Group Leader: Tom Bell
Telephone: 01777 710969 (Mobile:07879519220)
Email: walking-striders@retford-u3a.org.uk
Meetings: Third Monday of the month @ 10am
Venue: Venue and distance announced in Newsletter

The Striders Walking Group is for walkers who like a challenge.  They meet on the 3rd Monday of every month at 10am.  Walks will be around 8 miles, possibly with stiff inclines and testing terrain.  Venues will possibly be some distance away (especially during the Summer months), so be prepared to share cars and to leave early!


For more details Contact: Tom Bell 01777 710969 (Mobile:0787951922


Chesterfield Canal Walking Festival - Message From Tom


Above is an image relating to last year's Chesterfield Canal Walking Festival containing a fair few faces who will be well known to many of us, not just Police 5 !
We've been involved with the Festival for the last 2 years (as have our friends at Retford Civic Society), assisting by leading walks and providing support.
I (Tom) have been involved during this time, liaising with the Canal Trust and helping to organise walks, also assisted by other Retford U3A members, but hopefully I can hand over to somebody else this year. The Festival takes place between Saturday, 12th September and finishes on Sunday, 20th September.
The responsibilities involve being a Point of Contact, mostly via email and attending one meeting (probably around July) as well as being about during the period of the Festival, besides organising the walks.
Other members of the U3A, as I've mentioned, have kindly lent their support, so it's not necessary to be engaged personally with all the walks which we lead. The last 2 years have seen us lead two x " Boat & Boots" walks on each Sunday, involving a 2 mile boat ride, plus a 4 mile walk each time, plus one x midweek walk.
If anybody is at all interested please get in touch with me and I'll fill you in on the details. The main reason for " handing over " is that we fancy a mid- September holiday, rather than waiting until the end of the month ! Chances are I'll still be available for part of the Festival and would assist in whichever way I could.

Best regards to all.

Tom, on behalf of David, Jean and Geoff.


Forthcoming Walks in 2020

Just a mention that we're trying to get a smidge more organised re planning walks in advance in the coming year. We have no lack of enthusiastic folks willing to put forward walks, but if we had some sort of schedule we're fairly sure it'd be of benefit to all.

As such, if you can think of a walk you'd wish to do and could schedule it for a particular month we'd be more than chuffed. Naturally, external influences can kick in occasionally, so nothing would be so rigid that it couldn't be swapped for a different month.

Please take into account that we tend to travel a bit further during longer daylight hours and stay a bit closer to home this time of year. If you would like to give it some thought and let us know we could collate the different preferences for sure. We'll not hold you to anything! Don't be shy!

Best regards.

Geoff and Tom





Hi all,

Steve Saddington is organising a recce which will be taking place in Woodborough on the 26th of February..

Woodborough is just 25 miles / 40 minutes away from Retford. The walk will take in Lowdham and Langley before returning to Woodborough.

For further information and if you intend to go on the recce please contact Steve direct via email: stephensaddington58@gmail.com

The walk proper will take place on Monday, 16th March.

Best regards


Geoff and Tom





February 2020 - Brigg Area

Considering that much of the country was still suffering from Storm Dennis (and Ciara, to some extent), by some miracle Vernon managed to pick out one area that was relatively trouble-free for the second of this year's Striders renditions.

Not to say that it wasn't just a tad breezy and definitely "fresh" as 10 of us gathered at the start, close by Barnetby le Wold and in an elevated position, overlooking the flight path into Humberside Airport

Fortunately, we'd been reliably informed by Vernon that the ravages of those strong winds would diminish somewhat as we descended, away from our starting point near Glebe Farm and sure enough that turned out to be the case!

As we went along it wasn't too difficult to take in that many of the villages we either went through or close by ended in "by”, which we were informed by Vernon meant they were associated with the Vikings. Interestingly the word "by" is also in common use in today's language, such as "by-laws", relating to the local law of a town or village. Who says you can't learn on the hoof?

As we went along, it became apparent that such a lovely area as this is probably overlooked by many in our vicinity, maybe passing through from time to time, but missing out by not stopping off and admiring the views; something to ponder.

After 4 hours and 10 minutes we arrived back where we'd started, having worked up a decent appetite with 10.43 miles under our belts and averaging 23 minutes and 59 seconds per mile, including stops. So, with that in mind we headed off to the Cross Keys at nearby Grasby, possibly not aware that the first 1095 calories wouldn't matter if we chose to indulge ourselves, not that it normally matters, in all fairness!

Vernon had previously warned how alluring the hostelry was and sure enough he wasn't wrong: the food, the ambience, the views from the rear of the pub and dog-friendly too! How good is that to finish the business end off?

Many thanks to Vernon for leading and organising the walk, plus Pippa for the photo and of course, everybody who came to make everybody else's day- Cheers m'dears !

For photo and information regarding the above walk, please click:  HERE

For list of Viking village names in Lincolnshire, please click:   HERE





January 2020 - Dearne Valley

January's version kicked off the year at Dearne Valley Old Moor RSPB site, not too far from Wath upon Dearne in South Yorkshire.

Some 13 of us set off in glorious conditions , initially following the route of the Elsecar Canal, prior to arriving at the must-see Elsecar Heritage Centre after about 3 miles.

After a brief rest, we then skirted the Wentworth Estate, checking out the Needle's Eye and Hoober Stand along the way, follies associated with the estate.

