SHORTER WALKS

Kate
                        Grant
The Shorter Walks Group has morning walks of about five miles.



Group Coordinator: Kate Grant (click to contact).         
When

Our walks are led by members of the Group, and are held on varying days of the week.

Where

Some walks are fairly local, others involve some travel.


Background
We travel by public transport, usually within the Freedom Pass zones. In the summer months we travel further afield for country walks. During the winter we tend to keep to parks and towpaths as we try to avoid muddy paths. We usually have a coffee break during our walks and often 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. Our walking pace is around 2½ mph.

Shorter Walks is a very sociable, friendly Group where new members are made welcome. It is open to any member of Islington U3A. (Go to the Join Us page and click on the Membership Form to join the iU3A) To join the walking group, please either drop me an email (address above) or register
through Beacon. Once you have joined the group, you will receive an email a week before each walk with a signup form and details of the forthcoming walk. Information about our future walks may also be found below.

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.


Our Next Shorter Walks
*walks where a leader is required
Wednesday 29 May (BB) Happy Valley. Details here.
Thursday 6 June (JH & JP) Tottenham Hale to Olympic Park.
Tuesday 11 June (VB & ST) Wandle Trail
Monday 17 June (KG) High Barnet to Cockfosters. Details here.
Friday 28 June (SK) Kingston to Marble Hill. Details here.
Wednesday 10 July (LP) Walk TBC.
Tuesday 16 July (KM) Walk TBC
Monday 29 July
(KW) Ruislip Wood and Lido.
Thursday 8 August (SK) Epping Forest.
*Friday 16 August
*Tuesday 27 August

Recent Walks
May: Central London parks: On a beautifCentral London Parks May 2024ully sunny day, fourteen of us had an easy stroll through London's parks at their best now, in full and resplendent leaf and brilliant shades of green. Starting in Holland Park, with its shady wooded areas and Japanese and more formal gardens, we crossed to Kensington Gardens, past the sunken garden and the round pond, continuing as far as the Italian garden for our coffee break. Then we followed the Serpentine into Hyde Park as far as the rose garden, crossing under the Wellington Arch and into Green Park and then St James's Park, ending with a stroll through the back streets of St James's.


May: Richmond Park and Isabella Plantation:
Eleven wRicmond Isabella May 2024alkers enjoyed the delights of the Isabella Plantation’s azaleas and bluebells in Richmond Park. Despite the preceding night of stormy weather, we were blessed with a dry, if cloudy, day for our walk. After following the Thames Path beside a river at high tide, we were soon walking through a quiet Richmond Park with only birdsong (does the screeching of parakeets really count as ‘song’?) as accompaniment. Although some of the azaleas and rhododendrons were beginning to go over (it gets earlier every year it seems) they were still pretty impressive. We continued to the beautiful Pembroke Lodge for lunch, with its terraced Mediterranean garden and extensive views, before finally making our way back to the station on the handy bus from the Petersham Gate.

April: Banstead Wood:
Fourteen of us took the train from LondBanstead Wood April 2024on Bridge to Chipstead and, within minutes of leaving the station, found ourselves deep in Surrey countryside. We followed undulating, occasionally muddy paths through mixed woodland and across chalk grassland, in intermittent sunshine and accompanied by birdsong, the bluebells in the woods did not disappoint, frequently interspersed as they were with white wood anemones. Likewise, the cowslips on the downland were stunning, accompanied by wild strawberries in flower. Sheep were grazing, Roman snails were enjoying the damp ground, butterflies fluttered by and we saw our first bees of the year. A lovely, rural walk within a stone’s throw of London.

April: Canary Wharf to Greenwich:
The groCanary Wharf to Greenwich April 2024up gathered at Canary Wharf in unexpectedly dry weather. Hazy sunshine at times and the usual windy gusts. We walked past the East India Dock and on past the West India Dock. On through Mudchute Park and reaching the river we travelled through the foot tunnel to Greenwich. We walked through Greenwich Park and had a pleasant lunch in the cafe. Back into central London on the DLR in time for tea.



April: Forty Hall and Myddelton House gaForty Hall and Myddelton House Gardens April
                  2024rdens:
We wondered about the viability of this walk when we were almost blown off the train platform by gale-force winds, in driving rain, before the walk had even begun. In the event we managed to walk mostly in sunshine, taking refuge from hail in the handy pop-up cafe at Forty Hall garden and then in the convenient Victorian conservatory in Myddelton House garden later, when a stormy shower erupted. We were treated to stunning floral displays, including drifts of forget-me-nots, bluebells, and azaleas. The blossom had even remained on some of the trees, despite the strong winds. All in all a rather dramatic spring walk.

April: Tower Hill to Battersea Park:
After so many raiTower Hill to Battersea Park April 2024ny days, we were very lucky to have a mild and sunny day on this walk through Central London, mainly along the Thames Path on the South Bank, with a coffee stop at the BFI, but also crossing Hungerford Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge. We enjoyed the views along the river, the newly bright and shiny Big Ben, and the stunning tulips in the Embankment Gardens, then walked past the Covid Memorial Wall and the Garden Museum before crossing Lambeth Bridge and walking past Tate Britain, where some of us stayed to visit the gallery, and the rest went on as far as Battersea Power Station and had a picnic lunch by the river.

