BRENTWOOD RAMBLERS - FIRST 40 YEARS
Key dates and events
Eric Hankinson chairman At the prompting of the Southern Area of the Ramblers Association a meeting was convened in May 1967 to promote the formation of a Brentwood Local Committee of the Ramblers Association. A committee was formed comprising eight RA members and two others who were members of the YHA and CHA respectively. The principle objective at this time was the protection of footpaths and bridleways in and around Brentwood District.
The first newsletter and programme was produced and we date our 40 years anniversary from that time. There were four walks in this three month programme, one ‘Save our Paths’ footpath survey, and one evening slide show. It should be noted that one of the walks was of 20 miles, generating a lot of publicity with 70 people taking part, and 50 completing the route.
There were 10 walks in this programme including one train ramble to Walton-on-Naze and Frinton. It must be said that 9 of these walks were lead by members of groups affiliated to the RA.
Peter Roberts Chairman At a meeting at that on 12th March the Brentwood Local Committee becomes the Brentwood Local Group of the Ramblers Association, becoming only the second Group in Essex to be formally part of the RA at that time. (West Essex went through the same transition in October). There were 20 walks in the 3 months of the April programme.
First AGM of Brentwood Ramblers as an RA group. The annual subscription was 5/- to Brentwood Ramblers in addition to the RA sub.
John’s Ingram’s first lead for the group was April 24th 1971.
Essex Way route designated from Epping to Dedham. Walks are becoming more regular with 25 in 17 week programme.
Norman Turner chairman. Roy’s first walk was from Shenfield station on April 28th
Regular Saturdays also booked for footpath clearing work. First Xmas lunch – cost Å2 with a drink!
Norman Skinner leads his first walk on December 4th.
Ted Pickett chairman. George Farmer’s first lead for the group was January 18th 1975.
Colin’s first walk with the group was April 20th 1975.
Paul Button chairman Colin’s first lead for the group was January 30th 1977.
Group membership 132.
First ‘weekend away’ - a party of 6 went to Barton-on-Sea! Thus weekends away took off quite slowly. But in the Eighties they became very popular and a routine of a June weekend and an October weekend becoming the norm until the noughties with full coach loads most of the time.
Brentwood Walks Day had become quite a major event. There was a combined morning walk of 5 miles from the Council Offices to The Tower Arms and afterwards there were walks of 11, 8 or 5 miles in the afternoon.
The Group walked St Peter’s Way (from Ongar to Bradwell on Sea) for the first time. This was spread over 3 days – so a modest 15 miles a day!!
Christmas ramble & lunch from Margaretting Village Hall – It snowed, we had a large turnout. The caterers couldn’t get there and we managed to get to Brentwood to buy fish & chips.
Norman Skinner chairman By this stage in our development, we had 2 coach rambles to Sussex and The Chilterns. We had weekends away in Sussex and Weston Super Mare.
Les Cox led his first walk on January 9th 1983.
Colin led his first coach ramble on April 24th 1993 to Rutland Water.
Group had 290 members Norman Skinner organised a Boulogne weekend in June 1984 and the group visited again in 1985.
2,000 mile walk around England starting at Egham and going clockwise around the perimeter of England was arranged to celebrate 50 years of the Ramblers Association. The walk was undertaken in 181 easy stages. The walk came through Essex where numbers averaged over 60 a day as it went through. The Stock/Blackmore section was led by John Ingram and had 116 walkers. A really successful event which generated the Essex 100 which started in the following year, 1986.Around this time we started the “Midsummer Revels” which was generally a party at Norman’s house, with fancy dress, much fun, laughter and booze and a generally riotous evening.
In the winter of 1985/1986 we started doing occasional Tuesday walks.
In February to April 1986 period we had 7 Tuesday walks.
There were some evening walks during the course of this summer.
Chelmer & Blackwater group were formed with some Brentwood members helping to get their walks programme going.
Group membership stands at 500. This programme contained regular social evenings & dances.
A campaign was organised for crossings on the A12 & A127. A few Wednesday & Thursday evening walks were held. Havering group was formed on May 25th 1988.
An events cancellation policy was introduced.
Roy Carpenter led his first walk on July 16th from Frinton – 14 miles!! Evening walks varied between Wednesdays & Thursdays.
A new Tuesday record of 44 walkers, with 30 being the norm. Margaret Norman led her first walk on September 25th 1990.
Peter James chairman Norman & Ann Skinner retired from the committee and leaves the Group. Countryside issues included “Stop the M12” campaign. – a proposed motorway between the M25 & Margaretting.
First April week to Clapham – The New Inn in April 1993. We have done an April week ever year since then, only missing out in 2001 when we had the Foot and Mouth outbreak.
25th Brentwood Walks Day took place, organised by Ron Brown. This event continued until 1994 but was hijacked by the LDWA walkers who developed it into the Brentwood Marathon.
Dennis Powell chairman Newsletter production switched from quarterly to 3 times a year.
A theatre trip by coach to London to see Starlight Express in November.
First of our many theme walks commenced. The Thames Walk stage 1 started on January 8th 1995 from Thames Barrier to Tower Bridge. Graham Christie led the 1st section with 8 stages in year one & the remaining 8 in 1995. Subsequently we have done the Weald Way, the Three Castles Way, Suffolk Coast Path, the Saxon Shore Way and the Greensand Way.
Graham Christie chairman
Graham Christie chairman
Colin Jacob chairman
Thursday walks started on April 5th 2001 and have proved to be successful and popular ever since.
Daphne Vandersteen chairman
Dianne led the first French Weekend with the party staying in Boulogne. She led trips in subsequent years to Le Touquet, Amiens, Bruges, with Gordon and Eric taking parties to Reims in the past 2 years.
Roy Carpenter chairman
Roy Carpenter chairman
Group membership now stands at 628 at the last count.