Footpath closure - Caversham Lock

Reading Borough Council have announced the temporary closure of the footpath across the weir at Caversham Lock. The footpath will be closed from 23rd February 2018 for up to one month. This is to allow essential maintenance work to be carried out at the weir. The approved diversion is to use Reading Bridge.

Mid-Berks Newsletter - December 2017 to April 2018 - edited extracts

John Haddock

John has for many years been the Website Administrator for Mid Berks. Even though John did not participate in the walks with the group, he updated our website with pictures and information and the details of the latest Walk Programmes we submitted to him. He re-designed the website for us when requested a few years ago. All the work was entirely voluntary and with no remuneration. We owe him an immense debt of thanks for all his hard work on our behalf. As he has now moved to the Devon seaside, he has handed on the baton to Brian Hackett. We wish John much happiness in his new location and thank him most sincerely for all the help he has given us over the years.

Baby, it’s cold outside………

It may be cold outside, but that's no excuse to stay inside when you could be out walking and enjoying our lovely countryside! Here are just a few prompts before you head-out:

  • Keep warm - wear comfortable clothes and sturdy, comfortable footwear suitable for the conditions and terrain.
  • Several thin layers of clothing are better than one thick layer. You can take off layers as you warm up, or add them if you get cold.
  • Take a good waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers.
  • Wear a hat and gloves, and take a scarf – the winter wind can find its way into every gap!
  • Take some food with you, such as high energy snacks like flapjack, chocolate or dried fruit and nuts, and a flask with a hot drink.
  • Take a map and a mobile phone (charged and switched on) and make sure someone knows where you’ve gone and when you expect to be back.
  • Take a torch and spare batteries.
  • Consider wearing some reflective clothing if you are walking on roads after dark and remember to walk facing the traffic.

Ramblers have recently issued a revised version of the Walk Leader’s Checklist and an In Case of Emergency (ICE) card. These will be available at the MBR AGM, Saturday 2nd December 2017.

Bucklebury (and Lambourn) Byways seasonal closures

West Berks Council are closing various Byways to 4WD vehicles, for the winter months, from 16th October 2017 to 15th April 2018. Walkers, horseriders, pedal cyclists, motorcyclists and carriage drivers will still be permitted to use them (providing there is not a separate total closure order). This is to protect vulnerable surfaces from damage. Notices, maps (and plastic barriers restricting the access width) will be at each end of the affected sections.

The council will be trying to monitor the routes over the winter with the help of the local police team but if anyone sees any vehicles using any of the closed routes they should report them immediately to the police on 101 with as much detail as possible and to the Rights of Way team at West Berks Council. If any particular route appears to be still being used by vehicles, the council may install Kent Carriage Gaps, i.e. lockable, retractable bollards.

If the seasonal order is deemed to be successful it could happen every winter. Details of the byways affected can be obtained from the Mid Berks Footpath Secretary.

Hopefully works to improve Bucklebury Byways 39/2, 49/7, 11/1 and 11/2 will be completed shortly.

Newsletter & Review

Once again our short walking break, on the Isle of Wight, was blessed with good weather. The accommodation at Warner’s Norton Grange, though not specifically catering for walkers, proved to be excellent value for money. Comfortable chalets and generous amounts of good food. Evening entertainment was available for those who wanted it. The amazing walks were led by our husband and wife team Vinny and Ron Knowles. Vinny patiently led the medium walkers (though she usually leads longer distances) and Ron led the hardier souls on the long treks. The views were amazing and the experience was enjoyed by all. Our heartfelt thanks for the hard work of all who book and arrange these short holidays for us and lead the walks.

Holiday details

Maggie will be contacting the 33 people booked for our holiday at Larpool Hall in Whitby for your balance cheques in the New Year. The holiday is from Monday 23 April 2018 for four nights. The balance amount due is £274 per person. There will be a selection of longer and medium led walks, with lots of other sight-seeing. See here for more information about Whitby. The hotel details are Larpool Hall, Larpool Drive, Whitby YO22 4ND. Don't forget your English Heritage and National Trust membership cards, and bus passes.

Advance notice for autumn 2018.

