Saturday, December 10, 2022

Saturday 10th December, Katherines way, 17 participants, 8 or 4 miles.

 Seventeen ramblers arrived at Steppingley Church at 12.15 on a lovely sunny frosty day to have lunch at their Christmas Love Festival.  We arrived and left in shifts, having walked various lengths of the Katherine’s Way.  Seven of us started at Churchill Drive at 9.30 in full wintery frost and walked about 6 miles to the church. We were the long brisk group. We passed through the lovely Cooper’s Hill SSSI, with the heather draped in hoar frost.  


Next we walked through Ampthill Park to the  Katherine’s Memorial. This is Katherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry the 8th, who was exiled to Ampthill after her marriage was annulled at Dunstable Priory. There, two ramblers who had arrived late caught us up. 


Next was a coffee break at Millbrook Church: a mere 15 minutes as it really was too cold to sit around. 


We passed around Center Parcs admiring the heap of snow. It turned out to be a very convincing artificial pile! 


We were hoping to spend some time admiring the micro-pigs, but they were very sensibly tucked up in straw in their pigsties. 

 As we turned the corner we spied the Easy Go walkers ahead, about 6 of them, just setting off from their coffee break. They started at 10.30 and had only 3 miles to walk to the church. We eventually caught them up just before Steppingley church, where two more ramblers joined us just for lunch. 


The church was lovely; bright, warm and welcoming. The church wardens were dressed up as characters from Alice in Wonderland and there was much to look at. We were more interested in the coffee and drinking chocolate at the side… and the very naughty, but nice, pastries and cakes.  We left donations, happy to have had such lovely refreshments and also to help the church with their ‘Toilets’ appeal.  Some of us bought raffle tickets or Christmas decorations, and then listened to a very good saxophone player perform. Some of the group even joined in as a backing choir!!

We left in shifts and mixed up groups for the remaining mile: two didn’t stay for lunch, seven of us left after 45 minutes, some stayed longer to chat with others, listen to the saxophone and generally enjoy the entertainment, warmth and ambience.  On the way back the first group looked over the gate to the ‘disabled farm’:  a farm set up by a blind man to teach and help other disabled people get into farming.

We will plan another walk to the church when they have their next festival, probably around Easter, and see if we can also arrange a guided tour of the farm. Watch out on the programme.

Katherine's Way Map

 More photos from the go easy 4 mile walk below

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Thursday 8th December Aspley Heath walk led by Tony R

This 4 mile walk was a true pop up walk arranged to fill a gap in the programme as 3 ladies were to visit Cynthia that morning for a chat.
The morning was bright but temperatures were below zero, however 8 walkers braved the conditions.
We started from the large lay-by on the Woburn to Woburn Sands road, however instead to starting to walk through the woods we crossed the road and walked along the pavement in order to avoid the narrow gully-like path in the woods that can be difficult at this time of year.
On reaching the gate to Fullers Earth Lodge we left the road on the opposite side to the lodge entrance and followed the track uphill. Soon we encountered large ruts caused by timber harvesting machines. This made progress difficult, but most of water in the ruts was frozen. Near the ruined building we met the new council footpaths officer talking to a representative of Bedford Estates, the owner of the land. We complained about the state of the footpaths, but was assured that she had this in hand. After passing some huge piles of timber we crossed the road where thankfully the surface was untouched by machines. We walked though the woods, past the old sandpit to Heath Lane which we followed for a while before turning off left into the woods again. It was noted that although the surface here was poor a couple of years ago it had recovered and made easy walking. We soon came to a picnic table where we stopped for a coffee break.
After our break we continued along the path before stopping for a photo.

Ruth, Kate, Wendy, John D, Sue, Richard, Sue & Tony R

After passing the old lakes we turned left and climbed the track to Old Wavendon Heath. Here the pines were in straight rows with the sunlight coming through.although frost was still on the ground.

We walked through a narrow avenue to pines to join a path leading back to the cars in the lay-by.
Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Sunday 4th December Christmas Lunch preceded by a walk

Our Christmas lunch this year was at The Fancott in Fancott. Before the lunch there was a 4 mile walk  led by Neil and 14 members braved the crisp chilly morning. 


