For photos of previous years, please see the Menu on the left.
18/8/2015. 6 Miles, Cat 3+ at least. Finding a disabled-friendly toilet at the start was a good omen and so was the sunshine. A deceptively easy start up and out of the village soon led to tracks of increasing steepness and roughness with some challenging deep cross-ruts. However, all made it to the top without mishap – except for some of the Supersports cutting out on the steeper bits. Lunch was taken in the rings of the ancient hill-fort overlooking the Rivers Avon and Severn with views across to the Malvern Hills and beyond. Our return was much easier; a more gentle slope on a good surface. Many thanks to Andy who was running his first ramble for us – several more are promised!
Saturday 8/8/2015. 6 Miles, Cat 3. The third year of our Mike Longbottom Memorial Rambles. Starting from Lockinge Kiln Farm, we used a private track which took us steeply down to 'Old Street' where we climbed a lovely valley up to the Ridgeway. In increasing heat on a glorious day, all were pleased to reach the Monument to Lord Wantage where we stopped for coffee. After an 'interesting' road crossing the track soon closed in and we were traveling between banks of brambles, kindly cut back by Georgina and her friends. The staff at Camp Hill Centre made us very welcome, allowing us to use their tables & chairs even though we had brought our own food. In the beech wood below the Centre, Georgina reminded us about her farther, Mike, to whom we then drank a toast. Another toast followed, this time to the happy couple, Linda & Peter, who were married last week. We wish them well with their 'honeymoon for life'. Many thanks to Linda for the drinks and cakes. Mikes ashes were scattered just a bit further on by the bench where he and his family often sat and admired the wonderful views over the surrounding countryside. John
Cornwall July 2015 – a mini Regional Ramble run by the National Trust Ranger Greg Cross “We often complain about obstacles and the difficulties we encounter without stopping to appreciate the work that is being done. Gregory Cross has been working with one of our members, Steve Wilson, to improve access throughout the Penrose Estate. The result is a very enjoyable six mile ramble. We met at Helston free carpark next to Flora Motors and straight away we were on good surfaces wide enough to ride two abreast. The photos show Mary watching the bees remaking their nest after the tree collapsed in a high wind. It became a specialist job when the large colony had to be moved to allow the tree to be cleared from the path. This wooded area also had unusual fungi and bugs galore. The café was the next stop, an open air affair with great paninis and cake. This is understated National Trust at its best from my point of view. The NT are working with local farmers and landowners to allow access to the whole area without spoiling it. We rounded a bend and came out of the wood into a lovely view of sea and headlands an unspoilt beach and a strange stretch of raised sand. This stops the sea breeching the open water lake a few yards inland – then another NT stone holiday house. Wow! What you cannot go in the sea here? This area is full of surprises and ‘Poldark’ history. Lucky Greg he walks this every day.” Eileen
HORSHAM RIVERSIDE WALK - 25TH JULY 2015. This is an event held by Horsham Town Community Partnership, a group to try to make interesting things happen in and around Horsham, Bob and I attended last year for the inaugural walk and this year we were very pleased that 7 DR's were able to come and join us. It is a 13.5 mile trip for us people on scooters as we have to take certain diversions to avoid steps and too narrow bridges etc. and so it makes it a bit longer than the official 12.5 mile route. It is a fairly flat walk through suburbia, parks, riverside paths, fields, woods, nature reserve, farmland - so is very varied but very pleasant and challenging from the distance point of view. I am pleased to say we all made it! Apart from ourselves there were about 100 walkers so it made for a friendly gathering. During the walk we had to cross a very busy dual carriageway and the local police controlled the traffic with a rolling road block to enable us to cross safely, which all added to the excitement. Lots of interest in our scooters and many couldn't believe what we do in Disabled Ramblers. Thanks to all DR's who came - and here's to next year! Val & Bob.
