© K Holdsworth 2018
A Great View near Great Yews.
A stop on an enjoyable 10mile walk from Downton led by the Hedgecocks. A drink of water was essential because of the sunshine and high temperature.
What landmarks do you think we could see?
On 14th February our morning walk took us to Breamore. Our leader managed to find a route to the north west that avoided most of the mud. We were able to enjoy the views despite a lot of cloud cover. There were a few wild flowers, snowdrops, primrose and a few wild daffodils, plus hazel catkins.
There was a little blue sky and no rain despite the pessimistic forecast and no overgrown paths. Those of you have walked in this area know there are a few ups. Time was given to admire the view.
The Intrepid Four – In the Snow
On 28 February the planned walk in Waymark was from Abbotswell Car Park. It had begun to snow the day before but as the car park is a short walk from my house and I like walking in the snow, I thought I’d go along to see if anyone else turned up. And yes, three brave souls had arrived. They had travelled from Ferndown and Alderholt (Gina, Paul and Jill) where it wasn’t quite as white as up in the forest in Hyde. None of us knew before we set out that the walk had been cancelled but we guessed that was the case. So with warnings that we walked at our own risk, we set off on our own to follow roughly the walk outlined in Waymark. The sun was shining and the glorious walking over the pristine snow was made somewhat easier as all the mud underneath was frozen – Latchmore Brook was a doddle to negotiate for a change. But traversing from Ogdens to Hasley Inclosure was like crossing the Arctic wastes as there was a strong, biting-cold North Easterly blowing. The temperature was minus three degrees but it must have been much lower in that wind. So our intrepid leader made the decision to walk through Hasley Inclosure instead of around it to find some shelter from the wind. We lost the views going that way but when we emerged into the open on the far side, the sun was still brightly shining on the white snow but now with more warmth than when we started out – it was time for a break, so we stopped out of the wind and soaked up that warmth from the sun. The hot coffee from our thermos flasks was very welcome. We returned on the sheltered South side of the Inclosure. The return to Abbotswell was easy in the full open sunshine, sheltered from the wind by the trees. We all agreed we’d had a bracing, beautiful and very satisfying walk. Catherine Avery Jones
Martin Down Nature Reserve and the Chalke Valley.
On 6th May 9 members set off on a 10 mile walk. We crossed the A 354 to walk to the north. Our walk started through woods where there was an excellent display of bluebells and wild garlic. Then on to the chalk downland where there was a good fisplay of cowslips and some orchids. The wild flowers were at their best. The sun shone, there was a gentle breeze to cool us and the views were superb. Of course there were a few hills but all those who walked thought they had had a great day out. Thanks to the Hedgecocks who organised the walk and led us through the lovely countryside.
Greyfriars - 60 Years
Rowan had organised the walk to Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Community Association and Greyfriars, but was laid low at the last minute and had to delegate the sheperding and sheep-dogging to Pat and Kelvin. Thankfully Rowan is now on the mend.
25 members and friends joined a circuit of Ringwood, avoiding the Avon Valley Path which was flooded to welly depth, and celebrated with tea and cakes back at Greyfriars.
On the 8th January we had a very interesting 8.5 mile walk, leader Keith, taking in Coast, River & Town, showing the river Stour and viewing Christchurch from the Tucton/Wick side where the 15 of us stopped for lunch.
The Ebbesbourne Walk of some 7 miles was organised and led by Peter. A group of eight met at the Village Hall in Ebbesbourne Wake. The route took us west out of the village and then south in the direction of Elcombe Down with a sharp uphill (with spectacular views in the lovely fresh weather) to the Ox Drove Road. Along that we went in an eastward direction descending again through the valley into Woodminton. By this time we were seeking a spot for lunch and came across a handy bank by a cross roads where we could eat our picnic in warm sunshine. This was just on the outskirts of Bowerchalke but we then took an adjacent path north past Manor Farm and then west again past Hill Farm before the final descent back into Ebbesbourne Wake. Our way back to the Village Hall we passed The Horseshoe Inn so it was not a difficult decision to pop in there for some refreshment before returning to our cars. A very enjoyable and satisfying Sunday walk.
