Group News

The Ramblers Association


April Week 2017 Newquay

All enjoyed the week in Cornwall.....great hotel, great company

and above all, great weather. Long forgotten were the frost
bitten noses suffered on the mountains behind Harlech just a year ago. This year we were blessed

with blue skies, mild temperatures and more sunshine than we dared hope for.

Stage 1 Suffolk Coast and Heaths Path Sunday 30 April

Ipswich to Trimley St Martin

Forty-eight people boarded the coach for the first stage of the Suffolk Coast Walk.

It was lovely to catch up with friends and meet members new to our coach rambles.

Leaving the town behind we entered Holywells Park and then

set off into woodland carpeted in bluebells and spotted a pair of Mandarin ducks

in the small stream.  Landseer Park and Pipers Vale followed which brought

us out under the impressive Orwell Bridge, along the foreshore of the River Orwell

and into Orwell Country Park. Woodland followed with banks covered in Green Alkanet.

We made our way up to a busy main road where we hopped on the coach for the short journey

to Nacton village. A short way from the village we passed the impressive Orwell Park School with its

dome housing the seventh largest private telescope in Britain.

A picnic lunch stop at Nacton Shore was welcomed by all, with the bonus

of good views of the river,  small boats and a Thames barge.

Another foreshore walk brought us onto Levington where someone pointed out a small herd of

deer in the distance. Boardwalks took us through reed beds and round a creek where Jim

spotted avocets, shell ducks and a little egret. We then passed through a small marina and along a

causeway between the fresh water Loompit Lake and the River Orwell.From here, we headed inland

to the Hand in Hand public house at Trimley St Martin for well earned refreshments before the journey home.

Stratford upon Avon June weekend

Forty two of us went to Stratford for a lovely weekend, stopping off in the Cotswolds

along the way for our first walk. Having time afterwards for a quick look around the beautiful gardens

of Hidcote Manor was a huge bonus for some of us, or an opportunity for afternoon tea for others!

On Sunday we took the River Walk through lovely countryside and on our last day the

Battlefields Trail before heading home.

Stage 2 Suffolk Coast and Heaths Path – Sunday 23 July

Felixstowe Ferry to Trimley St Martin

Forty-nine ramblers boarded the  coach for the second stage of our long-distance path. 

The group arrived in sunshine at Felixstowe Ferry where we walked along the sea wall passing the famous links golf course, two Martello towers and lovely

Victorian houses. A promenade walk followed, past some smart beach huts painted in pastel shades, sandy beaches and small formal gardens with colourful summer

 bedding. Our morning stop was near the Spa Pavilion with a view of yachts and a large container ship leaving the Port of Felixstowe. We continued along the promenade,

 passing the pier and numerous stalls set up for the weekend’s Carnival. Landguard Point and its nature reserve, which has SSSI status, was our next landmark.

Our lunch  stop was the busy Viewpoint Café, with the fort and fort museum across the road.

After lunch we boarded the coach again, were taken past the dock area and dropped off at the railway sidings. From here we continued onto

 Trimley Marshes Nature Reserve and on along the bank of the River Orwell. With umbrellas at the ready and waterproofs on we watched the dark clouds

 race towards us bringing heavy showers and a brisk wind. Turning inland by Loompit Lake we made our way into the village where the Hand in Hand pub provided

 welcome refreshments and a chance to dry off.

50th Anniversary Celebration Day – Sunday 30 July

This was a lovely occasion enjoyed by everyone.  A big thank you to all the people who provided and prepared our excellent meal.

Older friends contributed their memories of even older friends who had also played their part in our club’s activities.

Photographs brought back many happy memories. Our club means shared friendship, good company and great walking!

Stage 3 Suffolk Coast and Heaths Path – Sunday 17 September

Butley Church to Bawdsey

Forty ramblers set off by coach in early morning mist. Fortunately, the mist slowly lifted and we were able to see the lovely countryside interspersed
with several pig farms that Suffolk is renowned for. We started our walk  from the pretty Butley Church towards Butley River and Butley Ferry.

This is said to be the smallest licensed ferry in Europe, being a 4-passenger rowing boat. We then picked up the sea wall along the River Ore.

The tide was out so we had good views over the mud flats and salt marshes. Further along, looking back we could see Orford, Orford Ness lighthouse and the North Sea.

