Long Walk 5th April led by Chris Mansfield
Sixteen walkers met at Turville Heath on a dry, bright but cold day. The weather had been dry for some time so all the mud of previous walks had gone – just very hard ground – so walking was much easier. We set off at 9.35 to walk towards Turville Grange then on across a field and into a wood going steeply downhill to reach a lane outside the gates to the Wormsley Estate. We walked through more woodland then climbed steeply uphill to reach St Nicholas churchyard. Along the way we saw many sights of Spring with the hedgerows turning green and wild flowers in the fields and woods – celandine, wood anemone, primroses and even one or two early bluebells. By now it was quite warm with lots of sunshine as we continued on a high level path giving wonderful views over the Hambleden Valley before descending into the village of Turville.
From here we took the path over to Fingest where we had a short coffee break by the church before tackling the next hill out of Fingest, pausing at the Fieldfare stile from where you get the best view in the Chilterns then continuing on to Little Frieth from where we followed another high level path giving yet more excellent views before reaching woodland and a long descent into Skirmett and the Frog for lunch arriving at 12.45. A table had been reserved for us and the we were very impressed with the speed and efficiency with which we were all served. We set off again at 2pm to climb once more out of the valley towards Turville then turning and walking up the final hill to reach Turville Court and then on to Turville Grange and so back to the start. A lovely walk on a perfect walking day with beautiful views to boot.
Strollers 10th April led by Jacqui Kennedy & Janet Griffin
On a peasant dry morning, fifteen of us set off from Aldbury. We started along the lane heading North, past some lovely cottages, a red brick dovecote with the date 1738 (if I remember correctly!) marked out in black bricks above its door, and Stocks manor house until we reached The Walled House. Turning left onto a bridleway alongside a small wood, we headed towards the golf course; at the side of the path we saw some Toothwort wild flowers – parasitic plants that totally lack chlorophyll – very odd! Reaching the golf course, we headed up to the brow of the hill on our right, and followed the path along the edge of Howlett’s Wood. We had magnificent views across not only the golf course but the surrounding countryside and to our left we could see the Ashridge Monument towering above the wooded hilltop. We continued on the path alongside Aldbury Nowers until we reached the Ridgeway, which we followed down to Station Road. Crossing over the road into a field, we followed the hedgerow, crossing over the ‘gallop’ of the Walter Swinburn Stables, though we didn’t encounter any of the racehorses on the track. Shortly after this, we turned left and walked along a small brook back to the village. We walked through the village which was a treat in itself with so many delightful and interesting old cottages and houses to admire, and arrived back at the village green with its duck pond, whipping post and ancient stocks. It had been a lovely walk which was followed by an equally enjoyable lunch in The Greyhound, whose staff were very welcoming and provided excellent service.
Main Walk April 24th led by Sheila Lane
Eleven walkers all met at Mill End car park, walked along the river to Henley, then back to the Flower Pot pub where we had lunch. We saw lots of wildlife along the way – swan on nest by path along river, cormorants, rabbits, heron etc. The weather was great and we all enjoyed the walk very much.
GUC Walk April 27th – Long Itchington to Warwick Parkway
At last we have re-started our GUC walk starting where we left off last June at Long Itchinton near Leamington Spa. A 16 seater minibus picked us up at 9am and dropped us right by the canal at 10.15. It was really quite a cold day and we set off walking quickly but soon stopped to pile more layers on! The route was very pretty with wild flowers and blossom trees and lots of baby ducklings in the water. We passed two sets of nesting swans, one right on the tow path where the male became quite threatening as we sidled past. There were lots of locks and quite a few boats going up and down so plenty of interest. Our route led us through parts of Leamington Spa – not much to see – then on to our lunch stop at The Moorings right on the canal, arriving at 1.30. The staff were very welcoming and a lovely large table had been set up for us upstairs where they efficiently took our drinks and food orders. The food soon arrived (no pre-ordering!) and was very good – and also good value. As we did not have far to go and the bus would not return for us until at least 4.30 we lingered over lunch, some having coffee as well – a lovely break. Finally at 3.15 we set off again, soon crossing the River Avon by an aqueduct and on past Warwick, raining a little as we went to arrive at the foot of the Hatton Locks near Warwick Parkway station at 4.20. As we arrived the bus driver phoned to say he was 10 minutes away and by the time we had crossed the canal and walked up the road he appeared in less than 5 minutes – such perfect timing! We all piled on, tired and ready for a rest and he drove us home arriving at about 6.10. A superb day!