Derek HarwoodRowena InzaniMartyn
                      WaringThe Longer Walks group has a programme of walks normally of between 8 to 14 miles, usually with options to shorten the walk. Walks are over a full day with a break for lunch (usually in a pub or café, although sometimes people bring a picnic). Group size is typically between 6 and 12 people.

Group Coordinator: Derek Harwood (click to contact)
Normally there are four walks a month, on varying days of the week so as to avoid always clashing with the same iU3A groups that meet on fixed days.
We go to any good walking area in Greater London and the South East that can be reached relatively easily by public transport. Our walks cover a variety of terrain, including park and woodland, canal or riverside paths, open countryside and hill walking. Most walks are suitable for anyone who is reasonably fit and active.

Our group is wonderfully balanced; some join walks regularly, others less frequently. To help the leader in their duty of care and to ensure safety we have a few rules. In summary the rule is 'respect others and stick together' but see the fuller version here

To join the group, please either drop me an email (address as above) or register through Beacon. Having joined the group, to join a particular walk click on the relevant date below. If you are not a member of Islington U3A then you must firstly join this before joining any Group. Go to the Join Us page and there click on the Membership Form.

Our Next Walks
Walks coming up
Our full programme of walks in 2019 is shown in the Members' System ('Beacon'). The link is here. Log in then look up 'Schedule'. Add the dates to your diary now! The near term walks are also highlighted below. A week or so before the specific walk date, we'll make available the full walk details (including the meeting point) on this web page.

Please sign up individually below for each walk you plan to join. You can sign by clicking on the walk date (when sign-up is open the date is in blue), then a Sign-up Form will open. To drop out of a walk, please return to the form, and enter your details again but with a 'No' instead of a 'Yes'.

Friday 31 May Farnham to Guildford (sign up open): this is about a 10-mile walk on the first leg of the North Downs Way. It goes well below the ridge and is less high than most parts of this trail, passing mainly through farmland and heathland.  Pub lunch and drop out using local buses possible in the afternoon. Details here.

Friday 07 June —
details to follow
Thursday 13 June —
details to follow
Wednesday 19 June —
details to follow
Tuesday 25 June —
probably Dartford to Shoreham/Otford: along the Darent Valley Path and based on the Pilgrim's Way. Details to follow
Friday 05 July — probably the South Downs Way.
The last section for us to complete — Berwick to Eastbourne. Details to follow
Thursday 11 July —
details to follow
Wednesday 17 July —
details to follow
Tuesday 23 July —
details to follow

Extended Walk 2019 — might seem way in the future but we need to start planning this now. For 2019 we are proposing Newfield Hall, Malhamdale, Yorkshire Dales. See details here. This booking is now closed. If you want to go on a waiting list for a room cancellation, please email me at the above address.

Photo Gallery and Walk Map
Launching new features: if you click here you can see many of our photographs. They will scroll through automatically and you can see the walk number and title at the bottom. If you want to find photos from a particular walk you can click here then from the thumbnails find the one you want then click on it.
Also if you want to see on a map where we have walked (& selected a particualr walks details) then click here.

The full lookahead date information is now visible in the new 'Beacon' members' system. The link to Beacon for iU3A members is here. Once you've clicked there, sign in with your personal details; on the Home page click on 'Calendar of meetings and events'. You'll see all groups listed there, or at the top line next to 'Group', in the gap select the drop-down menu arrow; scroll down to Walks — Longer; click that, then only the dates for Walks — Longer will be shown. In addition to the lookahead dates, for the next few walks, the location, the Sign-up link and the link to the walk Details, will be shown as well.

Useful Infomation
Travel link — if you are going on a walk outside the Freedom Pass areas, here is a link to help decide which station to buy your ticket from online: Freedom Pass Map

Discounts — if you are buying from Cotswold at the Angel, say you are with iU3A (Longer Walks group) and you'll get 10% discount. 

Ticks — there have been reports of increased population of ticks in the UK. If you are worried about catching a tick bite while out walking, for more information see here.

Feedback form HERE.

