Thursday, December 16, 2021


Thursday 16th December, Woburn to Woburn Sands,
7 miles led by Tony M, 18 ramblers

Some of us were back to meeting at Toddington, some met at Woburn car park. The weather was dull but dry, windless and a surprisingly mild 9 degrees for this time of year. We soon got warmed up as we crossed over to the west and past the new forest school. 


We then had a change of the usual route, shunning the steps and continuing to Langdon Hill Plantation, kicking through a lovely carpet of leaves. Tony M helped a few ramblers down the steep part at the end: Beryl the Rebel led a splinter group but soon retreated back to the tried route. 

Likewise, after passing the derelict Horsemoor Farm, we went a different way along a valley to the reservoir where we stopped for a swig of water before crossing to New Wavendon Heath where we stopped at the picnic tables for coffee.


We walked clockwise around the perimeter paths of Aspley Heath and we were in danger of arriving at the Fir Tree too early! Time for another short break. 

On the way down Penny told me two versions of how Woburn Sands got its name. It used to be called Hogsty End!
1. The stage coaches used to get bogged down in the sandpits on their way North. A messenger would be sent to inform that it was delayed at Woburn Sands
2. A founder of a school in the 1800’s wanted a more attractive name to encourage new pupils.

Sixteen of our party were booked for lunch at the fir tree, two were taking the Omicron variant of Covid to heart and elected to eat their picnic outside. Service was very slow: it was 35 minutes before the food appeared despite prior ordering.  But it was great to enjoy a pub meal on a ramble: the last time was March 2020, I think! Paninis, wraps, tomato soup and baked potatoes were eaten, then the final leg was the familiar route through Aspley Wood to the car park. 

Track of walk, walked in clockwise direction


Thursday, December 9, 2021

 Thursday 9th December, Milton Keynes River Ouzel walk,
             7 miles, 12 ramblers, led by Tony R.

The sun came out this morning! It has not been seen for a week, and the stormy winds dropped. Tony could not have chosen a better day to put this last minute walk on the calendar. We all managed to find the obscure car park near Willen Lake, and after crossing a foot-bridge, followed the rive Ouzel along pleasant surfaced paths through landscaped grass and pollard willow trees. 

 We stopped to admire a Heron, then paused for an early coffee break by Walton Lake, which was well choked with bulrushes. Soon after we crossed West to the Grand Union Canal and walked along the towpath, spotting mallards and moorhens. 


Alison, Tony P, Jed, Neal, Cathy, Kate, Jennie, Ruth & Penny with Beryl & Sue at the back

We passed by Woughton Marina, with lots of new flats being built, then paused at Willen Lake to use their new immaculate toilet facilities. 

Kate, Cathy, Beryl, Penny, Jed, Tony R, Jenny, Sue, Neal & Tony P

Next stop was a bird hide, earmarked as a shelter to eat our snack in the rain, but totally unnecessary as the sun was still shining, albeit very low on the horizon at mid-day.  We observed an Egret, Herring gulls, and wheeling flocks of Lapwings. Unfortunately we disturbed a twitcher who quietly moved his telescope elsewhere.  The last mile followed Willen Lake, and was into a cool breeze which reminded us that winter is not yet over. 

Track of walk, walked in clockwise direction.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Christmas Lunch

 Christmas Ramble, December 5th 2021, led by Cathy and Neil, 

5 miles, 11 ramblers. 

We met at the Dunstable Downs golf course car park, after a night of rain in full waterproofs, boots and gaiters ready for a muddy walk. It was OK, actually, as we set off along a grassy path through the golf club, then turned into woods with leaf mold underneath our feet. 


We circled a huge active Chalk Quarry, admired the dinky toy diggers (or so they seemed from a distance) then set off down an alarmingly steep looking slope. It also was OK, as steps, trunks and a hand rail were placed just as they were needed. 


