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Our Scrapbook of Previous Walks

To give you an idea of what our walks are like, we have put together a scrapbook featuring some of the walks that we've done so far. We have been walking since July 2012 and our ever-growing scrapbook is divided into quarterly volumes.

Volume 46: October to December, 2023

Walk 618 - Ambarrow, Finchampstead and Simons Wood

Blackwater Valley Path
The Blackwater Valley Path was quite wet in parts.

On Saturday 30th December, Mark led a walk around Ambarrow, Moor Green Lakes, Finchampstead and Simons Wood. The walk had been advertised in our programme as twelve miles to burn off those Christmas calories, but it was actually only around nine miles.

Lunch Stop
Stopping for lunch near St James' Church, Finchampstead.

Maybe it was the advertised 12-mile length of the walk, or the forecast of wet and windy weather, that meant only three people braved the walk. I couldn't go myself as I had a nasty dose of winter cold and flu.

I'm told the walk was as muddy as expected after several days of rain. Several paths were waterlogged, requiring a detour from part of the Blackwater Valley Path.

Starting from the Ambarrow Court public car park, the walk followed the Three Castles Path into Moor Green Lakes nature reserve. Switching to the Blackwater Valley Path, they left the nature reserve, heading westward towards Eversley before turning north-east to Finchampstead. The lunch-stop was by St James' Church on the hill north of Finchampstead.

Ambarrow Hill
A group selfie taken on top of Ambarrow Hill.

After lunch, the walk carried on heading north-east towards Wick Hill and then joined Heath Ride, heading south-east. Entering Simons Wood, near Heath Pond, the route continued on its straight course south-east to the roundabout on Wellingtonia Avenue and Duke's Ride.

Passing Crowthorne railway station, they turned south and followed a footpath that ran parallel to the railway line before crossing the line into Ambarrow Court woods. There is an easy route back to the car park from here, but Mark wanted to include Ambarrow Hill, which meant a steep climb on a path cut with muddy steps. It was a similar slope back down to the path back to the car park. With only three people, all fast walkers, the nine-mile walk was finished in under three hours! See the route on Google Maps.

Thank you to Mark for leading this walk and to Emma for taking the pictures.

Walk 617 - The Dogmersfield Loop with Mince Pies, Stollen Cake, Mulled Wine and Spiced Cider

Basingstoke Canal
On the Basingstoke Canal towpath, near Sprat's Hatch.

On Saturday 23rd December, nine of us plus a miniature fox terrier (or "mini foxie" as they are known in their native Australia) called Nina, met up in the Barley Mow slipway car park for a six-mile walk that would include the Basingstoke Canal, some bridges, a hunting lodge, a large pond, and some festive treats en-route.

We set off along the canal towpath, passing under Barley Mow Bridge, following the "Dogmersfield Loop". This is a section of the Basingstoke Canal that loops around Dogmersfield Park. As half the route is along the towpath, we broke it up a bit with a couple of diversions into nearby fields and woodland.

Sandy Hill
A woodland path near Sandy Hill Bridge.

We left the canal for a footpath across a slightly soggy field and through the mixed woodland of Hellet's Copse to return to the canal at Stacey's Bridge. On reaching Sprat's Bridge, we crossed the canal and continued to follow it from the vantage point of a raised wooded embankment. A couple of squirrels were taken by surprise by Nina, who gave chase until they found safety up a tree.

We stopped on Sandy Hill Bridge for a short break, with mince pies and mulled wine. I'd heated the mulled wine before leaving home and filled a large (1.5 litre) flask.

Hunting Lodge
The façade of Odiham Hunting Lodge.

As I poured the mulled wine into plastic cups, Emma passed around a pack of mini minced pies for the first of two festive intervals on our walk.

We left the canal, crossing some farmland on our way to Odiham Common. Here we stopped to look at Odiham Hunting Lodge (aka King John's Hunting Lodge and King Henry's Hunting Lodge) with its elaborate façade of three pointy gables. From there, we passed Wilks Water (which probably supplied the lodge with fresh fish) and re-joined the canal towpath close to Broad Oak Bridge.

