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Walk Reports 2015 : April to May

Reports on SWC walks from April to May. Closed to new comments.

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58 comments:

Thomas G said...

Good Friday 03 April Walk-Check Tisbury via Donhead St. Andrew Circular. 11 Walkers.
The need by the SWC Senior Walk-Checker for an early train meant he could only walk the short version of this new walk. This enabled a unique (?) double-walk check outing, with some junior walk-checkers embarking on the long walk (which has a different routing in several places).
The routes split a few minutes from the start, but we all met at the lunch pub, which today was slow in service due to plenty of custom, but - as usual - very good in quality of food and drink. In the end we had three sub-groups: 3 doing the short walk, 3 sandwichers departing early from the pub to continue the long walk, and the other 5 enjoying several courses and then doing the full walk. From the pub the serious walking started for the long walkers, exploring the upper reaches of the Nadder Valley, a superb rolling downland environment, with plenty of woods and streams, some far views and a few exhilarating and hilarious steep descents.
Back in Tisbury in good time for a drink before the 19.03 train.

Anonymous said...

Easter Saturday 4 April 2015. Walk 1-14 Gomshall to Guildford.

About 18-20 walkers set off from Gomshall station, soon dispersing into smaller groups. Unusually, most had brought their own lunch so only a small group booked in for lunch at The William IV. This walk was a treat for the senses, passing through mixed landscape of open views, heathland, pine forest and a gentle stroll along the Wey Navigation path with it's pretty barges to finish.

Walker said...

Easter Day 5 April: Walk 100 Arundel Circular: 10 on this walk which gives a beautiful new perspective on the Arun Valley between Arundel and Amberley, exploring territory not covered on either book walk. Keeping to lower levels but with some gentle hill climbs to views, it made a fine spring outing.

It DID seem a bit more springlike today too - the cloud brighter, lots of primroses and violets and celandines, and layers of birdsong including greenfinch, blackbird, chaffinch, song thrush, and rather too many chiffchaffs (our first migrant from the south: today is the first day I have heard them en masse). In the afternoon some of us had a fairly close view of a green woodpecker.

The Bridge Inn was busy but served food cheerfully and speedily - the roast looked especially nice. As a bonus we had a series of fine sunny intervals to warm us as we sat outside.

In the afternoon the group fragmented a bit. Our contingent did the delightful direct route through North and South Stoke with their interesting churches. Four of us had a riverside "tea" at the Black Rabbit (inverted commas because they had run out of normal teabags, but the puds were nice).

As we approached Arundel, a final treat: the clouds cleared and the sun came out - proper full SUN. My companions headed for the 6.15 train notwithstanding. I had a glorious golden riverside walk and got the 7.15.

(PS First time this year I have come home and not had to clean MUD off my boots!!)

Thomas G said...

Easter Day 5 April: Walk 3/165 St. Margarets (Herts) Circular
13 Walkers, 3 of which were first timers. Fairly unmuddy ground, fairly high clouds, and a fair few periods of sunshine.
Only 1 walker did the short version (which cuts out the outer loop of this multi-loop walk), the 2 fast walkers either non-stopped for lunch or stopped at the first, a bit "chainy" pub, all others though lunched at the recommended White Horse in High Cross, exactly half-way. We were rewarded with quality meals and drinks, and the rest of the walk was then spent in even more animated conversation, with the group somewhat fracturing into sub-groups at differenet paces.
Plenty of waterways (especially in the afternoon: The Rib, The Ash, The Lea, Amwell Nature Reserve), plenty of birdlife (especially at Amwell), some far views from the rolling fields, no arable field crossings, no stiles, no kissing gates. And all that for a wapping £6.60 rtn with a Network Railcard!
Most walkers reunited at The Jolly Fisherman by the station for a few drinks and more food. 19.03 train for those.

PeteB said...

Re St Margarets circular walk below. There is one stile on the walk: where we entered the field and met the lovely, friendly calves.

Pete the Pedant

cyber said...

How did you manage to pay £6.60? I paid £3.70 rtn.

Anonymous said...

Monday 6 April 2015. Sevenoaks Circular 3-21.

About 15 walkers, 2 of whom came on later trains and met the group around lunchtime. Lots of bluebell woods in the afternoon, mostly waiting to flower, but the wood anemones were out and plenty of wild garlic, also not yet in flower.

Most lunched at The Padwell Arms, while a few stopped at Ightam Mote. The Nat Trust tea room in Knowle Park is still a kiosk while the refurb goes on so most went on to Sevenoaks for tea where we met a fellow SWC Walker who had taken their own route from Hildenborough to Sevenoaks.

A good day out.

Anonymous said...

The Padwell Arms looked a bit taken aback to see us and took ages to serve, though the food was good when it finally came. This is definitely a pub to call from the station (we didn't) so they can get an extra pair of hands in the kitchen.

The cafe at Igtham Mote also was apparently also very busy.

Chris L said...

