St Luke's Hospice

St Luke's Hospice

Training Walks 2017

West Devon Triangle walk page

Now that our series of training walks, is complete, we hope that you all enjoyed and benefited from them. Very many thanks to all the walk leaders, and particularly to Hugo Hodge, who apart from leading several of them, organised the whole series.

Also thanks to the walk leaders from me, Patrick Wyman, for making my task of including your walk reports on the website so easy.

I will leave the walk reports and photos here for a while, but then we'll replace them with information about any later walks that may be arranged.

And also, we'll show the information about the BBQ!, which will be on Sunday 9 July at the Hospice, from 2pm to 5pm.
Please bring along a pudding/salad or drinks. If possible, please bring along foldable chairs.
Please let Gurpreet (020 8382 8018, GMadan@stlukes-hospice.org) know by 5pm on 21 June whether you (and your partner) will be coming.

The West Devon Triangle walk

A group photo taken at the start can be viewed or downloaded here, as well as the maps . Please note that an OS licence may be required for more than personal use of the maps.

Here is a direct link to Peter Polkinghorne's 298 excellent photos

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25 of the 40, plus one dog

1 January 2017
General Area:
Rickmansworth Five Lakes Walk Miles: 4.5 easy
Leader: None! Organiser: Hugo Hodge
Other information: A pleasant largely mud-free walk around the lakes. You can download a printable guide to the route in pdf format by clicking here. The café should be open for hot drinks and food at the end, but might not be at the beginning. The White Bear is just a short walk along the canal from the car park near Batchworth Lock and the Fox and Hounds is the nearest pub on the High Street.

Some 40 walkers made it to the start in reasonable weather, despite misleading information from Transport for London and the Met Office. A good walk was enjoyed by us all, along with other local walkers, their dogs and their small children on bicycles. Almost all of us made it back to our cars, the cafe or the White Bear pub before the heavens opened.


Other dates being planned:

Saturday 28 January
General Area:
Hampstead Heath Miles: 6 moderate
Leader: Deborah Tyler
Other information: A circular walk around the Heath to Highgate and back. Possible stops for refreshments at Kenwood House or a pub.

A few hiccups with two people going to Hampstead station instead of Hampstead Heath station and two finding themselves on the train to Acton by mistake, but in the end 18 met and walked up the hills to Hampstead and Highgate, passing some interesting animals in Golders Hill Park, in better than forecast weather but on muddier paths thanks to the higher temperature.


Sunday 5 February
General Area:
Chess Valley - Chesham to Rickmansworth. Miles: 10 moderate
Leader: Tony Prothero
Other information: The walk follows the route of the River Chess between Chesham and Rickmansworth. Bring your own provisions as there are no pubs without making a detour.

We had a wonderful walk out of Chesham and along the Chess Valley to Rickmansworth. The rain fortunately held off and whilst being moist underfoot it wasn't as muddy as anticipated.


Monday 6 February
General Area:
Chartridge Hills and Vales Miles: 8 moderate - a few hills to climb
Leader: John Harper
Other information: : A stroll from Chesham in the direction of Pednor and Chartridge and returning via Captain's Wood. Please bring sandwiches but we should have time for a pub stop at the Blue Ball.

Despite signal failures on the Met line, four of us successfully made it to Chesham, but unfortunately one walker was let down by the trains. The 4 of us were rewarded with a pleasant morning and the reward for numerous climbs were some outstanding views. All in all, a very enjoyable walk


Saturday 11 February
General Area:
Westminster to Kensington Miles: 4 easy
Leader: Tom Cryan
Other information: A largely traffic free stroll from Parliament Square to Kensington High Street via St James Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Plenty of opportunities for refreshments in the park cafés.

Tom's report: At 10am on Saturday 11th February it was 1 degree Celsius and it was snowing, not heavily but snowing nonetheless. I therefore confidently expected to turn up, see there were no takers, and go home. St Luke's walkers must be hardy, as seven all weather heroes were waiting at the station. The walk is delightful on a reasonably warm day and, I hope, at least an interesting stroll on a wintry morning. From Westminster, we walked through four Royal Parks: St James', Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, finishing at Kensington High Street. It was a short walk of only four miles but most of the group decided they wanted to walk further, so despite the falling, but not settling, snow they retraced their steps back to the start. If they participate in the Devon Triangle, Steve should present a special award to them!