HIGHDOWN HILL, WORTHING, WEST SUSSEX – 15TH July 2015 The day dawned with greyness and drizzle, but when we arrived at 10.00am it magically cleared up and in the end we had the perfect day for this long awaited ramble. It was one we had wanted to do for ages and is actually the first ramble led by our Regional Rep for West Sussex, Bob McLellan. We had 9 scooters and were pleased to welcome two new members, Julie and Ian Preddy. Also, it was great to have Chris Christou along (nice photo of him with a stripey umbrella!). From the top of Highdown Hill on a clear day you can see the coastline stretching away as far as Beachy Head in the east and Isle of Wight in the west. On our journey over the hill there were some rutted paths and steep inclines which gave us some fun, but everyone coped very well, albeit slowly sometimes. We went along a bridleway which follows the base of the hill to Angmering village. We had an impromptu reccy of a bridlepath we had found earlier in the year, but at that time we had to turn back because it was so muddy – but our team on the 15th were keen to explore it, we could only get three quarters of the way down it due to camber and deep muddy ruts but we all enjoyed it, and it gives a sense of achievement. On our return to the car park we went into the beautiful Highdown Gardens which are run by the Borough Council and are really lovely, then we went on into the Highdown Cafe for a cream tea, and would you believe it – the minute we sat down it started to rain but the staff put the table umbrellas up and we were still able to enjoy our scones and tea. A really good day, and a lot of fun. Everyone mucked in and helped each other, as you can see from the photos we had a battery failure and needed help with towing – good old Linda!!! Thanks to all for coming and to Jo Hooper of Highdown Gardens for all her help with unlocking the gate so that we could access the Hill. Bob McLellan & Val R.
Starting from Lynford Stag Picnic Area the ramble followed wide grassy forest tracks to Lynford Hall where we visited a beautiful arboretum for coffee before continuing to the reclaimed gravel pits for lunch. We returned alongside two attractive lakes before re-joining the outward route back to the start. Thanks to Tony & Dorothy.
A varied and fascinating ramble where we visited the busy, picturesque river frontages of the River Blyth, where boat yards, fresh fish outlets and fishing shacks flank jetties crowded with boats. Later, by contrast we were on the sublimely peaceful Walberswick marsh, trekking along the sea wall above the wide open landscapes of reed beds, dykes and pools. It’s a rich mix of man-made and natural scenery, not to be missed. Thanks to Eileen S & Val
A delightful ramble in one of the most beautiful areas on the Suffolk Coast, taking in the RSPB Reserve at Minsmere (of Springwatch fame) and the rare heathland habitat at Dunwich. Our route took us over dunes alongside the beach at Minsmere, into the Reserve walks and then through woodland along the Sandlings Walk. On arriving at Dunwich Heath we found some of the heather and gorse in bloom, before indulging in ice cream at the NT old Coastguard Cottages with wonderful views along the coast. It was a treat for both wildlife enthusiasts, as well as lovers of ﬁne landscapes and timely snacks. Thank to Eileen S and Val
A new ‘Easy Access’ route has been created by the ’41 Club’ (Round Table members who are over 40 years old) and Worcestershire CC in consultation with the Disabled Ramblers. This was the formal opening of the route and was well supported by our members on the hottest July day on record. ‘Easy Access’ only refers to the lack of stiles, small gates and narrow bridges all of which were previously encountered on this route. Although fairly flat, the route gives wide views over Worcestershire and across to Warwickshire and Gloucestershire. The baked-hard surface gave us a bone-shaker ride in places; we plan to return in December to check out the difference some rain will make. Jo’s dog, Barney, made good use of any available water to cool down in and had a fine time in the mud. We were all amazed at lunch time when Paul produced still-frozen ice lollies; how welcome they were! Many thanks to the 41 Club and Worcestershire CC for all their work in producing this route for us. John
Dodd Wood, near Whinlatter Forest, towers high above Bassenthwaite Lake providing unrivalled views of Derwentwater to the south and to the hills of Dumfries and Galloway, especially from the summit. Dodd Wood offers attractive and varied way-marked trails from a central car park with picnic areas, the Old Sawmill tearoom and toilets. Dodd Wood is also the location for the open-air view point for the Bassenthwaite Ospreys.
Whinlatter is England's only true mountain forest. Rising 1000ft above sea level, the forest and visitor centre provides a whole range of outdoor activities. The forest is home to Roe deer, badger, fox, Crossbills and Siskin whilst the fells are the hunting ground for Buzzard and Merlin. Whinlatter is a Red Squirrel reserve where Red Squirrels are actively being protected and supported.
Derwent Water has been the subject and backdrop of many films. Arthur Ransome famously wrote Swallows and Amazons based on this lake. Where children spend the school holiday in boats playing pirates and sailing to the small islands. Our walk took us along the opposite shore with Catbells rising above us. the Swinside Inn in Newlands Valley kindly let us use their car park. This a very pretty route is listed as a 'Miles without Stiles' walk we added a trip to Nichol End cafe for tea and giant scones.