Monday 6 April Book 1 Walk 31 Glynde to Seaford. Mainly sunny all day and really quite warm to start with. 16 walkers including 1 late starter who enterprisingly took a train to Southease and caught up with the stragglers as they were descending towards Alfriston for lunch. The small group who lunched at The George reported having eaten well. The advent of Spring had brought morris dancers out of hibernation, and one walker was enticed into joining in. The afternoon saw the main group following the book route to Exceat via West Dean, though 5 faster walkers opted for going on the High and Over route. Both groups met up for the final leg over Seaford Head and enjoyed beautifully clear views of the sunlit Seven Sisters before catching the 5:58 train home.

BrightSpark said...

Ely Circular - Saturday 4 April. Only 2 walkers on this walk. This walk was nice and easy to get to, taking about an hour and costing around £12 with a network railcard. The walk itself didn't compare favourably with say the Surrey Hills but personally I enjoyed being in an unfamiliar environment. Be warned though, you will definitely need map reading skills to complete the walk.
On the plus side of going on this walk was discovering Ely itself. It's a beautiful place with Ely Cathedral and Oliver Cromwell's House being the highlights. The tourist information centre is in Oliver Cromwell's House and they are happy to give out a free map of the City.

Anonymous said...

Walk 22 was as beautiful as ever.
Some wild flowers wee aleady evident on the gentle ascent to the Downs via High Titten The weather seemed perfect slightly cool with intermittent sunshine.
The walk along the river Arun towards the fairytale Arundel Castle seemed more magical than usual Only myself o this lovely walk jfk

DGA said...

Glynde to Seaford: Further to ChrisL's report. Not a late-riser but BR having had a wardrobe malfunction I found myself in situ at East Croydon, late. Rather than have a fit of the abdabs and let fly at hapless rail staff I caught the 1032 then at Lewes the 1128 to Southease where it was SDW all the way to Alfriston where I enjoyed a sandwich and an analgesic Gunness. However at Seaford my late cod item from 'Trawlers' caused me to just miss the 5:58 but fortunately 2 others joined me for the Brighton bound train before our muscles could stiffen with evening shadows.

Anonymous said...

Tonbridge to Penshurst 8th April 2015
Nine started on this walk with a further two joining at lunchtime. It seemed like the first real warm day this year with a good dose of sunshine in the morning and late afternoon. Although there was a slightly urban feel at the beginning of the walk, it soon changed into classic Kent Weald countryside. The Leicester Arms at Penshurst Village had suffered a power cut, but were still able to produce some good food for those eating there. Some took tea at Chiddingstone "Castle" before the final leg of the walk. This was across delightful meadowland complete with sheep and lambs to the very rural Penshurst Station nowhere near Penshurst!

Walker said...

Saturday 11 April: SWC Walk 236 Cowden to Eridge via Fordcombe: 37 on this walk, which proved too many. Though only 18 actually wanted a pub lunch, the Chafford Arms in Fordcombe refused our business. In their defence they had another walking group of about 14 people booked in, but we could have done without them taking a number of orders at the bar before deciding not to honour them. Yours truly also did not appreciate the landlord taking several food orders from non-SWC customers while I waited in clear sight, and then announcing "We are not taking food orders" as soon as he turned to me.

The much vaunted "large beer garden with fine views" of this pub was also empty, making one wonder why they provide this facility when they do not have sufficient staff to cater for customers using it. Plus they were equally awkward back in January with a much smaller group. My conclusion is in future don't come to this pub unless you have booked the day before.

As it was, we all moved on, with about half of us, including some picnickers, going to the Burtstwood Tea Room. This place coped fine with our orders, did decent small meals, and had lovely tables overlooking a pleasant view, where we lingered for a good long time. However its staff were also heard to mutter (when they thought we could not hear them) about walking groups and why they couldn't book. Once again there was the mystery of why they provided more tables than their staff felt they could serve...

One final contingent pressed on to Groombridge for lunch, which they reached just after 2pm. The excellent Crown Inn on the green there apparently now serves food all afternoon and should be the target for future groups doing this walk, perhaps.

Other than these hassles this was a lovely day out. Light rain in the first half hour soon cleared to sunny intervals, which in turn faded to pleasant, even hot sunshine (not sure what happened to the "noticeably cooler temperatures" promised by the weather forecast). The Weald looked lovely and the walk was very scenic, with some fine views, especially on the escarpment walk from Fordcombe to Burstwood. The driveway of the Burstwood Hospital was festooned with flowers including some extremely rare (and probably planted) snakeshead fritillaries. The area around Harrison Rocks and down to Eridge is a little slice of heaven at this time of year and there were acres of wood anemones up on top.

There was a temporary scare at the end of the walk when the Huntsman pub next to Eridge station turned out to be hosting a large private party, but it was downstairs and did not bother us. We were still allowed to sit in the garden in the sunshine for a very pleasant drink. Seven of us even got a coveted table for dinner.

Karen said...

Tisbury Circular (via ALvediston): 26.1 km (16.2 ml)

Toughness: 10/10

8 walkers on this walk check. All 8 took the long option. One walker broke free of the group after lunch, but the rest of us caught up with him at the train station, and so he had to endure our company on the journey home.