Before long we were passing the edge of the Dunstable Downs and back to the grassy path. My boots ended up cleaner than they started, but my gaiters were well and truly splashed. We were back at the Golf Club House well ahead of time and settled down at a table to wait for the others. We watched the flag outside filling out rapidly and were thankful that we'd had the best of today's weather.

Track of walk, walked in clockwise direction

Christmas Lunch. December 5th 2021

This was a postponed lunch from last year, at the Dunstable Downs Golf Club, organised by Nita, with her usual efficiency.
There were 41 of us, all arriving with a negative Covid test as requested and in a good party mood. Crackers were pulled, hats worn and conversation rose to a peak requiring some discipline from Tony to open the lunch and for Nita to say grace.  

The dinner was lovely. Starters were served at the tables by the very cheerful staff: prawn cocktails a-plenty, pate, and a few pepper and tomato soups. We were called one table at a time for our main course: Turkey, beef, stuffed peppers or salmon. The table of the pre-lunch walkers (below) grumbled in jest that we were served last, but we had the last laugh as they came round with excess meat! 


It was all very tasty and filling. Most people managed to find room for desert AND the mince pie! We ended the afternoon by giving our subscriptions to Beryl. From observing the queue, it looks as if our club will be thriving next year!

Clockwise: Mike & Sheila, Peter, Lynn, Celia & Bob, Bev & Keith

Clockwise: Val, Margaret, Tony M, Patricia, Back of Brenda & Hilda

Clockwise: Penny, Maureen & Malcolm, Anna, Rosemary, Linda, Sandra's  shoulder

Clockwise: Rosemary, Linda, Sandra, Penny, Maureen, Anna

Clockwise: Tony P & Annie, Sue & Graham, Ruth & Geoff, Cathy

Clcokwise: Ruth's Head, Geoff, Neal & Cathy, Tony P & Annie

Nita returning to her table after checking all was well.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Saturday 27th November Toddington Walk

This 5.25 mile walk had 7 walkers and was led by Tony Madeley

The forecast was for occasional showers of rain and sleet so we were not surprised that only 4 walkers from Toddington and 3 from Harlington arrived at the car park. We were particularly please to see Val who has not walked for a while. Again all the men were called Tony, getting to be a habit.

We started from Toddington Village Hall car park, crossed the green and walked down Conger Lane to cross the B530 near Cowbridge Farm. For this part of the walk the weather was dry, but cold and windy. The vines of Toddington vineyard looked pretty bare. We skirted the old sewage works before reaching the Fancott cross roads. The rain had now started which continued almost all the way back to the outskirts of Toddington. We turned right and walked up Sundon Road towards Toddington. We left the road and walked round the back of White Hart Farm, passing the fish ponds of Chalgrave Manor. We then walked past Chalgrave Manor Golf Club  and Chalgrave church before crossing the main road and walking down Chalgrave Road towards Tebworth. On passing College Farm we turned right onto a footpath leading back to Toddington. As the weather was poor no photos were taken on the walk

Track of walk, walked in clockwise direction.


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thursday 25th November - Stewartby walk -14 walkers

 This 5 mile walk was led by Beryl assisted by Nita

On a beautiful morning with clear blue skies, 12 members of the Club, plus 2 visitors who had found us on our website, (well done Ruth) set off from The Kiln Café in Stewartby.   We walked to Stewartby Train Station and then turned into the Marston Forest Centre Site. The autumn leaves were lovely and the lake was a fantastic turquoise blue, reflecting the perfect sky.    We walked as close as possible to the huge Covanta Incinerator which is under construction.   (In fact we had to do a bit of a backtrack as the brambles had overtaken the path!)

The group showing the Covanta chimney  

After some road walking we turned left into the fields.   There we had a huge wide green path for a while before crossing a narrow footbridge and following the path alongside many young trees.   There were expansive views of the Covanta building which is absolutely huge.   Coffee/banana stop was taken in the sunshine near the railway line with excellent views of passing trains!

