St Luke's Hospice

St Luke's Hospice

St Luke's Walking Club

South Downs Way Walk 2018

The St Luke’s Walking Club members are supporters of St Luke’s Hospice who walk for fun, fitness and to fundraise for the Hospice. After the first Club walk on 2nd September we ran a series of walks (shown with yellow background) to introduce the joy of walking to those who had lost the habit, and to get them walking fit in five easy steps (but not literally!).

Now we are providing a programme of "social" walks for Club members. Participants in Club walks make a donation of £3 to Hospice funds.

Beginning in January, there will be a graded programme of training walks to help you develop the ability to walk the distances involved in the annual sponsored walk.The training walks will be free for those registered for the annual sponsored walk.

Next walk

Proposed 2018 training walk dates


Saturday 2 September
General Area:
Crouch Valley Essex Miles: a choice of 4 or 8 miles easy
Leaders: Hugo Hodge and Deborah Tyler
Nature of walk: Following last year's precedent we are going somewhere different for our first walk. This time we will be walking along the sea wall beside the River Crouch, one of Essex’s lovely tidal rivers, to the old town of Burnham-on-Crouch, once famous for its oyster beds and boat builders and now for its sailing. Your leaders happen to own a house on the Quay where a slap-up tea may be waiting for you. If not, we have pubs on either side.

Lucy's report: Eleven of us had a fantastic walk yesterday along the River Crouch to Hugo and Deborah's house. The weather was perfect, the terrain pretty flat, a lovely coffee stop and then the promised slap-up tea at the end.


Saturday 16 September
The first of our introductory walks
General Area:
Harrow on the Hill circular walk Miles: 1.75
Leader: Hugo Hodge
Nature of walk: This is a short walk mainly on pavements but it does include a fairly steep ascent of the Hill. We will walk at the pace of the slowest and stop for rests where necessary. I recommend lightweight clothes and a waterproof if rain is forecast and comfortable trainers. You might wish to bring a small bottle of water. The walk should take less than one hour.

Hugo's report: Four of us met outside Harrow on the Hill Station for the first introductory walk around the sights of Harrow on the Hill, the most popular of which was the Spire Café in the church hall next to St Mary's Church. This opens from 10.00 to 15.00 every third Saturday of the month. All its profits go towards St Mary's roof appeal. The main appeal for us was our lovely waitress, Sue Allett, who is one of our walk leaders. Another walk leader, David Turner, called in for a coffee and Lesley and Douglas Dodd, without whom the St Luke's Walking Club would probably not exist, are regular customers. Apologies for the plug but the café is worth a visit.


Saturday 16 September
General Area:
Windsor Great Park circular Miles: 10 easy
Leader: Tom Cryan
Nature of walk: a stroll through the Park with fabulous views of the Castle followed by a coffee stop in town to watch the Guards Band marching past (thoughtfully arranged by Tom) returning via the equestrian statues of George III and Elizabeth II (the only one), the village in the Park and a view of Cranbourne Tower.

On Saturday 16th September four walkers turned up for this walk. It was certainly quality rather than quantity. All four were experienced walkers and very fit. Although the weather forecast may have deterrred others we had no rain on this lovely walk. As ever we walked from Rangers Gate to Windsor. Unfortunately we missed the changing of the guards but were rewarded by a group of Morris Dancers performing their strange antics just outside the gates to the park. After a leisurely coffee in Windsor we walked up to the equestrian statue of George III for lunch before continuing past the only extant equestrian statue of the present queen and on into the village where we had an ice cream. St Luke’s walks don’t get any better.


Saturday 23 September
General Area:
City of London Miles: 2
Leader: Hugo Hodge
Nature of walk: This walk meanders through the old alleyways and courtyards of the eastern part of the City passing many old churches and points of interest. This walk should take less than two hours.

Hugo's report: Seven of us gathered at St Paul’s underground station, some of us at one exit and some at another. Eventually we met and I took the blame. We started at the shopping centre at No 1 New Change for its magnificent views over St Paul’s and the City and then wound our way through narrow streets, alleys and courtyards to end at Tower Hill after coffee at a very smart hotel. I forgot to take a photo on the day so here is one taken later.


Sunday 24 September
General Area:
Pinner Circular Miles: 8 easy
Leader: Sara Reeves
Nature of walk: A morning walk by ginnels, footpaths and open spaces through Pinner to Eastcote Gardens (photo stop) and then via the Celandine Way to Ruislip Lido where we will have a coffee stop. We will return to Pinner (by lunchtime) on quiet footpaths skirting the golf course, Haste Hill and Park Wood.

Sara`s report:The route was walked in reverse from last year and a final blast of Summer reappeared as if by magic. Seven walkers and Tess the dog enjoyed the sunny footpaths and open spaces of Pinner, Eastcote and Ruislip. The gunnels were deemed dangerous and several of the party sustained "vegetation injuries". Your leader was reminded next time to pack a saw and secateurs. Tess, who was endlessly seeking romance had several doggy dates en route. Thanks to Lucy for the interesting route planning.