Tuesday 14 February
General Area:
Richmond Park circular Miles: 7 easy
Leader: Patrick Wyman
Other information: 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.

Eight of us, plus one dog, found an ideal day to appreciate the scenery of this lovely park. Patrick wasn't able then to explain where the Isabella Plantation's name came from, but apparently "isabel" is an old word meaning "dingy or greyish yellow", the colour of the area's soil. Unfortunate, perhaps, that the hospice at Welwyn Garden City (where Robin, our CEO, is moving to) is called the Isabel Hospice!

Sunday 19 February
General Area:
Beaconsfield circular walk Miles: 9 easy
Leader: Sue Allett
Other information: Sue's "old faithful" walk in the fields and woods to the west of Beaconsfield. Just a couple of climbs, through woods, fields, and several villages, partly on the Chiltern Way. Bring your own lunch.

15 of us met at Beaconsfield and enjoyed what turned out to be 11 miles according to Alan's pedometer.
A bit muddy in places and a few glimpses of sun and signs of spring - snowdrops and daffodils. A good pace and no pub stop meant we did the whole walk plus lunch stop in 4¼ hours. Well done all!


Wednesday 22 February
General Area:
Denham Miles: 4 easy
Leader: Hugo Hodge
Other information: : This is a circular walk from Denham Station in the Colne Valley taking in the Country Park, the Grand Union towpath and part of the South Bucks Way. There is a reasonable chance of a tea stop. We should be home for lunch!

Nine of us set off from Denham Station for an easy four mile walk (Alan claims it was five and a half). The weather was mild, the company was good and all too soon it was all over. Four of us took a well earned rest in the Falcon before tackling the journey home.


Saturday 25 February
General Area:
Cadmore End Miles: 11 moderate/challenging
Leader: Janet Clow and Martin Atkins
Other information: A popular walk in the heart of the Chiltern countryside. The route passes through fields and woodland and the tranquil villages of Fingest, Turville and Skirmett. There are several climbs and many beautiful views. Shorter walk options of 5.5 miles (morning), 4 miles (afternoon) or 9 miles are possible if you have your own transport, but please liaise with Janet beforehand about where to park. Bring your own lunch, but a pub stop at Skirmett should be possible.

Sixteen walkers plus dog completed the full eleven miles, with plenty of hills to test our fitness. A further three plus another dog took advantage of the slightly shorter options on offer. There were sightings of the red kites so prolific in this area, a fox, who was in such a hurry that we almost expected a pack of hounds to follow, and a splendid stag. Cloudy and windy weather in the morning gave way to light rain during the afternoon, but we were lucky that the heavier rain held off until we had finished the walk. Chris's puppy Gilly made his St Luke's debut, enjoyed meeting new friends and managed not to trip anyone over!


Thursday 2 March
General Area:
North Harrow to Pinner Miles: 6.5 easy
Leader: Lucy Patten and Pete Thomas.
Other information: Through parks and open spaces. Finish by lunchtime, ready for Pinner's numerous eateries and pubs.

12 walkers and one in a Tramper gathered at North Harrow for today's walk. It is surprising how much green space you can find between North Harrow and Pinner (via South Ruislip and Eastcote) with just a little bit of road walking to connect them up. It was made even better by fair weather and the numerous crocus and daffs flowering along the way. We finished at Daisy's cafe in the park where four of us took refreshment and the rest went about their day.


Sunday 5 March
General Area:
: A circular walk to the west of St Albans. Miles: 7.5 easy
Leader: Hugo Hodge
Other information: A gentle walk past the cathedral and Verulamium Park to Gorhambury House and back via Appspond and Potters Crouch where the Hollybush may be a suitable place for lunch.

Despite the driving rain 10 of us set off for St Albans to arrive in sunshine, 9 at Abbey Station and one at City. Alan therefore had to walk an extra half mile. The walk was beautiful with an abundance of snowdrops on display. We stayed longer in the Holly Bush than planned which meant that the last 2k became a forced march to catch the hourly train service. The walk leader, fearing recriminations, absented himself from the race.