Ultimately, we arrived back at Old Moor, though not before we'd experienced disappointment at the otherwise splendid scenery as we witnessed both random littering and rather more deliberate fly-tipping along the way, prompting some disgust at the mindsets of such perpetrators.

Prior to enjoying a snack at the Old Moor cafe, we discovered that we'd completed something in excess of 9.45 miles in 4 hrs and 6 minutes, resulting in a pace ( including stops) of 26 minutes and 3 seconds per mile and accounting for some 1032 calories- just as well, looking at the cakes on offer !

Many thanks to Ann and Geoff who were our leaders on this lovely walk.

For the route of the above walk, please click:  HERE

For further information on the sights enjoyed on this walk, please click on these links :-





December 2019 - Sherwood Forest

Hi all,

Gathering on the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre car park in pretty much full sun, it emerged that a total of 19 of us had turned up, 13 opting for the 10 mile walk and 6 for the 6 miler.

Pre-walk information had been sent out relating to both walks, the longer being referred to as the Full Monty, but more of that later !

Warmly welcoming new members and catching up with slightly older acquaintances, we traversed the first 2 miles and a bit as one group before parting ways, having shared the mostly excellent underfoot conditions and the sun as it snuck through the treetops.

Those of us opting for the shorter walk then ambled off in a mostly northeasterly direction until approaching a junction in the footpath network at around 3 miles, completely unprepared as a real life Full Monty hove into view; a man completely in the buff, privates on parade, proudly stepping out and adorned with just a rucksack and shoes. A good bit colder and Jack Frost would have been nipping at more than his nose. What a cheek! (Insert other euphemisms here .................................................)

To say that we were stunned into silence (that's a first !) is a bit of an understatement, though the chances are that our brains were trying to process information that they were convinced wasn't correct, but indeed was !

Thought processes all over the proverbial shop, it was at this point where our navigation of the route seemed to go to cock, as we pondered a little which track we should take. Fortunately, we knew not to follow the chap who'd thrown us into the tizz we'd just experienced !

Eventually, we sorted ourselves out and made our way once again, passing by the Major Oak, prompting a few of us to reminisce over our childhood visits just a couple of years back !

Arriving back at the Visitor Centre for coffee, it turned out to be the case that the gentleman who likes to make the most of the fresh air is a regular visitor and that his dress code is quite legitimate and acceptable. Yet another example of experiencing and learning something new via the U3A (for some of us, anyway)!

The shorter, real Full Monty route was completed in 2 hrs and 36 minutes, coming in at exactly 6.00 miles, working out at a pace, including stops, of 26 minutes and 2 seconds per mile and accounting for 651 calories. The faux Full Monty route resulted in 9.7 miles walked in 3 hrs and 37 minutes, a pace of 22 minutes and 23 seconds per mile, with a 917 calorie count.

Huge thanks to Rod and Philip for leading the walks and Rod once again for access to his Runkeeper stats.

Again, many thanks to all who attended and who helped to make it yet another memorable day.

To view images of the above walk, please click:   HERE

Best regards and Happy New Year to all!


Tom, on behalf of Geoff, Rod and Philip.

PS: If anybody has images they're willing to share (no, not him please !), please feel free to send them to me (Tom) for inclusion in the folder.


November 2019 - Clumber Park

Hi everybody.

Considering that it was a hastily arranged walk, due to the flooding that had affected our original route, things turned out more than grand !

Our leaders, Ann and Geoff, had left it until Friday in the hope that we might be able to walk a fair length of the River Don, swinging by other notable attractions, but sadly had to concede that both our safety and ability to enjoy certain sites would almost certainly be compromised on this occasion. Still, it's one on the list for next year, so it's not all bad.

That said, the decades of local knowledge accrued by our worthy leaders were to stand us in good stead as we traversed a lot of the outer perimeter of Clumber, setting off from Apleyhead Lodge in conditions that not many days before we could only have dreamed of !

Just a few miles west of Retford, Clumber has the advantage of lying on top of Bunter Sandstone, allowing for better than average drainage compared to nearby counties, plus well made cycle tracks, courtesy of the National Trust who manage it, one of the jewels in their crown.

17 of us enjoyed the route, which even then had to be improvised to a degree because of recent weather conditions; as it goes we were able to cross the bridge over the ford by Hardwick Village, but only just !

Though most of us had a decent working knowledge of Clumber, it was still heartening to hear folks say that they'd not previously visited certain areas we walked through, though with 3,800 acres to go at it's maybe not altogether surprising ! In addition to  Apleyhead Lodge, we'd also skirted by Normanton Lodge, South Lodge , Carburton Lodge, Truman's Lodge and Manton Lodge.

Of course, it would be negligent to not mention the Ornamental Bridge over Clumber Lake, currently undergoing extensive repairs, which we crossed at almost exactly the half way point of 5 miles.

As previously alluded to, the weather was very much in our favour, with more than occasional glimpses of that big red ball in the sky which most of us had probably thought that we would never see again !

Ultimately, we arrived back at Apleyhead, some 10.2 miles covered in 3 hrs and 46 minutes (including stops), at a pace of 22 minutes and 5 seconds per mile and some 964 calories being accounted for.

The Chequers Inn at Ranby, just 5 minutes down the road, was the place we sought to reverse the calorific deficit and very nice it was too in the pursuit of that goal !

Many thanks are due to Ann and Geoff who organised and led this walk, Kathy and Pippa for their photos, plus your good selves for your company, along with the usual scintillating, informative and oft-times humorous conversation.