Saturday 30 September
General Area:
Pinner circular walk Miles: 2.75
Leader: Hugo Hodge
Nature of walk: This walk is all on pavements and relatively flat. This walk should take less than two hours.

Hugo's report: Four of us met at Pinner station for a gentle tour of historic Pinner and some of its outlying farms. The weather was kind, the pace was sedate and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Two of us then enjoyed lunch at Daisy’s café at West House and visited the William Heath Robinson Museum which is well worth a visit. My guide to the walk published in 1997 refers to “the sadly mutilated West House”. The people of Pinner can be proud of their achievement.


Saturday 30 September
General Area:
Wendover circular Miles: 8 moderate
Leader: Peter Polkinghorne
Nature of walk: An undulating walk through a beautiful part of the Chilterns, starting with the spectacular view from Coombe Hill. No pub stop, so bring your own refreshments.

Peter's report: Six of us set off from Wendover station, on a surprisingly sunny day, on the long way round to Coombe Hill with its views of Chequers, where we had lunch. We met plenty of dogs and saw deer in the distance. Back to Wendover in time for 13:56 train.


Saturday 7 October
General Area:
Fryent Country Park circular walk. Miles: 3.5
Leader: Hugo Hodge
Nature of walk: This is the first walk in the countryside. If the weather has been wet conditions in places may be muddy and slippery. Trainers may not be suitable footwear unless they are designed for country walking. Wellington boots or walking boots will be better in the event of mud. You might also wish to bring a walking stick or pole to aid your balance. This walk should take less than two and a half hours.

Four of us gathered at Preston Road station on a dreary, drizzling Saturday, but we were rewarded by a lovely walk around Fryent Country Park. With its mixture of woods and hay meadows it is like travelling back in time to a Middlesex before the suburbs arrived.


Sunday 8 October
General Area:
Amersham and Little Missenden Circular. Miles: 8 moderate
Leader: Hugo Hodge
Nature of walk: The walk descends to Old Amersham and then follows the Misbourne Valley to Little Missenden. We then ascend the south side of the valley and descend at Mop End, returning to Amersham station via the Old Town. Plenty of opportunities for refreshments at the beginning and end.

Hugo's report: Barry Searle and I met at Amersham Station and had a glorious walk along the Misbourne Valley to Little Missenden where we headed up the south side of the valley to make a circular walk back to Amersham. Unfortunately our footpath was closed without an explanation. We made a detour and found several footpaths were closed to enable cabling work to be carried out on a line of electricity pylons. As it was a Sunday we ignored all further closure signs and survived. On our return to Amersham we met Jean Sippy at the station. Having had a heavy night out she caught a later train and thought she could do a shorter walk in the opposite direction and meet us. Her plan was foiled by the footpath closures, but she did have a walk.


Saturday 14 October
Last of our introductory walks
General Area:
Rickmansworth Aquadrome Five Lakes Walk. Miles: 5
Leader: Lucy Patten
Nature of walk: This is a flat walk around the lakes on firm, but not mud-free paths. You will now have achieved our target of walking five miles. If you have enjoyed the walks and feel better for them, then why not join the St Luke's Walking Club’s weekly social walks. Details of them will be found below on this website as they are planned.

Lucy's report: A plain sky and nicely warm: perfect walking weather for the ten of us on the Rickmansworth Lakes walk. One met a friend half way round and was tempted away to the cafe; the rest of us completed the circuit of lakes, spotting birds and other wildlife as we went.


Saturday 14 October
General Area:
Beaconsfield Miles: 10 easy
Leader: Janet Clow and Martin Atkins.
Nature of walk: A circular walk mainly through woodland to the northwest of Beaconsfield. Bring lunch, but there will be a lunchtime drink opportunity in Penn Street.

Janet's report: Seven walkers and Jenson the whippet convened at Beaconsfield for a not-too-demanding walk through ploughed fields and gold-tinged woodland. The day was pleasantly warm, but did not live up to sunny expectations. Jenson kept an eye on everyone, despite having to recalibrate when two people left at lunch time, and managed to retain his composure when he met a Great Dane the size of a small donkey.


Sunday 22 October
General Area:
Watford, through Whippendell Wood and Cassiobury Park. Miles: 5-6 easy
Leader: Deborah Tyler
Nature of walk: A walk through parkland and woods.

Deborah's report: Twelve walkers and 1 dog met at Watford Met line station and set off to enjoy the Autumn colours of Whippendell Wood - new territory to most of us. An easy but interesting walk of 5 miles along the canal, woodland paths, over the golf course and back through Cassiobury Park, by which time we had lost two people (they chose a longer walk returning via Rickmansworth).


