Recent outings and activities...
Walk in Felsted Area
It was rather nice to wake up on Saturday 7th March to sunshine for a change, as the last few weeks have been rain, rain, rain.
So, 10 of us: Ann Walden (our walk leader for the day), Amina, Bernie, Cathy and Richard, Eileen, Lynne, Madeleine, Trevor and Val met up in the Wood Cottage Tea Rooms in Felsted and thus fortified with the necessary teas and coffees set off for an anticipated 6 to 6.5 mile walk.
Easier said than done, as due to the aforementioned rain the first couple of miles around and across open farmland were really wet and muddy and quite hard going.
The scenery however more than compensated the heavy muddy boots, and once we reached what is now known as The Flitch Way we were then walking along the bed of the old railway (long since closed) and continued passing what is left of Felsted Station, which was in the process of being converted to a private house. The new owners can't have been impressed as their efforts have been rewarded by persons unknown who had smashed almost every window.
We then continued and took a small detour to see Felstead Water Mill. The water was in full flow and quite impressive.
Back then to the Wood Cottage Tea Rooms, from where we began the walk, for a spot of lunch – for a small place the food was lovely and really well presented. (would recommend anyone to go to Felsted just for that experience).
A very pleasant day all round, thank you Ann for leading.
Val. 7th March 2020
Barnes Wetland Centre
Who would have thought that Sunday 1st March would have been such a sunny day after the week we had. Only Lynne joined us at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's Barnes Wetland Centre on a glorious, but cold, day.
We started our wandering on the West Route with a visit to the just-fed otters which were, as expected, very cute. This route takes you through the Wetlands of the World, showing a collection of about 40 species of birds which were bred and raised in captivity. This has helped save some of these birds from extinction. Because many of these birds were used to people they took no notice of you walking near them and it was great to see them really close.
On our way around the West Route we went into a couple of hides overlooking the main lake with many ducks, geese, and gulls to observe. At one we saw a small island with dozens of sunbathing cormorants on it and nine herons spread amongst them who would every now then have a short punch up and then settle back down again.
After lunch we took the South Route, which would be very colourful in the summer as there were many wild flower gardens, but were now just starting to show spring flowers. We worked our way around to the Peacock Tower which not only overlooks the main lake, but also the Grazing Marsh and Water Scrape.
Peter & Maz Gamble, 4th March 2020
Bethnal Green to Stratford walk
Seventeen members of the group met at Bethnal Green on the 1st February, and viewed some of the interesting highlights of the area before heading into Victoria Park and onto the Regent's Canal. Following the canal southwards, we made our way down to Limehouse Basin and then onto the Limehouse Cut, arriving at Three Mills before travelling onto The Greenway. We finished the walk through the daffodils edging the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park paths to the end of the walk in Stratford.
The walk was approximately 6 miles in all, with sunshine for most of the walk and the wind picking up at the tail end.
Sue. S., 1st February 2020
Epping Forest Bike Ride
Three of us met up on Sunday 15th December at the Golf Club Café on Bury Road in Chingford to take part in the Epping Forest Bike Ride. We were really lucky as the weather was very kind to us – dry, mild and sunny which is a great improvement on the recent stormy and windy weather. I did wear a silly Santa Hat on my helmet to add a bit of festivity to the ride.
We had a quick hot drink at the café and then set out on the tracks around Epping Forest, doing a sort of figure of eight ride crossing the Epping New Road a couple of times and going through High Beach twice – although I only allowed a Tea Hut break on the way back. We went past the Big View (with a quick photo stop) and up around (what I call) the Theydon Loop. We then came back round to the Tea Hut for a well-earned break. The forest looked lovely in the winter sunshine and it was very enjoyable (if a little bit wet in places). We returned to Chingford in just under 3 hours. Thanks for the company Jill and Ian.
Last month (on 23rd November) we met up at the same place (The Golf Club Café) for the ‘Rodings Rally Memorial Walk’. The venue was chosen as that was our usual meeting place for Check Point Plotting and the date as that would have been the date of the Rodings Rally if we had been doing one this year. Sixteen of us set off on the walk and we didn’t lose Fred! In fact he was up at the front most of the time. I had to apologise to our walkers for the rather wet feet they suffered crossing the bottom of Chingford Plains near the start, it was much wetter than I thought it would be, but we kept to the tracks after that. We did about 7-8 miles in the end, but in a decent time, including a stop at High Beach Tea Hut.
Lynne Edmond, 16th December 2019
A Hike around Hutton and Herongate (pay attention, don’t lose the Fred)
Shenfield Station, the end of the line (well TfL Rail anyway) was the meeting place for today’s walk. Amina, Cathy, Fred, Ken and I all met up on the train, and were then joined by Paul at Shenfield, as he was on the next train. We headed off up Mount Avenue and saw a car driving along the pavement to us, which was Peter and Annick, who had been delayed in the Remembrance Day traffic.
We had a mile or so to walk to the start point at Hutton All Saints Church, through the “Millionaire’s Row” of Hutton Mount. Part way along, we heard the loud roar of a Dakota DC-7 aircraft and two Spitfires which passed overhead (probably the ones which dropped 750,000 poppies at Dover).
We passed Hutton Hall and the church to begin the walk proper, following Church Lane before going over a muddy field. We then followed a track past farm buildings and an enormous stack of hay bales at Creasey's Farm. By now the sun was shining brightly bringing warmth and with lovely views over the Essex countryside.
We continued along field edges to enter a very muddy path through a small wood. A sign post directed us to Heron Hall, via an easily missed (which we did first time) track, guarded by a splendidly gruesome witch, hopefully just a left over from Halloween. After a short spell (witches – spell, oh forget it!) we reached Heron Hall and continued to Herongate for a late lunch stop at the pub.
However, on reaching the Green Man pub we realised there was no sign of Fred. We had lost him. After getting my lager, I joined the search party (I’ve got my priorities!). By now, he was probably wandering all alone in a muddy field. No sign of him on my search, but we had contacted him and he had missed the turn at the reservoir, and returned to re-join us, mini adventure over.
Time was drawing on, so after lunch we took a detour through Ingrave and more fields and farmland to rejoin the main road before turning off to Brentwood station through a woodland walk, arriving at the station as dusk was setting in. The total distance (including the missed turn and searching for strays) was about 9 miles. The weather had been very good, warm autumnal sunshine, we all made it back safely (even Fred), and I think we all enjoyed it, even with the mud.
Trev (pathfinder) Eley, 15th November 2019
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