Monday, December 21, 2020

 Saturday 19th December, Center Parcs, 5 ramblers led by Beryl

It was pouring with rain when I woke up and I wondered why I'd signed up. Over breakfast, the Met office stated that the sun would shine between 10am and 1pm, and I set off to Alameda School, Ampthill with great skepticism. There I met the others and a blue band of sky appeared below the horizon and swiftly broadened into a lovely sunny morning. 


We crossed the railway line and had a wide view from the bridge, then walked around the perimeter of Center Parcs, which was now closed due to the latest Lockdown announced last night. We had been warned of lots of mud: some parts did not disappoint us, but we didn't get too bogged down. We stopped for coffee and Beryl contemplated giving out the mince pies that Nita had provided. We all agreed that they would be nicer later on with our coffee at the cafe. Notice the observance of social distancing!

We passed a field of micropigs, then walked around the footpaths toward Milbrook. We noticed the black cloud to the North and were thankful that we weren't there. 

Five minutes later the cloud was upon us. We cleaned our wellies in the deep puddles, passed the Wooden Hill Cafe just too late as they close at 1pm, and when we got to the next cafe, at Ampthill Hub, the heavens opened. Hilary and Joan had not yet arrived to meet us so Beryl was left under the porch to wait for them while we abandoned her to the cars. The parting shot was 'What about these mince pies!'

We did not know at the time that we were heading for Tier 4. No more walks for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

 Thursday December 17th 2020. Stockgrove and the Grand Union Canal

5 ramblers, 6 miles, led by Ruth

What a lovely day! At last, the sun is shining with its puny winter strength, and not a cloud in the sky. But there was rain last night and five of us looked at dismay at the large puddles of water on the ground of the car park at the canal. Fortunately it was not too deep. After a short stretch of road and an even shorter bit of mud, the rest of the walk was through lovely leaf litter and well drained paths. 

We stopped briefly opposite Lord's Hill, Rushmere, to examine the Greensand Trust's latest heathland restoration project, and the huge pile of smouldering ashes left by yesterday's bonfire. Then we crossed some small paths through Shire Oak Heath and walked on a compass bearing North through the maze of routes in Baker's Wood. Coffee break was at Stockgrove cafe. 

 We then followed a largely dry, grassy,leafy or sandy route with long shadows,to the Grand Union Canal, and after a short stop at the Three Locks picnic tables, we were almost back. We were all relieved that none of the cars had got stuck in the mud at the car park!

Friday, December 11, 2020

 Thursday 10th December, Toddington, led by Cathy and Kate, 7 miles, 6 ramblers

Starting from the village hall car park, we set off down Conger Lane and headed past the new tree plantations to Charlton Manor then continued South past where the solar farm is proposed. 

Ruth, John D, Cathy, Kate & Beryl

This brought us past Grove Farm and, excitingly, on to a footbridge over the new A5 M1 Junction 11A link road. We then crossed a field to "death roundabout" at the bottom of Lords Hill. This area has had the footpaths revised, extended and joined up to make a very walkable route. A stop for coffee followed, and the Christmas spirit was entered into with a distribution of mince pies, chocolate Smartie buttons and chocolate bars. 


Photos by Tony P

We then turned West and re-crossed the A5 through Wingfield, then Tebworth before reaching the village via The Glebe. This was a lovely walk, visiting some new terrain and surprisingly mud free considering recent weather and the time of year.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

 AGM 2020: by Zoom!

Due to the COVID regulations,the annual cheese and wine party, also known as the AGM, was not possible this year. Instead 23 Ramblers attended the virtual AGM which was held by Zoom, the reports having been emailed in advance. It was  a very efficient meeting, over in 30 minutes and all officers were re-elected. Perhaps we can have the cheese and wine party sometime in the new year.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

 Ampthill to Maulden and back - 9 miles on 31st October

led by Celia and Bob Wallace

This walk should had 6 walkers however 2 had to cancel so 4 brave souls set out from Ampthill Park at 9.15 am on 31st October. We walked through the park and crossed the mainroad before walking up the track towards Houghton House. We past by Kings Wood before turning right towards Linbersey Lane where we observed a lot of traffic traveling towards Maulden. We concluded that a diversion must be in place somewhere. We left the road via a very muddy footpath and eventually turned left into Maulden Woods.  Here the rain really started, after a few light showers that didn't bother us. But this was serious rain and therefore we donned our waterproofs. When we exited the woods we came to a collection of Halloween items, see photo below.