A glorious spring day in Wiltshire, with sunshine all day long. This was a long, strenuous walk, and on this occasion, walked at a cracking pace. Started off from Tisbury at about 11:10 and arrived back at about 18:30, with a generous hour for lunch.

Before lunch, lots of gentle ascents and descents, and one particularly steep ascent. The view down into the stunningly memorable (memorably stunning?) U-shaped Middle Down being a highlight of the morning, as well as the the delightful lambs in one of the fields we crossed. Lots of great views throughout the morning.

After taking a very brief detour to pay our respects to Sir Anthony Eden in the churchyard at Alvediston, we made our way to lunch at the The Crown Inn in Alvediston. A more picuture-perfect pub you'd be hard-pressed to find. The food was good. 6 ate in, and two had a picnic lunch.

The afternoon was a bit more challenging, as the lunch stop was about 10 km into the walk, leaving 16-ish km and 3 (if I remember correctly) more steep climbs before the finish. Crossed a number of large fields and at times it seemed as if there was nothing else in the world but an expanse of green shoots below you and blue sky above. We also learned that the cute lambs of the morning can grow into menacing sheep that don't like sharing their field with Saturday walkers.

There was time for a quick drink at The South Western pub just by the station before jumping on the 19:03 back to London Waterloo. The two-hour journey back made all the more bearable thanks to the best trolley service in the land.

Worth the journey for the lovely scenery and that happily-tired feeling.

Thomas G said...

Tisbury Circular (via Alvediston)
Nature Notes (from a confessed ignorant): 2 (two) fully out Bluebells (in Swallowcliffe Wood), one rape field turning yellow (south of the A30). The first on any walk ?

Anonymous said...

Wye Circular on the 11th April
One walker had arrived on the Charing Cross Train - 1 hour 26 minutes and NO changes!
Others took the HS1 or London Victoria Options. (Super off peak on HS1 is now just shy of £20 with a railcard)
12 of us set off with a cold wind and grey skies. However the drizzle stopped and the day brightened after an hour of walking with spectacular views from the Downs.
Crundale Church was open (and still full of Easter Flowers).
One walker took an alternative route just prior to Lunch via Huntstreet Farm to give the slog up the hill road a miss.
The Compasses Inn was busy, but looked after us well with good food and Ale (the walk's Lunch Monitor had kindly booked a table)
The return journey provided even more spectacular views of the Downs and visited the quintessential English village at Crundale. Some Walkers went a bit astray on the
circumnavigation of Crundale House but were rewarded pleasant vistas not seen before.
Curiously, a lorry appeared to be parked in a depression on the side of the Downs where the walk descends to Little Olantigh Farm. However the demolished fence and heav
y lifting lorry on the road above alluded to a more violent manoeuvre!
Some walkers took tea in the Kings Head (Lemon drizzle cake recommended) and a wee tipple at a "Micropub" called "The Barbers Arms" - Real Ales and Ciders straight out of the barrels.
All in all a great day out after a dismal start.

David Colver said...

No one seems yet to have written up Easter Sat 4 April Walk 226 Brockenhurst to Lymington. About 17 on this walk including a couple of latecomers and an earlycomer (me). Cheerfully catered for by the Hobler Inn. Not so warm in the coastal wind.

Ian T said...

Sun 12 April Kelvedon Circular
12 on this. A fine sunny day, a bit breezy. Very dry underfoot. Yellow starting in the rapefields. Can’t tell you what the rest of the group did for lunch. I brought my own. 3 managed to overtake me in the afternoon, no sign of the others. Not that I took the shortcut or anything, perish the thought! Grange Barn (one of the largest and oldest in Europe) opens earlier these days and its worth taking a look inside at its intricate array of roof beams. The Sun Inn proved to be a good recommendation (draught Bishops Finger, would you believe). Had I realised how close it was to the station I would have had more than a half. I still had time to kill so finished off with half a Sheep in the Railway, which turns out to be just the other side of the bridge! I wasn’t ever lost but found the directions confusing in a couple of places- will leave a comment .

Sean said...

Sunday 12 April, Extra Walk 43: Whyteleafe to Woldingham. As no-one else has seen fit to sing this walk's praises I'll record that about 15 walkers set off from Upper Warlingham in plenty of sunshine but a rather stiff breeze. Vague promises of woods swathed in bluebells were treated like unfunded election pledges and duly shown to be about as reliable, with hardly any blue flowers out in Kings Wood. However, two-thirds of the group were persuaded to take the longer route through Selsdon Wood and were eventually rewarded with a mass of wood anemones (in a small detour which will be made into the future walk route).

After a brief reunion at the Harrow Inn the short walkers set off again while the long walkers settled down to their lunch. All the inside tables were fully booked but the waitress service outside was cheerful and efficient and the meals good, though the strong wind deterred us from sampling a tempting dessert menu. Possibly without realising it the group then did the longer second half but still reached the Dene Coffee Shop well before 4pm and had a relaxed tea. Even man-with-car was seen slumming it on the train back, if only for one stop.

