New Year's Day Walk
Jockey End to Great Gaddesden
Seventeen of us started the walk (14 members and 3 guests). The weather throughout was ideal with a bright, clear, sunny sky and very little wind, although a bit chilly if standing still too long. However it didn't take us long to realise that the journey was going to be a bit difficult because the ground was saturated from previous wet weather and therefore extremely muddy, making it hard going. Within minutes we were faced with a lake where the footpath should have been and we were forced to hack our way through thorn bushes to find an alternative route. From then on we were able to follow the correct paths although slipping and sliding a bit on the way. Within an hour we had passed the Hoo (parkland by Capability Brown) and had clear views down over Great Gaddesden. Minutes later the group assembled for a group photo outside the church after which we enjoyed the seasonal tradition of mulled wine and mince pies. We then proceeded to Water End, where we again took a group photo standing on the footbridge over the River Gade. There followed the only real climb on the walk, up to Gaddesden Place (1768). From there it was a pleasant level walk acoss fields to Home Farm and then along an avenue of Lime trees to Golden Parsonage (built 1765), finishing with a pleasant walk through a sequence of paddocks aned stiles back to Jockey End. In all the 6 mile walk took about 31/2 hours, 30 minutes more than estimated but bearing in mind the conditions much faster than expected. Pat and Ray
January Day Walk: 13th January 2013
Sarratt and the Chess Valley
18 hardy souls set off complete with fleeces and woolly hats for what turned out to be a lovely winter’s day. Starting in the village of Sarratt, we embarked on what our leader Liz, described as a sausage shaped circular walk, along one side of the Chess valley to the outskirts of Amersham, and back along the other side of the valley. We were regaled with interesting facts about the flints in the ploughed fields, information about Chenies and Latimer House, and the only disappointment was the unavailability of the promised watercress as the farm was closed. The mud levels were well down compared to New Year’s Day and the eleven plus miles passed with relative ease.
Sunday 10th February 2013
Watton at Stone
A rather smaller group than normal (7) set off on a day whose forecast suggested severe conditions; fortunately we mainly encountered light showers rather than the predicted storms. We kept a good pace completing the 16km in just over 4.5 hours (including lunch and tea break); just as well as the day worsened significantly later on. The walk was rather muddy in places but fortunately included some well-surfaced roads. We were fortunate to have lunch undercover at the rear of ‘The Boot’ at Danes End; ideally sized for the small number. The heaviest shower was encountered soon after lunch but this did not last long; some nice views across the surrounding rolling hills with several Norman-style churches on the way. Only one stile was crossed, although somewhat higher than most, traversing a 6 foot wall at Woodhall Park. A very enjoyable day was had despite the slightly damp conditions; just goes to show that forecasts can be misleading. Luckily we did not have to plough through the 6inches of snow that fell overnight!
Sunday 10th March
Once again a rather small group (7) set off on this appealing walk; perhaps mothers had priority on the day! Weather conditions were better than expected, a fairly steady light flurry of snow throughout the morning but quite pleasant conditions for walking. It was a bit wet underfoot in places which made walking difficult at times. The group travelled initially north through John Bunyan country to Pulloxhill via the Bunyan Oak. Janet pointed out that he had been tried at Harlington before imprisonment at Bedford. The group made good time stopping for lunch in woodland after the steep climb to the head of the Clappers. Nearby was a memorial erected by the National Trust from funds bequeathed by WA Robertson in memory of two brothers killed in the second world war; this is one of 8 such memorials in the SE of England. There were great views from there despite the cloudy conditions; certainly a place to revisit in more sunny times. The return trip took us along the top of the Sundon Hills, with continuing outstanding views across to Harlington village and then back to Harlington in a wide loop. No stiles but many kissing gates on the way, many appearing to be recent additions, even with no adjoining fences in some cases! We returned in good time to get home for the FA cup quarter final before the weather turned colder; fortunately the freezing winds only arrived on Monday. Thanks to Janet for leading us on this nice circular route, taking advantage of the various high spots surrounding this picturesque area