We left The Fancott  carpark at 10am eager to leave behind a rather pungent smell from the sewage works and headed off towards Fancott woods and meadow where we stopped briefly for a photo.

Following the river Flit we walked alongside the vast site being prepared for solar panels.
Turning left there was a good view of Toddington Services.
Following the path to the village and nearing the stables Sue bribed the group to stop for her usual coffee break with the promise of mince pies for all. Thank you Neil.
Pete thought he could hear witches frying pancakes, even though it wasn't Shrove Tuesday as we approached Conger Hill.
We made our way back across the fields ready for our Christmas lunch.

Bob W, Pete, Annie, Celia, Malcolm, Tony P, Geoff, Liz, Christine, Beryl, Ruth & Sue

Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction from pub sign.

Following our walk 35 members enjoyed their Christmas lunch in the very festive pub. It was lovely to see so many friends. There was plenty of laughter and chatter. The was the usual menu of turkey & Christmas pudding as well as other dishes for those who preferred to differ. Even the veggies & vegans were catered for. See below for the menu.

The table with 3 Tonys

Tony R making the ladies laugh

Sue's table

Happy Christmas and a healthy Happy New Year everyone 🎄

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Thursday 1st December 5 miles, led by Tony M, Maulden Woods


An amazing 16 ramblers met at Maulden Parish Church to walk on a very foggy day. It was lovely to have two new members join us. 


We walked along a footpath East, bemoaning the fact that the lovely view was not to be seen, but by the time the Maulden Woods loomed in front of us, it didn’t matter for the woods were lovely, with a carpet of orange and brown chestnut leaves and still several golden leaves still clinging to the trees. 


We stopped for coffee break no. 1 by the octagonal thatched house in the depth of the woods, 

then moved on to the Greensands Trail and across fields to  road. Tony was very strict about us walking the 300m single file! Where the road swung to the left, we continued straight onto a lane, stooping once more to finish our coffee and all too soon we were back in the outskirts of Maulden and back to the church.

Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction

Monday, November 28, 2022

Saturday 26th November Harlington to Leagrave train station - 6 miles

Sue and Graeme led a 6 mile walk from Harlington Village Hall Car park. We were joined by 8 members walking to Leagrave train station where we caught the train back, with concerns due to train strikes, but luckily it didn’t effect us!

We headed off down Sundon Road taking a right through a muddy pathway onto the fields heading over towards the train line then walking along side it and walking through Harlington Spinney.

It was a pleasant walk through the trees although muddy in places, passing Sundon chalk pits on our right and eventually coming to upper Sundon for our coffee break in the recreation ground.

We then made our way down to a very busy Manor Road, Lower Sundon. Crossing carefully and heading towards Bluebell Woods where I spent many a happy days in my childhood and where we had our picnic overlooking Sundon Park. 

Lunch stop in the bluebell woods with Kate, Graeme, Richard, Tony P, Wendy, Janet, John & Beryl
After lunch we followed the bridleway up to Sundon Park water tower and found the trig point with a 5 Digit OS number without a prefix letter, which apparently is unusual. Ruth gave an interesting detailed account of a trig point .. thank you Ruth.

Ruth, Beryl, Richard, Kate, Wendy Tony P, John, Janet & Graeme by the water tower.
Janet, Ruth, Beryl, Sue & John by the trig point.
We then followed a pathway down through Marsh Farm housing estate built in the 1960s and walked through Spinney Woods which is the border between Marsh Farm and Sundon Park.

We passed Marsh Farm flats ‘ Five Springs’, Penhill and Lea Bank, now with blue cladding following a huge regeneration project, stopping at the source of the River Lea, known as Five Springs, and passing Wauluds Bank earthworks dating back to 3000BC.

The building at the edge of Wauluds Bank was a farm house know as Marsh Farm house. We were fortunate enough to go inside and see the work by volunteers to save the building from demolition. They have restored the well,  have weddings and a recording studio.

We then headed off to Leagrave train station for our train back to Harlington.