David Colver said...

Sun 12 April Kelvedon Circular: I got separated from the group, which had the benefit that as a party of one I could be accommodated by the Coggleshall Tea Rooms. No larger number could have fitted in the space as it was full to bursting with locals, many of them booking for the following week on the way out. One could see why when it produced one of the best home cooked lunches I've had on an SWC walk. Recommended.

Anonymous said...

Sunday 12 April Extra Walk 43 Whyteleafe/Woldingham
I wasn't sure who posted walk reports, so sorry Sean.
To confirm, it was a lovely walk, beautiful day and, as usual, good company. This walk will be even better in a few weeks time when the bluebells are out.
Some of us had brought our own picnic lunches and we just bought drinks at the Harrow Inn. However, they let us eat our sandwiches in the other garden area which was great.

MoonBrain said...

Saturday 18 April - TOCW1 Walk6: Liphook to Haslemere

42 walkers including a family of 3 joining us for the first time.

A breezy but sunny day with lovely views of the Surrey and Sussex countryside. Also a plethora bluebells and wild garlic!

At one point we were wondering around a farm like the many sheep we had seen; lost despite a number of GPS, smartphones, and printed instructions. It was only through the shepherding by local lady, shouting from a window in her house, directing us in the right direction that got us on our way. We suspect she does a lot of that at the weekend.

Lunch: The Red Lion had no problem dealing with the 12 of us who had a pub lunch. Everyone expect the family continued to Haslemere; we assume they took a bus the rest of the way.
It was expected that the section after lunch would be muddy and were surprised at the lack of mud. This may be attributed to one walker who put on her gaiters in the belief that this would ensure there would be no mud; it obviously worked!

In Haslemere, due to thirsty walkers with low blood sugar levels, we had emergency treatment of tea and tasty cakes at Darnleys. Four of the walkers being in worst condition had full cream teas. Everyone left happy after having a very enjoyable day!

Walker said...

Saturday 18 April: Book 2, walk 20b - Robertsbridge to Battle: 25 on this walk, on a day of sparkling sunshine. A chill breeze, but feeling very warm when sheltered from it, which we often were. There was a lovely bright green fuzz of new foliage in the woods and the famous wood anemones were abundant, though definitely starting to fade a bit. In places lots of bluebells emerging. We had our first snooze on a hillside of the year.

Nearly all of us stopped at the first lunch pub, though I understand a few went on to the second. Our pub took a good while to produce all the meals, but were perfectly calm and friendly about so many of us turning up, which after last week's debacle was a great relief. And it was no great hardship to sit in the sun in the garden while we waited for the food.

About a dozen of us early lunchers then stopped at the second pub for tea/drinks (though no puddings, sadly), and had a lovely golden walk in the late afternoon into Battle. One didn't want the day to end, really, especially as the end of it meant saying goodbye to Catherine Beer, whose last walk this was before returning to Australia.

We found another uncomplaining pub in Battle to take us all for dinner and gave her a good send off, catching the last train, the 22.07, back to London. At 23.30 she stepped off the train at Waterloo East and out of our lives. We wish her well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all who attended my last walk (until I visit some time over the next few years) yesterday or sent best wishes on the walk comments. I will miss these Saturday walks, with pub lunches, great ale variety (yes it better from a mug glass!), gardens or fires in winter. Swimming the channel looking back a white cliffs was alwasy good, just pity sand does not feature on the beaches! Likewise winters days of cold, crisp days - those Chilterns walks with fresh snow. What will not be missed is the grumpy pub landloard who does not like walkers; even with boots off; and the water logged fields of winter where the mud factor was 11/10! I leave with great memories and know you will provide many more for those who remain and still to come. (Know the website so when back - expect to see me).
Catherine Beer
The Aussie now back Down Under.

David Colver said...

Sun 19 April: Extra Walk 84 – Hook to Winchfield. About ten on this walk, including two welcome first-timers. We took the shorter version of the route, since locals told us that the collapsed towpath along one section of the canal is still impassable.

Lunch at the Hogget pub was available if we were willing to sit in the garden, since it was already full inside with locals at 12:20. We made the mistake of ignoring this clear recommendation on to the Bell, as recommended in the walk notes, perplexingly so given the choice on in Odiham. An overloaded kitchen took between 60 and 75 minutes to deliver simple items such as baguettes. A relaxed 40 minutes for tea at the Winchfield Inn before the 1727 train home.

Anonymous said...

Saturday 18 April - TOCW1 Walk6: Liphook to Haslemere

24 not 42 !!!

Thomas G said...

Saturday 18/04 Extra Walk 229 Leagrave to Harlington
9 Walkers. 7 off the posted train for the full walk, 2 more on a later train for the shortest of the three walk options (we met them at the tea pub in Harlington).

Thomas G said...

