For photos of previous years, please see the Menu on the left.
Two Rings Regional Ramble - Chanctonbury & Cissbury Rings, West Sussex On the day of the actual ramble we had 13 scooters and 8 walkers, and we were pleased to welcome a new member, Brian, on our trip. A very generous local farmer let us park in his newly harvested field, which was a real treat without the ramble to follow. Our original parking place was cancelled as the cows and their bull didn’t want to be moved, hence the lovely field which you will see from the photos plus the spectacular scenery. Unfortunately, it added a considerable distance to the ramble, from just over 7 miles to nearly 10. Full points to the valiant walkers - not one of whom complained. It was a very hot but hazy day though so the views were not as sharp as we would have liked but still impressive. We set off up the chalky track to meet up with our designated route which led us to Chanctonbury Ring, a lovely track with wild flowers in the verges and hedgerows and beautiful views to either side, once at the ring we had lunch and some of the group went off exploring and managed to get into the ring under the shade of the trees. We hope to do another ramble to Chanctonbury from the village of Washington and will do some more exploring then as well, we will have more time too. After lunch off back down to Cissbury Ring. A totally different hill fort in that you can easily get into the inner circle and actually go round a grassy path the whole circumference of the ring, and it is here you see many other types of flowers that like the chalky soil and general conditions. We had a slight worrying situation in that I lost most of my group!!! I was held up at the entrance and they all dispersed in different directions, however, they all returned safe and sound to a rather irate leader I have to say! Peace restored, and after a lecture, we then did the grassy track and wended our way back to the farm which was some mile and a half away. This is a truly terrific ramble and one of our favourites, it has everything, scenery, wild flowers, wild life (normally), and it’s one we never tire of - the only drawback is the limited parking, so thank goodness for our lovely farmer - many thanks Robert! Thanks to all for coming and making it such a super day, we are now planning another - in the New Forest this time. One to follow in West Sussex in September hopefully. Val and Bob.
It's amazing to realise that this is the fourth ramble in memory of Mike Longbottom a much loved member of DR who did so much for the group. This time some 15 happy Ramblers set off from Hill Barn Stables near the beautiful Lambourn Valley much famed for racehorse training. We were also pleased to welcome Sarah Wright from the Ridgeway Partnership along with us, so she could observe how we coped with the rough going and to see if anything can be improved to aid access to this famous old drove road. Most of us left sunshine behind us at home and it was a grey start at Hill Barn, we were lucky enough to be parked in a lovely wildflower meadow to begin our ramble to White Horse Hill going along the ancient Ridgeway which runs for 87 miles from Avebury in Wiltshire to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire, through the Chilterns. So far we have done under 30 miles of the Ridgeway! Plenty of scope for the next few years, thankfully. We had been forewarned of it being quite a challenging route and we weren't disappointed! After about half a mile the chalk track changed from fairly OK to many deep ruts and deeply worn areas where the rainfall and many years of use had eroded the chalk so that you really had to look ahead to plot your own preferred route. The Trampers could go on a different path to the Supersports, 3 wheelers can put the front wheel in a rut and manage quite well that way, but we all coped very well without mishap, just a good feeling of achievement. The views either side were wonderful, Oxfordshire all around you, Didcot power station was clearly visible, without one of its famous chimneys of course. On the Ridgeway you get a feeling of the ancientness of the area, it has been used for at least 5000 years by travellers and drovers, it's a really special, marvellous old road with the most spectacular views. There are many hill forts along the route too and by lunchtime we had reached the Uffington White Horse. This a highly stylised chalk figure, some 110 metres long, dates from prehistoric times and is formed by trenches filled with crushed chalk. It is reputed to be one of the most ancient horse figures in the country and set a precedent for other white horse hillside carvings, and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, so of considerable importance. After lunch … the journey back up the ruts! Never so bad going back though, although one person's scooter reared onto its back legs, (you know who you are!) but all was well. It was tricky in places but well worth going, and on a linear ramble you