Drink Sto
Stopping in Dogmersfield Park for spiced cider and more mulled wine.

Crossing the bridge took us into Broad Oak, a small hamlet of smart, up-market houses. A footpath took us through a boggy paddock and into some very soggy woodland. We squelched our way through Forest Park and passed the privately owned Dogmersfield Lake before entering Dogmersfield Park.

We then followed a nice dry footpath uphill and then downhill, which gave us some good views of the park, including the Four Season Hotel and Tundry Pond. We stopped on the downhill stretch for our second festive interval of the walk.

Barley Mow
On the Basingstoke Canal towpath, approaching Barley Mow slipway.

Here we finished off the mulled wine. There wasn't much left, but Phil had kindly brought a couple of bottles of spiced cider and some pieces of stollen cake to share around. Very nice they were too. Thank you Phil.

Next, we continued along the footpath to Tundry Pond, where we stopped to have our packed lunches and watch the wildlife. During the pre-walk, this large pond was covered with ducks, geese and swans, with the occasional heron flying past, but today it was rather empty. Perhaps it was too windy, or maybe the birds had migrated.

After lunch, we crossed Blacksmith's Bridge and re-joined the canal towpath. This we followed as it wove its way through the mixed woodland of the Arch Plantation, bringing us back to the Barley Mow slipway. See our route on Google Maps.

Thanks go to Rob and Emma for leading the walk and to Phil for brining the extra treats.

Walk 615 - Lily Hill Park

Lily Hill Park
One of the many interesting tree sculptures in Lily Hill Park.

On Sunday 10th December we met up at Lily Hill Park. There were seven of us in total, one from the Loddon Valley Ramblers and one previous lapsed member coming back.

We braved the rain that fell steadily throughout the walk, but it didn't dampen anyone's spirits. Everyone enjoyed the various aspects and interesting features of this urban walk, taking in Lily Hill Park, a mural at Martin's Heron railway station, part of Swinley Forest and a treat-stop with mince pies and gingerbread at Englemere pond.

The rain of course stopped not long after we completed our walk!

Thank you to Kathy for leading this walk and writing it up.

Walk 614 - Woolhampton and Brimpton

Flooded Path
Edging around a flooded path in Woolhampton.

On Saturday 9th December, we had our BWW Christmas lunch. Before lunch, we had a five-mile walk, to help build up an appetite. The lunch was at The Rowbarge pub in Woolhampton, and the walk started and finished there, taking in Brimpton, Midgham Lock and a section of the Kennet & Avon Canal.

Fourteen of us met up in the car park at the pub and set off southward, past some lakes, which more than likely used to be gravel pits. These were full and spilling over onto the paths, due to the amount of rain we've had recently.

Manor Farm
Passing through Manor Farm on our way from Brimpton to MIdgham.

Turning west and then south again, we followed a long track to the village of Brimpton.

In Brimpton, we passed The Three Horseshoes pub, sadly now boarded up, and then the war memorial before arriving at St Peter's Church. A footpath around the church led us away from the village and across fields to Holdaway's Farm.

Midgham Lock
Stopping for a break at Midgham Lock.

A short stretch of road walking and we were on a footpath heading north and downhill through farmland.

After passing by Burnell's Farm and Manor Farm, we reached Brimpton Road. We followed this road over King's Bridge and down as far as Midgham Bridge, which crosses the Kennet & Avon Canal. We stopped by Midgham Lock for a short break.

Kennet and Avon Canal
Following the Kennet and Avon Canal back to Woolhampton.

We returned to the pub by following the canal towpath, crossing from one side of the water to the other at Cranwell Bridge and back again at Oxlease Bridge. Passing Woolhampton Lock, we were back at The Rowbarge with plenty of time to change out of our muddy boots and waterproofs, and get a drink at the bar before lunch. See our route on Google Maps.

We were joined in the pub by more members of our group, making a total of twenty-eight for lunch. The lunch was very good and so was the atmosphere. Thanks go to Richard for organising the meal, with some extra help from Jane and Mike.

Thank you to Petrina for leading the walk.