Bob, Ruth, Celia and Tony R by the Halloween items.   
We had planned to have a coffee break in the porch of Maulden church, but unfortunately this was locked so we crowded under eaves of the church hall to refresh ourselves. After starting off again we re-crossed Limbersey Lane and walked past Kings Farm. We then ended up in Gashouse Lane which we followed to meet Church Street. We followed this to the town centre, crossed Bedford Street, ascended Park Street and Park Hill into the Park. We then followed the footpath back to the car park, where we were glad to take off our very wet gear and climb into our cars for the drive home. Thanks to Bob and Celia for the walk, which we enjoyed despite the wet conditions.

Track of the walk, walked in clockwise direction.


Warden Hill to Lilly

 7 miles led by Sue Friday 30th October

This was  an imprompu walk to make use of the nice weather in the middle of a low pressure syatem. Six of us assembled at Lippitts Hill and quickly reached open countryside. A few pauses to admire the view, but otherwise a steady pace was set. 

At Lilley church we separated out in pairs on the seats and the doorstep. On the way back we chose the longer route back and before long the wide panorama of Luton appeared and we were back at the cars by 1pm, just before the drizzle began.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Elephant walk, 24th October, lead by Ruth, 7miles

 A repeat of last week, with 5 ramblers. 

This week we were ready with cameras to photograph a bear - just as the loudspeaker asked us to return to the footpath!  


  We spent some time watching wallabies, and people on the zip wire of the Go APE

As hoped, we managed to get back to the car-park at Woburn before the downpour.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Pirton to Oughton Head walk led by Tony Roberts on 22nd October

 There was a full compliment of 6 walkers for this 6.5 mile walk.

We started from the Recreation Ground in Pirton which has ample car parking during week when no sports activities are taking place. We walked under the walnut trees, past a notice warning of a wasp's nest to join the Hambrdge Way. We followed this until we came a crossing of tracks where we turned right into Mill Way. At this point we could see some dark clouds approaching and after a few minutes the rain started.. Several of us donned waterproofs, sue even putting her over-trousers on. However this rain some ceased and the sun appeared so soon after stopping at Westmill farm for a photo we took our waterproofs off. 

Beryl, Lynn, John D, Tony P, Sue & Tony R in front of Westmill farm 

 When we got to the riverside path we turned left and continued until the main road was in sight. We then retraced our steps and continued past the "Hitchin waterfall" (former outlet from the mill).

Sue at the top of the Hitchin waterfall.

Soon after this we came to a couple of benches overlooking a riverside pond. Here we stopped for our coffee stop. We continued to the actual head where the ladies descended to get a better view.

Beryl and Lynn climbing back up and Sue still looking at the water.

We then turned back towards Hitchin and eventually took a footpath through the common in the hope of seeing some English Long-horn cattle. Sadly this was not to be as they could not be found anywhere.We the retraced our steps towards Pirton to finish a very interesting walk.

Map showing the track of the walk, generally walked clockwise.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Elephant walk, October 17th 2020. 7 miles led by Ruth

This late addition to the calender booked up fully within a few hours.  Ruth worried that we were going to have 7 ramblers - not entirely illegal as we are a regulated sporting activity, but beyond the club guidelines. No need to stress - 6 set off from Woburn car park with the sun shining!" Lots of deer in the Woburn deer park, then we headed for the bear enclosure. Before we could turn on the camera to photograph a large black bear, a loudspeaker instructed us to return to the footpath. 

We paused for a swig of water at the entrance to the Safari Park, commented on the entrance fee - £29 per adult, £19 per child -  then passed the footpath that goes down the side of the elephants - the one that is to be diverted.  They have made it difficult to see for free with the netting. But we have ways and means of taking photographs!

There were several females on the left and a big male on the left. We also saw half a dozen ostriches, then later a few wallabies. Freeview over, we stopped for coffee on a log then made for the road, turning right. Ruth kept holding the group up by picking up chestnuts.