Best regards.

Geoff and Tom

For photos and details of the above walk around Clumber, please click:   HERE

Philip has kindly sent further photos, which you can see:  HERE


PS.  If you have any photos you are willing to share from the day that could go in the folder, I'd be extremely grateful.

Cheers  - Tom



October 2019 - Stocksbridge Area

Hi all

13 of us gathered on a misty, murky day within yards of the A616 Stocksbridge Bypass, ready for a walk that was to be led by Liz and Marion.

Scuttling across the busy road in pretty damn pronto fashion it, wasn't long before our footwear was more than adequately tested by the build up of surface water that had accrued in the preceding weeks, countered by our upbeat demeanour as we trudged in a clockwise direction towards Penistone.

Amazingly, on taking an occasional backwards glance, it was still possible to see the Midhope Moors to the south of us as we passed by some very select, though rather isolated homesteads, most of which we mused definitely requiring 4x4 vehicles in an icy winter.

A few new faces joined us who we very much hope enjoyed the walk and the scintillating (and modest !) company that usually adorns our particular walks !
Arriving back after some 4 hrs and 50 mins, including stops, we discovered that we'd covered 10.59 miles at an average pace of 27 mins and 27 secs per mile and accounting for a not inconsiderable 1210 calories which most of us did our best to replace up the road at the very cosy and homely cafe up the road a smidge.

On researching local information, it turns out that the Stocksbridge Bypass has its own eerie and dark past, something which just may have put us off with advance knowledge, particularly with Halloween just around the corner !

For details of my research, please click:    HERE

Many thanks to Liz and Marion for leading us reprobates around the route, plus all who attended, ensuring it was more than worthwhile turning out on such a beautiful day !




August 2019 - Cotgrave area.


Hi all,

A select 8 of us gathered at the Foss (without an "e") Bridge, quite aware that the predicted weather conditions meant that we required to take all manner of garb with us, apart from the thermal gear, of course !

We'd not ventured south of the Trent before, even though the start location is far more easily accessible than many others we've sampled, so walk leader Vernon's choice was eagerly awaited.

We weren't disappointed by any stretch of the imagination, as we ambled (if sub 20 minutes per mile for the first four miles is ambling !) along a disused and derelict stretch of the Grantham Canal towards Vimy Ridge Farm, named so by a father in commemoration of his son who was killed at the Battle of the Somme on 27th September 1916.

Disused is a subjective term of course, as though this stretch of the canal is not navigable, it is definitely " used ", if the numbers of people we witnessed walking along its towpath was anything to go by, undoubtedly enjoying the scenery and the ambience of the area.

Reflecting on our 10 miles plus journey, it's a struggle to remember seeing or hearing many vehicles, even when going through the village streets of Cropwell Bishop, home of Cropwell Bishop Stilton Cheese. Accordingly, the relative silence, only broken by the sounds of nature, was a treat worth relishing.

Along the way, we'd mused over how imminently the crops, particularly wheat, were ripe for harvesting, sadly for some of us a portent of an almost imminent autumn and shorter days.

Approaching the aforementioned cheesemakers (blessed are the cheesemakers, as you will be aware !) in Cropwell Bishop, we were suddenly reminded why we'd brought the additional clothing as the heavens opened and we scrambled to access our waterproofs. Fortunately, it didn't last long and as we were within the last mile and a half it was a small penance to pay for the positives we'd enjoyed along the way.

Arriving back at our cars, it transpired that we'd covered something like 10.5 to 10.7 miles ( depending on device) in 3 hours and 49 minutes, an average pace of 21 minutes and 50 seconds, accounting for some 925 calories that could be consumed guilt-free at the Lord Ted in Newark, our post-walk refreshment stop.

Many thanks to Vernon for proposing and leading this lovely walk, as well as to Pippa for her photos and access to Runkeeper stats.

As ever, it was our friends and co-walkers who put the icing on the proverbial, so many thanks to you too.

See you soon.


Tom and Geoff.

For images of walk, please click:   HERE

Supplementary Information:

Grantham Canal:    HERE

Vimy Ridge Farm:   HERE

Cropwell Bishop Stilton: HERE



Retford U3A Walking Groups Summer Stroll - Haworth 5/8/19



Hi all,

A certain young lady called Jean did say something about the sun shining on the righteous a little while ago and how right she was !

An almost full coachload of us had left Kettlewell's with some relief, the most recent forecast for this particular day being the best since Adam was a lad and we weren't disappointed !

Alighting at the oh-so-appropriately-named Sun Street in Haworth a smidgen ahead of schedule, it wasn't too long before we were on our way through Central Park and into our Railway Children Walks, brilliantly augmented by Jean's leaflet, detailing all sorts of information relevant to our day out and further assisted by David's well-researched narration.

For those of us having recently seen the film, the Railway Children Walks seemed so familiar and undoubtedly added to the occasion.

Arriving back at Central Park it was decision time for many: Either finish walking there and have even more time to enjoy the splendours of downtown Haworth, or carry on and do the Full Monty ( in a manner of speaking!). That said, the Full Monty brimmed right over for a hardy few of our number who ventured yet further, assisting a stricken American tourist along the way too- well done folks!

Eventually, we all arrived back in Haworth, free to while away the time until 5pm and our return journey. Many different options were explored between us, what with trains, buses and a selection of tourist attractions all being on offer. Not forgetting the wide array of eating places to choose from, of course.