Walk 613 - Hazeley Heath, Mattingley and West Green

Hazeley Heath
On the Three Castles Path in Hazeley Heath.

On Sunday 3rd December, seven of us met up on a grey and drizzly day in Hartley Wintney for an eight-mile walk. This was similar to a walk I'd led in February except the route was reversed, and with a few changes to avoid the worst of the mud.

We started off the walk with a section of Hartley Wintney High Street before taking a footpath that headed north-west and uphill into Hazeley Heath.

Board Walk
On the board walk in Hazeley Heath.

Now on the Three Castles Path, we briefly followed it northwards before heading west and along a wooden board-walk to Hatts Cottage and Purdies Farm.

The path got very muddy between Purdies Farm and Crabtree Lodge, as we skirted the north-east edge of Hazeley Heath. We reached the double gate-house on the driveway to Bramshill House, before following the driveway out to the B3011.

The gatehouse on the driveway to Bramshill House.

Bramshill House had been used as a police college until it was sold off in 2014. The gatehouse still displays the police insignia in stone on its walls, but the entrances have been boarded up since we last walked here. As a result, you can no longer see the long driveway and the manor house.

The house itself, has many ghost stories associated with it, and ghosts were reportedly seen as recently as when it was a police college! (Read about it on Wikipedia.)

Mattingley Church
Seeking shelter from the rain in Mattingly Church.

Now skirting the south-west edge of Hazeley Heath, we made our way to Hazeley Heath Cottage where we took a footpath through farmland to Dipley. Crossing a paddock inhabited by alpacas, who kept their beady eyes on us, we entered the grounds of Dipley Mill. We respectfully followed all the sign posts through this private garden.

Dipley Mill
On the bridge by Dipley Mill.

We stopped at Mattingley for our lunch. It had now started raining, but luckily there was enough space for us to shelter in the porch of the 16th century timber-framed church. We didn't go inside the church.

After lunch, we headed back to Dipley, stopping on the bridge in front of the mill for a picture, and then south to West Green House. A walk though West Green Common and along a quiet lane took us back to Hazeley Heath, by which time the rain had stopped. Crossing the southern tip of the heath, we reached the suburbs of Hartley Wintney and made our way back to the car park. See our route on Google Maps.

Walk 612 - Thatcham and Greenham Common

Kennet and Avon Canal
Crossing the Kennet and Avon Canal.

On Sunday 26th November, Kerry and Dave, who are relatively new members of our group, led their first walk for us. I wasn't able to go, but I heard it was a good walk with lots of variety. Ten people were there, including a newcomer, trying us out.

Greenham Common
Stopping in Greenham Common.

Being new to walk leading, they chose an area they knew well from their regular dog walking.

The walk was of course, dog-friendly. Kerry brought her dog and one of the other walkers brought his dog too.

The route started from the Nature Discovery Centre in Thatcham and included Thatcham Reed Beds, a section of the Kennet & Avon Canal, Crookham Common and Greenham Common. The lunch-stop was by the old control tower in Greenham Common.

Thank you to Kerry and Dave for leading this walk.

Walk 611 - Pangbourne, Sulham and Little Heath

Following the River Pang, heading south out of Pangbourne.

On Sunday 19th November, we had our Annual General Meeting, where we elect a new committee to run the Berkshire Weekend Walkers. The day started with a six mile walk from Pangbourne. Nineteen of us (including two newcomers, trying us out) met up in the village hall car park.

This would have been a repeat of the walk I led for the previous AGM, but the recent prolonged period of wet weather meant parts of the original route were flooded and impassable. So a modified route had to be put together in a hurry.

Sulham Wood
Stopping at the crossroads in Sulham Wood.

We walked through the village and took the small lane next to W H Smith called The Moors. This became a footpath that took us out onto Pangbourne moors, initially following the River Pang and then crossing some waterlogged fields to Sulham Lane.

Everything seemed even wetter than it did during the pre-walk a fortnight ago. Soon we were climbing the steep slope into Sulham Wood and then into Mosshall Wood.

Mosshall Wood
On the edge of Mosshall Wood.

