2017 Photos

2017 Garwnant

This ramble took us further south to Garwnant Forest and Llwyn-onn Reservoir. Where we discovered the giants seat and wild orchids. The lunch stop provided glorious views over the tree tops and across the valley.

2017 Storey Arms Old Coach Road

Entertainment whilst assembling watching the helicopter take scalping up to the Storey Arms to Pen-y-Fan footpath for the National Trust to repair. An interesting days ramble along the old coach road following the valley up. With glorious views of Fan Frynych and Craig Cerrig Gleisiad across the valley and surrounded by sheep. Many thanks to Warden Richard Farquhar and Trainee Warden Henry for their help and support.

2017 Libanus

Tues 11th July Libanus Hill Forts Unfortunately a wet day which didn't deter most of us. An interesting day exploring the history of Libanus hill forts. A detour back to the visitor centre for a hot lunch was appreciated by all. Many thanks to Brecon Beacons Warden Richard Farquhar and Trainee Warden Tom for their help and support.

2017 Usk Reservoir

The Brecon Beacons Tour started on Monday at the Usk Reservoir with a group of 15 scooters and 13 walkers. We met at the car park by the dam with the weather misty and the odd spot of rain. However, the mist soon lifted into light cloud and it remained dry for the rest of the ramble. We set off in a clockwise direction around the reservoir and soon lost sight of the water for some time as we travelled through the pine trees. When we emerged at the top of the hill we were greeted by a superb view over the water. At our coffee break Sue appeared with a delicious container of shortbread which she handed out to everyone saying it was to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Lunch was overlooking the reservoir which was in a sheltered spot away from the breeze that tried to take hold of the toilet tent which was firmly tied down. We continued over some undulating ground and completed the route by crossing the dam returning to the car park. We all thoroughly enjoyed the day and many thanks go to Arthur Lee for leading the ramble and to Paul Dann from Natural Resources Wales for his help & support. Judy

2017 Golden Valley to Eastnor Obelisk RR

Starting with a pleasant wander across the open common land, once Gullet Quarry lake is passed this is very much a 3+ ramble once The Gullet is reached. This is a fairly narrow, dark, rocky and steep path up to the ridge-way which runs along the length of the Malvern Hills. One water-worn gully gets more 'interesting' to cross each year - but adds to the challenge of this ramble. Once climbed we regain open countryside and the Obelisk is soon reached and makes for a lovely lunch stop.

2017 Anderwood to Knightwood Oak RR

DR Regional Ramble - Anderwood to Knightwood Oak, New Forest. Unfortunately, after several sparkling sunny days our ramble day dawned with thick cloud cover, but as long as we didn’t have rain - we were quite happy! We had a good turnout of 9 scooters and two walkers and little Ella - Mike’s lovely black spaniel. For some reason, up to now, we haven’t made good enough use of Anderwood Inclosure and now we have discovered it I’m sure it will become very popular as there are barbecue facilities and best of all - loos. On a count we had 4 TWS’s, 2 Supersports. 1 Tramper, a Mini Crosser and a Hill Climber. The interesting, and rewarding, thing to see was all the chaps discussing their various adaptions to their TWS’s and getting ideas from each other, rather like a motor cycle convention only watered down! The support we all get from each other is invaluable and one of the really good things about DR. We made our way from Anderwood through the forest on fairly level and well defined tracks and cycleways, all very lovely in the forest at this time of year. We had a bit of road work but were able to keep on the wide verge most of the time, we reached the Knightwood Oak at about 1.45 for lunch. It is estimated that this tree is between 450 to 600 years old. The girth of the trunk at ground level is just over 7 metres, and what makes it different to many other oaks in the New Forest is that it is a pollarded oak, this method was used in ancient times to promote the growth of numerous new branches to increase the yield of timber from the tree. However, this practice was stopped when the Royal Navy needed oak timber for shipbuilding at nearby Bucklers Hard as it inhibited the growth of tall solid trunks ideal for cutting into long planks that were required for the ships of Nelson’s fleet. We had a little shower here but it didn’t last long. On our return journey we also saw the ancient Eagle Oak, so called because in 1810 a Keeper shot the last Sea Eagle from its branches. It has a Yew entwined in its branches and at first glance it doesn’t look like an oak tree as the Yew hides the foliage, which then rises above the needles of the Yew. By now, the sun had started to emerge and our last leg of the ramble which was on a little footpath through a wood was in wonderful bright sunshine, this was our bit of “off piste” and during the winter would be out of the question. A lovely ramble with very good company. Thanks all for coming, as ever, some from a considerable distance, we’re looking forward to the next one. Val & Bob

