LEISURELY WALKS

Derek HarwoodThe Leisurely Walks Group has half-day walks of up to three miles.



Group Coordinator: Derek Harwood (click to contact)       
When

We will start with one walk each month on varying days of the week. If there is enough support and others are prepared to lead some walks, we will then increase the frequency.

Where

All walks will be fairly local but with some public transport (to the start or from the finish).

Introduction
Since Spring 2018 iU3A has had a Leisurely Walks group (in addition to the current Shorter and Longer Walk groups). This group offers a monthly half-day walk (on different days of the week) of up to three miles. The pace is leisurely, with pauses along the way. The start and end points are easily reached by public transport and are in the Freedom Pass travel zones. Some walks are local, e.g. Clissold Park and the New River Path; others are sometimes further afield, e.g. Trent Park. The walks may feature river or canal towpaths, parks and nature reserves, while others may be more urban and explore a London 'village’. They are ideal for members who like gentle outdoor exercise at a slower pace than the existing walking groups. If you are interested in joining this new group please use the email link above to advise the Group Coordinator or join online through the Members' System ('Beacon') here.

Our experience of running walks has suggested a few common-sense guidelines, to ensure everyone’s enjoyment and safety on our walks. You can see them here.

We won't have sign ups per walk you can just turn up on the day. But if you are late we won't be expecting you so we won't wait for you.

Our Next Leisurely Walks
The programme of walks will also appear in the Members' System (ie 'Beacon').

Full walk details including meeting points and times will be available a week or two before the walk. You'll be able to see them (and print them if you like) from a link on this page. Where it says 'Details here', click on 'here' when it is highlighted in blue.

Wednesday 05 June — Chingford-Epping circular: members can start from Liverpool St station or from Chingford station. The route we will follow will take us passed the Epping Forest Visitor Centre and Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge close to the entrance to the forest. We will follow a broad path parallel to the main road before completing a circuit of Connaught Water and returning to the starting point, close to cafés for lunch. Full details are here. Usual rules - no sign up, just turn up on the day.

If you want to volunteer to lead one of these walks (help will be provided regarding the admin etc) please use the contact link at the top to drop Derek an email.


Recent Walks
Our recent walks have included:
May — Woodberry Downs: this was a walk from Manor House up the New River to Woodberry Wetlands (the bird reserve). A bonus was hearing from one of our members that it was her son who was the Project Manager for the redevelopment of Woodberry Wetlands. So we gleaned some inside information of its development. After a coffee stop at the Coal House we retraced our steps, down the New River, passed the old pumping station on the West Reservoir and then passed the Castle (now a climbing centre). After a short stretch of road we were into Clissold Park and alongside a stretch of the New River again. From there it was an easy bus ride back to H&I. A glorious sunny day made this a very pleasant stroll. Details here.

St Peters, WappingApril — Wapping: An easy journey to Wapping on this walk allowed 12 of us plenty of time at the start to enjoy a coffee and chat in the quirky surroundings of the Turk's Head café before setting off along historic Wapping High Street, eventually joining the Ornamental Canal where there were ducklings and coot chicks vying for our attention from neighbouring nesting sites. We briefly visited St Peter's Church, originally built for the poor, with an unusually ornate interior before continuing to Shadwell Basin. We then walked through the Edward VII Memorial Park, part of which is blighted because the Thames Tideway Super Sewer is being built. It will take sewage direct to Abbey Mills Treatment Centre rather than discharging the surplus in the Thames Estuary. This was explained to us by a helpful employee as we navigated back to the Thames Path and the Prospect of Whitby pub where six of us lunched, as had Samuel Pepys in earlier times. The rain held off as forecast and we made it back to Wapping station with just a sprinkling of sleet. Details here.

March Tower Hill to Limehouse: nine people started the walk from Tower Hill on a rather grey morning. We passed Royal Mint Court, site of the Royal Mint from 1809 to 1967, which the Chinese government has acquired for its embassy. Behind this, walking through an early social housing development (Improved Industrial Dwellings and Peabody Trust) we came to Cable Street, the Jack the Ripper Museum and went on to Graces Alley and Wilton's Music Hall. Much of the area here was cleared in the 1960s but, in Wellclose Square and Swedenborg Square, the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian community flourished in the 17th century. The first Swedish church in London was built, timber merchants imported pine for the shipbuilding industry, and Swedenborg lived and was buried here; likewise Daniel Solander, a Swedish botanist on Cook's first voyage. We saw memorials to them. Details here.