Recent Walks
Canvey Island:
this was a 14 mile walk around all of Canvey Island on a glorious hot day. There will large open vistas and expansive seascapes. The Benfleet Creek and then the wide Thames glinted in the sun. There was interesting painting of Canvey life along the flood barriers and quite a costa braza beach at one point. Some dropped after a good lunch at the Lobster Shack but 8 made it all the way round. Details here.

Grt ChesterfordGreat Chesterford to Newport, via Saffron Walden:
this was a 10½ mile linear walk from Great Chesterford, situated on the river Cam, to the historic market town of Saffron Walden where we had lunch (and nearly lost one member!). It was a glorious sunny day as we strolled down country paths and crossed large open fields. We continued through Audley End Park and Village, and passed Debden Water to finish at the interesting village of Newport just in time to catch the scheduled train. However, this only took us to Bishops Storford before being cancelled! Which meant some quick thinking to figure out alternative routes to get us back to London. But in the end we were only about 45 minutes longer than anticipated. Details here.

Leith TowerLeith Hill (Holmwood to Gomshall):
low turnout for this one, perhaps in part because of the inclement weather forecast. We can’t pretend it didn’t rain, but the balance between sunny intervals and the occasional light shower was much more favourable than anticipated, so overall it was a very pleasant outing. Given the rather slippery conditions, we opted for the longer route up to Leith Hill Tower (pictured, and one of the highest points in the South-East) rather than scrambling up the 1 in 3 gradient. Overall it was relatively easy going, much of it through delightful National Trust woodland. We caught the end of the bluebell season and plenty of fields ablaze with yellow rape seed. Some recognised the welcoming, off-the-beaten-track lunchtime pub from when we last did the walk in 2015. Unlike on that occasion, we timed our arrival at Gomshall station just in time to catch the hourly service. Heaviest rain of the day came during the 200 yard walk connecting the two stations in Dorking.  Details here.

this was a repeat walk last undertaken in October 2017. But of course no one remembered it.... It was a typical Hertfordshire walk — rolling hills, views back over Welwyn, and down towards Potters Bar. The forecast had theatened cold and wet but actually it wasn't that bad. The rain, only a shower, held off until about 3.00pm and we had some sunny interludes. Lunch was a bit slow but worth the wait — for those who were eating. Rina was with us so we had the bonus of being able to identify various bird calls and we saw our first martin of the season. Although not expecting to catch the early train we just made the station in time. Details here.

Tunbridge WellsTunbridge Wells:
eleven walkers joined our guest leader Tony and his wife Libby in pouring rain at Tunbridge Wells station. Within 10 minutes we were out on the Common and it was dry for the rest of the 10 mile walk via Eridge and Frant through varied woodland, parkland and large sandstone rock formations. Snack stop in delightful bluebell woods, late lunch promptly served in the garden of the picturesque George Inn at Frant, a quick look in the church with beautiful painted ceilings, and a gentle amble downhill back to the Pantiles for optional tea before the 50 minute train journey back to London Bridge.  Details here.

WickfordWickford: the beautifully warm spring weather soon had us peeling off our many layers and rejoicing in the blue skies and sunshine. Bluebells (native English of course) were in abundance, as were swathes of anemones in the ancient woodland of Crowsheath. Hedgerows and trees were alive with the sounds of birdsong, (someone observed that the chiffchaffs seemed to be tweeting ‘Bre..xit. Bre..xit’!) and later, we heard the very determined ratatattat of an unseen woodpecker.

Food orders were taken on the train and phoned through to the pub, so we enjoyed a very nice, super fast lunch at the Nags Head at Ramsden Heath.  The afternoon walk pulled off a neat trick: emerging from a gap in the hedgerow we found ourselves at the top of a hill (having done no discernible climbing!), the view stretching for miles across the Essex & Kent countryside. Passing De Beauvoir House and farm (sadly no sign of their rare breed British White Cattle) had some of us wondering about a possible Islington connection. We returned to Wickford with almost perfect timing to get a fast train back to London. Details here.

Great Windsor ParkWindsor Great Park (Sunningdale to Windsor):
a question: in which park can you find a 600 foot totem pole, a large obelisk and a huge statue of a copper horse? Well ten of us managed to see them all on this delightful 10-mile walk from Sunningdale to Windsor — and lots more besides. A polo ground, the lakes at Virginia Water, colourful azalea in The Valley Garden, Cow Pond (actually a lily pond) and the Deer Park. Not to mention Windsor Castle — from a distance and (almost 40 minutes later) close-up. Splendid sunny spring weather allowed us to sit out for lunch, on a terrace overlooking the renowned Savill Garden. It’s one of those walks most people are happy to repeat — as several participants verified. Details here.