There were far more autumn leaves on the paths since the pre-walk, and those still on the trees had turned red, yellow and brown, providing a very colourful canopy.

Leaving the wood near Purley, we headed south toward Little Heath. Some of the lower-lying paths were quite boggy. Just before reaching Little Heath, we turned west and descended a steep path through Sulham Wood into a large field below.

Little Heath
Heading from Little Heath to Sulham.

Here we got views of Watership Down and Cottington's Hill in the far distance and later got a view of the Wilder's Folly (aka the Calcot Dovecot) on Nunhide Hill. Passing the church and a quaint-looking gatehouse on Sulham Hill, we crossed the road and followed a footpath behind some large houses and gardens, taking us back to Sulham Wood.

We used some fallen trees as benches while we ate our packed lunches. There was also a rope-swing, which some of us felt the urge to try out.

Sulham Hill
Stopping by a gatehouse on Sulham Hill.

Finally, we headed back to Pangbourne Village Hall, taking the same route we'd used at the start of the walk. See our route on Google Maps. While we were out walking, three of our committee had volunteered to stay behind and set up the hall for the AGM.

After changing out of our muddy boots, we went into the hall to be greeted by tables of homemade cakes and biscuits, plus the wherewithal for making tea, coffee and lemon squash. Suitably refreshed, we conducted our AGM, voting in the new members of our committee. Afterwards, there was still time for second helpings of drinks and cakes before we had to clear the hall.

Thank you to Sue, Ann and Richard for setting up the hall, and to all those who made the cakes and biscuits.

Walk 609 - Northern Lanes, Warfield

Shetland Ponies
Some Shetland Ponies in Warfield.

On Saturday 4th November, eighteen ramblers gathered for a seven-mile circular walk, welcoming four members from the Berkshire Walkers. Such a large group was a surprise given the recent stormy weather and the forecast of more rain. However we were rewarded by sunshine and blue skies at the start and for the majority of our walk.

As expected we had to negotiate muddy tracks and flooded lanes throughout the walk, but didn’t have to make any detours.

Outside the church at Warfield.

Starting from the Frost Folly Country car park we took the path to the far left corner following it gently downhill and small incline until reaching a right hand gate towards the church. Just after the Vicarage a path led us over three fields, passing by some tiny Shetland ponies, then over a boardwalk to the road at Wayne Bridge.

Ashmore Lane
Entering Ashmore Lane.

Across the road we picked up the next track across fields with views of Hayley Green Farm, the oldest dwelling in Warfield - originally the Old Manor House.

Emerging onto the road at Brockhill we turned left and after Planners Farm followed left footpath signs. Walking through enclosed paths through fields to reach the A330, crossed into Garston Lane leading down to a left turn then right into Hog Oak Lane and start of woodland. We past the enclosed nature reserve then turned into Ashmore Lane (reputedly one of the prettiest - though not in the present climate!). At the junction with Hawthorn Lane a right turn took us past Lordlands Farm, end of Cruch Lane and an old icehouse.

Asmore Lane
One of the many puddles on Ashmore Lane.

Emerging onto the A330 again we crossed and followed the right hand Hawthorndale bridleway leading to a pathway, over the A3095 into Pendry’s Lane downhill to the junction with Hazelwood Lane, with Westley Mill Ford directly in front. Here we crossed the side bridge to take lunch in a wooded area, and a timely shower invited itself.

Hazelwood Lane
Paddling along the flooded Hazelwood Lane.

Following refreshments we retraced back to Hazelwood Lane which is very long, the initial section required carefully placed boots and poles as there was significant flooding.

After a small stable yard and house, we turned left into Buckle Lane, passing more dwellings and on up to the Shepherds House pub.

Here some of the group stopped for a welcome drink, whilst others continued over the main A3095 into Bowyers Lane continuing uphill onto Weller’s Lane and back to the car park. See our route on Google Maps.

Thank you to Ann and Kathy for leading this walk and to Kathy for writing it up.

Walk 608 - Rotherwick and Sherfield-on-Loddon

Rotherwick Patch
Crossing a field at Rotherwick farm.