Track of walk, walked North > South

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thursday 24th November - Sharpenhoe Clappers walk led by Tony Roberts

This 4 mile walk was originally down to be led by Linda Billingham, unfortunately she was not able to lead it and therefore Tony R stepped in to lead the walk. 10 members attended the walk.
We started at 10 am from the small car park near the A6 roundabout in Streatley. We walked past the allotments and followed the track which is, at first, parallel to the A6. Due to the topographical nature of the land it bends many times whilst staying mainly flat. It eventually enters the NT site of Sharpenhoe Clappers via  a kissing gate. Here we turned left to avoid the steep rise into the beech woods which we then entered almost on the level. A rope swing was attached to a tree here which a couple of members tried out.

Ruth on the swing with Beryl watching

We followed the path round the perimeter of the woods before stopping for a water break at the northern end of the woods, 


We then walked along the narrow footpath with glorious views of Sharpenhoe village and Harlington before arriving at the NT car park where we used the picnic table and benches to partake of our refreshments. 


After our break we left the car park via a footpath parallel to the road before turning left and hence rejoining our previous path which led back to our cars.. Two of our members, who had walked in wellingtons, took the opportunity to clean them in a large puddle in the car park.

Beryl & Linda paddling

Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Sunday 20th November - Maulden Woods 4.5 miles 10 Ramblers led by Tony Price

Meeting in the lay-by at Deadman's Hill on a nice bright sunny morning, we proceeded to enter the woods turning right and following the various trails and tracks through the woods until we came to the perimeter trail.
We continued on this trail using various paths until we came to the Heath,which is an area of special scientific interest.

Neal, Beryl, Brenda, Kate, John, Janet, Cathy, Hilary & Sue

Cathy, Kate, Tony P, Beryl, Brenda, John, Janet, Sue & Hilary

Passing over the health, we followed tracks which again led us out towards the perimeter trail, which  we continued along until a suitable place with some convenient trees that had been felled, for us to have our coffee break.
However, some of the group were not amused when they started being attacked by the resident ant colony.

Cathy, Beryl & Janet walking through the woods
We continued making our way through the woods, when we came across an old rope swing,  which some of the walkers could just not resist having go on.

Beryl on the rope swing
Continuing along the trails and through Forest Lodge, we started to make our way back to the lay-by and the end of a very pleasant walk

Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction

Saturday 19th November Ridgemont to Woburn, 9.5miles, 6 ramblers, led by Bob and Celia

 This was a lovely walk on a lovely autumn day. Yesterday's sun had dried up much of the mud and we enjoyed the walk past Segenhoe Church, picking up the Greensand's Ridge Walk to Eversholt church, where we had a tea break in the cricket grounds.


 From there we walkedpast Linden Lake and through Woburn deer park. There were large herds of deer, the stags that had been successful in the rutting looking very satisfied with their harem of does. The lakes were covered in swans, canada geese and other waterfowl. 


We sniffed the meaty smell at the biker's shop: they were having a 'meet' and the cafe was open, but we passed that by and headed to The Bell

The pub was decked out in Christmas lights, tree and berries and had a very festive appearance as we ate our sandwiches or soup. All too soon we had to finish the final 3 miles, through the other side of the deer park and past the safari park, but the time flew and we returned back the the cars feeling well exercised. 

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Saturday 5th November Lilley 6 miles

 This walk had 4 walkers and was led by Lynn 

Three other ramblers met me at The Lilley Arms - Tony P, Brenda and Sharon. 
We followed the lane down to the path that heads out alongside Ward’s Wood and carried on until we reached the Icknield Way. Turning right, we walked along there until a path junction where we stopped for our elevenses during which a large group from Ampthill Nordic Striders marched through….shortly followed by three late starters marching at pace to catch the others! 
We carried on up the Icknield Way , along Hexton Road for a short stretch and then up to Telegraph Hill: a lovely section under all the trees and there was quite a good view looking north too, when we got to the top. From there we headed out along the ridge of Lilley Hoo - rather blowy along that bit! - staying on the hard path instead of going across the field. Once we reached Lilley Hoo Lane, we turned right to walk up and over the hill and back down into Lilley.
Considering the weather forecast had been pretty grim a few days before, we were very lucky that we only had a bit of drizzle during the walk and it waited until we’d got to the end before it started raining more heavily.
All four of us then enjoyed some very welcome, very tasty, hot food in the pub.