SarrattChess Valley:
we started at Chesham station, from where we immediately picked up the Chess Valley Walk. We left Chesham through Meades Water Gardens and headed out of town across the playing fields. Then there was a tricky bit using stepping stones to cross a shallow stream but no one got wet feet. We left the valley floor and steadily ascended the valley side with great views back down the valley as we passed through the Latimer Park estate. Unfortunately Watercress Farm was closed so buying was impossible. We again struck uphill to the lunch stop at the Cock Inn, Sarratt. Very speedy service — for most. After lunch we dropped down into the valley and picked up the Chess Valley Walk again. There was an ugly section until we crossed and cleared the M25. Leaving the noisy road behind us and returning to the Chess valley we skirted Rickmansworth, passing the large Royal Masonic School, then followed the path to Rickmansworth station. Details here.

GarstonGarston to St Albans:
a lovely spring day for our walk following the meandering rivers Colne and Ver into the Roman city of St Albans. We started with a very leisurely morning ramble — in order not to arrive at the lunch stop before opening time! At Moor Mill (with working water wheeel) we had a very acceptable lunch in a private room by the bar, and after a quick photo call by the duck pond continued on our way. The river path took us into Verulamium Park, where we detoured around the lake and uphill to see the well preserved Roman mosaic and hypocaust. After a quick visit to the magnificent Abbey/Cathedral and then a conveniently placed ice cream van, it was a short stroll to the Abbey station for a perfectly timed journey home. Details here.

Barnes Thames PathRichmond to Putney:
this week we did more of the Thames Path. The weather forecast was correct this time with mild temperatures hence the numbers were high for this walk — or was it the attraction of a flat mud free walk that did it? This walk was a repeat of our 1st walk back in November 2013 and our 100th walk in July 2016. But it was time for a return and was enjoyed by all — a good mix of some founder members of the Long Walks group and some new members. There was plenty of activity on the river with many rowing crews out practising. We stopped at the White Hart at Barnes for lunch. Good food and generally quick service — except for mine. Seemed to take them for ever to find a second pie! We eventually emerged to find the river path submerged — high tide was in. But a short stretch of road took us to a higher pathway and then the tide was receeding fast. Details here.

StainesStaines to Hampton Court: the threatened rain was restricted to only a few drops, the sun shone more frequently than expected and the wind blew mainly from behind, all of which helped make this a very pleasant early Spring walk along quite a varied stretch of the Thames close to London. We took in a peaceful and secluded loop at Penton Lock, the last surviving natural meadowland in Surrey near Chertsey, one of the few remaining ferry crossings at Shepperton and a former racecourse at Hurst Park. Decent lunch at one of several riverside pubs and just time to grab a take-away tea and treat before catching the train back from Hampton Court. Our 'man with the app' clocked it at almost 20 km — but then it was flat and wind-assisted. Details here.

ChorleywoodBeaconsfield to Chorleywood:
most of the morning was spent in woodland, Hodgemoor Woods being the most challenging. Directions in the walk source of — "It is easy to get lost during the next 500 metres or so" — was true, but fortunately we emerged  to reach The White Hart in Chalfont St Giles in time for an early lunch. After this we passed the cottage where Milton lived for a short time to escape the Great Plague in London and where he completed Paradise Lost. Having unsuccessfully tried to see inside the Parish Church with an interesting covered lynch gate, we continued up to the Chiltern Way and the Chiltern Open Air Museum. The route was straightforward and brought us into Chorleywood and as we reached the station the rain arrived. Details here.

Parliment HillTotteridge and Whetstone to Gospel Oak:  this was a nine mile walk that we have done previously — but in different forms and combinations. It was such a glorious day — hottest February day since records began .... which might be part of the reason why no sooner had we started than we stopped for coffee. Apparently it was necessary as it was going to be a late lunch. This time our route was down the Dollis Brook Greenway through London's green spaces and woods, to the Mutton Brook. Then we branched off for a short detour through Hampstead Garden Suburb to see the Lutyens church. After that we picked up the Hampstead Heath Extension, which took us right to the Spaniards Inn for our late lunch. After that it was a short stroll up Parliament Hill, pause to take in the vista, then down to finish at Gospel Oak. Details here.