Friday 10 March
General Area:
Chess Valley circular Miles: 12 moderate
Leader: Sue Aldridge
Other information: A hilly circular walk via the Chess Valley, Ley Hill and Flaunden (picnic lunch). Drinks at Green Dragon pub. Continuing via Venus Hill to edge of Chipperfield Common and returning via Belsize and Chess Valley.

Thirteen walkers joined the walk at Chalfont and Latimer. The fine drizzle at the start didn’t last long and we enjoyed a cloudy, but fine, dry day. We headed west along the Chess Valley with lovely views of the Chess to our left, then headed up Blackwell Hall Lane to cross fields and quiet lanes to the edge of Ley Hill. The long straight bridleway heading down to Flaunden Bottom gave us more good views, then we ascended the road up to lunch at Flaunden. It was a delight to eat our sandwiches in the churchyard, surrounded by beautiful spring crocuses, daffodils and snowdrops. We all found seats to eat our lunch admiring the mass of colour at our feet! We had time for liquid refreshment in the rather nice pub ‘ The Green Dragon’. The afternoon walk took us over the highest point of the day at Venus Hill and then across the edge of Chipperfield Common. We cut across Belsize and downhill into the Chess Valley for our trek back to the station. Most of the paths were good, with a few particularly muddy sections, but the whole party kept up a good pace and we actually completed just over 13 miles. Everyone had an enjoyable day.


Saturday 11 March
General Area:
Moor Park to Stanmore on the London Loop. Miles: 10 moderate
Leader: Christine Elliott
Other information: A walk along the London Loop through Green Belt (enjoy it while you can!) by-passing Northwood, Oxhey, Hatch End, Harrow Weald and finishing in Stanmore.

14 walkers met at Moor Park on what was a rather dull day, but which turned out to be warm and sunny by late morning. We walked a varied route through two golf courses, open (muddy) farmland and woods, with a detour to avoid a very deep and wet mud trap which the leader had encountered at Pinner Wood Farm on her recce earlier in the week. We enjoyed a lunch break in the sun at Old Redding where four of the party left us and the remaining 10 walked on to Stanmore in good time to get home for the rugby.


Monday 13 March
General Area:
Watford circular through Whippendell Wood and Cassiobury Park. Miles: 5/6 easy
Leader: Deborah Tyler
Other information: : A circular walk through parkland and woods. There are public toilets and a tea hut in Cassiobury Park.

There was some disruption on the Metline but thirteen of us arrived at Watford for a walk through Cassiobury Park and Whippendell Woods returning along the canal towpath. The weather was warm and sunny and the conditions under foot almost perfect. It was a delightful walk. Five of our party followed the original plan and returned to Watford while the rest of us enjoyed the towpath for a little longer and caught the train home from Croxley.

Friday 17 March
General Area:
Harrow Weald Common circular Miles: 8 easy, but can be flexible
Leader: Chris Messenger
Other information: This is an undulating circular route but with no steep hills, through woodland and fields, muddy in places and with rough paths. My young collie Gilly will be leading!

Gilly and I were joined by 9 walkers (four were visitors). We set off at just after 9:30 in pleasant weather with the majority of paths not too muddy. The undulating terrrain of Merry Hill Woodland Trust gave us many different views and the weather stayed good. Gilly enjoyed meeting other dogs We didn't make it to Bentley Priory, finishing at the Old Redding View Point at 12:40.


Sunday 19 March
General Area:
Great Missenden to Wendover and return Miles: 15 brisk
Leader: Hugo Hodge, replacing Tom Cryan
Other information: Not too strenuous a walk through a beautiful part of the Chilterns. It includes the spectacular view over the Vale of Aylesbury from Coombe Hill but without the slog up from Wendover. Lunch break in Wendover with a chance of catching the train back from there. The walk returns to Gt Missenden by a different route.

(Report and photo by Hugo Hodge. Hugo deputised for Tom Cryan who was unwell.) 23 of us set out from Gt Missenden on a grey and very windy day on a circular walk to Wendover and back. It felt mild in the woods and valleys but conditions were bitter on Coombe Hill. We retreated to the welcoming pubs and cafés in Wendover for lunch. Only 16 emerged for the gentle walk back.

