Saturday 11th January Rushmere, Footpath checking
This was the first of three routes that Central Bedfordshire Council publish as short circular walks, with a sketch map and directions.
18 ramblers met at the parking area at end of the Bridleway , Ruth armed with directions and a sketch map ready to lead the route, Beryl and Yvonne with notebook and pencil ready to make notes. It didn’t get off to a good start: “look out for a footpath to the right and take the footpath”: did they mean the small unmarked path at the start? Probably not, according to the map. Or was it the later clear on with a prominent footpath sign? This seemed the most likely, but then we were not certain which was “cross the track and do not take the track that continues to the right”, Also, “continue into the woodland” was ambiguous as there was really no woodland! However, there was a clear “keeping fence to the left” so we confidently set off along a bridle way until we got to the kissing-gate entrance to Rammamere Heath. Here, we were clearly wrong, so after some debate, we retraced our path and this time tried going INTO Rammamere. Back to the Kissing gate – this wasn’t right either!
By now it was 11am and we had only covered the first two instructions of the twelve on the route! So we set off directly for the Stockgrove café, had our break, then argued about which way to leave the café, many people chipping in. We decided to abandon the route-checking and to return to the cars more directly. That was much easier! We walked along the lake to the Heron Café, and after another short break and a peep at the herons, returned the most direct route passing Stockgrove Park House and we were back to the cars at 12.30.
On reflection, decided to delegate the route checking to a smaller group of four, and to re-think the two future circular walks planned. Keep an eye on the web-site.