Saturday 28 October
General Area:
Richmond Park circular walk Miles: 8 moderate
Leader: Patrick Wyman
Nature of walk: A beautiful area close to London. We will pass through the Isabella Plantation, follow parts of the Tamsin Trail, the Beverley Brook walk and the Capital Ring, and see White Lodge and the Penn Ponds. Often numerous deer around. Lunch at Roehampton Gate Café. Sorry, but no pubs on route. Patrick will lead the walk on his Tramper all-terrain mobility scooter.

Patrick's report: Eight of us enjoyed a beautiful autumn ramble, despite some bus/train hiccups. Though the cafe was very crowded, the Park easily accommodated the hordes of cyclists, who are apparently now restricted to designated routes. There seemed to be fewer deer than on previous visits. Thanks to the photographers.


Sunday 5 November
General Area:
Ashridge Circular Miles: 10 moderate
Leaders: Bob and Hilary Matheson
Nature of walk: Along canal, across fields, short steep climb up to Ashridge Monument, back through the forest. May be muddy in places. Lunch stop either in Aldbury with its well-known Greyhound pub or up at the Ashridge café (with toilets). We may add an optional extra loop through the Golden Valley if weather is fine.

Bob's report: A select very few of us: Inge, Judy, Bob, Hilary and Teka set off a little late for a fine autumn walk. Other prospective walkers were sadly thwarted by train cancellations, due to engineering works. After pretty Aldbury village (photo by ancient stocks!), we climbed up into Ashridge forest. Delightful autumn colour all around and we felt very lucky to live close to such wonderful countryside.
Lucy's report: When Patsy and Sara and I got as far as Watford Junction on our way to the start of today's walk they announced the trains to Berkhamsted were cancelled. So, after phoning Hilary and Bob to apologise, we took ourselves on an alternative walk. We crossed Watford and Cassiobury Park and turned left onto the towpath of the Grand Union Canal, over Croxley Common Moor and thence along the Ebury Way to Rickmansworth where we had lunch by the Lakes before catching the tube home. We were sad not to join the proper walk at Berkhamsted but at least we didn't waste the glorious sunshine.


Saturday 11 November
General Area:
Kings Langley circular Miles: 8 easy
Leader: John Harper
Nature of walk: We start along the Grand Union Canal before heading towards Nash Mills and Pimlico (no passport required!!). We then head south-east towards Bedmond and return to the station via Abbot's Langley. Please bring sandwiches, but we will do a short pub stop on route.

John's report: Seven of us met on a grey morning and headed off along the Grand Union Canal. We left the canal at Nash Mills and arrived just in time to join the locals in the Remembrance Day service at the Parish War Memorial. We then headed off into the countryside, at which point Lucy led a mini rebellion in which she and Mary took a short cut to the pub. After lunch we took the opportunity for a look at the "tin church" (Church of the Ascension at Bedmond) which was very kindly opened specially for us. The group then returned to the station in the afternoon sunshine.


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Sunday 19 November
General Area:
The Brent Valley, canals and hayfields of Middlesex (if you use your imagination) Miles: 11 moderate
Meeting time: 10.15 Meeting place: Paddington station, Exit 3 (signed Grand Union Canal)
Leader: Michael Romain Leader's phone: 07818 000849
Travel: From Harrow on the Hill Station take the 09.24 or 09.39 to Baker Street changing on to the Hammersmith and City/Circle Line towards Hammersmith, alighting at Paddington at 09.55 or 10.15. Take Exit 3 signed to Grand Union Canal.
Nature of walk: The walk will take us west along the canal to Perivale where we will join the Capital Ring to walk over Horsenden Hill, Sudbury Hill and Harrow on the Hill before descending to Northwick Park or South Kenton station across the playing fields and Northwick Park.

Saturday 25 November
General Area:
Great Missenden to High Wycombe Miles: 9 moderate
Meeting time: 10.15 Meeting place: Great Missenden station
Leader: Hugo Hodge Leader's mobile: 07867 805 289
Travel: Take the 09.39 northbound Chiltern Line train from Harrow on the Hill Station arriving at Great Missenden at 10.08.
Nature of walk: A moderately hilly walk over fields and through woods and down the Hughenden Valley. Possible refreshment stop at Hughenden Manor NT café. Please note that this is not a circular walk and we will be returning on the other branch of the Chiltern Line stopping at Wembley Stadium Station. We hope that Chris Messenger's health will improve so that she can lead walks for us again.


Proposed dates for the 2018 training walk programme
January: Sat 27, Mon 29
February : Sun 4, Tue 6, Sat 10, Wed 14, Sun 18, Thur 22, Sat 24
March: Fri 2, Sun 4, Mon 5, Sat 10, Tue 13, Sun 18, Wed 21, Sat 24, Thur 29
April: Sun 1 (Easter), Thur 5, Sat 7, Fri 13, Sun 15, Mon 16, Sat 21, Tue 24, Sun 29
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Last updated 12 November 2017.

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