Tuesday 21 March
General Area:
Amersham circular Miles: 6.75 moderate
Leaders: Lucy Patten and Pete Thomas
Other information: Circular walk through Chiltern countryside. Finishing by lunchtime.

Tika the dog joined eighteen of us on a surprisingly sunny day for a walk from Amersham station. We had a quick stop to see the Amersham Memorial, built to commemorate seven Martyrs who were burnt at the stake in 1521 and then on down the valley to Little Missenden, we made it safely over the main road and rail track and then back up through fields and woods to Amersham on the hill. Here the party split: some back to the station and some into The Boot and Slipper for some excellent fish and chips.


Saturday 25 March
General Area:
Amersham to Northwood Hills Miles: 14.5 moderate (but can be muddy)
Leader: Peter Polkinghorne
Other information: This is a walk to Northwood Hills via the Wimbourne and Ruislip Lido. Bring your own lunch. Probable stop at at Chalfont St Peter, where there are two pubs and public toilets.

14 of us set off from Amersham on a beautiful sunny day, to walk the 16 miles to Northwood Hills. The wind had dried out the worst of the mud. We had a nice lunch stop at Chalfont St Peter. After going under the M25, four of the party took different routes home, leaving 10 to finish.


Wednesday 29 March
General Area:
Hambleden and Stonor Valleys - Chilterns Circular. Miles: 11 strenuous
Leader: Sue Aldridge
Other information: Hilly circular from Hambleden along woodland and field paths across to Stonor Valley. Ascend Stonor Park on Chiltern Way to Turville (picnic lunch). Drinks at the Bull & Butcher pub. Village featured in Vicar of Dibley series. Return via Fingest, Skirmett and the Hambleden Valley. At least 4 main hill climbs en route. Splendid views and pretty villages.

Thirteen walkers, plus Tikka the dog enjoyed splendid views of both the Hambleden and Stonor Valleys. The weather, although cloudy, provided good walking conditions for climbing the four hills in the morning. We had a good mix of woodland, fields, hills and valleys with signs of spring all around us. We particularly admired several large displays of daffodils along the grass verges, in the pretty villages and by the smart farms. The grounds of Bosmore Farm were particularly beautiful with its abundance of daffodils.
We sat on the slopes of Stonor Deer Park for our picnic lunch with the most spectacular view of the walk, looking down to the old Stonor House (one of England’s oldest manor houses, 850 years old, but still lived in today) and the panoramic Stonor Valley beyond. We then continued to Turville and enjoyed a well-earned, half-hour refreshment stop at the old pub.
The last third of the walk was the easiest, ambling south along the pastoral Hambleden Valley, passing fields of sheep, through Skirmett and back to Hambleden, finishing at 3.15pm, enabling us to head home along the M40 before the main rush hour.


Sunday 2 April
General Area:
The Commons of Bucks & Herts Miles: 16 (with 10 mile option) moderate/challenging
Leader: John Harper
Other information: The route follows the Chess valley towards Chesham, before turning northeast to Botley and Ley Hill and then east to Flaunden and Chipperfield Common before returning to the Chess Valley via Sarratt. The shorter option is to turn south down Flaunden Bottom to Latimer and across the Chess to the station. Bring sandwiches but there should be an opportunity for a pub stop.

18 of St Luke's finest headed off past Latimer House and along the Chess to Chesham. We then skirted around Chesham and headed for Botley, Ley Hill and Flaunden for the traditional lunch stop. Crocuses have gone from the church yard, but daffs are going strong. After lunch, six opted for the shorter walk while the remainder headed off towards Chipperfield Common and past Commonwood House and through Sarratt Green before returning to the Chess. The group then cleaned out the entire stock from the Watercress Farm and headed back to the station. A great day weatherwise and largely mud free!!


Wednesday 5 April
General Area:
Circular from Chorleywood Miles: 13/7 moderate
Leader: Peter Moss
Other information: About 13 miles crossing and re-crossing the Chess Valley, via Chenies, Belsize, Flaunden and Sarratt Bottom. Bring a packed lunch - stop for a drink at the Green Dragon in Flaunden. Possible 7 mile option via Chenies and Sarratt Bottom, with the last few miles unled.