That "free time" was also an opportunity to bump into other members who had pursued different options throughout the day and to learn what they'd been up to and just as importantly, glean how much they'd enjoyed it.

All safely gathered in, we embarked on our return journey, courtesy of driver Neil, delivering us safely back and also in good time for Coronation Street too ! Does it get better than that?

I've got to heap some special praise on to my fellow coordinators, David and Jean, who between themselves decided on the location, did the recce and untold amounts of research, plus had the vision to provide the option of melding the Railway Children locations along with the opportunity to see the film. All that, plus the on-the-day services mentioned above too ! Many thanks to you both.

As ever, nothing would ever be a success without you, the members, whose feedback to this point has been nothing other than glowing. Many thanks to you all.

See you in September!

Best regards.

Tom, on behalf of David, Jean and Geoff.

For further information and photos, please click:    HERE



July 2019 - Firbeck and Maltby area.


Hi all,


13 of us made the short hop to our starting point of the Black Lion pub, Firbeck, nestling almost bang on the Notts./South Yorkshire border.

The weather and underfoot conditions proved to be in our favour as we discovered what was, for a few of us, some local hidden gems.

Known to most of us though. was Roche Abbey, an erstwhile Cistercian monastery, currently managed by English Heritage and with oodles of history to check out.
We were soon past the Abbey and heading towards those little-known gems of Hooton Levitt, Carr, Brookhouse and Slade Hooton, some of which surely qualified as " chocolate-box " villages.

Soon afterwards, we were heading back towards Roche Abbey, but this time along the beautiful Hooton Dike, set mostly in a shaded valley bottom and culminating in our crossing of Laughton Pond via stepping stones, somewhat akin to an extreme sport for some of us!

On reaching Roche Abbey this time we stopped off awhile, allowing ourselves some much needed refreshment which mostly resembled tasty and refreshing produce from the shop freezer – nice!

Following a slightly different route to get back to our starting point, we were inclined to muse that we could have driven for hours to have found such a lovely location for our walk, yet this area within Rotherham Metropolitan Borough more than did its bit in order to fit the bill.

With the Runkeeper app. unwilling to play re provision of data, the general consensus from other collaborated sources was that we'd covered around 10.9 miles.

Refreshments were taken at the nearby King William at Oldcotes.

Huge thanks to Ann and Geoff, who once again led our walk, undoubtedly very well chosen.

Link to information:  HERE    



June 2019 - Win Hill and Hope Cross

Hi all,

           A small, though many would say, perfectly formed, group of us assembled at the somewhat B & B-sounding Heatherdene car park at the south eastern edge of Ladybower reservoir, undoubtedly ready for anything the myriad of different weather forecasts had indicated in the days leading up to our trek.

Undaunted, we set off suitably togged and ready for whatever nature may throw at us.

It didn't seem long at all before we were ascending through the woods and catching up with some of those we might not have seen for a while, fleetingly allowing us to ignore the increasing precipitation levels as we approached the trig. point at Win Hill Pike.

We didn't linger there too long, what with the rather more moist conditions and the fact that the stunning views that we might have been blessed with were just a tad tarnished by the associated murk, but hey- ho !

Having reached driveable tracks on the downhill section towards Hope Cross, our cadence quickened, though we were to discover later that we'd already made good time to that point which served as our snack stop for twenty minutes or so, the dry stone walling affording some welcome respite from the breezy, damp conditions.

Once refuelled, we set off through the woods somewhat carefully, underfoot conditions being treacherous as we negotiated the steep downhill section that was to take us down almost to the edge of Ladybower.

Once safely gathered in at almost the water's edge, we swung a right turn that pointed us towards the homeward stretch and an ironic sight of the Sun's glimmer that we'd not managed to experience up to that point !

However, our positive experience hadn't been in the slightest bit dented and indeed was positively enhanced once we'd discarded our walking gear and ensconced ourselves in the nearby Ladybower Inn as we valiantly attempted to replace all those calories burned along the way.

By then we'd realised that our walk had taken us a demi-smidgen ( technical phrase !) under 4 hours, around half an hour quicker than Paul, Philip and Robin had taken on their recce, some 11 days earlier, though our keenness to minimise exposure to the weather may just have played a part in that regard !

Many thanks to Paul for safely leading us, plus the photos he provided also.

Thanks also to those who attended, once again enhancing our experience.

Best regards.

Geoff and Tom

Link to images (not all taken on the day) of the above walk, please click:     HERE 



May 2019 - Monsal Trail


"12 Striders gathered at Hassop Station about 10am and set off at 10.30am walking for about 1 mile along the Monsal Trail past Thornbridge Hall and avoided a few cyclists with and without bells. We then came off the Monsal Trail and headed along a footpath, past a few sheep and two horses arriving at Little Longstone. Crossing the road we walked through the village along Butts Road past some holiday cottages, The Packhorse Inn, a Chapel and then crossed the B6465 to arrive at Monsal Head. We admired the view for a few minutes and then carefully made our way down the narrow tree lined path that passes over the Monsal Trail below, to Monsal Dale and the River Wye. We stopped to take a group photograph near the weir before crossing the river over a foot bridge and then continuing along the river to Lees Bottom.