When I led my first walk for the Berkshire Weekend Walkers, Saturday 28th October was sunny and bright. Eleven of us met outside the church in Rotherwick, ready for the eight-mile walk. After a short introductory speech, and welcoming a member of the Berkshire Walkers, we set off.

On leaving the church yard, we followed the Brenda Parker Way footpath across a field which arrived at The Rotherwick Patch, a pumpkin farm.

Pumpkin Patch
Posing by the pumpkin patch.

Lots of pumpkins were still in the field and had yet to be collected - a perfect photo opportunity.

We stayed on the Brenda Parker Way, passing farms, crossing footbridges, and finally parting from that path to head towards Sherfield-on-Loddon.

Lyde River
Crossing the Lyde River.

We caught the first glimpse of one of the two golf courses on the route. After following a road between the Sherfield Oaks golf course, we turned right into some woods that had some shelters made in some trees.

After crossing another footbridge, we arrived near Ducketts Farm, where some alpacas were approaching, hoping that we had some tasty treats for them!

Some alpacas on Ducketts Farm.

At the end of the footpath we crossed over the first of many stiles in this section of the walk, to go into a field where we were nearing another open field ideal for a lunch stop.

After eating our packed lunches and sharing stories of different sweets and biscuits old and new, we set off on the rest of the walk. A brief shower of rain had us all reaching for our waterproof jackets.

Long Copse
Putting on our waterproofs for a brief shower.

After crossing a stile, we walked on a track towards Wildmoor Farm. At the farm we turned right into the most enchanting wooded area, following a stream. Although brief, it felt very magical!

Wildmoor Farm
The enchanted footpath by Wildmoor Farm.

Emerging at the end of the farm was a track that was quite wet and muddy that would take us past our final golf course of Tylney Park.

Horses in paddocks and red kites trying to grab some food were spotted as we walked along the track. Another footbridge through some woodland and we reached a quiet road leading us back towards Rotherwick.

Liquidambar Tree
The Autumn colours of a Liquidambar tree.

A beautiful Liquidambar tree was spotted through the hedgerow, due to it's leaves turning a beautiful red colour. Three deer were seen playing nearby.

As we reached the road toward Rotherwick, we said goodbye to one of our party who had another engagement. The remaining ten of us crossed over the road onto a footpath back towards some woodland on the outskirts of Hook. We stopped en-route to admire a dead oak tree, which still stood quite majestically amongst the woodland.

Leaving Rotherwick
Leaving Rotherwick on our way to Hook.

Continuing down we skirted Shirlens Copse turning left into some more woodland.

Emerging into a field we then had a small climb alongside Great Nightingales Copse and reached the four finger post. This is where I decided on a short route change due to some extreme mud on the pre-walk. This is also the time when the rain started to fall more decisively.

The four-way fingerpost between Hook and Rotherwick.

With our rain jackets back on we turned left and then right towards Runten's Farm.

Back on the Brenda Parker Way we headed along a very muddy and waterlogged footpath to reach The Coach and Horses pub at Rotherwick. Seven of us stayed for a well deserved drink.

Thank you to everyone who came to my first walk as a leader. I was very nervous beforehand but I had done my pre-walk and had my map, and the sense of accomplishment at the end was great!

Please see our route on Google Maps.

Thank you to Emma for leading this walk and writing it up.

Walk 607 - Tilford, Crooksbury and Waverley Abbey

Crooksbury Common
Walking through Crooksbury Common.

On Sunday 22nd October, Ann and Kathy led a variation of a walk they've led before in Surrey. Fourteen of us, plus a small dog, met up on Tilford Village Green in glorious sunshine. The recent heavy rain from Storm Babet meant that some of the route would be muddy, but the sandy soil of this part of Surrey had drained most of the rain away.

Leaving on a road bridge to the north-east of the green, we walked through this pleasant village before turning off onto Whitmead Lane. This we followed as far as a hair-pin bend, where we left it for a muddy footpath taking us uphill to Charleshill.

Crooksbury Hill
Descending Crooksbury Hill.

Crossing the main road by The Donkey pub, we headed north on Sands Lane, through mixed woodland and into Crooksbury Common, a heathland on greensand soil.