We have secured a booking for the Riverside Hotel, Monmouth for four nights from Monday 10th September, 2018. You may remember that we stayed there in 2013. The cost is £278 per person for a shared room on dinner, bed and breakfast basis with packed lunches. We have reserved a small number of single rooms at a cost of £328. If you would like to go on the guest list, please let me know as soon as possible (especially for a single room). There will be a number of longer and medium lead-walks, with many short walks and sight-seeing opportunities nearby. The hotel is just a short walk from the town of Monmouth. The address is Riverside Hotel, Cinderhill Street, Monmouth, NP25 5EY. The hotel was originally a 19th coaching inn and now offers a combination of market-town energy and rural setting. General information on the Monmouth area can be found here.

Dates for your Diary

25 November
Area A.G.M. 1030 Walk (choice of two walks between about 4 and 6 Miles), 1400 AGM, 1500 Talk by Robin Harford entitled “Walking With Plants: A Wild Edible Journey Through The Landscape. East Berks Group will be hosting the 2017 Area A.G.M. at Holyport Memorial Hall, Moneyrow Green Road, SL6 2NA (Grid ref . Bring a packed lunch to eat at the hall at 1230, or there are pubs nearby, and take the opportunity for find out about other Berkshire groups, their walks, events and work. Hot and cold drinks will be available in the Hall. Full details on the Area A.G.M. webpage.
02 December
Mid Berks A.G.M. will be held at Earley Crescent Resource Centre, Warbler Drive, Lower Earley, RG6 4HB. Meet at 1130 hours for a pre A.G.M. stroll led by Jean Hackett in the local area, or 1300 hours for pre A.G.M. refreshments. Bring your own packed lunch to eat followed by tea/coffee plus cakes provided by the Group. The meeting will start at 1400 hours.
14 December
Pre-Christmas Lunch walk (subject to weather) from "The Butt Inn" P.H. at Aldermaston Wharf. Eat at 1300 hours. GR . Please let Paul know by Thursday 7 December if you are coming, with your choice of menu and a £10 deposit.
21 January
The New Year Lunch to be held at "The Bull" P.H. at Theale. Lunch will be at 1300 hours with the usual pre-lunch wander starting at 1030 hours from the pub. Full details in the walk section.
13 March
The next First Aid course will be in the evening (1800 – 2100 hours) on 13 March 2018 at the St. John Ambulance Centre, Deadmans Lane, Theale, RG7 5FB. To book a place on this First Aid course, please email. If you need assistance finding the centre visit the website for directions.

Mid-Berks Newsletter - August 2017 to November 2017 - edited extracts

Newsletter & Review

Once again our walk leaders have provided a varied selection of walks, with something for all abilities. The London walks have proved very popular and give another dimension to the programme. We were able to enjoy a lovely walk from Alexandra Palace in North London to Hampstead Heath, almost entirely along green spaces, finishing with tea and scrumptious cakes before catching the train home. Unfortunately another London walk, in Whitechapel and Wapping, at the end of the last programme, was cancelled due to transport problems but it is repeated in this programme to give those who were disappointed, the opportunity to go. Another successful time away was enjoyed by Mid Berks in May and Thelma and Paul Townson have contributed their reflections on this holiday:-

"33 members enjoyed the walks on West Dartmoor led by the local walking group the Caradon Ramblers.

This particular part of Dartmoor was new to most of us and we were fortunate to experience glorious sunny weather on the first 2 days, enabling us to have spectacular views. Unfortunately the walks were in rain on the third day, so we saw a misty mysterious Dartmoor.

The Two Bridges Hotel provided good accommodation and excellent food and proved to be an ideal location.

Our special thanks to Patricia Cooper who organized leaders and led walks herself, and to Maggie Hills for all her administrative work"

A further event was the visit on July 2nd of a party from the Bristol Ramblers. The walks started and finished from the town hall in Henley and went in different directions into the hills. Three walks were on offer for the group, one of 16+ miles led by Keith Toogood, one of 13 miles led by Paul Townson and one of 8 led by Chris Bintcliffe. A break for afternoon tea at Hambleden Church was enjoyed by the longer walkers and a pub stop was on offer for the shorter walkers. The sun shone and all enjoyed the party atmosphere in Henley which was celebrating the last day of the famous Regatta. A return visit to Bristol is likely next year, more details in a future programme. Our thanks to the Leaders and participants from Mid Berks that made the day a success.

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