Walking – November 2017

Long Walk 1st November led by Chris Mansfield

Fourteen walkers met at the Grand Junction pub in Bulbourne on a lovely sunny autumn day. We set off at 9.30 to walk along the canal for a mile or so before leaving it near Tring Station to follow the Ridgeway path up to Wiggington. After a short break we set off again now going downhill, past the obelisk and on down through Tring Park to reach Tring by the Natural History Museum. The scenery was beautiful with the trees now changing colour. We walked along Tring High Street then turned off by the church to continue along a path leading past play areas and housing. As we neared the end of this path a phone call was received from 2 members who had lost us!

The leader gave instructions then immediately retraced her steps to find the errant couple – maybe a lesson to be learnt here by us all. Soon we were all back together and we continued on out of Tring to cross a main road then to take a path leading to the Wendover arm of the Grand Union Canal. We walked along the canal to a bridge then leaving it we continued on past the reservoirs to reach the main GU canal. Here we turned right to walk back to the start point and lunch – arriving at 1.15. Tables had been reserved for us and we were quickly served by the very friendly staff – food was good and plentiful – and reasonably priced. A lovely walk on a beautiful day. Approx 8 miles.

Strollers 13th November led by Brendan Larkin

Eleven walkers to-day. Not too bad for a muddy November walk.

Medium Walk November 10th led by Alan & Hana Mace

Sixteen walkers arrived at The Frog at Skirmett to occupy most of their parking spaces, but we were going to give them good lunch custom. Weather was again very kind to us and although the woodland bridleway paths were muddy and waterlogged in parts, churned up by the horses, the golden colours of the leaves was quite stunning. Pheasants are plentiful within these woods and they can be seen running along the paths and others suddenly launching themselves out of the undergrowth with considerable flapping of wings and crowing. A muntjac deer brazenly stood in the path ahead of us before disappearing into the bracken. The refreshment/coffee stop was well planned with a pile of cut tree trunk logs acting as temporary seats. We emerged at last from the woods to a superb view over Hambleden and its valley. If you ever have to illustrate “essence of rural England” to an American here is the view. No wonder they think of our countryside as like a “chocolate box.”

The walk back to Skirmett along the Hamble valley is well known by most of this walking group and brought about some reminiscing. We arrived back at The Frog around 1.20pm to find a very warm and cosy atmosphere helped by the inglenook fireplace and burning logs and the restaurant filled with so many people enjoying lunch. We were all impressed with the speed and friendly service of the staff and everybody was in full praise of the quality of food.

Another very enjoyable and successful day’s walk.

Main Walk November 27th   – led by Alan & Hana Mace

Having never led a “main walk” before you just don’t know how many walkers will be turning up. As I drove into the Pink and Lily car park at 9.50am I was therefore pleasantly surprised to be met by a host of eager faces ready for the off at 10am.

Thirteen walkers set off down the lane alongside the pub and then into Monkton Wood with the footpath carpeted by fallen golden leaves. But as we ventured further into the wood the path became extremely muddy and waterlogged, resulting in minor detours creating our own footpath. Hampden Common was almost halfway point and a couple of benches provided a resting point for refreshments and a photo-call. The sky lightened up and although cold the rain stayed away. The setting of Hampden House with its immaculate grounds and local flint stoned church is stunning. Our route then took us alongside the ancient Iron Age earthworks known as Grim’s Ditch through into Kingsfield Wood, which was even muddier and more waterlogged. As these paths are also bridleways the horses do a good job of churning them up even more and this makes walking a little challenging!   There were a few relieved faces as we came out of the wood onto firmer paths and back to the Pink and Lily, arriving at 12.20. Eight of us stayed for lunch with the soup getting a thumbs up but unfortunately those who chose the deep fried brie were disappointed.

Overall another very enjoyable and successful walk.