Sunday 19/04 Extra Walk 191 Haddenham Circular (via Brill)
5 Walkers. 4 off the train, 1 there by car. Fast pace, plenty of hills, far views galore, fantastic walking weather, good company.
First pub in Brill full, second pub with exactly the 1 table left that we needed. Drink at The Rising Sun in Haddenham. 17.46 train.

Anonymous said...

Pulborough to Amberley 22nd April 2015
8 on this walk with a newcomer (welcome!) joining at lunch. Wonderful weather, spring blossom and the south downs - bliss!
The food at the Rising Sun was excellent (most agreed the best yet) and a welcome drink at the RSPB visitors centre Cafe made for a nice break in the longish afternoon section. Time for a wee drink in the Bridge Inn after the glorious Downs section before catching the train home.
AD

Anonymous said...

Saturday 25th April 2015. 2-16 Hurst Green to Chiddingstone Causeway.

A lot of walkers, perhaps 35?

A long walk but a beautiful one. My legs are aching but my soul refreshed. There were quite a few climbs before lunch at the Fox and Hounds but the walking becomes gradually easier afterwards.

The bluebells were blooming in large numbers and there are some stunning displays, especially around Ide Hill.

We were lucky to have dry weather and, later, sunshine and there were plenty of opportunities to for refreshment and rest along the route in various pubs and cafes.

David Colver said...

Sat 25 Apr 2015: Walk 1-17: Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands

Four elephants, three rhinoceroses, about a dozen giraffes, a similar number of zebras, some very appealing goats that couldn't have been more than a couple of weeks old, several bears, and many deer, trump any quantity of bluebells.

Just two walkers were moved by this shared view to take the Book 1 walk that goes by Woburn Safari Park. I had forgotten how good this classic route is, particularly at this time of year. Tree growth, disappeared signage and altered stiles have made the instructions in need of some updating. A serviceable lunch at the Bell Inn in Woburn. Back on the 18:08 train.

Anonymous said...

Saturday 25th April - Walk 150: Yalding to Sutton Valence

17 Walkers on this outing which more than lived up to expectations. Blossom (apple, cherry, pear and plum), Bluebells, Butterflies and Billy (& Jilly) Goats. Whilst initially dull, the sun soon broke through making the view from the ridge stunning. Charming churches along the way and hardly any mud to speak of at all. It may be worth mentioning that in point 49 of the instructions, the open field is now a newly-planted plum orchard and point 82, the orchard after the boggy area no longer exists. This was the only blot on the landscape, churned up soil with a lot of detritus awaiting a bonfire? The “Bull Inn” staff were welcoming and efficient, the food home-cooked and delicious, the extensive outside area had us enjoying lunch in the sunshine and, some of us, reluctant to leave. All in all a great day out and a walk for all seasons. The tea/cake lovers were able to indulge too at a place in Headcorn although not being one of them, I can’t comment on the cake.

Posted by Debra

PeteB said...

Sunday 26 April. Epping Forest walks. Just 4 of us set out from Leytonstone Underground to follow the new route from there to the lunch spots at Chingford. The GPX file and the walk instructions deviated from the Centenary Path in places and I need to amend the route and the instructions accordingly as in some places the Centenary Path is difficult to trace and alternative paths offer a better route and the instructions are written to reflect this and the GPX should also reflect the written instructions. Still apologies for this.

Before lunch the going was also quite tough in places with a slippery surface over rough terrain. One GPS user went ahead and after a simple lunch at the Butlers Retreat cafe one decided to catch a train at Chingford.

After lunch route finding and the tracks and paths become a lot easier. Two of us pressed on to have a quick drink at the Kings Head pub near High Beach visitor centre before tackling the open country around Upshire spotting a sizeable herd of fallow deer en route. We bypassed refreshment opportunities in Epping High street to take the direct route to Epping tube station and thence back to London.

Pete G said...

Sunday 26th April. Eynsford Circular. Just 6 of us on what we all thought was a lovely walk, especially the valleys before lunch. A bit of light rain, but mostly at lunchtime. One of us dropped out at Otford and I had to end at Shoreham.

Anonymous said...

Haslemere to Midhurst on 29th April
Seven turned up at Haslemere station with pouring rain outside. Four less intrepid souls jumped on a waiting bus to Haslemere town centre. Three nipped into Hemingways for mid morning tea/coffee and the fourth stayed on the bus to I know not where. The rain stopped and the Hemmingways team set of for Blackdown and Lurgashall. Great views from Blackdown with new yellow Gorse abundant. Into Lurgashall with blossom and new growth aplenty, sun shining and into the Noahs Ark Pub. The more fearless team had already arrived an we were all tucked onto two tables by an open fire and three very amiable Jack Russells. The rain obligingly came and went during a tasty lunch and the Hemmingways trio set off to follow the intrepid team. Lurgashall Village hall was having a Ladies Tea afternoon and the trio popped into for a cuppa and home made cakes. The onto Cowdray and the Golf Park where the trio took shelter in a kiosk during a brief shower and were rewarded with a stunning rainbow. Then Midhurst where the trio hooked up with the others for the bus journey back to Haslemere. A long but very enjoyable day with less rain than forecast. AD

Anonymous said...