Surrounded by Skiddaw, Latrigg & Blencathra fells this is a walk suitable for most. Starting from the Leisure Centre we climbed steeply along the side of Latrigg through Brundholme Wood before descending to Threlkeld for lunch at the Horse & Farriers or the Village Hall Café. Returning along the track bed of the old railway we were kept company by the fast flowing River Greta which winds to and fro. We crossed it using the seven bridges formerly used by trains to Penrith. This is one of the most beautiful railway walks anywhere. Thanks to Eileen for organising the great weather as well as a great ramble
Maryport is a very old small town with a picturesque harbour looking over the Solway Firth to Scotland. The beaches are a mixture of rock pools, pebbles and sand. On a grey June morning with cold wind for company, we followed Hadrian’s cycleway along Maryport Promenade. After a welcome stop at the golf club clubhouse for coffee (and bacon butty for some) we continued along the path close to the shore north towards Allonby until we reached Crosscanonby Carr Nature Reserve where we had lunch. A mile of “quiet” road took us onto the golf course where bemused golfers watched as 20 scooters plus 19 walkers ambled slowly across the fairways. The wind had dropped by now and the sun made the occasional appearance as we again stopped at the golf club clubhouse with some partaking of liquid a little stronger then the morning’s tea. Thanks to Eileen for a splendid start to our Cumbrian adventures.
7th June 2015 Malvern Hills RR. From North Quarry we headed to St Ann’s Knoll for the first of our two stops there on this ramble. Suitably refreshed with ice-creams from the nearby St Ann’s Cafe we tackled the long and steep zig-zags to the summit of Worcestershire Beacon – the highest point in Worcestershire. Great weather meant great views for our lunch stop before our return down Happy Valley for tea and cake at St Ann’s Café. John
FLEET POND RAMBLE – 4TH JUNE 2015. This was a ramble led by a friend who lives locally and he very kindly accompanied us round the route on what was an extremely successful day. We were very pleased to welcome new members, Mary and David March, on their first DR ramble and we were delighted to see John Birmingham looking very well and sprightly!! Also, thanks to Gavin and Kathy for coming quite a long way. There were 7 scooters and 4 walkers attending this ramble on a beautiful sunny day. Sadly, we had 4 cancellations due to illness and other happenings. Fleet Pond is the largest freshwater lake in Hampshire and the nature reserve has 54.6 hectares (141 acres) of varied habitats. The pond itself occupies approximately half of this area. The surrounding land features heathland, woodland, reedbed and marsh, and is home for many species of birds, butterflies, dragonflies and wild flowers. Fleet Pond is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI.). It was under military jurisdiction from 1854 to 1972 when it was purchased by the then Fleet Urban DC. Nowadays, the area is managed by the Hart District Council Countryside Ranger Service in partnership with the Fleet Pond Society which provides generous support to the Countryside Rangers as well as offering exciting volunteer opportunities for the local community. There were plenty of waterfowl about and babies of most of the species, there was a large flock of Canada Geese and we witnessed a quite dramatic fight between two gentleman geese fighting over a lady which resulted in the loser having about 7 large feathers removed from his wing, all this accompanied by loud honking and flapping around. Quite exciting! Always good and interesting to see nature at work. Hart DC has put a lot into making this site attractive with plenty of carved seats at various areas around the pond. It was varied habitat, lakeside, reed beds, woodland paths, and a sandy beach, plus some super hills for some of the more adventurous to try their skills at NOT turning their scooters over. A really enjoyable day which we all appreciated very much. The photos tell the story very well so hope anyone visiting this page will have a look at them. Thanks to all for coming and especially to Arthur for his expert knowledge and planning. Val
Lancashire – Wyre Tramper Treks Garstang Walking Festival included two Tramper Treks. The first on Thursday 14th May billed as “Lapwings & Hares” was more for the birds – strong winds had the hares hiding in the shelter of a stone wall up on Peacock Hill above Cobble Hey Farm. The lapwings had curlews and redshanks to play with so it was a great day for the ornithologists and for the amateurs like myself because we had Gavin from the RSPB on hand to explain what was happening and why these fields were such good habitat for the birds. Back at the farm we warmed up with a hearty lunch in the café at Cobble Hey. Saturday 16th “Scorton Tramper Trek Challenge” had an added dimension when one of the Trampers developed an electrical fault and had to pushed and pulled up Nicky Nook Fell. We started at Wyresdale Hall Park on tarmacked lanes before the challenge of getting the Trampers up a steep grassy slope to the Pepper Pot monument and then on through a stream before making the trig point. The photos tell the tale of the lads who had just came out for a walk and ended up with a ‘workout’ many thanks to all who helped get Owen to the top. Ranger Duncan went back to base to collect a replacement Tramper while we soldiered on. Thanks to a phone call to John Cuthbertson we were able to get the ‘brake’ off the troubled Tramper. That made life easier! Well done to Duncan for getting the 4x4 truck and large trailer along a narrow winding wooded lane to retrieve the faulty Tramper. Back on the road and on to the cake and tea in Wyresdale Applestore café. At least the weather kept fine. A really great couple of days. E.T.