get a completely different view of the scenery on the return trip, so going back you could look over the vast panorama before you and see a different aspect entirely, that is, when you could spare a little concentration from trying to stay upright and not do a sideways roll or something similar. We got back much too quickly it seemed, so that shows how enjoyable it was. There was also many wild flowers, scabious among them, the verges were full of rosebay willow herb, thistles, tall seed heads of cow parsley family, and so on, and we saw a red kite flying above us, also a couple of humans flying kites too up at White Horse hill. Rewarding, too, to see many cyclists and families out enjoying themselves and all very friendly. A high spot for the chaps was the sight of an auto-gyro (as in James Bond apparently!) flying overhead, a very rare sight I am told! A super day, and our thanks to JC for all the reccying and organising involved, so much more involved than meets the eye! Val
New Laund Farm in the Trough of Bowland has a great Tramper route across open farmland. On the first Monday and Tuesday of August John and his mum, Jean host guided walks with rangers Sandra and Dave bringing Lancashire loan Trampers for those who do not have their own. The route gives superb views of the Lancashire fells the terrain is varied from tarmac to tricky cross slopes, a ford and rough farm tracks. This is a working farm with a keen interest in the environment and protecting the wild life and landscape. These walks are not only enjoyable but have an educational aspect John welcomes questions on the why and where. We discussed the decline of the Hen Harrier to a Pasture Topper! Also the very nice menu at the Inn at Whitewell just across the field.
A great Cat 3+ or 4 ramble. A rocky climb past the King & Queen stones, through the wood with all its tree roots and then, take a deep breath and over the edge on 1:1 to begin the descent. Lots of loose rocks to begin with then opening out to give stunning views across the Severn Valley to the Malvern Hills and beyond into Shropshire and Wales. Thanks Andy for two great days out.
The South is still rambling! TWO RINGS RAMBLE CISSBURY TO CHANCTONBURY, WEST SUSSEX. After a super ramble on the 23rd of July with two good friends from DR from Washington, West Sussex to Chanctonbury Ring ancient hill fort, we decided to do it from the other end, that is, from Nepcote where Cissbury Ring is situated. Bob and I set off bright and early on a beautiful day, on this particular chalky track going through the South Downs there is an abundance of wild flowers and clouds of butterflies, mainly fairly small ones, some sort of “skipper” I think, but also on a certain wild plant, Hemp Agrimony, there were many Red Admirals and Peacocks all drinking the nectar, a really lovely sight and worth lingering over. We saw a Yellowhammer sitting on top of a tree which is something always very thrilling, down a track there were a group of partridges in the path, a skylark sitting on a wire fence which seemed totally unfazed by us, so we had a really good look. You get a feeling of very ancient times going up this track and can almost feel the past as you go along, it’s wonderful! On our initial ramble with Sue and Colin on the 23rd we saw a large number of Ghurka soldiers and other walkers all taking part in the 100 mile South Downs sponsored ramble in aid of Oxfam, all were very friendly and polite, but today the 25th it was much quieter. We reached Chanctonbury Ring with no problems and after drinking in the view started back. It was here we saw the Marbled White butterflies as seen in the photos, so pleased as they are fairly rare nowadays. We came across a family of four, Mum and Dad and two youngish children on bikes with a puncture and luckily we had a puncture outfit in our toolkit so were able to help and very pleased to do so, so Halfords here we come for a new puncture kit! Good feeling though. It was on our way back we saw the skylark, all these things that happen make it something to really treasure. Cissbury Ring is one of our favourite places and we visit it many times. Totally different to Chanctonbury, but both are iconic in their own way. The wild flowers here are different to any other place and there were harebells just coming out in profusion and hundreds of other flowers which will take me hours to identify! The path they improved last year, as reported on the website, for us DR’s to gain entry into the Ring has bedded in very well and although steep makes entering the Ring much easier. There is a grassy track all round Cissbury that we can scoot round with wonderful views, a truly super place. There are views as far as Brighton and beyond, as per photos. We hope to run this as a Regional Ramble before long, so that we can share the beauty of West Sussex with others, it makes us realise how valuable our scooters and belonging to DR is to us all. Keep your eyes on the web for information re the ramble! Val and Bob.
