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*July 19 Regional Ramble – Washington to Thakenham

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Southern Regional Ramble – Washington to Thakeham – 22.7.19

Our starting point for the 8 scooters on this varied ramble led by our DR member Roger, was at Roger’s house by the side of one of his lakes for coffee and biscuits, supplied with great grace and elegance by Gina, Roger’s lovely wife.  Sufficiently fed and watered we set off alongside the busy A24, on the cycle path I hasten to add, for about half a mile, although we also went off the cycle path onto the old road past various cottages and an antique auction house (very interesting), until we reached our first little quiet path through lovely cool woodland. Along a quiet country lane, never any traffic until today when we met about 5 cars!  Then through a lovely area of farmland where Roger had contacted the farmer to arrange for the gate to be left unlocked for us, in fact, it had been left wide open by our kindly farmer, so that was really appreciated. So nice to be able to appreciate the countryside in this way, and then we entered the lovely little village of Thakeham with its ancient cottages and beautiful gardens, it’s really tiny here with a lot of history, see the photos for pictures and a history board.  At Thakeham we went to The White Lion pub for our lunch, loved the chips, before departing along another grassy path through farmland until we came to Strawberry Lane, a lovely old track through woodland. This is often impassable due to mud, but it has recently been partly re-surfaced so hopefully, that may help in the winter. We then came out to Little Thakeham House, an Edward Lutyens designed house that Roger had permission for us to go and have a look at from the gardens surrounding it.  It was really impressive. From there along quiet lanes, private roads and bridleways to Washington Common where we had the “piece de resistance” at the end – a very steep downhill route back to the A24 and the underpass to Roger’s house. This downhill part is deceptive, about halfway down it suddenly becomes very tricky and with a camber and drop to the left hand side it does need some concentration. We all managed it very well, (even me), but the dear old Trampers were skidding a bit, as they do on steep hills sometimes.  Then back to Roger’s for a trip round his private nature reserve where he photographs all manner of nature, kingfishers, buzzards and much more, it is really lovely and all man made with several lakes and ponds. Finally, into the garden where Gina served us tea, coffee and cream scones. We were really spoilt, but appreciate the hospitality and generosity of both Roger and Gina. This was a very special day thanks to our visit to Roger’s house and also a really good mix of super DR members with a lot in common. Thanks so much to you all for coming, and now we look forward to Rye in just under two weeks time. Best wishes, Val and Bob.