2017 Bowhill

Bowhill Estate, nr Peebles, Scottish Borders. Bowhill House is a historic house nr Bowhill at Selkirk in the Scottish Borders and is one of the homes of the Duke of Buccleuch. It is in the heart of the ancient royal hunting forest of Ettrick it is an ideal centre for outdoor activities, field sports - such as fishing, walking trails, adventure playground, etc and with an area of 58,000 acres there is plenty of scope for exploring. We met in a specially designated little area and it was a lovely day, no rain! Our leader, James Babington-Smith, warned us of the long climb, so we set off with a little concern re our batteries, but what a beautiful climb it was. We actually climbed to 1,435 feet and it was approximately a 3 mile trek to the top of the grouse moor with beautiful views over the surrounding countryside. Absolutely breathtaking, batteries were panting! The very helpful Ranger of Bowhill met us at the top in his Landy and took some photos, he was very pleased that we had managed to get to the top. As you can see from the photos, we met some very nice horse riders - we always stop for horses as they can get quite jumpy at the strange sight of scooters, but these were impeccably behaved with no trouble at all, apart from a sidelong glance of disdain! After lunch, we set off back down a steep gorge called Newarkburn, it was very lovely with steep sides clad in ferns, foxgloves and other wild flowers. It was a shame that we had to concentrate so hard on the steepness and muddy path as we couldn’t quite take it all in, but it was a rare treat and James had special permission to use that route from the estate so we were very fortunate to be able to appreciate it as much as we could, and towards the end it did even out and we stopped to really enjoy the peace and quiet of the surrounding area. We then came out onto the estate roads, which were very quiet and wended their way through the estate back to the car park. A very unusual and enjoyable ramble, thank you James and Anne, and special thanks to the Bowhill Estate. Val & Bob

2017 Glentress Forest

A select group of ramblers first drove 1½ miles gaining 500 feet of height to the Buzzards Nest car park on the summit of Cardie Hill. The ramble route took us up and down along the edge of the forest with great views over the Tweed Valley and the town of Peebles. Lunch was at a hill fort and later we saw the site of an Iron Age village. The weather was a mix of sunshine and showers – sadly with more showers than sunshine! At least the rain kept the midges away. Thanks James for a lovely ramble.

2017 Housesteads Roman Fort & Wall

A challenging ramble in places but thanks to great teamwork we all got up to Hadrian’s Wall and safely back to Housesteads Roman Fort where Veronica gave us an excellent tour of its layout. If you ever visit you might like to be aware that there is an accessible toilet in the museum but you will need to persuade the English Heritage staff to let you use it. Hopefully this situation will change soon following complaints to their management. JC

2017 Walltown Quarry to Cawfield Quarry

A windy but fairly dry start to the Borders Tour with the first of two visits to Hadrian’s Wall. After the long ramble along the line of the Roman Vallum (protective ditch) we turned uphill into the remains of Great Chesters fort (called Aesica by the Romans) where Veronica gave a short talk about the layout of Roman forts with the promise of more detail tomorrow when we visit Housesteads. Another half mile saw us at Cawfields Quarry picnic site for lunch. Both Walltown and Cawfield quarries destroyed sections of The Wall while removing the very hard Whin Sill rock for use in building the M6 and other roads. (The Whin Sill is a tabular layer of the igneous rock dolerite in County Durham and Northumberland.) After lunch we climbed up Hole Gap to reach Mile Castle 42, passing right through Hadrian's Wall on the way and giving some of our members their first chance to touch The Wall. Then back the way we came to Walltown Quarry Country Park. JC

2017 Sutton Bank

9/6/2017 Sutton Bank. At last some good weather; we even saw the sun! In the morning we followed the ‘Easy Access Trail’ south from Sutton Bank Visitor Centre along Sutton Bank to over the top of the White Horse where we stopped for coffee. Carrying on took us past the Yorkshire Gliding Club where we watched gliders being launched. After crossing the main road the route took us through woodland back to the Visitor Centre for lunch where we were delighted to meet up with Vic and Leslie who also joined us for part of the afternoon ramble. Ian Lawson had intended to lead this ramble but his meeting with Yorkshire Council was changed to this day so I offered to lead the ramble so that he could attend his access campaigning meeting. As I’d only reccied the second half by head-torch late one day in November I wasn’t happy just to see what happened. Very fortunately Flora was with us and she kindly offered to run (yes, run!) around the 2.5 mile route while we had lunch. The information she gathered was invaluable in showing us the safest track to take as we followed Sutton Bank to the north – thanks again Flora! All-in-all a delightful end to an exciting week of rambling in the North York Moors. Thanks Ian, we will be back for more.

2017 Old Byland to Rievaulx Abbey

Old Byland to Rievaulx Abbey 8/6/2017 At last the bad weather started to ease. Although we still had some rain it was as nothing compared to Monday & Tuesday – in fact we even had some sun for a few minutes in the afternoon. Thanks to the kindness of the locals at Old Byland, we were able to park on their village green. From there our path led down to Rievaulx by way of road and farm track – steep and rough in places. Lunch at Rievaulx Abbey gave us the opportunity to eat in their café or sandwiches outside. They have a disabled toilet we could use and they allowed dogs into the café area. A not-so-quiet lane led on to an estate track back up hill towards Cold Kirby. En-route we came to a ford which gave some the chance to test their scooters – and themselves – while the rest took the by-pass way. The long, but steady, climb tested the legs of the walkers and caused a bit of a problem with a couple of the scooters but in the end we all got back to Old Byland after a lovely ramble. Thanks again Ian. JC.

2017 Rievaulx Moor

The second day of our North York Moors tour started fairly dry so at least we weren’t cold and wet before we even began today. The first 2½ miles are a steady uphill climb to a trig point. As we climbed further so the rain got stronger and the ‘puddles’ deeper. After a short coffee stop just after the trig point the track began to descend more steeply towards Cowhouse Bank car park, our intended lunch stop. Just after we entered the woods one of the TWS Trampers started stopping and then starting again. A minute later one of the loan scooters stopped completely – water had got into the electrics. A tow rope was deployed and Stuart kindly towed the scooter back to the start while Bryan and Mike acted as brake-men for the steeper downhill sections. What excitement will Thursday bring? JC

2017 Rosedale Railway from Lion Inn

“Rain across the whole of the country” said the forecasters – and they were not kidding! So there we were, high up on the North York Moors with a choice between retreating to the warm firesides of the Lion Inn or braving the elements along the old railway which used to bring ironstone from the mines at Rosedale to the main line railway at Battersby. So, of course, 12 members on scooters and 10 walkers bravely set off. When reccied in November the views across the valley to the old workings at East Mines were lovely but today we were lucky to see from one end of the train of ramblers to the other. The first ½ mile was on road and we were fortunate to have Flora with us as she followed the convoy in her car with hazards going to give us much-needed protection. After a tricky section going from the car park at Blakey Junction down onto the old track-bed we turned east and headed off into the stinging rain. After about 1½ hours of ‘head-down and pretend you are enjoying this’ stuff, we stopped. JC decided that this was as good a place for lunch as any. However, not many wanted to eat so about fifteen minutes later we were on our way back but this time the wind-blown rain was behind us and we made good time back to the cars and soon many of us were warming up by the fireside of the Lion Inn. Looks like we are going to get the same weather tomorrow – oh well! Many thanks to Ian for organising and leading the ramble – we enjoyed it really! JC.

2017 Stoughton Down to Kingley Vale RR

Regional Ramble 2nd June 2017 - Stoughton Down to Kingley Vale, West Sussex. This is an extremely scenic and lovely ramble and many thanks to Julie and Ian Preddy for sending me the route, which we then reccied and were able to lead this Regional Ramble on a beautiful sunny day in June. To start off we met the local Forestry Commission Ranger in the car park and he was really interested in our scooters and gave us a lot of very valuable information and hints on parking etc in other areas that he manages locally, always a bonus when a chance meeting leads to very useful info that we can use in the future. 7 scooters and 1 walker set off up through a quite long uphill route through woods leading to the Devil’s Humps above Kingley Vale, lovely varied woods and tracks on our way opened out to a panoramic view over Stoughton Down and the village below from where our ramble began. Kingley Vale is famous for its ancient Yew woodlands but we didn’t see those today, we have another ramble worked out for another time to investigate the Yews (Cat 3 chaps!). The group had a bit of fun trying to get up some of the Devil’s humps - but he was not going to let them! They had to give up on the scooters and those who were able walked up the steps for an even better view from the top of these Bronze Age burial barrows at the top of Bow Hill on the South Downs. Then on along a very pleasant grass covered track to our lunch stop overlooking Chichester harbour in the distance, but the day was hazy and so the view was not good and was very vague but is normally quite spectacular. From there on down a very steep track back to the village of Stoughton where we investigated the 11th century Saxon Church of St Mary which has a fine ring of six bells and you will also see the interesting sun dial clock from the photos, it is a super old building and full of character. There is a memorial on the track leading down to Stoughton to a young Polish airman who perished there in his plane in l940. Then a little delightful detour through the fields along footpaths among the hedgerows full of spring flowers. Kites flew overhead quite low, and we were able to see them very clearly. We met a cyclist at the end of this detour who was dumbfounded by us and said it was the first time he had ever given way to anyone on the footpath let alone a group of disabled scooterists! We do meet some really nice people on our rambles. The last little part of the ramble is on the road, which is very quiet and with lovely views as you go along. A very rewarding day indeed, and many thanks to all who came - lovely to see Bernard who can’t get out very often so we were so pleased it was such a lovely day and such a typically English countryside ramble for us all to enjoy. Val and Bob.

2017 Aston to Henley

Aston to Henley on Thames - 25th May 2017. After a tortuous journey with worse than usual traffic, it was a wonderful feeling to enter the field where we were parking in the little peaceful hamlet of Aston, and even better to see the familiar figure of Jim Mills! Jim and Dorothy had made a special trip from their home to say hello to all of those they knew, and it was a treat to see them, they couldn’t accompany us on the trip but wanted to put in an appearance. Also on the ramble it was so nice to see Jude and Carol and The Harris’s, Keith and Brenda. It was a sparkling, really hot day and around 20 of us comprising 12 scooters and approx 8 walkers set off from the Flowerpot pub and progressed along the Thames Path in the direction of Hambleden Lock. One fascinating sight was the number of Red Kites (as in birds!) we saw, we counted anything from 5 or 6 to 11 or so soaring above us. The countryside in this part of world is quite flat but very atmospheric with the River Thames wending its way through the fields, and the banks are flanked with willow trees, which in turn, are reflected in the water giving that lovely “olde English” effect. Lots of wildfowl - coots, canada geese, ducks, swans with cygnets and also a swans nest right beside the footpath and this was only separated by a make-shift barrier of plastic wire - however, most people wouldn’t want to argue with a daddy swan I shouldn’t think! Hambleden Lock is very picturesque with a massive weir and lovely old houses, we stopped here for coffee break trying to find shade while watching the Thames cruisers (gin palaces?) go through the lock. There were also some immaculate wooden Thames launches, gleaming and highly varnished going along the river, plus an energetic chap practising in a single scull. Another boat characteristic of this part of the world is the slipper launch with a lowered stern which someone suggested was to let the people in the boat have a swim and get back on board easily. En route was Temple Island, as in the photos, where apparently, weddings are sometimes held, usually very select events by the sound of it. We reached our lunch break by 12.30 under the shade of huge willow trees. This time of year the willows are shedding their seedheads and it seemed as if it was snowing at times with all the little fluffy seedheads floating all around us and the ground was coated in a thick layer of them in places along the Thames Path. After lunch we went on up river into Henley and went to The Little Angel pub for ice cream, cider, tea or a pint whichever took your fancy. An amusing pub sandwich board was advertising some rather unusual offers to draw you in - see the advert in the photos! After this refreshment we wended our way back to our starting point having had a very enjoyable day in this historic part of Oxfordshire. Many thanks, as usual, to JC, Judy & Bernard, Jan & Stuart, and especially Veronica for towing the MSU, and for all their hard work in making the day so enjoyable and to all those who travelled a long way to come on the ramble. Val.

2017 Ivinghoe Beacon

As part of the Chilterns Walking Festival, Gavin led a ramble to the summit of Ivinghoe Beacon - which marks the end of the Ridgeway National Trail

2017 Shipley Country Park

The Shipley estate is an ancient manor mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086) when it was recorded as belonging to Gilbert of Ghent, the nephew of William the Conquer. Shipley has long had an association with coal mining, which played an important part in shaping the landscape. By 1722 coal mining was in full swing on the estate and around 1765 the Miller Mundy family took over the running of the mines. Unfortunately, the light rain today seemed to put off some of the group as there were only 13 of us as we set off from the Visitor Centre towards Mapperley Reservoir for coffee. We continued to the Nutbrook Café for lunch where we were spoilt for choice by the variety of hot, cold, sweet and savoury dishes on sale. After lunch we continued uphill to the site of the remains of Shipley Hall passing Shipley Lake. Retracing our steps towards Shipley Lake we turned left along Dog Kennel Lane and Shipley Lane to Derby Lodge where we met up with Vas our webmaster, who took lots of photos, and walked with us to the Visitor Centre. Judy

2017 Carsington Water

Our group of 25 set off in glorious sunshine around Carsington Water which was opened in 1992 by Her Majesty the Queen and is one of Derbyshire’s most important tourist attractions that cost £107 million to build. Severn Trent has planted half a million trees and shrubs in woodlands and the result has been not only to enhance a beautiful landscape, but to create many new habitats for wildlife. The route headed across The Dam towards Millfields. We paused at the Stones Shelter to take photographs of the wooden furniture so cleverly done, then onwards up to the highest point overlooking the reservoir for lunch. We continued via Sheepwash and the Wildlife Centre back to the Visitor Centre for teas and wonderful ice creams. Judy

2017 Hardwick Hall

A large group of members met on Tuesday 16th May at Hardwick Hall which is an architecturally significant Elizabethan Country house built between 1590 and 1597 for Bess of Hardwick. The weather was overcast and dry as we set off down the steep slope across farmland towards the Stone Centre and the Row Ponds. We stopped earlier than planned, because of a sharp shower, at the Park Centre for coffee as there was shelter there and toilets. The rain soon passed and we continued alongside Miller’s Pond. Our lunch break was at the top of Broadoak Hill where we had excellent views over Hardwick Hall and the surrounding countryside. We continued out of the park and along quiet lanes passing Ault Hucknall church and returning to the park along the road between the Old and New Halls back to the Visitor Centre for refreshments. Judy

2017 Clumber Park

Clumber Park 1703. On Monday 15th May a group of D R members and volunteers, 24 scooter riders and walkers, met by the Cricket Ground. The weather was showery as we set off around Clumber Park, a beautiful expanse of parkland covering 3,800 acres which was home to the Dukes of Newcastle for over 300 years and was once part of Sherwood Forest. The Bluebells and Rhododendron were in bloom which added to the lovely scenery, throughout the park. We stopped at Hardwick Village for lunch alongside the lake before continuing back to the Visitor Centre passing lots of wildlife and woodland. Judy.

2017 Penmachno Regional Ramble

Penmachno Forest Ramble. Another beautiful day, another wonderful ramble! Six people on scooters this time, with four trusty walkers, plus one dog. We started from the Mountain Bike Centre, but few cyclists about today, so plenty of parking space. Uphill to start, then into the woods for another longish uphill section, took us to an early lunch-stop, after an early coffee-stop, due to travelling quite slowly. One of us had grave battery concerns, at this point! Decision Time!! Do we continue, or do we return? I decided on the former, as we were at the high-point of our ramble. We carried on downhill, with this concern in mind, but the brave little scooter struggled on, to new battery-levels never seen by its owner! Ever onwards we went, mostly down-hill, into new territory for all but myself. Exciting! Then, end in sight, we entered the final and best part of our route, through the sun-splashed deciduous woodland, to the minor road. Almost there, more than one battery at unknown levels. One mile of single-file on the narrow road and we were back. Success! Great ramble!

2017 Nant Ffrancon Regional Ramble

Nant Ffrancon Ramble.Snowdonia. 8/5/17. A return to a ramble last done in September 2016, in very poor weather. This time, we were much luckier, having wall-to-wall sunshine, but with a very slight, but cool east wind. The mountains were resplendent, with not a single cloud in the sky. We were a small group of five scooters and five walking Helpers. Down the steep hill, the so-called 'Lord's Road', into the valley bottom, surrounded by beautiful mountains, so peaceful in the sunlight. Continuing on we skirted the giant slate tips of Penrhyn Quarry, passing Ogwen Bank Falls, where we had a very wet lunch-break in 2016. Not today! As we were just about to leave another DR member appeared, having 'raced' to catch us! The irrepressible ET! We had heard unusual sounds from nearby, so continued on to find their source, which turned out to be the 'Big Zipper' the longest zip-wire in Europe. After a short stop admiring the 'courage' of others, we then started back. This went very well, despite the steep hill, but everybody survived, to ramble again! The very next day, for most!

2017 Angmering Bluebell Ramble

Always a shame when MayDay is dull and overcast, as it always conjures up lovely sunshine daisies, morris dancers and such-like in one’s mind, but sadly this year’s MayDay was forecast as heavy rain in our area, so off we set togged up in our waterproof trousers ready for the first shower...which never came!!!! We had two cancellations already because of the forecast but it just never happened, it was dull but with a little sunshine here and there so we were more than pleased. 5 of us departed from the car park into the Angmering Park Estate, a private, traditional agricultural and sporting estate set in the heart of the South Downs National Park, activities include farming, a racing yard, shooting and other country pursuits including moorings and fishing on the rivers Arun and Adur. The Trustees of the Estate very kindly encourage the local population to walk, cycle, “scoot” and run through the many footpaths and bridleways that go all over the beautiful mixed woodlands. The Estate grounds at present are a mass of bluebells and it is a real treat to pass through the woods to see them. We found a lovely little coppice to have our coffee break sitting among a blue sea of these lovely iconic spring flowers, and we then proceeded along the bridleways to the little track that leads right through the Estate and past the lovely Angmering Park House and the stable yard, as you will see from the photos these are very lovely grounds and I think it is very generous of the Trustees to give access in this way. Lots of lovely scents in the air from the various shrubs en route and of course, among the bluebells themselves. We had lunch, again overlooking a hill of beech and hazel trees underlaid with bluebells, and were pleased to see 2 deer run along the top of the ridge. We could hear pheasants and one weird call which, in the end, we decided was a cockerel from the farm but it sounded like a banshee wail more than anything! All this time we kept our fingers crossed that it wouldn’t rain, and we were extremely lucky today as it kept as dry as a bone, in fact, we did an extra loop bringing the total distance to over 7 miles, we didn’t have any walkers today so we kept up a rather faster pace than usual and were back at the cars by just after 2 o’clock. We debated whether to explore another track but decided not to push our luck and perhaps we were wise as by 3 o’clock or so we started having showers once we got back home. It was a really enjoyable ramble, and the DRers we had were a lot of fun, namely David, Brian and Paul, Bob and Val - so it just shows that even if it is just a few people on the day it is still worth making the effort as it can, and did, turn into a very successful day. Our first this season and here’s to lots more during the summer. Photos supplied by Bob, Val and David. Val and Bob.

2017 Abraham's Valley

3-4-2017 Abraham’s Valley. A lovely spring day on Cannock Chase. The route has everything you might want in an easy Cat 3 ramble – undulating, winding paths, some challenging sections, two fords to play in, a mix of open heathland, coniferous and deciduous woodlands – and sunshine!

2017 Cannock Chase VC to Birches VC

2.4.2017. After leaving Cannock Chase Visitor Centre we wound our way through delightful birch copses and open grassland before crossing Marquises Drive and descending, sometimes on steep loose tracks, to the ford at Fariroak Pools. Soon we reached the Forestry Commission visitor Centre at Birches Valley (the location for yesterday’s AGM) for lunch. A fairly straight run saw us back at Cannock Chase VC in plenty of time for tea and ice creams.

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