A number of artists and poets lived here including WB Yeats. We then went onto Stamford Brook and into Ravenscourt Park a very traditional London Park with a lake and gardens and a tennis court. Both Danny and Sandy attended schools in the locality and shared memories of their escapades in the park. We continued to a café and toilets where at this point three of our walkers diverted into a local garden centre café whilst the rest of us continued on our route. We left Ravenscourt Park to cut across Hammersmith to reach the subway under the A4 to join the Thames path at Furnival Gardens. High tide resulted in a group split headed by Danny going a longer way round leaving Marga and myself to wade through a few yards to re-join the ramblers at Hogarth’s grave by the side of St Nicholas Church where some group members went inside to admire the interior. The current church dates from 1882-84 when most of the building except the tower was demolished and rebuilt at the expense of the brewer Henry Smith of the nearby Fuller, Smith and Turner brewery. We walked through Chiswick old cemetery to cross Burlington lane and into Chiswick House grounds. We had lunch (including mulled wine for a few of us) at the main café by Chiswick House followed by a wander around the grounds kindly led by Stephen who with Rochelle and Cathy had finally caught up with us! We completed our walk by leaving the grounds and under the subway back towards Chiswick Park Station. A very enjoyable pre-Xmas ramble.


Leek 9 to 12 October Hikers report

Friday 9th October Orientation walk around Leek Staffordshire on the architectural trail. The walking trail around the town revealed the Victorian influence, many of the buildings were in the Arts and Crafts style. William Morris had an influence, spending long periods of time here as the town was a centre of silk textile industry, there is still the Leek school of embroidery here. We started our walk at the Nicholson War Memorial 90 ft high and made of Portland stone one of the highest in the country. We then explored the graveyard of St Nicholas Church where there are the remains of two pre-Norman crosses. We passed many fine examples of Georgian town houses and lost count of the number of pubs on route with unusual names such as the Silent Woman. Following our walk, we all dispersed to various eateries in the town centre.
Saturday 10th October Hikers walk of 12mls across moorlands, fields, finishing with a walk along Rudyard lake. We arrived at our starting point at Rudyard miniature railway and reluctantly emerged from the cars to face a heavy downpour. On a fine day the views would have been stunning we had some periods of dry weather which enabled us to stop for snacks and drinks. We walked over the Staffordshire moorlands with heather and ferns beginning to go into a lovely golden colour. We estimated that we climbed over approximately thirty stiles in varying states of dilapidation. We had a pub stop for a late picnic lunch the manager was happy for us to eat indoors and we enjoyed the local beers and ales. We finished our hike walking along the lakeside shore and ended up at the boathouse for a group photo. In spite of the intermittent heavy rain we enjoyed a varied walk. Continue reading Leek 9 to 12 October Hikers report