I arrived at Hornchurch around 9.50am on a glorious sunny morning. I did not see any Poly Ramblers; however it was not a surprise as there were issues with the Tube. I went for a stroll when Harriet called out from a café, The Sip House, that served speciality coffee. I was ready to sit down and enjoy the coffee when I remembered that we should meet the rest of the group at the station and was glad I had my drink in a take away container so I was able to enjoy my beverage.
On my return to the station I was astonished to see over twenty Poly Ramblers (24 in total). It was a long train journey for most of us so a few members were in need of refreshments and for many a comfort stop was much needed. Dave, the Station Master very kindly opened the toilets especially for us.
We set off for the walk some fifteen minutes later. It was not long before we were making our way through a really muddy patch. After the mud it was very pleasant and quiet walking to Berwick Glades and then onto Berwick Woods and its pond considering we were in zone 5.
We made our way to Hornchurch Country Park. This park contains the largest continuous freshwater reed beds in London, is designated as a site for Special Scientific Interest, was a former airfield and has a fascinating legacy of being used in both World Wars. We were able to see many of the remaining features which included pill boxes, Tett Turrets (see photo with demo from Chris) and aircraft dispersal bays. We went past Albyns Lake which was full of birds, to which we returned about half an hour later for our picnic lunch.
From the lake we continued to Ingrebourne Hill, a former sand and gravel quarry which had been filled with a range of materials including bricks, concrete and metal. We were able to enjoy splendid views of the London Skyline and the QE2 bridge from here, all at just 11 metres above sea level.
After lunch at Albyns Pond we walked past a dog memorial and the Airfield flightways and stopped at Ingrebourne Nature Reserve with its a small RAF museum for tea before returning to the station.
It would be well worth doing this walk in spring/summer to see appreciate the wildlife.
Sunita. Photos by Gillian, Stuart and Hilary