At Lees Bottom we ignored the signpost to Brushfield Hough and followed the one which said A6 only (two previous recces showed this to be correct). At this point we were also joined by two other walkers who were also on the same route. Taking it steady, stopping to get our breath back a couple of times, we climbed the steep hill until we were above the tree line and then walked through Brushfield Hough Farm before stopping for lunch overlooking Hobs House on the other side of Monsal Dale and where we had a good view of the weir and footbridge below. At this point we had walked approximately 5 miles in a little over 2 hours. After lunch we walked down a limestone track and a bridleway which descends all the way to the Monsal Trail where our two additional walkers left us.

We then walked over the viaduct and through the Headstone Tunnel and along the trail until we arrived at the point where we had earlier turned off the trail. At this point we could have returned to Hassop Station and shortening the walk by some 3 miles but we all decided to continue the planned route and turned off the trail and headed towards Ashford in the Water. Along this path we encountered some very long horned cattle, but we survived only to be presented with our next obstacle, a recently ‘closed footpath’ between the B6465 Greaves Lane and Vicarage Lane. We followed the diversion which added a few minutes and maybe half a mile to our planned route. We walked through the village admiring the pretty cottages and numerous defibrillators before stopping at a café for an ice-cream.

We crossed over the A6020 and over the River Wye on the old B6465 road bridge before taking a footpath along the River Wye towards Bakewell. On route we witnessed Canada Geese and their chicks in the river being chased by a dog. Fortunately the dog owner called the dog back. We passed through another field with two Llamas before joining the A6 Buxton Road. Then we crossed the River Wye again walked up Holmes Lane past an old mine entrance before climbing through another field with less menacing cows before re-joining the Monsal Trail and returning to Hassop Station where we took refreshments. The weather was kind with sunshine most of the day, no rain and we walked just short of 11 miles in 4 hours and 45 minutes."

To see photos of the above walk, please click:  HERE   



March 2019 - Creswell Crags and Welbeck Area


Hi all,
          The third edition of our 2019 programme was carried out in nigh perfect conditions, with light winds, ambient temperatures and a generally good underfoot feel.
Setting off from Creswell Crags Visitor Centre, just yards into our trek we came across the memorial dedicated to 5 Canadians, killed in 1944 on a training flight that had set off from nearby Gamston, a fitting tribute.
Wending our way in a clockwise direction, we ambled in a mostly northerly direction before heading east, from Derbyshire into Notts and across the busy A60, into Welbeck Estate.Stopping off awhile, we were able to view the impressive Worksop Manor, nestled at the edge of Welbeck Estate, commanding an impressive view across the increasingly verdant North Notts countryside.
On we went, heading towards the famous tunnel entrance, created by the 5th Duke of Portland and much nearer to Welbeck Abbey itself. 

Nearing the heart of Welbeck, we were reminded of the seemingly improbable story relating to Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 sparked World War One. It so happens that he visited Welbeck in November 1913 and narrowly missed being hit in a shooting accident when one of the gun loaders fell and discharged both barrels of the gun he had been holding ! Food for thought.
Further on, having said a temporary goodbye to those in our group opting for the shorter version, we gazed at The Winnings, almshouses for retired Estate workers who had no families.

The last couple of miles saw us reach the southernmost tip of our walk at the quaint Holbeck Woodhouse, prior to swinging north-west to the end of our walk and the local treasure that is Creswell Crags, which has seen heavy investment in recent years and is well worth the fairly short trip from Retford, especially if also taking in the nearby Welbeck Garden Centre.

Arriving back after some 3 hours and 39 minutes( including stops), having completed a unanimously-agreed  (for once!) 8.75 miles, it transpired that we'd averaged 25 minutes and 5 seconds per mile , having accounted for some 974 calories along the way, eliminating ( ? ) any possible guilt as we headed for a hearty lunch at the friendly and accommodating Jug and Glass at Nether Langwith.

Huge thanks are due to Prime Suspects Paul and Rod for having both recced and led this walk, plus Paul ( again ), Kathy and Philip for the photos they kindly supplied.

Thanks also to all who came along, sharing their time, knowledge, banter and humour along the way.

Next month's Striders walk is in the Walesby area, led by Ann and Geoff-details to follow.

Best regards.

Geoff and Tom
February 2019
The damp and dismal conditions that greeted walk leader Rod and other Usual Suspectinistas some 10 days earlier on the recce were fortunately not replicated on the day itself, with some 13 of us assembling in our normal disorderly manner outside the Jug and Glass in Nether Langwith.

Indeed, apart from a probably less than 100 yards stretch, we were treated to almost perfectly dry conditions, resulting in minimal post-walk boot cleaning .Result !  Whilst not the brightest day, nor the warmest, the mild February we'd experienced up to that point had permitted an earlier than usual festival of floral hues, helping to remind us how pleasant our nearby locality can be.

Walking and chatting for around four hours only serves to remind us what a wide pool of knowledge is shared by our members, as geological and architectural features were discussed along with other topics, not necessarily all educational or serious !

Roughly three quarters of the way around our roughly circular walk the option was taken by a few to take a slightly shorter route, bringing them in at around 7.5 miles and the opportunity to get the drinks in ready for the rest of us on our return. You had one job !!
The rest of us completed the walk after almost exactly 9.5 miles and a tad over 4 hours, including a roughly 30 minute stop-off in Church Warsop.