SaundertonSaunderton to Princes Risborough:  this was a lovely walk on a mild clear day. The route took in quite a bit of the Chiltern Way and the Ridgeway so there were quite a few ups and downs. We lost count of the number of red kites we saw. The pub at Bledlow was also lovely and welcoming with quick wholesome food. In the afternoon we had a quick dip into Lyde Gardens a dingly dell with many water features and goo plantings. Then it was an easy stroll to the station. Details here.

Brickendon Farmers BoyCuffley:
this was an 11 mile walk last done by us (led by Alan Cranston) in August 2016. It was selected to try to minimise mud and proved the right choice. There were a couple of very short slightly muddy bits, but otherwise all clear — and everyone appreciated the walk for it! It was a glorious mild clear day, which added to the satisfaction. Then the lunch portions at The Farmer's Boy, Brickendon, were enormous. It was a bit of a stagger to get going after lunch, but that didn't deter some of us from stopping for tea and cake at the end..... Details here.

MersthamMuddy BootsMerstham to Westhumble: not sure what it is about this walk. It meets many of the main criteria — 10 miles, attractive countryside and views, not too far from London, good lunchtime pub. But we’ve done it in both directions
now and still haven’t got to double figures in total participants — even counting those who did it both times twice. The few who came along this time experienced a walk of two halves. Fairly easy in the morning, more strenuous
in the afternoon, with several climbs and descents on the slopes of the North Downs and quite a few muddy stretches that slowed progress. The threatened rain was never more than light drizzle and was outweighed by sunny intervals. We saw the sun starting to set from the top of Box Hill and managed to exit the woods before it got too dark — opting in the circumstances for the footbridge to cross the River Mole rather than the stepping stones.  Details here.

Ash ValleySt Margaret's and the Ash Valley: this was a very pleasant circular walk north then east from St Margaret's, dovetailing nicely with the walk we did early in January. Last time we had lunch at St Margaret's, this time we started from there. We walked through Stanstead Abbotts and then up the hill to cross open fields past Hunsdon to Widford and through the churchyard to join the Hertfordshire Way. We then dropped down to cross the River Ash which we followed, partly on the old railway track bed, until we diverted to Wareside for lunch at The Chequers Inn — which has this amazing over boot cover dispenser! After lunch we rejoined the old railway at Mardock and followed it past Watersplace Farm into the Amwell Nature Reserve. We then crossed the River Lee and followed the towpath back to St Margaret's. All enjoyed the rolling Hertfordshire countryside. Details here.

ngrebourne Valley: this was an eight mile meander through the Ingrebourne Valley starting at Upminster and ending at Hornchurch. The overnight slight fall of snow meant a few muddy sections and everyone staying well wrapped up. But we followed the zigzag route, taking in some Nature reserves and an SSSI around the Ingrebourne river valley, also utilising parts of the LOOP. There were some fine 360º views of the London skyline from just a slight elevation rise. Lunch was at the relatively new Essex Wildlife Trust visitor centre with our large group (12) meaning they had to open up the annex for us! Having completed 6 miles before lunch there was only a couple of miles left to finish the walk. Details here.

Severndroog CastleWoolwich to Mottingham: this was a 10 mile walk, mainly on two sections of the Green Chain in South East London (and also forming part of the Capital Ring for much of these sections). While a lot of the Capital Ring is quite urban these sections were very rural. We did have a few main roads to cross but most of our time was hopping between large green spaces. These were mainly made up of parks, commons and woodland, with good views from the higher ground back over Canary Wharf and the City. The threatened rain held off until we'd finished the walk — very considerately! We passed the folly of Severndroog Castle (Rowena's favourite!) before reaching the café in Oxleas Wood for lunch. In the afternoon we passed Falconwood station (recovering one member who'd taken a slight detour — all in a good cause), then on to Eltham Palace ending at Mottingham. Details here.

