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