Many thanks to Rod for leading the walk and recce, arranging the pub venue, as well as allowing access to his stats. Many thanks to Kathy for photographic input too, plus all who attended, contributing to our usual rewarding experience.
 For photos, please click:  HERE
January 2019 
The inaugural Striders ( hereinafter referred to as " The Usual Suspects " ) walk of 2019 kicked off at Vicar Water, Clipstone with probably better weather than had been forecast. Sadly, the fickle ( or even Golden ? ) Hand of fate had previously intervened, inflicting the Dreaded Lurgy on a number of our Usual Suspects, reducing the lineup on the obligatory identity parade significantly. As such, it was fortuitous that the recce for the route had been well-attended and Rod, Ann and Geoff led the walk on the day.
The original route was reduced by around two miles, but was more than made up by scaling the heights of the old Clipstone Colliery spoil heap, then enjoying a lovely, peaceful stroll through Sherwood Pines to the boundary of Centre Parcs. Rod notes that the boundary fence of Centre Parcs was topped with razor wire, making it more difficult to escape from than many might imagine! The group followed the fence for around a mile ,before striking northwards in the warm sunlight accompanied by a chilly breeze in the direction of South Forest, then over the fields to the River Maun before following National Cycle Route 6, back to Vicar Water and the Golden Hand.

Distance covered was 9.3 miles in just over 3 and a half hours, including stops.

Many thanks to Rod for his account of the walk,  photos and link to the map showing the route taken, plus Ann and Geoff for being joint leaders on the day.
For photos please click   HERE 
Walks with ASH U3A
Here are some photos from the walks around Castleton we enjoyed with our friends fom ASH on 29th September.
Please click  HERE   


Walking Groups Xmas Lunch December 2018

 The theory was that a good number of us would meet up at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve, have a bit of a wander around, then move on to the Olde Bell down the road for a well-earned Christmas lunch and get-together. As it goes, a combination of non-compliant weather and common sense dictated that it would be  prudent to not get dishevelled and soggy, resulting in rather more dapper, chic and coiffed members turning up for their fare !

Besides the annual getting together of all three walking groups for the proverbial catch-up and chinwag, the occasion also recognised the end of an era, with Imelda and Joan soon to hand over the tenure of the Moderates group to David. To mark this, David presented gifts to those wonderful ladies, plus cards signed by the membership in appreciation of the hard work and dedication attributable to them both over these last three years.
Pictures from Xmas lunch - please click         HERE 

19th November 2018 

 A misty, murky sort of day greeted 14 of us as we gathered close to Kiveton Park.
Nonetheless, that did little to dampen our spirits as we took in the sights of Harthill, Netherthorpe Airfield, the quaint Turnerwood and a significant length of the Chesterfield Canal, taking us back towards Kiveton and the end of the currently navigable eastern section of the canal.
Ann and Geoff led our walk, which offered a few inclines and subsequently fine views, alongside reminders of our local history dating back around 250 years. A smidgen under 10 miles was walked in 3 hours and 54 minutes, resulting in a pace of 23 minutes and 52 seconds and a calorie count of 915, easing the potential guilt as we later tucked in at the King William, Oldcotes. Many thanks are due to Ann and Geoff for leading us, plus Pippa for Runkeeper access to the stats. As per usual, the company and associated repartee greatly assisted in creating another enjoyable and notable sortie. 

Conditions weren't exactly conducive to award-winning photos, so please feel free to view these ( via the link ), taken by a  Turnerwood area local in recent weeks  HERE 


18th September 2018

Being late September, maybe we really should have been back at school, but as it was we assembled at the Chequers Inn, Ranby, ready for a 10 mile walk that was part of the Chesterfield Canal Trust Walking Festival, being joined by several members of the public. The anticipated 40 mph + winds failed to make an appearance and indeed we were treated to some welcome sunshine as the day wore on. Approaching the 5 mile mark we stopped off awhile at historic All Saints Church, Babworth , a prominent part of the Pigrim Fathers story which featured local worshippers William Bradford and William Brewster , plus their parson Richard Clyfton over 400 years ago. At this same juncture a few of us split off to head back towards Ranby, covering a final distance of around 6 miles, allowing the " peloton " to briefly swing by Retford via its cemetery and subsequent return to the Chesterfield Canal towpath and ultimately Ranby and the finish line. 

Shortly after 3pm, all had been gathered safely back at the Chequers, more than likely ready for an after-walk chat and replenishment. Wholehearted thanks are due once again to Ann and Geoff who led the walk which was appreciated by all. Many thanks are also due to the Chequers, providers of car parking and sustenance. 
Of course, our participants, both U3A and members of the public are also due huge thanks, both for their involvement and their generous donations towards the Chesterfield Canal Trust, under whose auspices the walk was staged. 