8 miles Cat 3. Pembrokeshire is a lovely County, nowhere more so than the Pembrokeshire Coastal National Park. This ramble took us along the seaward edge of Castlemartin Range East which is only open to the public when not needed by the MOD – that’s most weekends, holidays and some evenings. The weather was kind to us, giving great views all along the coast. As the world’s foremost limestone sea climbing cliffs, there were plenty of rock climbers to watch and admire. It was hard to stop Terry from trying to join them! Unfortunately one climber took a bit of a tumble and was helicoptered off to hospital during our lunch stop. We were assured he was not badly injured. The descent down the steep steps to St Govern’s Chapel was not possible for most of our members; the photos here might give you a bit of an idea what it was like. Many thanks to Tony & Dorothy for organising and leading.
7 miles Cat 3. The views from the cliffs above Castlemartin Range West are normally only seen by fishermen and rock climbers who have had a special briefing to enter the live firing side of the Castlemartin Ranges. So we were quite privileged to be allowed entry – although disclaimers had to be signed and we had to stay in a column with a guide from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to the front and rear. Although the strong wind made for a cold day it was sunny the great views made up for this together with the wonderful wild flowers and large numbers of birds to identify. Many thanks to Tony & Dorothy and to the Rangers from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
RICHMOND PARK - 13th MAY 2015 This was an eagerly awaited event as there haven't been many rambles in the London area for some time and it was great to be able to welcome 11 scooters and 5 or 6 walkers on such a lovely sunny day. Among them were some long-standing DR members such as - Rosie & John, Eileen & Dave, Kim & Keith, Brenda & Keith, Roly & Margaret, Christine & Geoff. Richmond Park is some 2,500 acres and is 10 miles from London, and is the largest and wildest of the Royal Parks, and is internationally known for its ancient oak trees. It was originally used for hunting by the Kings & Queens but nowadays it is a refuge from the hustle and bustle of daily life for many of us. We set off round the edge of the park towards Sheen Gate, past Adam's pond where Dave's little dog had great fun having a swim, then on towards Two Storm Wood (don't know why it has this name!). A little further on we stopped for coffee with a super view of the London skyline including the Shard, London Eye and Gherkin. We then progressed down through the Pen Ponds where there was a great variety of water fowl - ducks and geese including two Canada geese with their tiny goslings. Considering the proximity to the Capital there is a surprising amount of wildlife in the Park that we saw on the day, including green woodpeckers, parakeets, herons, three lovely carthorses cantering in their enclosure, and a large herd of red deer which we saw en route to Pen Ponds, horse riders, cyclists (not really wildlife - but interesting just the same!). It really is a unique place.This was only a little of the wildlife that crossed our path, it is a very diverse area for beetles and many other species of birds. After coffee we continued on our way to the Isabella Plantation, which was planted after WW11, where we stopped for lunch before a tour of the plantation and were joined here by Brenda & Keith. The azaleas and rhodendrons were at their peak and were truly spectacular as you can see from the photos, and we also went through a lovely woodland area where there were bluebells as well, so there was something for everyone in the way of seasonal flowers. We attracted many comments from the other visitors on our way - as we always do - I guess we are quite an unusual sight in the middle of Richmond Park! It was then onwards across the Park to Pembroke Lodge for our cream tea at about 4pm. Bit of a panic as they had mislaid our booking, and also a prominent politician was arriving shortly and the terrace had to be cleared for his party, however, they made us very welcome on a little side lawn with picnic benches and brought out two trolleys laden with tea, coffee, copious amounts of cream and jam, scones and sandwiches - so we were more than happy!!! We then made the homeward journey back to Roehampton Gate, we arrived there at about 6pm so it had been a long day but it was well worth it. We had a super time and many thanks to all who came and especially to Nomi for leading it so well. Please watch this space as we hope to put more on in the London area - plans are afoot! Anyone who has any ideas or would like to go to a certain place please let me or Nomi know and we will see what can be done. best regards, Val.