The main path through the common is called Long Hill, and it gradually took us upward to Stone Hill, where we branched left onto Crooksbury Lane. Crossing a road, we were now at the foot of Crooksbury Hill - where we would stop for lunch.

Mother Ludlams Cave
Mother Ludlam's Cave, complete with a wheelbarrow.

Instead of just heading straight up as we had done previously, we took a more circuitous and undulating route via Soldier's Ring, a Bronze-age hillfort. Heading steeply downhill from the fort (earthworks) and then just as steeply uphill, we arrived at the view point on the top of Crooksbury Hill. There were two benches and the stepped plinth of the trigpoint to sit on while we ate our packed lunches, basking in the autumn sun and enjoying the commanding views of the Surrey Hills.

Tawny Owl
A tawny owl, sleeping in an alcove in the abbey ruins.

After our lunch, we descended a very steep footpath down to Crooksbury Road - another new addition to the original walk. A short walk along this surprisingly busy road brought us to a long, straight footpath that joined up with the North Downs Way. We followed this long-distance path westward as far as Moor Park College where we joined the Greensand Way, heading south-east along the course of the north branch of the River Wey.

Abbey Ruins
Part of the remains of Waverley Abbey.

Along the way, we stopped at Mother Ludlam's Cave, a small cave in the sandstone cliff.

The next stop was to see the ruins of Waverley Abbey (a Cistercian abbey, founded in the 12th century). While exploring the ruins, we saw a tawny owl, sleeping in a low alcove in a stone wall. We were able to get close enough to photograph it without it waking up. We were surprised it was sleeping in what seemed a vulnerable position.

After exploring the abbey ruins, we continued following the Greensand Way southward, back to Tilford Village Green. See our route on Google Maps. According to my GPS, we'd covered 8.8 miles with 1,950 feet of ascent in total. A good workout!

Thank you to Ann and Kathy for leading this walk.

Walk 606 - Donnington, Bagnor and Snelsmore Common

Watermill Theatre
Stopping for a look at the Watermill Theatre.

After a fairly wet week, Saturday 14th October was a dry and sunny day. A good day for a new walk leader to lead her first walk, which is what Anne was doing. Sixteen of us (including a couple of newcomers, trying us out) turned up at a small car park in the village of Donnington for this eight mile walk.

We started off by crossing a field, picking up a footpath that passed by Donnington Castle (we would visit the castle later in the walk) and a golf course before crossing the A34 Newbury bypass on a footbridge shared with the golf course.

Boxford Common
Heading into Boxford Common from Mount Hill.

Now we were heading into Bagnor, a picturesque village on the banks of the River Lambourn. It is also home to the Watermill Theatre, which we stopped at for quick look around.

We left Bagnor on a footpath that passed over Mount Hill and into Boxford Common. After a short bit of road walking, we were on another footpath that took us through Borough Copse, Borough Hill and Lower Farm to Winterbourne Manor. Here we stopped to look at the church and have our packed lunches.

Snelsmore Common
Entering Snelsmore Common from Winterbourne Holt.

After lunch, we headed uphill through fields to Winterbourne Holt and then into the mixed heathland of Snelsmore Common. More uphill took us through the common, passing Black Ditch on our way to The Snug - a small café. Here we stopped while most of us got tea, coffee, cake and even ice cream!

After a short break, we continued to explore Snelsmore Common, some of us still carrying our cups of drink, and finally leaving it via Hill's Pightle.

Donnington Castle
The gatehouse of Donnington Castle.

We crossed the A34 on another bridge (not far from the first one we'd crossed) which got us to Castle Farm. A footpath brought us to Donnington Castle from the northern side. This time we stopped for a look around. The ruins of this 14th century castle include the twin-towered gatehouse and the footings of the main building. Both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I are thought to have stayed here.

Being built on a hill, there were some commanding views from Donnington Castle. Much of Newbury can be seen, with Speen and Donnington in the foreground. In the distance, we could also see Watership Down and the Hannington transmitter mast at Cottington's Hill.

