SHORTER WALKS

Kate
                        Grant
The Shorter Walks Group has half-day walks of about 5 miles twice a month.



Group Coordinator: Kate Grant (click to contact)          Co-leader: Kate Wark
When

We usually have two scheduled walks each month on varying days of the week, led by members of the group. We also have extra ‘pop-up’ walks from time to time.

Where

Some walks are fairly local, others involve some travel.

We travel by public transport for up to about 45 minutes from central London, but many of our walks are much more local. In the summer months we walk further afield with some longer country walks. During the winter we have shorter ones, and tend to keep to parks and towpaths as we try to avoid muddy paths. We always have a coffee break during our walks, and almost invariably end with an optional group lunch.

We don’t tackle any real hills, but there can be occasional fairly steep slopes or flights of steps to manage, and the odd stile, so a reasonable degree of fitness is helpful.

Shorter Walks is a very sociable, friendly group where new members are made welcome. 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 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.

The new Leisurely Walks group has its first walk in April. Please see details here.

Our Next Shorter Walks
Sign Ups:
Please sign up below for each walk you plan to join. You can do so by clicking on the walk date when sign-up opens — about a fortnight before the walk, at which point the walk date is highlighted in blue.

Full walk details including meeting points and times will also 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 'Walk Details here', click on 'here' when it is highlighted in blue.
 

Thursday 31 May (sign up open): Trent Park
A walk through Trent Country Park and Enfield Chase.  A pleasant mixture of woodland and grassland including a lake and water gardens. Details are here.

Friday 8 June: Windsor and Eton (sign up open) - changed from Monday 11 June
Following the Thames Path, with a diversion through the grounds and playing fields of Eton College, with splendid views of Windsor Castle.
Details are here.
 
Friday 29 June: Ruislip Woods and Lido
A lovely country walk around a 60 acre lake, through attractive woodlands and across meadows bordering the River Pinn.
Details are here.
 
Friday 6 July: Local nature reserves and parks
A green urban walk from Highbury Fields to Clissold Park via Gillespie Nature Reserve, Finsbury Park, the Woodberry Wetlands, the New River Path and the West reservoir.
Details are here.
 
Recent Walks
Richmond ParkMay:  Richmond Park
Our Shorter Walks annual pilgrimage to the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park could not have been on a better day. The weather was sunny and warm (a bit over-warm when we occasionally lost the shade of the trees) and the azaleas were at their peak and quite magical. They were so amazing that one walker even decided to forego lunch at the lovely Pembroke Lodge and stayed on to enjoy them. The rest of us, fortified by lunch, had fun lining up the telescope on King Henry's Mound to spot St Paul’s cathedral 10 miles away and argued about where Windsor Castle was, before deciding that 6 miles was quite long enough on a hot day and caught the bus back to Richmond.

April 2018: Banstead Woods — The number of DepartureBanstead Woods Apr18 Boards at London Bridge Station has increased several times since this walk was first planned. Consequently, we had half the group outside the barriers and half inside before we all met up on Platform 14. After an adventurous trip to Chipstead in which we had to change our carriage several times with a bemused train driver looking on, we nevertheless had a wonderful walk again around Banstead Woods and the bluebells were magnificent. Last week’s cold weather had us wondering if we had the wrong date but a few days of over 20 degrees had them out in force. It was a lovely day and a great walk for 14 of us who enjoyed the hot weather.


Bushy ParkApril 2018: Bushy Park —
Despite the forecast of showers and thunderstorms, twelve walkers had a largely dry but blustery walk through Bushy Park. Our timing was perfect for the spring vistas of daffodils in the woodland gardens and Hampton Court. We heard, then saw, a skylark, quickly followed by a green woodpecker, Egyptian geese and of course, parakeets, a bonus for the birdwatchers. The only downside was the mud — and the puddles, rather of lot of both. But we managed to reroute to find dry paths, stretching the walk to six miles (and as someone pointed out, ten minutes of mud counts as an extra mile).


March 2018: River Lea — Tottenham Hale to Olympic Park — ATottenhamHaleOlympicParkMar2018fter the ‘Beast from the East’ it was great to get out into relatively mild and dry weather for a good walk alongside the River Lea. 12 members enjoyed the surprisingly interesting route with canal boats along the whole way and sightings of herons and cormorants. Listed as 4.5 miles it was in fact 5.6 miles, but everyone was still remarkably lively when we stopped for lunch at The Orbit. With most of the walk alongside the Walthamstow Wetlands and Marshes it was pleasant and relaxed.