Cragside is a National Trust Property which was first built by Lord Armstrong, the great Newcastle industrialist, in 1863 and used by him and his wife, Margaret, as a weekend retreat. In the 1870s they extended the house and lived in it all the time. Margaret was a very keen gardener and the house was surrounded by magnificent gardens and grounds. In the morning we rambled onto the moors above Cragside where there was a circular carriage track the Armstrongs used to travel round to look at the extensive views. We did not ramble along the whole track but we did enjoy some of the views. In the afternoon a NT guide took us on a tour of the estate where we saw more wonderful views, and showed the guide how good trampers are on the rougher tracks. We also saw some of the lakes needed to drive Armstrong’s hydraulic machinery and generate hydroelectricity making Cragside one the first house to benefit from electric lighting, heating and household appliances invented by Armstrong. Thanks to the National Trust at Cragside for looking after us so well, and many thanks to Hugh and Jill Williamson for organising and leading this ramble.
Meeting with Kevin, the National Trust Ranger for the Northumbrian Coast, in the delightful fishing village of Craster, we rambled along a broad grass track on the cliff top up to the magnificent ruins of Dunstanburgh castle which sits on an outcrop of the Whin Sill. Enroute Kevin described the landscape and history of this beautiful area. We circled the castle ruins and stopped for coffee to view the 100 foot high Gull Crag Cliffs with their important kittiwake and fulmar colonies while to the north is the crumpled Graymare Tail or “Crocodile Rock”. At this point Kevin had to unlock a gate to allow us to by-pass a small kissing gate; he has promised to look at replacing the padlock with a RADAR key one. Our route now passed alongside the golf course with a welcome stop at their Clubhouse for lunch. Our return took us along along a quiet lane with a WW2 pill-box. After reaching the farm of Dunstan Square our route took us along the west side of “The Heughs”, yet another outcrop of the Whin Sill. Many thanks to Jill & Hugh for organising and running the ramble and to Kevin for providing such interesting background.
From Guisborough Forest Walkway Visitor Centre, we started along the same route as yesterday. Staying in the woods this time, we reached an open area where we had our coffee stop and started to dry out after a sudden heavy shower. On then to the Blue Lake, a small reservoir once used to power the mining of Alum, Jet and Iron from the surrounding hills. Continuing to Highcliff Wood, we had lunch and then most went up the steep stony track to the Nab where we were rewarded with glorious views across the North York Moors. Our return route took us through what was the model village of Hutton, built to house the miners and now and expensive suburb of Guisborough.
We began by following the track-bed of the Guisborough Railway Branch Line but soon left this to climb through the woods then exit onto Roseberry Common. Soon we reach the foot of the distinctive conical Roseberry Topping. After watching walkers clamber up to the summit, we continued to Aireyholme Farm for lunch by the pond. This was the childhood home of Captain Cook. Returning past Roseberry Topping we turned off our outward route to pass Bousdale Farm where a steep descent took us back to the woods and the Visitor Centre café by the car park. Many thanks to Vic & Ian for finding and running this lovely ramble.
The enigmatic remains of Bolton Priory on the lovely River Warfe provided the backdrop for much of the afternoon of this ramble. However, we began by heading upstream to the often-dramatic Strid, a narrowing of the river from 100 yards wide to only a few feet, where the depth is unknown and no one who has entered the water has left it alive. After viewing this innocent looking gorge from a safe distance, we climbed to Strid Wood tea rooms past the view of Barden Tower painted by Turner. We returned to our starting point at the Cavendish Restaurant for lunch then rambled to the remains of Bolton Priory where we watched visitors crossing the now wide-again river on stepping stones. A good day for ice-creams!