 A few container ships could be seen on the horizon making their way to the Port of Felixstowe. A few miles further on we headed inland passing Hollesley Bay Prison

and Young Offenders Institute. Apparently Jeffery Archer “did time” here. Lunch was at the Shepherd and Dog pub with seating at All Saints Church for those picnicking.

Suitably refreshed  we returned to the coast and continued along the shingle shore which was interspersed with seakale, yellow horned poppies and

 white sea campion. We passed Oxley marshes and onto Shingle Street with its Coastguard cottages first built from driftwood collected by fishermen in the 1800s.

From this point 3 Martello towers could be seen. We carefully stepped over a single line of white shells stretching from the cottages down to the sea.

This was constructed by 2 friends and artists who stayed here in 2005, as a measure of their recuperation after illness. Twice a year they return to repair the line.

The afternoon break was close to several excited twitchers who had their “scopes” trained on a distant area of grass and woodland.

 They informed us that a wryneck had been spotted and were awaiting its reappearance.

 At a disused WW2 gun site we headed inland to the village of Bawdsey and our coach.

 Stage 4 will be in May 2018.

Blind Walkers Group Ramble - 24 September

Once again this was a very enjoyable day. The walk began from Brentwood Rail Station, went through some parts of Brentwood as well as

 Donkey Lane Plantation, Thorndon Park North and Harts Wood, with a lunch break at Thorndon Visitors Centre.

 The weather was lovely, which always helps, there was an enthusiastic selection of our members and as usual a friendly and interesting group of people

who had come up from London to be assisted around the route.

Many thanks to those who came along. The next walk will take place on Sunday 23rd September 2018, details to be worked out.

So far, we have led the blind ramblers from Benfleet, Mill Green, Ingatestone to Margaretting Tye twice, Chelmsford and Brentwood.

October weekend 2017 Friday 20 –Sunday 22 October 2017  Great Yarmouth

A big snarl-up around Ipswich meant that the journey took twice what it should have, so we left out the morning walk and headed for Beccles for lunch.

As always with our group everyone was still in good spirits and a good time was had in this lovely town.

The rain had stopped and we had a good walk along the River Waveney before picking up the coach at the Wherry pub at Geldeston.

On Saturday we had a lovely day, sunny with a brisk wind. We had a look around the various sides of this interesting town before a walk along the

North Sea coast to Caister.

On Sunday it was very blustery along Breydon Water in the morning and then started raining just before we got to the pub at Belton.

The drive home took less than half the time that the journey up took.

It was such a good weekend. A nice hotel,  and  as always, a great group of walkers out for a good time. 

Torquay Saturday 21 - Saturday 28 April 2018

Another lovely week, as described in the following extracts from Alan’s speech on our last evening:

“I don’t think I can recall one of our holidays when we have experienced such a variety of public transport. I suppose it would be difficult to find a ‘bad’ walk in Devon, but Chris has definitely sought out some of the best - even if perhaps not the easiest.

“On Sunday’s walk, Colin led us on a clamber along the coast from our hotel to Babbacombe and onward to Shaldon on the Teign Estuary

“Monday took us in the opposite direction and our first experience of the wetter aspect of South Devon. Fortunately, on this occasion the wetness was below us, as we made the boat trip across Torbay to Brixham, It was another beautiful walk, and the weather stayed dry, enabling us to admire the woods and dales around Churston and Brixham.

“Tuesday’s walk took us along the west bank of the River Dart, from Totnes to Dittisham . . . a beautiful woodland walk. After a short lunch-stop in a woodland glade, we plodded on to the ferry across the Dart to Greenways. From there, a short walk up the hill to Churston and the bus back to Torquay. All agreed that, despite the weather, it had been a most beautiful walk.

“Wednesday’s excursion was up, up and more up! We all arrived at Greenways in that rare occurrence, a spell of sunshine, and we even spotted the odd butterfly. Some of us lunched at Greenways and returned to Torquay by steam train and bus, while the hardy core continued down to the ferry. Somehow Richard Farr got everyone on to the last train from Kingswear, even having found time to squeeze in a pint of finest Devon ale on the way. Another super day.

“By Thursday some of us were beginning to flag. Some of us took another trip to Brixham, while others visited National Trust stately homes. Meanwhile the main group, tried to outclimb their previous record, failing by just a few hundred feet, as they tackled a particularly hilly section of the John Musgrave Trail. On that day, the sun did actually shine, so the views from Great Hill over Torquay and the picturesque village of Cockington could be enjoyed to the full.

