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

Mid Berks AGM

This will be held on the afternoon of Saturday 2nd December 2017, at:

Earley CResCent Resource Centre,
Warbler Drive,
Lower Earley,
(Grid ref )

More details to follow.

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 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.

Holiday details

HF hotel Larpool Hall, Whitby for 4 nights from Monday April 23rd, 2018. Come with us to the North Yorkshire Moors and haunting scenery - who could forget the images of Whitby Abbey in silhouette?

Whitby is truly unique, venture in this tight and twisty town whilst exploring the local architecture. Contrast the windswept headlands and smugglers’ haunts of the Yorkshire coast, with the magical North York Moors where the sweetly scented heather creates a carpet of colour. The accommodation is in Larpool Hall - an imposing Grade II listed Georgian mansion set in 14 acres of grounds with views over the Esk Valley. The hall sits in a glorious elevated position above the town of Whitby; home to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the best fish and chips in the world, Captain Cook, and fantastic coastal walks. Built in the late 1780s the hall retains its Georgian style with picture windows, impressive fireplaces, and a magnificent staircase.

We have a limited number of single rooms included in the option (at no extra charge). The cost of four nights BBD and the legendary packed lunches is £349 per person. If there is sufficient take up we may be able to give a rebate later. Please express your interest and room preference to Maggie by or phone as soon as possible (telephone numbers in the printed version of the programme). I will then need a deposit cheque of £75 per person - made payable to Mid Berks Ramblers - and sent to me (address in the printed version of the programme) by early August. It seems early, but we need to secure the booking by early August and therefore I need to start collecting money straight away.

There may be opportunities for last minute holidays that are not formally part of the Mid Berks programme. If you wish to be made aware of these then please send an e-mail to indicating your wish to have your e-mail address used for this purpose.

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 AGM. This will be held in the afternoon at:

Earley CResCent Resource Centre,
Warbler Drive,
Lower Earley,
(Grid ref )

More details to follow.

14 December
Christmas lunch. Our annual Thursday Christmas celebration of a walk followed by Christmas lunch. Put the date in your diary and details will be provided in the next programme.

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

Newsletter and Review

Autumn treated us kindly and the walks were enjoyed in ambient weather but when the cold came it did so with a vengeance we usually escape in the Thames Valley. But hardy souls donned their protective clothing and tramped uncomplaining through the mud and ice.

A Message from our footpath secretary

Mill End car park. Many of us have walked in the lovely Hambleden Valley, just east of Henley, starting at the Mill End car park. Recently, the very convenient toilet block there has been out of use. Apparently, ownership of the car park has recently reverted to the local estate, who have had to close the toilets while they are sorting out contracts for managing the car park and toilets. They hope to open them soon, but it does mean that there will be a charge for using the car park, to cover the cost of running the toilets. The Estate Manager also tells me that they are having repeated problems with dog owners allowing their dogs to run free amongst livestock, particularly the deer. This is not something I’ve experienced on Ramblers walks, but I said I would pass the message on.

Brian Hackett

A message of appreciation from our Chairman to all Walk Leaders

At the centre of Mid Berks Ramblers are our committed walk leaders. They provide trustworthy leadership, oftentimes on paths anew, with sights of the season, flowers, tree blossom, sunlit fields as well as rain and wind, and logs and seats to sit on at break times. Their welcomes are most warm and friendly, their directions clear, and they usually return without anyone being lost. I celebrate their valuable contributions to our regular weekly rambles, and offer my heartfelt gratitude for walks well led.

John Oversby (Chair MBRA)

Dates for your diary


02 July
Visit of the Bristol Ramblers
23 July
Visit of the London Blind & Partially sighted Ramblers.
05 August
Earley Green Fair. Our annual Mid Berks publicity stand. If you have an hour or two to spare, come along and join in the fun of the fair and help Chris & Rita spread the joys of walking with Mid Berks. It is at Maiden Erlegh Nature Reserve, off Beech Lane, Earley.
25 November
Berks Area AGM at Holyport Memorial Hall hosted by East Berks Group. More details in the next programme.

Welcome to new members

We extend a warm welcome to the following new members:- Joyce Cook from Earley, Tony & Francoise Wilson from Calcot and Lynne Taylor from Wokingham. Hope to see you all out on walks with Mid Berks.

Holiday Information

We currently have two holidays booked - the first is to the Two Bridges Hotel on Dartmoor from Monday 8th May for four nights. This has proved very popular and over 30 people are going. The longer and medium walks are going to be led by Paul, with Patricia Cooper and others of her Ramblers' group at Caradon. Maggie has been contacting everyone about payment of the balance. We have bed, breakfast and dinner at the hotel and can order sandwiches from the hotel. Make sure you bring all the usual gear, NT cards, bus passes (just in case) and extras to make up your packed lunches.

The second holiday is at the Norton Grange Warner hotel at Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. It is from Monday 11th September until Friday 15th September. The hotel has a sea front and lots of other amenities such as pitch and putt, bowling and evening entertainment. We have 27 people signed up for this holiday, and Maggie is taking bookings for the ferry crossing at a special price arranged via the hotel. A super selection of walks are going to be arranged by Ron and Vinny Knowles using lots of local knowledge. Maggie will contact all those booked on this holiday when the balance payment is due. 

Ron is taking over from Paul as holiday organiser. We have lots of ideas for future holidays and the holiday for spring 2018 will be advertised in due course. We owe Paul a vote of thanks for carrying out this job so efficiently and well for many years. The holiday standard will be kept high! Maggie will be contacting everyone with a known email address to get positive confirmation that you would like to be on a list used for advertising holidays, including some at short notice, and also changes to the programme and events which missed being included in the programme. This is to satisfy data protection guidelines and should not be too onerous for you.

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