SOUTHERN REGIONAL RAMBLES. PONDHEAD BLUEBELL RAMBLE, LYNDHURST, NEW FOREST, HAMPSHIRE. It’s always very difficult to judge just when the bluebells are at their best – BUT WE HIT THE JACKPOT!!! They were just perfect, and were interspersed with pretty little white stitchwort flowers, blue spikes of bugle (ajuga), little yellow creeping flowers and signs of masses of foxgloves starting into growth to be visited again in about a month’s time. 8 of us turned up out of an expected 10, but 2 illnesses prevented the original number, we also had a very welcome 3 walkers for support – among them my own daughter Wendy and her husband, Steve. We had a special visit from Wendy & Rita from near Cardiff in Wales. These two ladies had gone to the trouble of hiring a transit van for their scooters especially for the ramble, they loaded and unloaded the scooters and then coped with all the lumps and bumps they came across on the ramble with great glee – very inspirational! It shows that when you want to do something badly enough you will go to great lengths to achieve it. This was their first DR ramble although they had tried to get to the DR ramble last October but due to traffic were held up and couldn’t make it in the end, so were doubly determined to get there this time. We were met by Derek, a Volunteer who has been helping to coppice the wood in the traditional way and to bring the woodland back to what is was many hundreds of years ago, and he gave us a talk on their work and showed us their state of the art charcoal burner, which cost a huge £15,000 the cost of which was met by a grant they were able to get. This produces charcoal of the highest quality – 96% carbon – they then sell this to local hotels, campers, restaurants etc. Also, to test it they have frequent barbecues in the beautiful wood they work in, they feel that is the least they can do!! The coppiced wood is sold for pea and bean sticks, to make layered fencing and of course, to make the charcoal. They also produce charcoal sticks for artists. Derek gave us a very interesting talk and in the photos you will see a couple of the rustic stools they make for themselves to sit on in the woodland. The bluebells were lovely, and add to all this the birds twittering all around and you begin to conjure up the picture. Many trees have been planted to encourage different varieties of birds to come back into the wood to eat the caterpillars, grubs and insects which make the trees their home, and the undergrowth has been cut back to encourage wild flower growth in order to attract butterflies and other insects to re-inhabit the area. We then proceeded through the lovely fresh green forest until our lunch break on the banks of the delightful meandering stream you will see in the photos, another magical spot with just the birdsong for company (+ 8 ramblers!). From there we came out of the woodland onto a sandy track known as The Ridge which leads back to Lyndhurst, this can be slightly tricky at times – but we all managed it with great aplomb! We then had to negotiate 2 sets of traffic lights to get back to the car park in the middle of Lyndhurst – a lovely little town in the New Forest, but it gets really busy and it is a shock to come out of the tranquillity of the forest and back to civilisation. A really great day.....many thanks to all who came to share it with us. Regards, Val & Bob.
6 miles, Cat 3. What a turnout; 15 scooters on a Regional Ramble! Although showery to start, the sun joined us as we followed lanes – and were followed by a very large tractor. Soon we were on the Cotswold Way, pulling off it for a tea break with views over Bredon Hill and the Malvern Hills. Then to the much anticipated decent into Lavington. Steep and narrow with rocky drops this had caused some ‘fun’ during the reccie last year. Thanks to the work of the Voluntary Cotswold Footpath Wardens the most difficult sections had been removed. However, Linda decided to go off-piste and managed to meet up with the ground. Lunch on a delightful meadow outside the pretty village of Buckland was followed by a long steep climb which taxed one scooter to the limit. Thankfully Eileen and then Nomi were able to give assistance with a tow. After enjoying the view across to Snowshill we returned to the Manor to enjoy a National Trust cup of tea – and cake. Thanks Eileen and Wardens Paul & Mary for a wonderful day out.
One of the largest urban parks in Europe, Sutton Park is an oasis of tranquillity in the West Midlands conurbation. Our 6 mile circuit was Cat 3 but there are many paths suitable for smaller scooters. A great time was had splashing through the fords and climbing the muddy banks through the woods before lunch near the Bistro. Then to the western side of the park with wide open views over the heathland with skylarks singing. Many thanks to local member Jane for showing us the route.
Cat 2+ Ford! 6 miles. From Rifle Range Corner car park, down Pepper Slade and through the ford where two scooters needed a push on the loose gravel bottom. Up to the Glacial Bolder for coffee. Then along the old railway before turning sharp right to the Stepping Stones for lunch with. Another opportunity to play in a ford. Up the Sher Brook Valley, across the ford again and back up Pepper Slade. Back at the cars and packed away just before heavy rain started. A nice start to the season.