Saturday 2nd May Guildford to Farnham.

I counted 10 on this walk today, 3 of whom did the Guildford Circular, 3 did the full walk and the others took an accidental short cut in the morning and an intentional short cut, following the North Downs Way all the way in the afternoon.

A long but pleasant walk and it was warm enough to have lunch in the garden of the Good Intent in Puttenham and stayed dry all day.

Anonymous said...

Saturday May 2nd - Goring circular - 14. The oxfordshire blossoms soon brought relief to a group stressed by a standing journey on a two carriage aropping train - the rest of us were just glad we'd caught the Par alternative. This is a pretty walk mainly memorable for its thin tall beech woods, which were utterly lovely in their pale shimmering green and beautiful glades. THe mud was hard and dry, so walking was easy. The Sun Inn is a simple pub of just one room which served simple but good food. I was glad to discover the Pierrepoint cafe at the end of the walk, opposite Goring Mill, a cafe which did not exist when I last did the other Goring circular. It is also situated at practically the only glimpse of the river you see during the walk. The cafe served the most enormous ginger cake and generous portions of leaf tea. The pecan and chocoolate tart, suitably gooey, was heavenly. A short stroll under the bridge before heading for the station finiahed a very pleasant day. Next time must remember to stop at the Mansfield Miller pub near the river. Rear Gunner (he knows who he is) was missed at the pub and we all hoped he had not got into trouble.

Walker said...

Saturday 2 May: SWC Walk 113 Tenterden to Rye: 20 on this walk, two thirds of them coming on the Victoria train and a third by high speed train from St Pancras. Despite grey skies this was a lovely spring day out. As promised there was a good showing of wild garlic early in the walk (though I was mildly horrified when half the group whipped out bags and started picking it) and the]re were also several bluebell woods, of which the one before Wittersham was the best. Also apple blossom, big yellow fields of oilseed rape, drifts of forget-me-nots and other nice verge flowers.

Some stopped for morning coffee at the National Trust place in Smallhythe, which has a pretty garden and is accessible without paying for entry to the house. It only offered soup and sandwiches, however, so we all eventually pressed on to Wittersham, where the pub was a little surprised to see us, I think, but coped well, helped by the fact that we arrived in three waves.

There was then a long but always interesting afternoon, broken by a supermarket tea and church visits (for some). In Rye most seemed to rush straight for the 6.56pm train, though I understand a few stayed for a look at the town. On the way home we had a couple of converts to the high speed train, one of who declared himself astonished by how quickly it whisked us back to London.

Anonymous said...

Re Goring walk Sat 2nd
Rear Gunner reporting sah!
Yes made it back. Whats the hurry? Instruments a bit dicky. Heavy fire in the afternoon, like to think not aimed at me or birds.

Bill S said...

Re Goring Circular walk Sat 2nd May: The advance guard who left the pub ahead of the main group managed to go astray in the woods soon afterwards, thus justifying the walk author's concerns about the adequacy of his instructions at this point. However, by dint of some first class navigation (i.e. luck), we soon found ourselves on the outskirts of Woodcote(?) where we were able to get back on track. On reaching Goring one of our small group carried on to Pangbourne leaving the other two of us to catch a train back to London.

Walker said...

Bank Holiday Monday 4 May: Whyteleafe to Woldingham: 30 on this walk. Sunny weather to begin with, but cloudier by the afternoon. I am the wrong person to do the report as I lost the group when I stayed behind in Kings Wood to enjoy the bluebells, which were in fine form. I (and I understand at least some other SWC walkers) then did the longer option, taking in Selsdon Wood - also in full bloom - though for my money the best of the lot was Frith Wood, where I went a little off piste. Greatpark Wood was also good: this walk certainly delivers great value on the bluebell front.

Most lunched in the Harrow Inn in Fairleigh, I later met up with two other SWC walkers and one of us tried the food at the second lunch pub in Chelsham, which was apparently disappointing. This perhaps explains why the place was empty on a bank holiday. It was then a short walk to the Dene tea room, after which everyone but me caught the 4.30pm train. (I had a pleasant little walk to Upper Warlingham).

Sean said...

Sunday 3 May, Extra Walk 225: Wivelsfield to Haywards Heath. In the worst of this weekend's weather seven hardy folk gathered at Wivelsfield just as the incessant rain eased up. As predicted we had some late afternoon sunshine but the brisk wind kept the temperature down. The going was muddy in places but not impossibly so, and there were plenty of small bluebell woods to admire along the way (plus swathes of wild garlic on the section after Valebridge Pond).

As a concession to the weather the group accepted my suggestion of the morning short cut and we reaches Cuckfield in good time for lunch. The White Harte is an odd amalgam of small bar and restaurant and there was some doubt as to whether we could have got a full Sunday lunch in the latter, but as only two were eating we opted for some quick bar meals. I might be tempted to try the Talbot next time, while I noticed that some were gazing wistfully at the gourmet menu on display outside the very up-market Ockenden Spa as we left the village.