March: Alexandra Palace circular:
Finally a Alexandra Palace circular March 2024spring walk in sunshine! This local 5 mile walk had everything we’d been waiting for during a long wet winter. The abundant cherry tree blossom was at its peak, in Alexandra Palace park, then we encountered Egyptian geese with a brood of goslings on the boating lake. The magnolia tree at the Pavilion cafe in Highgate wood provided our photo opportunity. The bird life in Queens Wood ranged from incredibly noisy woodpeckers to a sighting of three (!) treecreepers happily charging up tree trunks close to our path. The wood anemones were in full flower too. Best of all, the mud had retreated from the paths.


March: Pymmes Brook Trail:
The PymPymmes Brook Trail March 2024mes Brook, usually a gentle stream, was rushing along its bed, after the winter rains, throughout our north London walk. We followed it through Oak Hill Park, diverting to avoid the flooded path, then through Brunswick Park, really a linear woodland, and past the magnificent Piccadilly Line viaduct into Arnos Park. Our fourth and final park was the lovely Victorian Broomfield Park where we at last enjoyed a coffee break, in the delightful community cafe, (prize-winner for best cakes and cheapest coffee of any Shorter Walk) before heading to Palmers Green station and a short train ride back to Islington.



March: Ealing to Hanwell:
Blessed with Ealing to Hanwell March 2024a morning which was dry if not so very warm, we gathered at Ealing Broadway for a walk through some lovely West London parks and riverside. We were greeted by spring birdsong as we strolled along Fox Lane and were met by a blaze of yellow daffodils at its end. Pitshanger Park reminded us of the past prowess of Fred Perry and the sporting opportunities now offered by the golf course which abuts the park. We were served with charm and attention at the (warmly recommended) Berry Cafe in the park. On through Perivale Park and along the Brent Riverside and forward to Hanwell Park with its Zoo and Maze (see photo). A lovely, energising walk with fellow travellers.






February: Hampstead Heath: Hampstead Heath Feb 2024
Fourteen of us met at Gospel Oak and ascended Parliament Hill on a windy but thankfully dry day in February. We then proceeded through woodland and over the viaduct, across East Heath to Hampstead Lane. We crossed the road to enter West Heath at Jack Straw’s Castle, whence we visited the Hill Garden and Pergola before continuing to Golders Hill Park for coffee. After the break we crossed North End Way and passed the “Old Bull and Bush” to arrive at Sandy Heath. We circumnavigated part of Sandy Heath before re-crossing Hampstead Lane just above the Spaniards Inn, only to find that we could not enter the Kenwood Estate because it had been closed owing to the high winds. We therefore worked our way back down East Heath via the Ponds to finish our walk back where we started.

February: Cheshunt, Lee Valley:
AfteCheshunt Lee Valley Feb 2024r a couple of rough weather days the rain stopped for us and the group enjoyed this lovely Lee Valley circular walk from Cheshunt station. Because it was mostly pathways and pretty flat, the going alongside lakes and through common and parkland was good. The fine weather brought out the birds and some pre-spring flowering. Some additional man-made sculptures along the route further brightened it up and added interest. The coffee stop at The Lee Valley White Water Centre and also the wonderful, recently built, multi-storey bird hide are destinations in themselves. Altogether an accessible, interesting and enjoyable walk and highly recommended.


January: Woolwich:
The sun shone and Woolwich Jan 2024threw its light upon the Thames. It was high tide and the width of the river at Woolwich reminded us that in 1512 Henry VIII began the construction of the biggest dockyard in England at just that point. We strolled along to Thamesmead and scaled the not very taxing Gallions Hill. The summit enables a panoramic view of the surrounding area and brings us closer to the aircraft coming and going from City Airport than many another locale. A spacious cafe encompassing a vast array of lavatories completed the morning's activities!

January: Brixton to Dulwich:
On yet anBrixton to Dulwich Jan 2024other “coldest day for a decade”, 17 walkers set off from Brixton in glorious sunshine crossing Windrush Square and through Brockwell Park. We visited the Walled Garden, a new discovery for some, before descending through the park to Railton Road. Once notorious for the Brixton riots, the pedestrianised area of this road is full of cafes. We dispersed amongst them to enjoy coffee with most of us sitting outside in the sun! A trek through suburban Herne Hill streets followed bringing us past the Carnegie Library to Ruskin Park where views of the City skyline were enhanced by the clear, bright weather. Leaving the park and its gardens, we descended into woodland and eventually a cycle/footpath towards Dulwich. Passing St Barnabas Church with its glass spire, we arrived in Dulwich Village just after one o’clock with the choice of an Italian lunch for some and a nearby bus stop for others making their way home.

Wapping2024 January: Wapping to Hackney Wick: Under lowering skies and the odd snow flurry, 16 of us took a very urban walk through the remnants of the London docks at Shadwell and Limehouse, once derelict but now redeveloped as residential quarters. We then continued the exploration of the Regent's Canal started just before Christmas, then followed the recently developed Mile End Park north to Victoria Park, where the Pavilion cafe provided a welcome respite. We continued across the wide expanses of the park to Hackney Wick from where the welcoming warmth of the Overground took us home.




Previous Walks
These links take you to archive information and photos of our previous walks:
2023/24 (October to January) here.
2022/23 (October to September) here.
2021/22 (October to September) here.
2020/21 (October to September) here.
2019/20 (October to September) here.
2018/19 (October to September) here.
2017/18 (October to September) here.
2016/17 (October to September) here.
2015/16 (October to September) here.
O
ur first iU3A year 2015 (May to September) here.
 

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