LimehouseNext was St George in the East, one of Hawksmoor's six London churches, severely damaged during the Blitz but, within its former shell, beautifully made into  a modern space for worship in 1964. Cable Street Mural, depicting the anti-blackshirt battle of 1936 and painted on the wall of St George's Town Hall, followed this and we continued along Cable Street to Shadwell. Here we stopped for coffee and then walked through Watney Market and east along Commercial Road, diverting into Steel's Lane past the "School on Stilts" to see Havering Steet, an unspoilt Georgian Street which most of the streets here would have been like. Back onto Commercial Road past Albert Gardens towards Limehouse we got caught in an absolute downpour. Had we spent less time having coffee we would have reached the Yurt Cafe dry! However the three remaining walkers enjoyed a good lunch there and warmed up. Details here.


  • Two cathedralsFebruary — Two Cathedrals: A dry but grey day dawned for our exploration of the South Bank between Southwark Cathedral and St Paul's, which allowed our group of 15 to saunter a little and study the area's history. A common theme was looking up: Mark Titchner's new artwork suspended from the ceiling in the new Stainer St tunnel at London Bridge, unusual angles of the Shard from the courtyard of Guy's, statuary in the gardens of St Paul's. Eschewing the enticing foodie smells at Borough Market, we found greenery in the herb garden beside Southwark Cathedral, where the memorial to Native American tribal chieftain Mahomet Weyonomon was a surprise to many of us (see photo). Onward past the Golden Hinde and the Clink, we joined the tourists crossing the Millennium Bridge en route to St Paul's. Cafe 101 at the Salvation Army HQ just before the end of the walk provided a welcome refreshment stop with seats for all, to the leader's relief. We ended, as we had begun, with an art work, Elizabeth Frink's Paternoster sculpture of shepherd and sheep, in the square of the same name. Full details here.

    JanuaryRegents Park: This was an easy stroll on a cold but bright sunny day, which was possibly why record numbers took part. The ‘secret’ St John’s Lodge garden was a new discovery for many of us and the gardeners there were a fund of interesting information. We were glad to see hints of spring in the aconites and snowdrops and even early narcissi. We may have seen a flock of winter-visiting fieldfares too, but didn’t have binoculars to make sure; however, we definitely saw Egyptian geese and herons — no binoculars necessary for those! Details here.

  • St Pancras WW! memorialNovemberAround King's Cross: This was a 2¾ miles stroll around the new developments of King's Cross. We started by exploring the artworks at St Pancras, including the brand new WW1 war memorial (pictured) listing the quirky job titles of the railway workers it commemorates. From the station, we headed across to the Francis Crick Institute for a warming coffee stop before visiting St Pancras Old Church and its cemetery, spotting memorials to Sir John Soane and Mary Wollstonecraft as well as Hardy's Tree — a peaceful contrast to the bustle of the station. Over the canal bridge to the King's Cross development, where the sun sparkled on the mirrors of Gasholder Park and warmed us as we ambled through Coal Drops Yard. The new Thomas Heatherwick-designed roof connecting two Victorian warehouse buildings looked stunning, drawing the eye upward to the cloudless blue sky. We finished with a short walk along the canal to Granary Square, with plenty of ideas for when we revisit the area on a warmer day. Details here.

    October Kenwood to Gospel Oak. This was a very pleasant walk in autumn sunshine through Hampstead Heath and around Parliament Hill, ending up at Gospel Oak Overground station. Details here.


    September Finsbury Parkland Walk. Details here. The walk started at The Highgate Café which we all agreed served very good coffee for an excellent price. We then set off to the entrance of the Parkland Walk which was only about 100 metres downhill. Everyone immediately felt relaxed in such a pleasant green “avenue” of trees. This walk is on the the old railway line, which in the 1930s was never converted from steam. There is still evidence of platforms and bridges but these blend well into the Parkland setting. Today’s leisurely walkers set a cracking pace and with a pleasant environment and good conversation it didn’t seem long at all before we were at Finsbury Park, which we skirted, to finish in the back walled garden of Lara’s Café for a snack/lunch and a final chat.
  • Parkland Walk
    August Bethnal Green to Hoxton.

    July — Kensal Rise. Details here.
    June — Regent's Canal. Details here.
    May — Finsbury Park to Woodberry Wetlands. Details here.
    April — Highbury Fields to Finsbury Park. Details here.
Hawthorn


 


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