Friday, February 25, 2022

Thursday February 24th Toddington, 6 miles

 7 ramblers, led by Kate and Cathy

It rained all night, and after three named storms we all knew the fields would be wet and muddy. There was a heavy downpour at 8.30 am and it was testimony to the stalwart that 7 ramblers decided to go. The forecast promised rain, wind, hail and snow - covering all bases except sunny intervals. And sunny intervals was what we had! It was a lovely morning, we were prepared for the mud in places, but the route that was chosen, rearranged due to the conditions, was mostly dry. Past Conger Hill, along the bridleway, past the two sewage works to Charlton,. The alpacas were back in their field.  We crossed the road and walked along the footpath by the speed camera, and had our coffee at the picnic table in the deserted playground. 


Past the deserted cottage and a short-cut to the bridleway that runs parallel to the new A5 bypass. Every time we go along there there are more and more houses! Back past the farm: we had to change our route as a fallen tree blocked the path to Luton Road, and instead we walked beside the golf course towards Chalgrave Church. We were back home by 12noon - 2.5hrs for the 6 miles. 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Thursday 17th February Wrest Park / Gravenhurst 6 miles 14 ramblers

This walk, led by Jenny & Ged, started from Wrest Park. We parked outside on the grass commenting on the long queue of cars waiting for it to open – of course, it is half term! 

Setting out from Wrest Park
We headed out South through woods and quiet roads. The road walking was much appreciated after this week of rain: we were lucky to be between two named storms and thankful that Storm Eunice wasn’t early. We passed through Hanscombe End and soon we arrived at Shillington Parish Church, an impressive structure perched on the top of a high mound, surrounded by grave stones. We found plenty of spaces for our elevenses, some members opting for the first convenient bench, others clamouring up the grassy slope through violets and daffodil buds to the shelter of the stone building. 
John, Sue and Tony at the coffee stop

All the ramblers at Shillington church door
After the obligatory group photo, we strolled down the hill and returned to West Park through fields, commenting on how it wasn’t as windy as we expected. Until we turned the corner and headed west to Wrest Park across exposed parkland – to battle against a very fresh strong wind! A taste of what was to come tomorrow. 
Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction


Saturday, February 12, 2022

Saturday 12th February, Ampthill to Maulden,6 miles, 9 ramblers, led by Sharon and Beryl.


The forecast warm front was thankfully delayed until this evening and left us with a lovely day for walking: sunny intervals, a biting wind, but with plenty of warm clothes and a good pace it didn’t bother us at all. We all managed to find the obscure car-parking spot and set off East from Ampthill by some allotments and across a field. There was a very muddy spot, but it was very short and we were not at all deterred. We soon got into the outskirts of Maulden and admired the variety of houses, when we had time between conversations to notice. An 11am coffee stop was in a sheltered area of rough ground, well protected by a hedge.

Torunn, Jill, Tony P, Sharon, Ruth, Beryl, Lynn, Kate & Tony R

With our brisk pace we arrived at Maulden church by 11.30 for an early lunch. This we ate in the church porch, out of the wind. On the return journey, we stopped to feed freshly plucked grass to some donkeys and had good views to the North from the Greensand’s ridge walk. 

Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction.


Thursday, February 10, 2022

Thursday 10th February - Aspley Woods walk led by Tony R

This 4 mile walk, which had 19 members walking, started from the lay-by parking area between Woburn & Woburn Sands. The day was dry but started off cloudy, blue sky appeared later on however the temperature stayed about 6 degrees. We left the car park & walked into the woods immediately turning off the main path on to a very narrow path parallel to the road. this led to another wide path near Fullers Earth Lodge. Here we carefully crossed to main road and walked up the wide sandy track past the old quarry & derelict buildings before descending to re-cross the road & re-enter the woods.  Soon we stopped for a photo below.

We carried on & joined Sandy Lane, the old road between Woburn & Woburn Sands before the now main road was built. We followed this before turning off for a coffee stop at a couple of green metal picnic tables near the sand pit. Some members used these tables whilst other preferring more natural facilities sat on a large fallen tree trunk.
Brenda, Beryl, Anna, Maureen & Hilary at the coffee stop.

After our break we rejoined Sandy Lane for a while before going through a gap in the fence to join a parallel track through the woods. This led to the Longslade Lane car park which we passed through before turning off uphill through lines of conifers. Soon afterwards we arrived back at our start point.
One can see from the map below that the tracks on the ground & the footpaths marked on the map often do not coincide. Indeed trying to find the marked paths is impossible in these woods.
Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction  

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Sunday 6th February Lodge Lake walk led by Penny - 4 miles

Seven members met at the Lake car park to start the walk.
It was a bit cold and windy to begin with but as usual we soon warmed up. We walked round the lake, not many fishermen but apparently there are very large Carp in there.
There was a very nice feeling of being in the countryside. Very popular with runners and dog walkers. Beryl found a challenge on a balancing  bar but soon realised she needed assistance !

Nita assisting Beryl balancing

We walked away from the lakes through a very affluent residential area. Very interesting properties. We passed by an Equestrian Centre with beautiful Shire horses in the distance.

We did a detour to visit All Saints medieval Church. It celebrated its 800 Anniversary in 2018. It is a Ecumenical Church, serving C of E, Methodist and Baptist.. We had a very interesting and informative tour of the church.

The cafe for the planned coffee stop was closed so we had our own banana coffee stop.
We then made our way back to our starting point. There was plenty of fast flowing water in the Run Offs.

Hilary watching Beryl on the stepping stones

Beryl enjoyed a walk on the stepping stones in the sunshine.
We all enjoyed a morning together. Another successful Sunday walk.

Track of walk


Thursday, February 3, 2022

Thursday 3rd February Sundon Hills to the Clappers led by Tony R.

This was a walk designed to fill a hole in the walking programme at the last minute before the programme was sent to members. It was fine day with  a little bit of wind. 22 people did the walk, one of the largest number for a while. We started from Sundon Hills car park which we almost filled with all our cars. We left the car park & walked across the nominally flat meadows in an easterly direction. The meadows became more undulating & this caused gaps in the group as some lagged behind, not used to the slopes. We descended into a small muddy valley which formally had a very steep difficult slope leading up to the edge of the woods. Very fortunately steps have been built here which considerably eases the difficulty.
We walked through the woods often on  a carpet of brown leaves left over from the autumn before crossing Sharpenhoe Road. We kept right of the hedge as the official footpath to the left is notoriously muddy, At the end of this footpath we turned left and followed the track along the eastern side the the Clappers with great views over Barton and the surrounding countryside. We shortly arrived a large log where we stopped for a coffee break. 

Walkers at the coffee break stop

After our break we found the footpath on the western edge of the Clappers & followed it to pass through the Clappers NT car park before again crossing the road and climbing a few steps into a sheep meadow, sadly devoid of sheep today. 

We crossed this meadow and descended onto the track at the bottom of the hill which we followed for over a mile before tuning off to climb, past a bench, through a kissing gate into the original meadow that we took care to cross & avoid the deep hollows running across it.. Thence we arrived safely back at Sundon Hills car park

Ruth's thoughts on the walk
A lovely dry, mild day brought out lots of ramblers, some that have not walked much for a while and it was lovely to see so many. We walked from the Sundon Hills car park across sheep-cropped grass to the edge of the chalk escarpment, cut right across to the edge that overshadows the A6 and stopped for coffee at the convenient logs near the Sharpenhoe Clappers monument.  We then descended to follow the path that winds to the North, between the steep hillside and the fields, climbing back up to the plateau before the chalk pit. We were back comfortably for lunch.

Track of walk, walked in anti-clockwise direction