Broxbourne Woods
Broxbourne to Hertford East: this turned out to be a great revival of a previous walk from 2015. We started from Broxbourne station, going south on the New River Path, but soon leaving the valley and turning west on to the Hertfordshire Way. This led us through the countryside to the National Nature Reserve of Broxbourne Woods. We then met the old Roman road of Ermine Street, close to where we had walked in December 2018. As we approached Hertford Heath we left Ermine Street and walked through the grounds of the very grand Haileybury private boarding school (famed since East India Trading Company days). This led us back to the Lea River at St Margarets for our lunch stop. After lunch we picked up the New River again and passed the springs of Amwell and Chadwell to the New Gauge and the start of the New River. From there it was a short walk along the Lea Navigation to Hertford East. Details here.

Christmas 2018Christmas Social, Willesden, Paddington and Regent’s Canal: this was an easy walk alongside canals for most of the way. It started quietly at Willesden Junction but the closer in the busier the towpath became. What's worse, joggers or cyclists? It was amazing to see all the developments along the way and particularly the redevelopment around Paddington. We had 32 members either starting from the beginning, joining us along the way, or joining at the end. Some were over the top with Christmas decorations, others were more discreet in their participation in the festive spirit. An on-route coffee stop meant several toilet stops were necessary and then it was a bit of a scramble back through Islington's squares to get to the Brewhouse in time for our booked lunch. But it was a good walk and hence a well earned lunch. Kind words were offered to all the Walk Leaders for their superb efforts in 2018. Walk details here.

Broxbourne IMIBroxbourne Woods: a hiccup with booking the pub (it's closed on Mondays!) meant a slight alteration of the walk route, shortening the length to eight miles, with the pub at the end rather than the middle. But no one seemed to mind on this cold day: the lunches were good so it was worth the wait. This was a typical Hertfordshire walk starting from Bayford we passed the grand offices of the IMI and then were out in rolling countryside with many woods, an SSI & a nature reserve. We followed sections of the disused Ermine Street in a straight line and enjoyed this 'Fancy Free' walk. Details here.

Wandle TrailWest Croydon to Earlsfield: this walk was part of the Wandle trail through south west London, which is a green trail linking up a string of local parks as it follows the River Wandle. We picked up the river in East Croydon, then passed by Waddon Ponds, and into Beddington Park, sighting two egrets en route. At Morden Hall Park, now a National Trust property, we stopped for a good lunch and then continued to Colliers Wood, where our walk ended, our original plan to walk to Earlsfield having been changed due to serious disruption in South Western Railways services. We were fortunate to have better weather than forecast, with sun bringing out the autumn colours of leaves. One intrepid member of the group continued on solo to finish the Wandle trail in Wandsworth. Details here.

CjelsfieldChelsfield:  very pleasant autumn weather for this relatively straightforward walk in what used to be Kent but now falls within the GLC borough of Bromley. After a kilometre through uninspiring suburbia, the main part of the walk took our small but select group of seven  into the woodland of High Elms country park (with plenty of autumn colours) and then through open countryside. We passed Charles Darwin’s house just outside the peaceful village of Downe and lunched at the 17th century Blacksmith’s Arms in Cudham (which one or two recalled having visited on a different walk earlier in the year). Unsurprisingly, on the return everyone opted to catch a bus to Orpington rather than retrace the route through suburbia, but we still managed to clock up a respectable 9 miles.  On the return train one of our number (we’ll spare her blushes) was solicited with the sobriquet ”pulchritudinous” by a seemingly educated - if a little inebriated - admirer. Details here.

Gerrards CrossGerrards Cross to Cookham:
as the unseasonably mild November weather continued, seven of us were lucky to enjoy yet another bright sunny autumnal day, which provided a perfect backdrop to the changing colour of the leaves. This walk took us through many pretty woodland paths including Egypt’s Wood, part of the famous Burnham Beeches Wood which some of us were surprised to discover is owned and protected by the Corporation of London. As is usual in this part of the country there were plenty of red kites to be seen soaring gracefully overhead. After an early lunch stop (some 5.5 miles into the walk) we continued through more open countryside to eventually cross the Thames into Cookham. There was plenty of time for a visit to the church where artist Stanley Spencer worshipped and for a slow meander through the village to the station...everyone having voted for an early return to London rather than stop for tea and cakes! Details here.

