2018 Photos

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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