We turned down a small footpath before reaching Husborne Crawley village hall. It looked as if it went into someone's garden but soon it passed through a newly planted woodland and into Crow Lane. As I had hoped, no-one had ever walked this footpath before. We then had lunch at Husborne Crawley church, admiring the greensand stones. There was plenty of seating, in the Lych gate, in the porch or out on a grave stone. We then headed towards Aspley Guise and to Birchmoor farm, passing some wonderful fungi growing on the stumps of the old horse chestnut tree.  I couldn't confidently identify them so sadly they are not to be eaten.

The bridge had been removed at the shortcut to the playground. Some of us jumped over the stream, Beryl and Hillary decided to go the long way round  To our amazement they were well ahead of us on the high street - obviously it is NOT a shortcut!

The walk will be repeated next Saturday due to demand.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Harlington circular walk via Sundon hills & Sharpenhoe clappers. 7.5 miles led by Tony Price

Start of the walk with Nita, Kate, Chris, Cathy, Tony P and John D

Heading out from Harlington leaving the spinney and heading towards Sundon hills country park following the John Bunyan trail through to Sharpenhoe Clappers.

Lunch being taken at the clappers just as the rain started

Walking back through Moleskin hill and the tracks back towards the finish at Harlington village hall

Track showing the route of the walk done in the anti-clockwise direction.


Monday, October 12, 2020


Woburn to Milton Bryan, Thursday 1st October 2020, led by Nick and Debbie, 7 miles

Saturday, September 26, 2020

 Eversholt to Steppingley walk

26th Sept led by Ruth - 7.5 miles

Torrun, Sharon. Ruth, Kate, Tony P & Tony R at the start of the walk

A cold wind but it was dry with hints of sun and we walked briskly and kept warm. Under foot it was mostly grass and gravel and good on the feet.

Torunn, Kate, Sharon, Tony P, Ruth & Tony R at a drink stop in the woods          

We got to Steppingley Church at 11.30, half an hour ahead of time but never the less ate our lunch - or was it elevenses, enjoying the sun on a seat or in the porch out of the wind. The ladies looked around the lovely bright church. We then avoided a large ploughed field by continuing through the village. The rest of the route was mostly the Greensand Ridge Walk, but to avoid retracing our steps we diverted through Tyrells End to admire two ancient houses before returning the Church End Village Hall where we parked. A wedding was just about to start - a limit of 30 guests. How to keep the cost down!

Map showing the track of the walk. Walked in anti-clockwise direction

Thursday, September 24, 2020

 Harlington to Pulloxhill walk 24th September

led by Wendy and Richard Whalley

Vivienne, Ruth, Kate, Patricia, Wendy & Richard at the start of the walk

Bunyan's Oak in the distance

Stitchwort and cornflower encountered en route


Thursday, September 10, 2020

 Toddington Circular Walk on 10th Sept.

via Eversholt & Milton Bryan

8 miles, 3.5 hours led by Anthony Price 7 walkers

Beryl, Bob, Ruth, Kate, Cathy & new member Wendy Copper

Bob leading the way through the woods

Kate, Ruth, Bob, Beryl, Cathy & Wendy

Beryl, Cathy, Kate & Bob standing up with Wendy & Ruth sitting down.

Kate, Bob & Wendy on the bench with Beryl, Cathy & Ruth on the grass

Map showing the route walked in anti-clockwise direction

Saturday, September 5, 2020

 Marston Moretaine walk 5th September 6 miles

led by Sheila & Mike Briggs.

In lovely sunny weather we started from Marston Morteyne following the Jubilee Trail through old and new woodland to Marston Thrift. Unlike Ampthill Park, the blackberries here looked beautiful and ready to pick so Sheila managed to get a nice box full. There were lots of spectacular views in all directions. It  was a very enjoyable walk ending by the Manor House where the Club had Christmas Lunch . We also saw the Vicarage where Sir Captain Tom walked 100 miles for the NHS and the unusual Church with a separate  tower. Finally there were lots of beautifully carved wooden benches to admire.

Sheila picking blackberries

The blackberries with a friend

Hilary & Beryl with the others admiring the view

Mike, Nita & Joan in the foreground with Beryl & Hilary at the back

Nita, Joan & Sheila with the others trying to hide.