“And so to today, Friday. Today it rained! I know for sure that it would take more than a spot of rain to kill off the spirit of the Brentwood Ramblers. You are a great bunch and you should all be proud of yourselves – hardy, tolerant, friendly humorous and uncomplaining (well, mostly!) Heidi and I are among the group who are finding it increasingly difficult to complete the more arduous walks, but it is always a great pleasure for us to spend a week with such a wonderful group of people.

Stage 4 Suffolk Coast and Heaths Path – Sunday 13 May 2018

Butley Church to Aldeburgh

Forty-five ramblers boarded the coach on a very overcast day with the promise of rain for most of the walk. On arriving at Butley church, the weather had improved considerably. We walked along a sandy track and passed by a ramshackle building exhibiting a variety of strange sculptures. Further along we saw a pig farm and were amused to see numerous piglets running amok with the sows keeping an eagle eye on their offspring. Pine forests followed with occasional glimpses of the river Alde.

We arrived at Snape Maltings, our lunch stop. The skies cleared and the sun made an appearance. Some conveniently placed benches by the concert hall provided a delightful spot for those with picnic lunches, with lovely views over the reed beds and marshes. Others headed to The Plough and Sail pub or the cafes and tearooms. We discovered sculptures by Henry Moore, Alexander Polzu and Barbara Hepworth and a lovely old Thames Barge, The Cygnet, moored at the quay. Numerous galleries, shops and studios in the renovated buildings lured some ramblers in for a little retail therapy.

A few people chose to take the coach and spend the afternoon in Aldeburgh. The remaining ramblers headed towards the coast on The Sailors Path past marshes woodland and a magnificent show of lilac trees in blossom. We had more glimpses of the river as we passed Aldeburgh Golf course and onto the seafront. We saw the Scallop sculpture which nestles on the shingle beach and in the distance The House in the Clouds at Thorpness which will be a landmark on the next coach ramble in July.

Festival of Walks 26 May – 3 June 2018

As part of the Ramblers Festival of Walks this year Brentwood’s walk was to have been a figure of 8 from Kelvedon Hatch on the Tuesday. Over 40 people turned up from several different groups. We started out in dry weather but before too long were walking in a torrential downpour! Prior to the rain I heard people remarking on what a lovely walk it was but at lunchtime the decision was taken to abandon it and rainsoaked, bedraggled walkers either went straight home or sought refuge in The Eagle.

June Weekend 2018 Friday 15 – Sunday 17 June 2018

Thirty-six of us enjoyed a super weekend staying at The Bear, Wantage - a pretty market town, the birthplace of King Alfred. We were taken by coach from Brentwood to Donnington Castle, on the Lambourne Valley Way. We walked through the delightful villages of Bagnor, Boxford and Welford, ending at Great Shelford where we were then taken on to our hotel, an old coaching inn.

On Saturday we walked through to Letcombe Regis and up on to the Ridgeway, returning to Letcombe for lunch. We then had the choice of spending time in Letcombe or walking on to Childrey, West Challow and back into Wantage along a disused canal.

For Sunday’s walk we were taken past Abingdon to walk into Dorchester by Thames along the Thames for lunch and then up to the Wittenham Clumps before boarding the coach for home.

My memories are of dry, warm weather, lovely walks through beautiful scenery, and “chocolate box” villages full of thatched cottages . . . as well as enormous meals in the hotel!

Footpath Working Party

In February we had, in addition to the normal growth clearance, to shift a lot of rubbish e.g. computers, tiles, timbers etc, which had probably been dumped from a former business nearby, from one side of the path that runs through West Horndon Industrial Park. There were still large mounds of soil which the Council was supposed to remove after we left. During April, off Spriggs Lane, Blackmore, Essex County Council asked us to remove a footbridge which should not have been there in the first place. We also removed a waymarker post and put another one in the correct position before, finally, clearing a footpath near Blackmore church to allow more light through in the hope it will help to dry out the path. There is a footpath from Church Lane to Blackmore Road, west of Doddinghurst which we started one morning in May and finished the clearance one morning in June. On the latter date, we were honoured with insects sucking blood from us. By the time you have read this, we hope to have cleared another nearby path early in July. We will then move over to The Viper, Mill Green, during August to replace a waymarker post and do more footpath clearance in the area.

The volunteers are enjoying the experience of helping to maintain the footpaths for the benefit of fellow walkers.