WoburnWoburn Estate: it was almost like a visit to the zoo. Elephants, rhino, buffalo, eland, camel, wallabies, not to mention hundreds of deer. All in glorious autumn weather and without having to pay the entrance fee. A lucky 13 of us traversed a large part of the Woburn Estate and then endured a lengthy wait for food at a popular pub in picturesque Woburn village. Easy going throughout, so it didn’t feel like a 9-mile walk even for those who explored the tranquil village of Aspley Guise with its high proportion of listed buildings before catching the return train. Fortunately a warning that the connecting  service would be “standing room only” proved a false alarm. Details here.

PitseaEast Tilbury to Pitsea: this walk followed the Thames Estuary Path with great open skies and views over the estuary, last undertaken in August 2017. We walked through many RSPB and WWT reserves, with loads of bird life all the way. Lunch was at Fobbing with Wat Tyler (Peasants Revolt connections). We were a bit slow but perhaps this was because we were 14. The afternoon brought more of the same clear bight skies with open vistas. We did pass the odd industrial part and had some back streets typical Essex, but still overall an interesting walk. Details here.

HolmwoodHolmwood to Reigate:
The rather murky, misty, autumnal weather conditions failed to deter 16 of us from enjoying this very pleasant walk through the Low Weald of Surrey in the Mole Valley. The terrain there is gently undulating and provides a variety of paths, lanes and bridleways through woodland, open country and across fields. Unfortunately there were no clear views of the North Downs ridge, it being comprehensively shrouded in mist. A very good lunch was taken at the Plough Inn, in the pretty village of Leigh (possibly pronounced ‘Lie’?). The afternoon walk ended with a stroll through Reigate’s Priory Park, (named for its Grade 1 listed Priory) with its gardens and wildfowl lake, and then across town to the station. Details here.

BuxtedBuxted: this walk took just six of us into the rolling East Sussex countryside, through a mixture of crop fields, sheep and horse grazing and woodland. We were never far from habitation, but (other than in the popular lunchtime inn) met only a handful of other people. Another warm and sunny day meant excellent walking weather, with regular clear views of the Weald and the more distant South Downs ridge. Our arrival back at Buxted station was carefully timed to allow over 50 minutes before the next hourly train to London, which we devoted to welcome pots of tea (and, for some, even more welcome chocolate fudge bites) in the conveniently located nearby pub. Details here.

Milford to GodalmingMilford to Godalming: industrial action on South Western Railway threatened to thwart delivery of this walk, but six of us managed to adapt and make the new start time (apologies to those who didn't). We started at Milford with mist and thick dew which soon started to burn off. We passed lakes and the timber-framed Enton Mill and then joined the Greensand Way, a sandy bridleway through The Hurtwood. An unexpected encounter was with llamas being herded (in Surrey?). After a very pleasant lunch in Autumn sunshine in Hascombe, the walk went through the NT's Winkworth Arboretum. We had a few climbs which gave us good views over the North Downs. From there we continued north toward Godalming, approaching the town via the River Wey and Godalming Navigation path along the canal. We then came to a spot in the sun which seemed overrun with ladybirds — hundreds of them, getting in our hair and everywhere. Research afterwards (thanks to Jane) proved they were invasive harlequin ladybirds, which threaten our native species.

As we approached the town there was a decision to be made
— the option of tea in the ancient High Street or the restricted train service back into London. In the end both were acheived for all. Details here.

Past Walks
We are now in our sixth year.  To see details of our fifth year (October 2017 -Sept 2018) look here.

To see the details for walks in the previous year (Oct 2016 - Sept 2017) look here.

If you want to see details of the walks we completed in our third year (Oct 2015 - Sept 2016) then look here.

WrabnessThe Longer Walks group continued to flourish during its second highly successful year (Oct 2014 - Sept 2015). We ended that year with 86 members and having completed 44 walks — covering a total of 437 miles. Each walk is remembered and celebrated here.

Going back further, we ended our first year (Oct 2013 - Sept 2014) with 70 members and having completed 21 walks. For the facts and figures click here and for the words and pictures for each, click here.

For a complete listing of all our walks to date click here.

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