Our path crossed several fields with young crops but we had 2 tractor tyre lines to follow and the  ground was not too muddy.   Then we negotiated 2 tunnels under the north/south mainline railway.   We had already crossed the Bletchley to Bedford line twice at level crossings - the friends of the line have recently celebrated its 175th anniversary).   Finally we returned to the village of Stewartby and walked through the well kept bungalows and grounds.  (I had been informed by the Groundsman that he and several volunteers had recently planted 7,000 daffodil bulbs - it should be a picture in the Spring.)

A convivial lunch was taken at The Kiln Café in the Social Club Hall which seemed rather dark on arrival but once our eyes became accustomed it was fine.

Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction

Sunday, November 21, 2021

 Saturday 20th November. Kimpton, led by Lynn, 7 miles, 9 ramblers

We met at the sports ground carpark and walked through fields and woods to the church of St Lawrence at Ayot St Lawrence.where we had a pause for a snack and water. We then walked to the water-cress farms at Codicote Bottom and followed the river back to Kimpton Mill, passing Cuckolds Cross before returning to the car-park.


Track of walk, walked in clockwise direction


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Thursday 18th November Barton Hills walk

   Led by Tony Price - 7 ramblers  8 miles

 Leaving Barton via the recreation ground, we made our way through the village to join up with the John Bunyan trail out towards Hexton 

Walking through the village we made our way up the steep incline through Moor Hill and on towards Mortgrove farm
Crossing the Icknield Way carrying on below Galley Hill and the golf course,  we made our way along the Chiltern way up to Barton Hill farm, continuing onto the Barton Hills nature reserve 

 Following the track back past St Nicholas church and back to where we had parked our cars


Track of walk, walked in clockwise direction.


Saturday, November 13, 2021

Saturday 13th November, Three locks to Rushmere,

10 miles led by Bob and Celia. 8 ramblers.

Not a single stile on this gate!

We met at the Three Locks carpark and set off along the Grand Union Canal, turning off towards Papermill Farm towards Rushmere County Park. From there we skirted the edge of Rammamere Heath stopping for coffee before setting off along the Gas Pipe line to Stockgrove. 


Tony R & Bob at the front with the others behind

Geoff, Ruth, Celia, Bob, Beryl, Kate, Tony R & Tony P

Ruth, Celia, Bob, Beryl, Tony R, Geoff, Kate & Tony P

Track of walk, walked in clockwise direction

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Thursday 11th November Maulden Woods 4.5 miles

Led by Tony M - 18 ramblers - the most we have had on a walk for almost 2 years

Starting off from the George PH we made our way up past the church and the new housing developments and out towards Green End and Clay Hill cottage.
We entered  Maulden Woods and following the tracks taking us through the many pine trees to join up with the Greensand Ridge walk

Walking around Maulden Grange, eventually making our way back towards our start point where we were lucky just missing most of the rain shower.
Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction


Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Saturday November 6th, Pulloxhill to Silsoe, 6.5 miles

 8 ramblers, led by Jill

A lovely walk through fields, and surprisingly dry under foot. 

 After coffee stop: the oak tree planted for Jill's husband

Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Thursday 4th November, Billington, 6.5 miles

9 ramblers led by Ruth

A new area for most of us. 


We waked around fields to the river Ouzel which we followed for about a mile. Much clearing was going on. The thicket of bramble and nettles were cleared, willow was being pollarded and they were soon to start dredging. We chatted with two workers while warming our hands on their bonfire. Sadly, no baked potatoes!

 We crossed the river to the Grand Union Canal where we stopped at Church Lock for coffee and bananas. 

 After this, we followed the canal South then crossed a field past a curious herd of calm bullocks. 

 We walked through Slapton then along a very overgrown footpath and across fields slightly uphill to Billington. The views from the slight rise were splendid. There were a series of stiles, all but one having a bar to lift which helped greatly. We had a short break at the church before returning to the start.
Tony R crossing the Bedfordshire type stile

Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction