2018 Photos

2018 Goring

The weather forecast was so bad for the day of our ramble that in the end only two crazy/ intrepid DR members, Charles and I, braved it with his daughter Louise and Alie and Wim from Henley and Goring Ramblers. However, all the terrible predictions proved to be wrong, we only had a few minutes of very light rain throughout the whole day. We could not believe our luck; I for one was constantly expecting the weather to change. We began in the streets of Goring and soon joined a long stretch of path by the Thames where we had both of our rest breaks enjoying views of the water. We then climbed a long gradual slope up on to the Ridgeway, during which Lucy’s battery was distinctly unhappy despite having been absolutely fine when we reccied the route. It was interesting how the terrain was different from 9 months ago; there were far fewer ruts on the hill, and all the recent harvesting work on the field we crossed made it much less bumpy (and hence pleasanter)than my last attempt at that part of the ramble. We all really enjoyed it- Charles declared it “a perfect day”. Lucy Savage

2018 Woburn Reccie

A great day out doing a reccie at Woburn. Can't wait to put this one on the programme.

2018 Arundel River, Lake and Wetlands

As ever this year we had a beautiful day for this slightly different to normal ramble. It's different because it's based in the quaint town of Arundel and not a countryside ramble as we usually do, so after parking near the Castle 10 scooterists and 5 walkers proceeded up the footpath beside the "moat" surrounding the Castle (or it's also known as the millstream), to Swanbourne Lake which started life as a millpond and dates back to the 11th century, it is fed by groundwater springs known as the Blue Springs" due to the colour of the water as it comes from the ground, which is mainly chalk. Then on up the valley through Arundel Park for a short while, by special permission of the Castle Estate, where we had coffee in the welcome shade of a large tree. From the lake we went on up to the Wetland Centre which is run by the WWT, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, who also run Slimbridge wetlands and bird sanctuary in Gloucestershire. We had a leisurely meander round the various paths looking at the unusual species such as black necked swans, native of South America. Many of the wildfowl just wander around the sanctuary and are very tame. We spent a lot of time resting in the shade but the sun was really hot and before we left two of our number had departed and thrown their hat in, so to speak! In the photos there is a picture of an "insect hotel" and on close inspection you will see a swarm of bees in the right hand corner which was quite a sight to see in the Meadow Maze. It is a lovely little wildfowl sanctuary with a super boardwalk ride through the rushes and lakes, also a boat ride which Sarah & Pete went on through the various lagoons and creeks. Special thanks to Simon Mockford, the SDNPA Ranger who initially asked us to reccy Swanbourne Lake with him and he accompanied us all the way from the Museum, round the lake and up to the Wetlands where, sadly, he had to go back "to the office". Simon was involved in vastly improving the path around Swanbourne Lake thus making is accessible for us. It was just a very narrow track that we wouldn't have been able to navigate and now it is lovely and wide and a very popular walk for local residents. During the walk Simon gave us a lot of info re the lake and surrounding area and listened to all our gripes and concerns with great resilience! The National Park are very helpful to us and willing and ready to help wherever possible, and that is greatly appreciated. An enjoyable, if very hot, day - thanks to all who came...without you it wouldn't work! Phew!! Val & Bob.

2018 Rickmansworth

We were really lucky for this ramble that the weather was cooler than in the past few days. People enjoyed the views of the lakes and plentiful wild flowers along the Ebury Way; a bench thoughtfully placed under a large tree on Croxley Common Moor made a great coffee stop. At the still inaccessible bridge we created temporary access with Lucy’s husband Makoto transporting Bob and Val’s portable ramp there, and across we all went. There were a few interesting challenges along the canal towpath in the form of new “roadworks”. At several points we feared we might not get through gaps, but on two occasions helpful workmen (sorry, I mean operatives!) moved the barriers to allow us to pass. A successful and enjoyable day ended with people relaxing and enjoying ice creams from the Aquadrome cafe. (Lucy Savage)

The Great Road, Quantocks

This ramble started off at Staple Plain car park near the village of Holford and we proceeded up a very steep hill which the person writing this had been dreading - however, it was fine. The going on the whole ramble is very rough, steep, bumpy, tilting a little - but absolutely stunning. The views are almost unbelievable. Everywhere you look is breathtaking and seeped in ancient vibes, you can almost feel the presence of people from hundreds of years ago who used these many tracks on their way to market or just walking from village to village. We stopped for coffee break near a trig point, and we lost Bob!!! He had taken the wrong path back before the rest of the party left, but he turned up in the end and is fast getting a reputation for perhaps having to go on a lead, what with fords and wrong paths! Never mind Springwatch it'll have to be Bobwatch! L&P did the afternoon route in the morning and met us at the halfway point for lunch with the trailer as it was deemed the sensible thing to do because towing the trailer up the exceptionally steep & bumpy terrain we did in the morning would have exhausted the batteries very quickly and the afternoon part of the route was not quite as difficult as the morning. The descent back down to Holford in the morning was great, if bumpy fun, we all had to keep our wits about us and negotiate a very rocky, bumpy path for almost a mile or so. Sore wrists and other things were the order of the day. After lunch we made our way back towards the Great Road and stopped at Bicknoller Post where about 7 tracks meet and the scenery is too amazing for words with hills and valleys all converging and forming wonderful views all around, the mist was starting to come down over the hill which added to the atmosphere. The Great Road is an ancient droveway and is littered with loose rocks which require a bit of careful negotiation, but we followed this back to the car park after a very satisfying 8 mile ramble. One interesting coincidence is that the farmer where we were staying has lived on Exmoor for about 7 years but before that he did all the steel pressings for Tramper scooters and trailers for Beamer, we were astonished at the unlikelyhood of this happening out of all the farms on Exmoor. Small world. Finally, many thanks to ALL who put their heads together to make this tour so wonderful for us who attended. We often think that but for DR we wouldn't see nearly as much of the lovely and tranquil parts of the country that we are privileged to visit on our trusty scooters, photos don't do justice to the views but give a watered down vision for you to appreciate. Special and huge thanks to all involved in towing the loan scooters, getting them out, putting them away and disposing of the chemical loo at the end of the day, all the volunteers, walkers and walk leaders. You are invaluable.

2018 Haddon Hill to Wimbleball Lake

After a day of rest on Wednesday we left to meet at Haddon Hill car park, but on our way to the ramble we got lost in one of the myriad of lanes but while finding our way out we saw a sign saying "beware of pheasants" which made us laugh, but round the next corner there was a flock of young pheasants just sauntering across the lane and it took ages for them to get out of our way, it was rather frantic for them running all over the place. On arrival, the car park was spacious with lovely views and good loo facilities, and our route took us down to Wimbleball reservoir and dam which helps supply Exeter. It was quite unlike Clatworthy reservoir which we visited on Monday in that dogs are allowed but on leads at all times, and was much more developed in the sense that it is a centre for water sports such as kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, rowing, canoeing with many young people having really good fun on the water but with all the safety precautions in place, and there is also a Sailability group who use the lake, plus there is a Tramper for exploring and a wheelchair accessible boat available on site. There was a large area for tents so quite an adventure for the students that take part in these activities. It is also a centre for fishing and birdwatching with many of the rarer species of both waterfowl and other birds present on the lake and in the reserve. The tracks were good and picturesque overlooking the lake at all times and also views over the surrounding hills and valleys. We had lunch at the Duck Cafe, lovely ice creams there! A really lovely day, not too difficult and a very good place to take a family for a fulfilling day out. We had a special guest today - Julie Andrews from Able magazine who rode with us on one of the loan scooters, she attended with their official photographer to report on our day out, they were good company and a lot of fun. When we were having coffee break a member of the scientific team at South West Water arrived to take a reading of the water quality with his water gauge. He had to assess the amount of algae in the water and if it was too high the information goes to the treatment works so that the water is purified on its way through. All interesting stuff and shows that although we don't always realise it there's plenty of work going on to ensure our safety by the authorities concerned. Another super day...but tomorrow a 3+, oh dear!

2018 Selworthy Beacon

Day two - lovely weather again. Selworthy Beacon, elevation 1013 feet, lies north-west of Minehead and is situated within the NT owned Holnicote Estate, from the site of the Beacon there are views of the high moors of Exmoor and Dunkery Beacon, and also views across the Bristol Channel with Wales clearly visible on a good day. In the 16th century it was the site of a beacon to warn of impending invasions. It really is difficult to describe the views other than to say they are utterly breathtaking. We left the car park and trundled happily along with coastal views ahead and all the valleys to the side. This was a ramble across quite open moorland most of the way but as we went along the tracks you could smell all the different foliage and flowers and with the warmth of the day it felt really special and unique, some heather was flowering and was interspersed with low growing yellow gorse which, in turn, was greatly appreciated by many butterflies, they seemed to be out in force in the warm sunshine. We had a wonderful view of the village of Porlock nestling below us in the valley with the sea sparkling blue in Porlock Bay with Hurlstone Point and Gore Point forming the framework of the bay. We stopped for lunch and a rest and then followed the easy access path through the woodland where we saw the Wind & Weather hut erected in 1878 for use by the Acland family on their Sunday walks. This was a very enjoyable and very scenic ramble, with moorland, sea views, valleys, patchwork landscape of fields all around. It had everything, (and no steep 1:4 hills!). Thank you L & P for reccying and leading this ramble for DR and giving us such a super day.

2018 Clatworthy Reservoir

The first day of the Exmoor Tour and again, we were so lucky to have perfect weather. If you have never been to Exmoor - you have really missed something!! It is like a world removed from normal life, the lanes are tiny and very hilly and with wild bends, quite heartstopping at times, especially if you happen to meet a lorry, but this time of year beautiful with pink Rosebay Willow Herb and all had long silvery grassheads on the banks with tall hedges so that sometimes you felt in a maze, we were just getting used to it when it was time to come home. Clatworthy Reservoir is really beautiful, it holds over 5 million cubic metres of water and supplies some 200,000 homes. It is also used for fishing and apparently, there is a special wheelchair friendly boat for disabled anglers. We were accompanied by Ellie from Wessex Water who is involved with the well-being of the reservoir and working with her team to maintain the special species of insects and ecology of the area. On one section Wessex Water have "terraced" the ferns (bracken) rather like a vineyard, so that a particular butterfly can have the specialised conditions it likes to breed. They have also uncovered interesting rock formations formed many thousands of years ago which have been scraped clear and we were able to see these. It was very interesting to have regular stops and talks from Ellie and made the visit even more worthwhile. The reservoir is tucked away in hills and valleys and is spectacular with good paths and views all around. This was a Cat 3 ramble, most of it was not a 3 but at the beginning was the most challenging hill I have ever undertaken, which made it a 3 (Cat 10 in my book!). Not only was it very steep, l:4 I believe, but it had hairpin bends and to add to the challenge it was also uneven with some interesting ruts, so quite an achievement to get up it - everyone managed extremely well, but I was relieved to get to the top - thank you Judy & Bernard for your support! A really super ramble and a terrific start to a very promising week. One of our members, Gordon Guest, has been working with Wessex Water to make sure this ramble was possible - so our thanks to Gordon for his efforts.

2018 Ravenscar Circuit

Ravenscar circuit - 22.06.18 No, he wasn't winding us up! We parked at the quaint Station Tea Rooms at Ravenscar, the village that never was - In the late Victorian period plans were made for Ravenscar to become a holiday resort and roads were laid, a handful of houses built and sewers installed but it never really caught on probably because of the steep path to the beach - remnants of the resort that never was still remain. We proceeded up the road with lovely views all around and wild flowers galore, lots of pink spotted orchids, this bit was easy - then we came to Howdale Moor with tracks that threw everything at us, ruts, sideslopes, very uneven ground and we all had to do a balancing act at times on extremely narrow bits with furrows at the side - but due to our great skill we all managed! Cotton grass in abundance again and lovely views, skylarks as well. Then into some woodland, again with a tricky path but it was good fun, until we arrived at our lunch stop. Here a local gent came to see us with a hat someone had dropped and said he hoped we weren't taking the path down to the old railway track - we were - he said we were mad and wouldn't make it - slightly worrying, but reassured by Ian that we would - in the end although it was a very difficult, quite long and very overgrown path we did make it, not without some heart stopping "tilts" on our scooters, hooray for the volunteers! The old railway track offered some breathtaking views of Robin Hood's Bay and other coastal scenery, an absolutely super ramble - definitely Cat 3+ as stated - but very enjoyable. We arrived back at the Station Tea Rooms and made the most of the amazing array of cakes and cuppas before we reluctantly said goodbye to everyone before we went on our way and back to normality again. These four rambles of Ian's were superb and he was a very friendly, skilful and relaxed leader and we appreciate the hard work he put in to make our week so enjoyable. Many thanks to all of the invaluable volunteers, Veronica, Sarah for towing the loo most of the time and Dave for his stoical effort in towing on the last day, all very much appreciated. The weather for the whole week couldn't have been better either, we were very lucky and enjoyed it all tremendously. Val & Bob.

2018 Hole of Horcum

Hole of Horcum - 21.06.2018 We set off fully equipped with hats, gloves, coats, from a very windy and cold Saltergate Car Park high on the moors overlooking the Hole of Horcum which is a huge natural amphitheatre 400 feet deep and more than half a mile across created by water welling up from the hillside which gradually undermined the slopes above eating the rocks away grain by grain, this process still continues. Our route was across Levisham Moor to the village of Levisham, and this moor is the largest ancient monument in the Nth York Moors with Bronze Age barrows and late Iron Age boundary dykes. A very picturesque route with good views on either side of us and quite spectacular "cotton grass" growing in the heather which looked like snow. Some difficult negotiating especially around a car parked on the pathway! It was mainly a good track though and we ended up at the pretty, quite isolated village, of Levisham with an excellent pub called The Horseshoe where we all had some welcome sustenance, like a big bowl of chips and such luxuries! Our trip back was rewarded by lovely sunshine and much to our delight an ice cream van in the car park, what more could you want? Another super ramble but tomorrow sounds a bit more difficult...........or is Ian winding us all up? PS We were able to borrow a Tramper so that Bob was able to continue rambling for the rest of the week after poor Dora's mishap in the ford, so we are very grateful to Chris and Ian for being so kind as to let us borrow these two machines and so continue with one of the best holidays we have had with DR. Val & Bob.

2018 Grosmont to Gothland

Grosmont to Goathland - 19.01.18 The North Yorkshire Moors Railway has its northern terminus at Grosmont as it is a railway village with plenty of historical interest relating to the railway and the discovery of ironstone in 1836. We followed the original tramway which ran between Grosmont and Goathland, there were many quite steep inclines and sharp turns onto narrow bridges and wasn't without its challenges. En route we could hear the steam train passing but didn't actually see it as it went through woodland. The sad case of the swamped scooter had a happy ending today as one of the members attending the ramble had a demo power chair which he very kindly lent us. This wasn't without difficulty as it is operated by a joystick which is very sensitive so for the first part of the ramble Bob wove a very interesting route and probably did twice as many miles as the rest of us! By the end of the ramble he was much more competent and even crossed two big fords without one drop of water getting into the motor! We had lunch at Goathland which was known as Aidensfield in the TV series "Heartbeat" and also as "Hogsmeade" station in the early Harry Potter films. A lovely ramble of tracks, open countryside, woodland, lovely wild flowers which as you passed them gave a lovely scent in the warm sun, for which we were very grateful. Val & Bob.

2018 Mulgrave Woods

Mulgrave Woods - 18.06.18 Sandsend car park is right on the coast with a lovely outlook and it was great to see many old friends turn up for this first ramble of the week, especially as the sun was shining - but was extremely windy. Mulgrave has been the family estate for the Marquis & Marchioness of Normanby since 1743 and extends to 15,000 acres. We were met by the Forestry Manager who led us into the woods and gave a very interesting talk about the way they manage and control all the various problems they encounter, such as ash tree die back, a fungal infection that destroys the ash trees and has to be rigorously controlled. We were also able to watch a very hi-tech tree felling machine in action lifting branches and stripping off the leaves and twigs and cutting them to length. The team are dedicated to conservation and protecting the flora and fauna, so much so that even the annual shoot is to be discontinued. We then proceeded through the wonderful woodland tracks to our lunch stop and where the "shoot" marquee made a welcome sitting area for our weary volunteers and walkers. Some of the braver ones went for a "rough ride", and all was fine until one of the group, who shall remain nameless (look at photos), crossed a ford and the scooter was swamped resulting in it having to be towed the rest of the way with two anchormen behind as the steep tracks meant it would run away and collide with the towing Tramper - what fun we have! The volunteers were amazing as it was hard work with the heat, and a scooter without its motor is so heavy and difficult to control. Made it back to base safely but a bit sad to have a sick scooter, oh dear! Was this the end of our holiday? The old castle ruins en route replace a motte-and-bailey fortification which acted as a HQ for its owners, in the 17th century it became a hunting lodge, and was re-fortified during the Civil War but was slighted by orders of Parliament in 1647. A new castle is in use by the Marquis and Marchioness on the Estate. A very lovely ramble through beautiful woodland, - thanks, Ian. Val & Bob.

2018 Graffham RR

Graffham Regional Ramble - 12th June 2018 A lovely sunny day saw 12 of us scooterists and 5 walkers, including Matt the Ranger for that area, set off up the South Downs Way towards the Graffham Nature Reserve(s), these are 6 seperate little reserves off the SDW which are wildflower meadows with rare wildlife, wonderful views and archaeological features. We heard the quite rare tree pipit en route and going through one of the meadows with the fragrance of the wild herbs all around us a fallow deer ran across in front of us, really lovely to see. Yellow rattle, Valerian, Common Spotted Orchid, dark pink and white Pyramidal Orchids, dog roses, pink and white clover, and many other wild flowers were out in abundance with the oregano and other herbs about to come into flower. One crisis, one of us had a very flat tyre, but with some “gung” and a good shot of air from our electric pump (the wonders of technology - it connects with my Tramper with a cigarette lighter fitting) and we were on our way again. Two “heroes” to the rescue - Ian and Bob. This ramble was all about the reserves and wildflowers that are in the meadows with a few lovely views thrown in for good measure, but on the way back we stopped at Manor Farm for a cream tea and chat about disabled facilities with the farmer as he is hoping to provide a disabled loo and camping facilities among other things in the future and this made a very satisfactory end to a lovely day. As ever, many thanks to all who came - we do appreciate the effort involved in loading and travelling - and it was really nice to see Rosie & John out again after quite a long absence, and especially to Matt the SDNPA Ranger who accompanied us and gave us such interesting information about the flora and fauna on the way. Val and Bob.

2018 Chatsworth

On our final day, we started off up the winding hill towards the Hunting Tower passing the beautiful smell of the bluebells, and a waterfall which feeds the famous fountain. At the highest point we stopped for a break to look over the surrounding green countryside. Here we were joined the gardeners cutting the grass in front of the tower, but they kindly stopped and had a break with us. Continuing we passed the lakes, Swiss Cottage and the early flowering Rhododendrons and returned to the car park for lunch. Our afternoon ramble went across the fields on the opposite side of the grounds passing closely to the lambs and sheep in the fields, and in the distance, we had glimpses of the many deer who live in the park. Our coffee break and photo opportunity, was by the Golden Gate entrance before continuing alongside the river back to the road. Owing to the preparations for the RHS show in June, the field we wanted to cross was cordoned off by an electric fence. Arthur displayed his expertise by lifting out the posts and with Bernard’s help made an archway for the group to pass under the fence to get back into the car park to end, another successful and memorable day.

2018 Cromford Wharf to Middleton Top

From Cromford Wharf car park, we set off along the lovely Cromford canal to High Peak junction where we took our first break and Rick Gilling, Ranger, gave us a very interesting talk on the history of the High Peak Trail. We continued up the 1 in 8 hill for about a mile and a half to a flatter section overlooking Cromford and beautiful surrounding area, where we had a photo call and coffee. We continued up another steep hill to Middleton Top for lunch in the sunshine on the field below the visitor centre. On our return we called at the Stone Centre for a tea and cakes and a puncture repair to a member’s scooter. Bernard and Paul worked extremely hard to fix the problem but on this occasion were unsuccessful. I continued with the group back to Cromford car park whilst Bernard stayed with the breakdown and then hitched a lift back to the car park. Our large groups in various locations in on this tour have caused lots of interest from both the locals and visitors who have been given leaflets and information about the organisation and have told us that they think it is a great idea for disabled people to enjoy the countryside in this way.

2018 Hartington Old Station

At Hartington Old Station we parked in the Horse box area owing to the high number of members. We set off along the Tissington Trail towards the village of Biggin. Unfortunately, a member was unable to continue and so she and her husband returned to the car park with a passing cyclist who they knew. The group continued to Biggin leaving the trail along the pavement to the A515. This was an extremely busy road and we needed 5 marshals to stop the traffic before the group crossed safely into Cardlemere Lane, to some shade from the lovely sunshine, for a coffee break. This lane took us to the Pennine Bridleway and High Peak Trail giving us wonderful panoramic views over the Derbyshire countryside. We had another busy road to cross further on and the same marshals were in action again. Our thanks to everyone for getting us safely across. Our lunch was at Findon by the brickworks where we were able to read about its history. Our final stop at Parsley Hay visitor’s centre, had wonderful views whilst enjoying afternoon tea, cakes and ice cream. Members would have been happy to have stayed much longer, soaking up the sunshine.

2018 Monsal Trail from Bakewell

A large group of 30+ ramblers met at the Bakewell Agricultural Centre car park where it was extremely busy with farmers arriving for the Monday livestock market. After the briefing in a quieter area we set off along the Monsal Trail up Castle Hill to the old Bakewell Station. It was a glorious day with wall to wall sunshine which stayed with us all the week. The morning coffee break was just before Hassop station and then we continued up the very gradual hill towards Monsal Head. Unfortunately, owing to a member feeling unwell and needing to return to the car park we had to split up the group and our thanks go to Jeff and Paul for escorting her safely back. The remainder of the group continued through the Headstone Tunnel to Monsal Head for lunch. Bernard climbed up to the car park on the hill and returned with ice creams for those who wanted them. On our return we met up again with Jeff and Paul and had a break at the Hassop station for teas and cakes before returning to an almost empty car park, quite a stark difference from the morning.

2018 Swyncombe Regional Ramble

This was my first venture at co-leading a ramble, jointly this time with Alie and Wim from Henley and Goring Ramblers. After weeks of fretting about whether the route would be too wet or muddy, and several changes to the ramble route, six of us gathered with the Ramblers on a warm, sunny morning. I think we brought 3 tow ropes between us- which meant none were needed, thank goodness! The day gave plenty of varied scenery, from beech woods carpeted with bluebells to vistas over the downs and our lunch spot was quite idyllic; right next to a field of sheep and lambs, with skylarks singing above us. Some cyclists we encountered were convinced we wouldn’t get through an impending massive puddle, (more of a lake really), the smelliest one I’ve ever encountered! But get through we did, with help, of course, though our Trampers carried the memory of it on the tyres for a while afterwards! We were incredibly lucky with the weather; there was not a cloud to be seen all day-to the extent that someone commented “ Can this really be England?” We are extremely grateful to Alie and Wim for all their hard preparatory work, checking and re-checking route conditions and making sure it would all go as smoothly as possible. Lucy

2018 St Ives to Houghton Mill Regional Ramble

Beautiful Regional Ramble St Ives and Houghton Mill in Cambridgeshire 26th April.

2018 Stanmer Park, Brighton

Stanmer Park, nr Brighton - 20th April 2018 This is our second visit to Stanmer Park estate which covers 5000 acres with a pretty village, manor house, farm, church and cafe and is on the outskirts of Brighton next to the campus of the University of Sussex It is a very beautiful park and has very many varied paths through the woods and downland that formed the basis of our ramble today. From the car park we proceeded up a steep hill to the trail that leads all round the estate, we did a reccy last week and could only get halfway round as the mud and puddles were so deep and thick, but luckily we found another route which led us up a quite bumpy and furrowed track which needed a bit of care to negotiate but was through lovely hedgerows and fields back into the woods where we had our lunch. The woodland scene was really springlike with leaves just starting to show on the trees and with bluebells, anemones, forget me nots, violets, cowslips and other early spring flowers along the way. So we had a steep grassy hill, nice flat trail, down a tarmac estate road (but very quiet - never see any cars but of course, today we saw 2), then onto a quite challenging and rough track - had to keep them awake somehow! - then into quiet woods for lunch. Coming out of the woods you look down onto the parkland of the estate before going downhill to the exit gate. We then went up to the village to get a well earned cuppa and ice-creams at the cafe before trekking back to the car park. Our contact, Will, at Stanmer Park had very kindly reserved one whole car parking area for us for the day - this is usually crammed with students cars and it never ceases to amaze me how helpful all the different authorities that we request help from are. Very grateful. So, this was the last ramble of the first Tour of 2018 and very enjoyable too, many thanks to Bernard and Judy - they work extremely hard to enable the loan scooters to be used by DR members and like Bob and I made sure we were there very early so that everything ran very smoothly. Alarm set for 5.45 every morning! Now for a rest!!! Val.

2018 Jack & Jill Windmills to Ditchling Beacon

Jack & Jill to Ditchling Beacon via The Chattri. - 19th April 2018 This is a jewel of a ramble, one of those that sticks in your memory for ever. We had the hottest day in the UK for 70 years, a week before at the reccy it was mist, thick mud and deep puddles but today it had dried up completely and instead it was rather hard en route, but you can’t have everything. We started off going through a farmyard onto a steep downhill track with lots of loose large flints littered over the ground which needed careful negotiating, and then on to little bridle paths meandering through the South Downs and over and round freshly ploughed fields, it’s like another world - just beautiful scenery everywhere you look, as you can see from the photos. It was quite a challenging ramble and the sun had baked the mud making it the soil very hard. We managed to find some shade to have our coffee break before proceeding to The Chattri, a memorial erected in memory of the Indian soldiers who were hospitalised in the Royal Pavilion in Brighton after the 1914-18 war. This lovely memorial was erected on the cremation site of these soldiers and the word “chattri” means “umbrella” in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu symbolising the protection offered in their memory, it is in a very peaceful and tranquil setting. This was our lunch stop, earlier than planned, but there was shade which was very precious so we made the most of it. On our way back up to the main track along the South Downs Way to get to Ditchling Beacon, we passed a tractor ploughing with flocks of seagulls, difficult to capture on a photo, but it gives an idea of the effect. We also saw hares, kestrels, lots of sheep and their new lambs around a dew pond, and highlight of the day for me and Sue G was a Yellowhammer just hopping about on the ground near some gorse bushes, really lovely. It is difficult to describe the beauty of this part of the South Downs but we want to go back and do it again this summer, it is a new route for us and the Ranger, Andy, who came with us is going to put work into motion to improve another track along the route so we can do another loop and so make another new ramble. A super day - so glad the mud dried up though! Thanks must go to Lucy for suggesting Jack & Jill to Ditchling Beacon which we were then able to enlarge to incorporate this beautiful route to The Chattri, and many thanks to all who came, and as ever the volunteers and walkers who help along the way. Val.

2018 Southwater Country Park to Chesworth Farm, Horsham

Southwater CP to Chesworth Farm - 17th April 2018 Well, this was “the ramble that wasn’t but became something else instead”. Lovely day again and we set off from Southwater CP to follow this nice ramble through the byways and paths around the market town of Horsham. Our route led us through a particularly lovely old wood with bluebells, forget me nots, milkmaids, carpets of white anemones, celandines and wild garlic all coming out and at the end of this wood was the path we needed but unfortunately, due to the heavy rain this had become so eroded that it was not possible to continue as it had become a deep chasm, so David - our Leader, devised a different approach and we all turned round and set off towards Chesworth Farm. Unhappily, this was not to be as one of our group had battery problems due to a charging mishap, so in the end we decided to go back to the Country Park and have lunch and then explore around the lake there which has swans and other waterfowl on it. Luckily, we had a spare loan scooter which came in useful for our member with the depleted battery. Due to David working with the Wardens at the CP a lot has been done to improve access through the park and we had a good wander round after a restful lunch at the cafe. Still a good day with lovely weather and thanks once more to David for leading, and our volunteers who worked so hard through the day with road crossings etc. and towing the trailer, we’d be lost without them. Val.

2018 Downs Link - Shoreham to Bramber

Shoreham to Bramber - 16th April 2018 Our first ramble of 2018 and we were so lucky that the weather for the whole week is forecast as being really spring-like and fine. Phew! We were pleased to welcome three new members and it was great to see Nomi out again after health problems over the last few years. Parking for this ramble is particularly difficult so we were lucky to get a whole layby allotted to us opposite the landing field of Shoreham Airport. We then progressed over the old Tollbridge, where there is a temporary memorial to those who perished in the terrible Hawker Hunter aircrash of 2015 a permanent and beautiful memorial is going to be erected in the near future. Rather alarmingly, workman had put barriers up as the centre of the bridge had subsided and left just enough room for us to pass through either side - they said the high tide had washed away the bank underneath leaving a huge and deep hole. The scenery on this ramble is very lovely and on our left as we went along the Downs Link path is the haunting and Gothic looking Lancing College which always looks very eerie especially if it’s misty. Also, there are farmsteads with the typical Sussex buildings and an old Norman church in the distance. All the Spring flowers are starting to come out, celandines, milkmaids, some bluebells starting to show and lots of lambs. Arriving at the pretty village of Bramber we had our lunch stop, and our first ice cream of the year! The ruin of Bramber Castle looks over the village but the hill up to the ruins is very steep and “camber-y” and not really easily accessible for our scooters, or only for the very brave, so we didn’t take the risk. After lunch - homeward bound on a slightly different route and along the banks of the River Adur, rather bumpy for those on the top path, moderately bumpy on the bottom path but with the risk of deep mud, luckily the wind and sun had dried it up very well. This ramble was almost 9 miles but is a really super route and one of my favourites, as well as not presenting too many difficulties and the scenery is just great. Thanks to all for coming, many thanks to David for leading, and here’s to a very successful season of Disabled Ramblers treks through the beautiful countryside of the UK. Val.

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