CheshuntMarch 2018: Cheshunt to Broxbourne
Ten of us enjoyed an interesting day in the Lea Valley Park. As we were all female, it was an auspicious start to International Women’s Day! After taking the train to Cheshunt, we then walked about five miles alongside the lakes and woods in the Lea Valley Park returning from Broxbourne. With intermittent sunshine on the walk and only a few raindrops, it was good to be out of London. We began by following Hooks Marsh Lake up to Fishers Green; then past Seventy Acres Lake, the Bittern Hide and on from there to the Lea Valley Canal. It was too far away to identify more interesting birds other than the various ducks but we saw a heron standing silently, and there were several cormorants drying their feathers on a raft. We then followed the Canal for 2.5 miles to the Old Mill Café where we had a delicious home-made lunch. It was not without incident as one lady realised soon after arriving at Tottenham Hale station: she was missing her Visa card fortunately a kind person handed this in to her local bank during the day so she was able to enjoy her lunch. Then another nameless lady dropped her Senior Railcard at Broxbourne station where a kind chap followed us up to the platform and handed it back! A good ending to a most enjoyable walk.

East FinchleyFebruary 2018: East Finchley to Woodberry Wetlands We had perfect weather for our fifth pop-up walk of 2018: cold and dry with bright sun and blue skies. Thirteen of us strode out at a brisk pace through Cherry Tree Wood and Highgate Wood, pausing at the attractive Pavilion cafe for a coffee break. If you add snow to the photo we could almost be a skiing group. More ancient woodland as we traversed Queen's Wood and a steep short-cut to Jackson's Lane before continuing along the muddy Parkland Walk and through Finsbury Park ending at the Wetlands, which looked perfect in the wintry sunshine. No sign of the Great Crested Grebes sadly, but the usual delicious lunch at the Coal House café.

Syon ParkFebruary 2018: Syon Lane to Twickenham — A select band of seven set out on this interesting walk along the Thames, passing the historical mansions dating from Tudor times and going under iconic bridges. The historian in the group found much of immense interest and tried to keep us up to speed. This repeat of an earlier walk was relaxed and very enjoyable, with weather warmer and less windy than forecast; it was a jolly group that, after a good-paced walk, sat down to lunch at the Barmy Arms with welcome fires, hospitality and refreshment.

Hours, days and years slide soft away”

GreenwichJanuary 2018: Greenwich Park & Blackheath — Twelve of us started the five mile walk from Island Gardens on the north side of the Thames, admiring the classic view of Greenwich and the Cutty Sark. Once through the Foot Tunnel we followed the Thames Path past the Royal Naval College. We walked uphill through Greenwich Park and out through Blackheath Gate, continuing across the Heath, then around part of the Vale and back to the park to The Pavilion for a very pleasant lunch. We were able to admire the extensive views in sunshine from the Old Royal Observatory. After crossing the Greenwich Meridian Line we continued downhill through the park back to the Cutty Sark DLR station.

Walthamstow WetlandsJanuary 2018: Walthamstow Wetlands
— Despite problems on the Victoria Line, all 13 of us managed to meet up for our first visit to Walthamstow Wetlands. After coffee in the new Visitor Centre in the Engine House we had time to explore the restored building before our walk. It was a beautiful winter’s day, although the wind was very fresh. The first section of the walk took us to the south part of the Wetlands: we walked between reservoirs and visited the Coppermill Tower. Reading the timeline set out in the Tower, we saw that a mill on this site had first been noted in the Domesday Book. Some of us climbed the Tower for a view of the Wetlands. Comparing notes on completing this section, we found that 14 species of bird had been spotted, including scaup, grebes, falcon, reed buntings and herons. The second section of the walk was round the Lockwood Reservoir — not so many birds here, but good views of the area. We then returned to the Visitor Centre to warm up and have a welcome lunch.

Hampstead HeathJanuary 2018: Hampstead Heath
— On our first winter pop-up walk we managed not only to stay dry and relatively unwind-swept, but also saw blue skies and sun, after days of rain. Starting in Highgate village, we reached the heath via the salubrious mansions of Fitzroy Park. After that it was a game of (largely unsuccessful) ’dodge the mud’. We stopped for a break at Kenwood then braved the muddy slope to reach Spaniards Road and the quieter Sandy Heath. Diverting through a corner of Golders Hill Park we continued through woodland to Hill House garden and the pergola, beautiful even in winter, with early-flowering irises and snowdrops and the sweet fragrance of viburnum and witch hazel. After Jack Straw’s Castle we rejoined the Heath and braved the last muddy path before reaching Kenwood House for lunch. A fine start to our 2018 walks calendar.


Previous Walks

For information and photos of our walks in 2017/18 (October to January) have a look here.
For information and photos of our walks in 2016/17 (October to September) have a look here.

If you would like to look at our earlier walks in iU3A 2015/16 year (October to September) then the details are here.

If you would like to look at even earlier group walks for our first iU3A year then the details for 2015 (May to September) are here.


 


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