A lovely sunny summer's day for this easy ramble around the reservoir. Set in the middle of the delightfully named Appletreewick Moor, the views all around the reservoir are equally delightful. The ramble around the reservoir provides lots of interest as well as great views. There is the cruck barn, which was preserved when the reservoir expanded, Grimwith House, and the remains of Gate Up – a hamlet which was sacrificed for the reservoir. And we got back before the rain started! Many thanks to Rachel Briggs of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Yorkshire Water for making this route possible.
A brief shower cooled us all at the start of another warm day. We started by traveling through the private Foxcote Estate and then onto roads which were being repaired - and so we were treated to an escort vehicle. Descending a nicely rutted trac, we soon arrived at Hidcote where the National Trust staff warmly welcomed us into the gardens for lunch.
Another hot and humid day on this outlier of the Cotswolds. A steep and rutted track gave a good Cat 3+ ramble to a lovely wooded section which then opened out at the summit where we had lunch in the earthworks of the iron-age hill fort. A gentle ride down past farmland was a welcome relief to some and the stream in the village pure bliss to overheated dogs. Thanks Andy for two great rambles.
A very picturesque ramble combining valley, lake and coast. From the outskirts of Helston we travelled along the edge of ‘The Loe’, a land-locked estuary created when a big storm threw up a massive shingle bar and which is now the largest fresh-water lake in Cornwall. On reaching the sea we turned west and followed the coast past Vellin-gluz Rocks before turning inland over fields to enjoy a cup of tea at the NT café. Many thanks Greg for coming with us and adding so much interest to the ramble, what a font of knowledge! It was great having you with us.
We set out from Bissoe Bike Hut and rambled along the Cornish Coast-to-Coast path to the Poldice Valley where we explored the remains of tin 7 copper mining and arsenic production. During our return after lunch, at about 14:15, we heard cries for help coming from the hillside above. Five of our walkers scrambled up loose scree to find out what was happening. A man, Paul Lane, had slipped while out walking his friend’s dog. He was hidden by trees and so took some finding. Paul said that there was the sound of a crack from his leg when he fell. He had tried to crawl to the track but couldn’t make it. We phoned for an ambulance which we directed to the nearest point on the track in the valley. The ambulance people then tried to work out how to get to Paul. One pair set out in their 4×4 to try to reach from above. A member of DR escorted the other pair on foot up the scree to Paul where they diagnosed a fractured leg. The ambulance people had no way of getting Paul from the hillside, 150 metres above the track. No helicopter was available due to fog at their base. Our Rescue Trailer was called for by radio and a steep and rough track was found to bring it to Paul. After transferring Paul to our trailer, the ambulance people descended and left us to bring Paul down the track. We brought Paul right up to the ambulance and they departed. Many thanks to all those helping with the rescue – and to the rest of the group waiting patiently. Paul phoned later to say that he had been released from hospital at about midnight and that it was a severe sprain rather than a break.
9/5/2016. 6 miles, Cat 1. Borough Arms, Dunsford, Bodmin along the Camel Trail to Helland Bridge for lunch on ‘The Island’ next to the C15th Pack-horse Bridge. A lovely spring day; wild flowers in bloom, birds singing, sun in the sky and a great group of ramblers. Shame about the shower on the way back but it dried up before we reached the cars. Many thanks to Alexy Van Kimmenade of the Colquite Estate for allowing access to the island.
Very April weather and a cold wind – but good solid paths and, because the leaves were not fully out, lovely views across the valleys. It was a figure-of-eight route so lunch was back at the café - where it rained. Lots of us sat it out bravely but then discovered afterwards there were tables under shelter behind the building! The best weather was in the afternoon and it got quite warm as we climbed steadily through varied woodland paths. A good start to the rambling year
The planned Ashridge ramble was glorious in summer – but then it rained all winter and the broad woodland paths turned mostly liquid. So after a last minute panic to find new ways through we ended up with a route rather better than the first. Very varied landscapes, spring foliage bursting out everywhere … and just enough mud to make things interesting. We even had the chance to use the tow ropes. It could have been a bit warmer but when the sun came out it was fine. Thanks to all you walkers – very visible in the new DR hi-viz jackets – Thanks for seeing us safely across roads, golf courses and mud baths.