Isle Of White Walk
On the 17th September the forecast wasn’t brilliant, but we had our fingers crossed. Early rising in Frogham gave us blue skies, we smiled. Arriving at Lymington the cloud had rolled in and the skies were darkening. As the troops gathered we kept spirits up by saying that it would brighten up, not sure if it was believed. Anyway, a group of 14 intrepid RFFS walkers, which was a good turnout, boarded the 10.15 Ferry to Yarmouth.
As we sailed across the clouds lifted and things looked better. As we arrived in Yarmouth the “Waverley” paddle steamer - looking very resplendent, and full of a party of guests - had just raised her anchor and “paddled” her way across our bows, a good photo opportunity. We followed the usual route from Yarmouth along the north-west coast of the Island (watching some intrepid senior kite flyers getting their equipment all tangled up in the trees !!!).
Putting in a little diversionary twist through the trees just to make a change, going on through Totland, up over Headon Warren, past Alum Bay to get to the Needles for lunch. By now even the sun was breaking through for us. On the Needles, besides the usual numbers of yachts we espied a group of Jet skiers - not sure what the collective term for them is, but for me “nuisance” seems pretty good!! Luckily, they headed off towards Swanage, maybe never to be seen again.
Replenished and refreshed we made our way over West High Down on the Tennyson Trail towards Tennyson Down and the monument where a kindly walker from Bedford Ramblers (mistaken by some of our group for a German!) took a group photo of us all. Arriving in Freshwater Bay and having made good use of the local facilities, we set off to return to Yarmouth. Again, we diverted slightly from the usual route for this part of the walk to add another variation, and with our eye on the Ferry time strode out, but we were a bit optimistic in our calculations and soon realised that we would not make that Ferry. However, we consoled ourselves with the fact that we would have time to enjoy some liquid refreshment (alcoholic or non- alcoholic) in Yarmouth whilst we awaited the next Ferry.
The trip back on the Ferry was sublime, with clear skies and lovely sunshine for our journey back to Lymington, a fitting way to end a very enjoyable day.
Many thanks to all that came and helped to make it a such an enjoyable experience.
New Forest National Park Walking Festival 21 October
Led by Ruth and Ann
Despite the fact that the 3 walks I led were on the days immediately following Storm “Brian” the attendance was far greater than I anticipated. The rst walk was an opportunity to learn about was raining slightly when 23 of us set off towards Ann Sevier's farm.
The rain soon ceased, we stopped many times on the walk to look at points of interest, and for both Ann and me to talk about life in the Forest.
On Sunday morning there were 36 walkers and no rain. We walked eastwards from Breamore Church. The walk crossed many elds and went along part of the railway path trail before returning across Breamore Marsh and across more fields. The walk was on fairly flat, easy terrain and only 4miles in length. I guess this is why the walk attracted so many people.
In the afternoon 26 of us completed a 6 mile walk to the west. There was plenty of interest on all the walks and everyone seems to have enjoyed their experience. The majority of people had travelled quite a way. Some from London and many from the south coast.
Trig Point Walk
We had a perfect evening for this year’s Trig point walk on July 4th. Twenty five members and a dog set off, carrying the usual beverages and nibbles. It was nice to see some members who have not been able to walk with us for a while. We walked across Rockford Common, crossing Dockens Water at the new bridge to reach our adopted Trig Point.
It is very smart at present having been repainted and polished by Terry and Jacky. The bottles were opened, not all alcoholic ones and we raised our glasses in a toast to all the RFFS has achieved in the past and will continue to do in the years ahead. After the drink and nibbles were consumed, we returned on part of the Avon Valley Path above Mockbegger. An easy three and a half miles, enjoyed by us all.
As we got into our cars we could see the beginning of a stunning sunset. A magical ending to the evening.