View of Newbury
Admiring the view over Newbury.

A long, downhill path took us back to Donnington village and the car park where we'd started. The walk had finished. Some people went home while the majority of us stayed for a drink in the village. We walked down Shop Lane to Castle Lane and The Hartley Arms pub. Some of us bought drinks here while others popped into the Honesty Café next door for more tea, coffee and cake. We all sat together in the seating area by the River Lambourn and had a good old chat.

For a first walk, this was a really nice one. Well planned, with a variety of terrains, good views and two refreshment stops. The weather was kind to us, too.

Thank you to Anne for leading her first walk for us.

Social Event - Ten-Pin Bowling in Bracknell

The Teams
Our two teams on adjacent lanes.

The evening of Friday 13th October was dark and wet, but our social event this month was in the dry. Ten of us meet up at Hollywood Bowl at The Point in Bracknell for two games of of ten-pin bowling.

Girls aloud
The all-girls team.

We split into two teams of five on alleys next to each other and bowling commenced! Some of us had bowling experience, but more often than not, it was just bowl and hope for the best.

Lots of fun and laughter was had by everyone and Friday the 13th was not unlucky in the least.

Huge thanks go to our Social Events Co-ordinator Richard for organising another enjoyable social event.

Thank you to Richard for organising this social event and to Emma for the write-up.

Walk 604 - Cookham

Walking through Cookham Holy Trinity churchyard.

On Sunday 1st October, twenty-four ramblers met in the NT car park at Cookham Moor. It was lovely to welcome a new walker trying the BWWs out for the first time and to be joined by Molly, a very well behaved black Labrador. The weather was unusually warm for the time of year ~22°C and the car park was very busy, mainly with dog walkers coming and going.

Life size lion and giraffe sculptures.

Setting off across the moor towards Cookham village, we soon passed the artist, Stanley Spencer's house, easily spotted by having a blue plaque. Turning left at the end of the High Street, we walked through Holy Trinity churchyard to the wonderful peel of church bells, then followed the path down to the River Thames.

The Thames at Cookham is especially attractive with houses of all shapes, sizes and designs on the opposite bank, including one with life size sculptures of a lion and giraffe in the garden.

Winter Hill
On top of Winter Hill.

After about two miles, we left the Thames and headed south across a field and then west to ascend Winter Hill. This was the first of several ascents and we were rewarded with lovely views over the river towards Marlow.

At the top of Winter Hill, we followed a narrow wooded path parallel to the Thames, which at times felt as if we were walking through a tunnel. Crossing a road, we then entered Quarry Wood with lovely open and undulating paths.

A view of Marlow from Winter Hill

After a somewhat steeper climb, we stopped for lunch where there were several large fallen trees, with plenty of seating for twenty four. The woodland was rather damp and the perfect habitat for some unusual puffball mushrooms, some of which at first sight could easily be mistaken for conkers.

Puffball mushroom in Quarry Wood.

Leaving Quarry Wood, we walked along the edge of a field enjoying the wonderful sight of red kites. We then headed north east to cross Cookham Dean Common before arriving in Cookham Dean with many perfectly manicured hedges lining the road.

On reaching John the Baptist Church, we took a footpath eastwards across fields towards Cookham Rise. Walking past the Cricket Club, we were fortunate to see a vintage car show, displaying many wonderful Citreon 2CVs, together with numerous other makes of cars from the 1930s to the 1970s.

Cookham Dean
Manicured hedges in Cookham Dean.

The next leg of our walk was along residential roads to Cookham Station, passing a wonderful mix of interesting houses, quaint cottages and Victorian villas.

After a parade of shops, we headed north and then east on footpaths which took us back to the NT car park at Cookham Moor. Although this was the end of the walk, a number of the group continued across the moor for refreshments at The Crown pub. Having spotted the dessert menu at the bar, some of us also indulged in several delicious desserts, all beautifully presented - they really did taste as good as they looked!

In just 7¾ miles, we'd enjoyed a real mix of different terrains, lovely views and managed 615ft of ascent. See our route on Google Maps.

Thank you to Sue from leading this walk, for writing it up and providing the photos.