19 walkers started the route on a sunny, and later very warm, day. Six took the shorter 7 mile route option heading back to Chorleywood after the first 4 miles (where we stocked up on watercress). Three picked up their car left at the lunch stop earlier, and one took a shorter route back after 9 miles, leaving 9 of us to do the full distance. An old favourite, this one, but appreciated by all.


Saturday 8 April
General Area:
Hampden Climber Miles: 13 challenging
Leader: Tony Prothero
Other information: A scenic walk over Whiteleaf Hill and along the Ridgeway to Coombe Hill and returning via Little Hampden and Great Hampden with a pub stop at Great Hampden.

The Hampden Climber was well attended, with 14 people coming along. We had glorious sunny weather with open blue skies to enjoy the tremendous views, probably amongst the best in the Chilterns. The Hampden Arms was very welcoming and allowed us to eat our sandwiches on the premises (As the weather was hot, I think the chef was relieved to stop cooking)


Good Friday 14 April
General Area:
Risborough Romp Miles: 16 challenging
Leader: Dave Colvill
Other information: A walk across the hills and valleys of the Chiltern, with sunshine and spectacular views thrown in. Bring drink and a sandwich, but will be stopping at the NT village of West Wycombe, which has village pubs and a tea room. This may be a longer walk, but there is no big rush, come and enjoy a day out in the countryside. This is a circular walk returning to Princes Risborough.

It was a good Friday walk, with 9 people on the march across the Chiltern hills, with a supply of hot cross buns to keep us going. Richard discovered the perils of opening a heavy farm gate that was missing its hinges. Happy to report no animal or walker was injured, the gate was lifted back into place ready to catch out the next set of walkers. Much easier to use the adjacent stile. Anyway 16 miles was completed by everyone. Well done, gang.


Sunday 16 April (Easter Sunday)
General Area:
Tring, Ivinghoe Beacon and Ashridge circular. Miles: 10 strenuous
Leader: Hugo Hodge
Other information: A classic ridge walk along the Chiltern escarpment to Ivinghoe Beacon returning past Little Gaddesden, the Ashridge Estate and Aldbury. Opportunity for a pub stop in Little Gaddesden and Albury, but bring a packed lunch.

Nine of us resisted the temptation of the Cadbury's Great British Egg Hunt on the Ashridge Estate and enjoyed a great circular walk from Tring Station upto Ivinghoe Beacon and back through the woods via Aldbury. The forecast rain held off but it was a bit breezy on top of the Beacon.


Monday 17 April (Bank Holiday)
General Area:
Twickenham to Richmond via Brentford. Miles: 8/9 easy, but can be shortened by taking the train back from Gunnersbury or Kew Gardens rather than Richmond.
Leader: Deborah Tyler
Other information: A Thames walk mainly on towpaths and over parkland from Twickenham past Marble Hill and Syon House to Brentford and back over Kew Bridge to Richmond. There are public toilets at Marble Hill and Syon House, a café in Syon Park and pubs at Kew Bridge.

Eleven walkers met at Twickenham station for the Easter Monday walk along one side of the river Thames to Brentford and back along the other side from Kew Bridge to Richmond, with a short detour to the Naked Ladies, tastefully photographed by Peter Polkinghorne.


Saturday 22 April
General Area:
Two circular walks from Stokenchurch either side of lunch. Miles: 7 each moderate
Leader: Janet Clow and Martin Atkins.
Other information: Choose either or both walks exploring the woodlands and hills either side of the M40. Best to bring a packed lunch although you may be able to buy something in Stokenchurch. Lunchtime drink opportunity at the Fleur de Lis.

Twenty-three walkers and three dogs mustered for a lovely morning walk of seven miles to the south of Stokenchurch, mostly through woodland swathed in bluebells. After lunch on the green and in the pub at Stokenchurch, those who were saving their strength or had other plans for the afternoon headed home, leaving a select band of just ten humans for the afternoon. This time we headed north for a circuit of another seven miles, with more open views of the stunning Chiltern countryside. A day which had started overcast and a little chilly warmed up gradually and ended in blazing sunshine.


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