Ten Poly Ramblers met at Vauxhall Station on a cold day for the last walk of the year. We started in Vauxhall Pleasure gardens where, with the opening of Westminster Bridge in 1750, the aristocracy delighted in the musical temple orchestra and lamplit walks. We continued to the end of the gardens, continuing on the Vauxhall Walk turning into Lambeth High Street and crossing over the Lambeth Road to the Garden Museum housed in the former St Mary’s church. The museum has an abundance of garden memorabilia and a café which sadly was closed owing to staff sickness. The secretive ancient building next door is Lambeth Palace. We crossed Lambeth Bridge to turn into Victoria Tower Gardens alongside the Thames. At the end of the gardens, we paused to admire Rodans statue The Burghers of Calais before a café stop at the Jewel Tower at Danny’s suggestion. Geoffrey and I made use of our English Heritage membership with a visit to the top of the tower. Continue reading Sunday 19th December Vauxhall to Kings Cross
Twenty-two Poly ramblers met at the Angel station Islington, to begin our walk along the Regents Canal covering parts of North and East London. The Regent’s Canal is 8.6mls long and was completed in 1820, dozens of day trip boats, narrow boats and water cafes line this stretch of the canal. The towpath also proved to be very popular with cyclists and joggers just two of the potential hazards on our walk. Our route started with the Hanging Gardens of Islington, as the canal emerged from the tunnel under Islington. After about 5Km the towpath went alongside the edge of Victoria Park where we passed through Canal Gate to make our way to the Pavilion café via the beautiful lake with its Pagoda. Following our lunch, we made our way across the park to enter the Old English Rose Garden which surprisingly still had some roses in flower. Emerging from the Rose Garden we walked alongside a pond and crossed the main path to head for Lock House Gate and the Hertford Union Canal, also known as Duckett’s Cut. At just over a mile long, in the borough of Tower Hamlets, it connects the Regents Canal with the Lee navigation. We left the canal by ascending steps to Grove Road to re-join the Regents Canal via a grassy bank. After a further 300 meters we approached Mile End Lock where a number of the group left to find a local hostelry, whilst the rest of us crossed the Green Bridge, affectionately known as the banana bridge, built to celebrate the Millennium and to overcome the conflict between Mile End Park and the traffic of the Mile End Road. We continued our route along the canal passing the Ragged School Museum, finally reaching Limehouse lock and our final destination the Yurt Café led by Cathy, highly recommended for its vegan cakes and drinks at a very reasonable price.
Hilary. Photos by Hilary and Stuart
Thirteen Poly Ramblers took an early train from Paddington to reach Henley on Thames. The earlier time meant that we avoided a thronging high street whilst crossing busy roads to reach the start of our walk on the Oxfordshire way. We enjoyed stunning views in sunshine as we walked through Henley Park part of the Culdon Faw Estate. After walking up a narrow lane we entered a large field with a narrow path leading eventually to an access road. Sadly, we did not spy the very tame White Peacock that I came across during my walk over. On reaching Dobson’s Lane we wended our way around several bends before stopping for our elevenses at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fawley. We continued our meander along the small country lane passing the village green where there was a well which Andrew initially thought was the Maharajas well, alas this was not to be! We continued our walk along a narrow bridle path before we entered the Great Wood following a bridleway track gently downhill as it meandered through the woods through bends and some sharp turns. We descended Reservoir Hill and went through further woodland with new plantations before finally reaching the picturesque village of Hambleden. We had a picnic lunch in the churchyard and some of us also had very tasty home-made cake at the local post office before making our way to the Stag and Huntsman joining a number of people having a barbeque. We were about to set off on the afternoon walk when Chris announced that he had lost his Freedom Pass, after re- tracing his steps it was handed to him at the pub where he had dropped it, a big thank you to the pub staff for their vigilance. We continued our walk across the meadows heading towards Hambleden locks where we saw the electrically operated locks opened to allow some very expensive boats through. We enjoyed a very pleasant further meander in lovely sunshine back to Henley passing the Henley festival with some very expensive Champagne on route. We were disappointed not to have time for the Chocolate Cafe to complete our walk however several of us did manage an ice cream on the walk back to the station.
A walk along the Grand Union Canal starting from Val’s in West Drayton. It was one of the hottest days of the year, however we were fortunate to be rewarded by plenty of shade from trees planted along the canal. This part of the Grand Union Canal is quite varied, we passed Packet Boat Marina (from which Clive and I later hired a narrowboat with the family!). It is situated on the Slough Arm of the canal and near to the Little Britain Lake following the London Loop signs. At our half way mark we had lunch at the General Elliot pub situated by the side of the canal. In the afternoon we walked a short distance further towards Uxbridge and Denham before reaching a consensus that it was just too hot to venture further. We retraced our steps to enjoy tea and cake on the patio of Val’s house before getting a taxi back to West Drayton Station. Thank you Val for arranging a lovely walk and tea at your house. Hilary
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.