No further short cuts were permitted as we continued on an undulating route to Borde Hill Garden and its well-stocked café. Four then took advantage of the various 2-for-1 deals to spend an hour or so wandering through the grounds, enlivened with many striking examples of modern sculpture dotted about the specimen trees, shrubs and formal gardens.

Thomas G said...

Wednesday 6 May, Book 2 Walk 5 A: Tring to Berkhamsted.
3 hardy folk on this walk, 1 - due to time constraints (you know who he is) - doing the Tring Circ only.
Wind: in the back in the morning, then from the side at Ivinghoe Beacon, then a non-event, as the rest of the walk is mainly spent in woods.
Rain: half an hour heavy-ish mid-morning, then some spitty periods, but never annoyingly so.
Views: great initially, then none (in the rain), then ok.
Woods: varied, quiet, lonely (the forecast meant we hardly met anyone all day).
Bluebells: where do I start ? Is Dockey Wood "one of the best bluebell woods in the country" ? Must be. Hard to imagine a more complete display of B&B (beeches and bluebells) anywhere. Almost surreal. Quite popular of course (with its NT-Car Park with refreshment caravan), so that most of the wee paths were shut for regeneration. Large Private Gardens backing on to a golf course with large bluebell displays ? Tick. Another large bluebell Wood (Flat Isley) later on just off-path, which - with its lightly undulating ground - looked maybe even a little more magical than Dockey Wood.
Then after Bridgewater Monument (where tea was had) another very large stretch of supreme bluebells (Old Copse and further along).
All in all: 10/10 for bluebells. And superior to last Monday's Whyteleafe walk, according to my companion. 17.31 train.
Now bring on the summer: golden wheat fields swaying in the breeze, bramble bushes obstructing the paths, annoying insects and all that good stuff.


Walker said...

Saturday 9 May: Book 2 Walk 18 Wadhurst Circular: 17 on this walk, plus one who joined us for the afternoon only. Mixed weather, with a rather showery period late morning, but reasonable sunny intervals after that. For once a core of the group seemed to stay together all day (or perhaps for once I was in the core group?).

The Rose and Crown was not at all busy (maybe even worryingly empty, but I understand some May festival was going on in the village which might explain that) and proved a very nice cosy place for lunch. There were plenty of good patches of bluebells before and after lunch as advertised, though no showstoppers. Other wildflowers on the walk were lush and lovely - stitchwort, bugle, wild garlic, cuckoo flower, garlic mustard, and also the promised rarity coralroot which was growing in several places.

The final approach to Wadhurst over waves of hills seemed particularly fine today. I don't know if the faster walkers found any of the tea rooms open, but we had a pleasant tea/drinks at the Greyhound in a garden out back we did not know existed.

Many then opted for the main road or bus to Wadhurst station but we four backmarkers had a simply dreamy walk down the back lanes, accompanied by a chorus of blackbirds, song thrushes, chaffinches and other birds. It was only a pity we had to speed up for the last kilometre to get the 7.29pm (not fancying an hour wait to the next train).

Anonymous said...

Saturday 9 May short option Glynde to Berwick

Five walkers opted for a shorter, less strenuous version of the Lewes walk today. Unexpected rain did not spoil our fun and gave us the ideal excuse to visit: The Trevor Arms, which I am please to report is open for business, The Ram Inn, for a pleasant lunch, Beanstalk Tea Gardens, for afternoon Tea (which can be found on just outside Glynde, around about the folly, the CWT running just to the south and parallel to the official route along the valley bottom), and The Cricketers in Berwick for a rushed refreshment before bolting to the train as the weather cleared and the sun came out.

Anonymous said...

Lewes Circular on Saturday 9th May
As an addition to the Glyndinian Report. The Lewesians set off through downtown Lewes and up onto the Lewes Downs. The weather took a turn for the worse and delivered copious quantities of lateral rain. There was a good view of Beddingham Roundabout from Mount Caburn, but not too much else. On to Glynde where some folks caught the train back to Lewes. The rest made a pit stop at the now quite up market Trevor Arms before heading off the Ram at West Firle. One farm gate was being guarded by ten or so cows with their calves making for an interesting navigation exercise. The Ram was busy with a wedding reception or something similar, but good food as always. The rain ceased and the sun came out. On to St Peter's Church where the group fragmented further and up onto the Southdowns Way before dropping down to Southease. The YHA café had shut at 4:00pm and I was tempted onto a train back to Lewes. I'm sure the rest of the group continued on the SDW back to Lewes!

BrightSpark said...

Lewes circular Sat 9 May. 13 did the long option. Plenty of cowslips (a yellow flower not cows actually slipping) were to be seen.

Anonymous said...

Office of SWC Statistics here. Just to be clear, 18 on the Lewes walk = 5 Glynde to Berwick + 13 Lewes to wherever, or does "longer option" refer to those who continued after Southease to Lewes, on which case how many finished at Southease?

Ian T said...