March 2018 Chesterfield Canal

What a difference a week makes ! From the slippy / slushy and definitely hazardous conditions that contributed to postponing our walk we were treated to somewhat drier and definitely sunnier conditions on the 26th March. as we assembled at the Hop Pole. We set off along the Chesterfield Canal towpath, heading in a northerly direction towards Clayworth with the sun on our backs and and a gentle, mild  breeze in our faces. 
Probably 80 minutes or so had elapsed when we decided to stop off for a break at the Retford & Worksop Boat Club, based in Clayworth and home to a massive array of water-borne craft. Rather fortuitously, a key-carrying member of the club very kindly offered to open their toilet facilities for us, a lovely gesture that was greatly appreciated. 
All sorted out, we moved on a little further to Bridge 68 where we left the canal and trudged across some very fertile-looking alluvial soil before reaching the River Idle , swinging left and south as we did so, this time facing the sun with the breeze on our backs. As we approached Chainbridge Lane, still on the east side of the river, we were impressed at the burgeoning number of lakes, mostly used for fishing, that had evolved from the local landscape, previously pockmarked by sand and mineral extraction but far more aesthetically pleasing these last few years. 
Onwards through Tiln and through a recently deforested part of Babworth Estates, we had swung away from the river for a while before looping around and crossing the river entering our local treasure, the Idle Valley Nature Reserve, looking resplendent in the vernal sunshine. Seemingly no time at all later, we had crossed the river again by the care home on Bolham Lane, being very careful not to linger too long (!) before hitting the streets and a short trek back to the Hop Pole. 
Once ensconced at our table with ample sustenance there was some debate relating to the statistics associated with our trek, though 13.21 miles in 4 hours and 20 minutes, resulting in a pace of 19 minutes and 42 seconds per mile and allegedly accounting for a not inconsiderable 1790 calories sounds quite reasonable for sure. 

Link to walk statistics and information:        HERE


February 2018 Five Weirs Walk

It would be fair to say that we'd probably all run the risk of getting square eyes checking out the forecast for the day of this walk !  Fortunately, though not exactly being in dire need of SPF 50 sun cream, the rain at its worst was a barely irritable mizzle that went nowhere near denting the spirits or enthusiasm of our 15 participants.

One forecast that did hold good was the one relating to the lack of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain, though the abundance of information relating to an industrial past helped to quell our disappointment as we wended our way from Meadowhall , along the River Don and towards Sheffield City Centre.

It's quite possible that a few of us might have expected an almost barren, post industrial landscape for the majority of our walk, but we were regularly surprised, in a pleasant way, to see an encouraging number of businesses seemingly flourishing , some in new buildings, some in not-so-new.

As mentioned, there was plenty of plenty of information along the way courtesy of frequent display boards, though sadly some of them had been mindlessly vandalised , being spray-painted by dolts unaware of their local heritage.

Within a stone's cast of Park Square at the bottom of the Parkway, we swung left, then left again as we ventured on to the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal and our stop-off point for lunch, the Victoria Junction Café at Victoria Quays.

Once our appetites had been very nicely sated we set off once again, reminding ourselves that this was the navigable stretch of our walk where one could continue afloat as far as the Aire and Calder Navigation, the Ouse, then on to the Humber and the rest of the world.

We finished our walk after some 9.01 miles ( a bit more actually !), completed in 3 hours and 50 minutes, resulting in a pace of 25 minutes and 34 seconds and taking care of 888 calories, negating any potential guilt associated with an order of double cheeseburger and chips !

Many thanks to Pippa for the photos and Runkeeper access, plus huge thanks to both Marylyn and Philip for their recces, photos, menus and everything else that contributed towards a lovely day out for us all.

As ever, multiple thanks to those who were there, helping to make yet another memorable day.

Link here for photos and other information :      HERE


January 2018 Blyth, Hodsock, Carlton in Lindrick

After obsessively checking the forecast over much of the weekend the feeling most of us must have shared was relief, tinged with un petit peu de caution, as we gathered outside Blyth's White Swan.

Some adjustments had been made to the route since the recce, taking into account the moist conditions, but certainly nobody's spirits were in the least dampened as we  headed off towards Hodsock, then South Carlton, prior to swinging towards Wallingwells for a break and photo shoot.

As we headed towards Langold Lake the first of a couple of rain showers attempted to dump itself on us, but by now we had the breeze on our backs, mitigating our discomfort to such an extent that it became barely irksome.

The popular cafe at Langold Lake acted as our major rest stop, providing sustenance that could be enjoyed on the terrace outside amazingly enough !

Back on track again, crossing the A60 and heading towards Hodsock, but this time from a different angle, we encountered another little shower whilst witnessing what must have been one of this year's first Snowdrops even before we reached the Snowdrop capital.
Arriving back at the White Swan after 4 hrs and 30 minutes at a pace of 23 minutes 17 seconds per mile, we were content that 1092 calories had been accounted for during our 11.62 mile trek, ensuring that a guilt trip whilst tucking into the popular and tasty gammon, chips and egg was definitely not on the cards !

Huge thanks are due to Rod who arranged the recce and the walk, took the photos and shared access to his Runkeeper app, enabling the necessary stats to be harvested. Moreover, he took the time and trouble to cobble together some very interesting information that can viewed, along with the photos and stats via the link below.

As ever, many thanks to those who took a gamble in turning up, undoubtedly not regretting their decision , especially taking into account the wonderful company to be enjoyed.

Click HERE for pictures.

Christmas 2017

Click HERE

November 2017 Hop Pole / Retford circular

With a substantial contingent of 15, presumably not too many members either sneaked a look out of their windows or had a peek at the forecast prior to turning up for the above !
In all fairness, things didn't bode well as we set off with murky vistas all around, but as time went on the occasionally irksome rain proved to be little more than that, the sun even proffering us a glimpse of it later on.
Following an anti-clockwise route, the miles rolled by as even some of us who thought we were conversant with Retford were introduced to new routes and sights.
The hours rolled by too, as we caught up with each other and welcomed newer members, sharing tales and merriment along the way.

A mere 4 hours and 56 minutes later, we arrived back at the Hop Pole, having completed a few yards under 13 miles at a pace of around 23 minutes and 14 seconds per mile, including a couple of refreshment stops.