Sunday 10 May Baldock Circular.
9 got off the train. 8 set off. The ninth remained on platform to wait for a friend and was never seen again. (play spooky music) A sunny day with a nice springy, almost summery, feel suited this walk. Big fields yes, but also big vistas. So a pleasant scenic walk enjoyed, I think, by all. In Ashwell, some lunched at the Rose and Crown. Which was fine. And the beer was fine. Cakes was had from the cake stall. Morris dancers was watched. The church was looked into. Cow parsley started to come out, brimstones, peacocks and orange tips were spotted. Most of us opted for the full walk but at least one finished at Ashwell.

Thomas G said...

Saturday 9 May, New Walk: Tisbury Circular (via Ludwell and Berwick St. John)
10 walkers, despite the pricey and long journey. Dry all day, despite a much worse forecast. Excellent views, a varied walk, a nice pub, good meals.
Half the walkers reached the 18.00 train, despite a long and hard walk, the other 5 had time for a bevvie at The Southwestern before the 19.00 train. Some then ordered take-out food from the pub, which - combined with copious quantities of liquids supplied by the trolley service on board - made for a noisy and fun train journey back.

BrightSpark said...

Lewes Circular Sat 9 May. Just to clarify. A total of 18 walkers turned up for the Lewes circular. 5 did Glynde to Berwick and 13 did the Lewes circular.

PeteB said...

Sunday 10 May Extra walk 80 Staplehurst to Headcorn with Sissinghurst options. Nine of us met up on this walk - a few started earlier and 3 women walked separately as a group. Perfect walking weather and some spring flowers still in bloom. We found some wild garlic and some picked a little for their culinary creations. Terrific food at the Bell and Jorrocks where 6 opted for the long walk to Sissinghurst castle whilst 3 did the short route back to Headcorn.
This is a lovely walk but should come with a navigation warning particularly on the return leg from Sissinghurst where there are often no clear paths and stiles/ gates can be hard to find. Also some rusted field gates are very difficult to open.
The Intrepid 6 had final drinks in the George and Dragon before the train home. Great day's walking out in multi-national company.

(PS - I will add a few points re navigation issues in the walks's comments section.)

Anonymous said...

Wednesday Walk Petersfield to Cocking
Six walkers on this outing until lunch, with two opting to return to Petersfield by bus after lunch at the White Hart in South Harting, and who could blame them. This newly refurbished and re-opened pub served superb food and got the SWC ice cream of the summer award. Well worth the detour down and up the downs. A brilliant walk with fabulous views. We got to Cocking after the last bus had gone and were in serious need of a drink and yet another meal. This alone suggests the grading needs to be revised upwards to a 7. A fabulous day out with some regular Wednesday peeps.

Ian T said...

Sat 16 May Sutton Valence to Pluckley
18 on this Greensand Way walk, plus one on a later train who finally caught us up at Pluckley(!) A brilliant sunny day with blue skies and a gently cooling breeze. Wild flowers in abundance and some at their best - stitchwort, bluebells, cow parsley and stunning buttercup fields. Good views and pretty scenery too. The lot I was with stopped at the Pepperpot. Lunch seemed fine, if a long time coming. Others must have stopped at the later George – we called in to “inspect” it and it seemed fine too. And so on to Pluckley. Our group forwent the Black Horse and headed for the station. When we got there, we “inspected” the Dering Arms. It seemed fine too.

Walker said...

Sat 16 May Sutton Valence to Pluckley: you forgot to mention the new born lamb, Ian, (advanced walkers found it still with afterbirth on it: when we came past it was shakily trying to stand) plus the astonishing swarm of bees. As it happened only one of the group ate at The George: everyone else tried the Pepper Box: fairly empty when we arrived but it soon got busy.

Anonymous said...

Woldingham circular Saturday 15 May
I think that this was the first outing for this walk
The train stopped awhile at Woldingham after a very cheap journey from London - a few got on and 4 got off to be met by a chap who came by car and within moments we were walking in glorious countryside
The lunch ub was excellent though the sandwich eaters were abruptly dismissed from the garden benches and had to sojourn to a field for their repast - jolly good says I
Thankfully the walk was fairly devoid of bluebells, apple blossom and wood anemones and only a little wild garlic ( Roman snails might be the reason for this - we saw hundreds ) and thus there was an exciting selection of unusual wildflowers some of which some of us had never seen before.
The vistas were of glorious rolling hills dotted with very healthy looking cattle and quite a few horses and some foals
There were some old woods with magnificent beech trees providing shade form the hot sun (yes summer was here that day) and lots of walkers all thankfully going the other way and a mini tour de france at one point that crossed our path but were of no great hindrance
Three of the walkers bailed out 2km early and so missed the Woldingham highlight - the tea room which was reached with plenty of time to spare
One of the group saw a blackbird
A life less ordinary

MoonBrain said...

Sun 17th May: Extra Walk 184 – Bentley to Farnham

Six on the walk on. Seemed quite a low number for such a lovely day. After a picnic lunch at Frensham Pond, the group split up; three taking the short-cut to Farnham, the other three keeping to the main route.