Safe in the knowledge that some 1341 calories had been accounted for, a sizeable cohort entered the Hop Pole, thoroughly intent on replacing them in the homely atmosphere that awaited us, nicely augmented with a roaring open fire.

Many thanks are due to Geoff and Ann, who once again kindly led our walk, plus Pippa for the photos. Of course, our fellow walkers put the icing on the cake by being there and sharing their time with us.

Click HERE for pictures.

October 2017 West Lindsey

Click HERE for pictures and full write-up.

September 2017 Ladybower

13 of our number ( only unlucky for those not able to be there ) set off from the east side of Ashopton viaduct, soon to take the steep ascent to Derwent Edge, prior to experiencing the slightly more gentle inclines that paved the way to the trig. point at around 4 miles and 530 metres + elevation.

Whilst it was often necessary to concentrate on planting our feet in exactly the right place for much of the walk, dividends were paid when stopping awhile to turn around and take in the views. For sure, at the highest point it was possible to look east across Sheffield and beyond,  simultaneously considering that one might be a million miles from anywhere.

Four and a half hours of walking with a relatively small group of people produces much more than the obvious benefits associated with health and taking in the views, ably demonstrated as our eclectic mix of personalities exchanged the inevitable banter along the way, plus a plethora of different views and perspectives.

The fine weather that had greeted us at the start attempted to quell our spirits as a hint of mizzle surfaced in the last mile or so, though once having donned our wet weather gear it fined up again within minutes, allowing us to complete our 8.8 mile journey in the dry.

Soon afterwards we made every effort to replace the 1113 calories we'd allegedly disposed of as we enjoyed some cracking fare provided by the nearby Ladybower Inn.

Many thanks to Paul and Anne for proposing and organising the walk, plus photos courtesy of Paul, Philip and Rod, not forgetting all of you who contributed to yet another memorable day.

Click HERE for pictures

August 2017 Longshaw

The skies looked ever more gloomy as we approached Longshaw Estate, leaving a sun-kissed Retford, though it transpired that the wonderful vistas would remain intact as 14 of us traversed some occasionally testing terrain.

Sure enough, we had to pick our way carefully at times, nature having strewn rocks and boulders in its usual random manner, but safely negotiating the tricky underfoot conditions quite possibly added to our accomplishment.

Most of us would appreciate that our walks can often involve so much more than the obvious things such as health benefits and social interaction, even add-ons like learning about flora and fauna, geology, history and architecture, but we can now add SINGING to that list !

Oh yes, obvious relevant titles like " The hills are alight " and " Show me the way to go home "  were ringing around the hills and valleys of the Peak District National Park, but thankfully nobody was treated  to " River Deep Mountain High " !

Joking aside, the musical merriment was more than sufficient to spur us on to go up and over the top of Higger Tor, rather than taking the easier route around it. Well done everybody !

3 hours and 45 minutes and 7.5 miles after setting off we were back where we started, ready to sample the delights of Longshaw tea-room, having averaged 29 minutes and 59 seconds per mile and taking care of 822 calories in the process.

Huge thanks to Geoff and Ann for leading our walk faultlessly, plus Pippa and Rod for supplying the photos and Pippa again for access to Runkeeper stats and images.

It's difficult to keep coming up with superlatives, but once again many thanks to everybody for yet another terrific day blessed with good company and excellent banter.

Click HERE for pictures

July 2017 Beeley

16 of us gathered at the picture postcard village of Beeley on what can only be described as the most perfect day.

Steep inclines early on ensured that hearts and lungs were swiftly brought into play as we ascended towards the highest and northernmost point of our walk, Hob Hurst's House, a Bronze age barrow.

On the way up there it was quite evident, or so it seemed, that chivalry wasn't yet dead as one of our number carefully monitored us all safely negotiating a high stile , only then to walk through the adjacent gate ! Naturally, discretion is our byword, but let's just say that our joker's surname rhymes with the last part of " Dieu et mon droit" !

Extreme care had to be exercised as we descended through Hell Bank Plantation, a densely-wooded area to the east of Beeley, prior to swinging around to the south before heading for the finish line.

2 hours, 54 minutes and 54 seconds had elapsed by the time we finished our 5.76 mile walk, resulting in a pace of 30 minutes 21 seconds per mile and accounting for a devilish 666 calories that were to be mostly replaced at the nearby Edensor Tea Cottage a little later.

Many thanks go out to our leaders Paul and Anne, plus photos supplied by Diane and Pippa.
Thanks also to all who attended, contributing merriment, mirth and banter , delivering yet another lovely day.

Click HERE for pictures

June 2017 Loxley, Sheffield

The BBC weather forecast appeared to be bob-on as we assembled in the building heat by the Admiral Rodney pub in Loxley prior to setting off.

Initially teased by a gentle downhill stretch, we soon ascended several tightly- packed contour lines , pushing up both our heart rates and core body temperatures as we reached the erstwhile Robin Hood pub.

Soon afterwards, moving out of the regular, but welcome shade, we were able to appreciate the sweeping views over the Loxley Valley, finding it hard to take in that we were little more than 3 or 4 miles from the centre of Sheffield.

 Half way round, we approached the Our Cow Molly Farm Shop and Ice Cream Parlour, knowing it would be closed, but pleasantly surprised when a member of staff offered to accommodate the 10 of us. 5 minutes later and tucking into a variety of home made ice creams we were transformed into a group of very happy bunnies !

At frequent intervals around our route and particularly in the latter stages we witnessed reminders of a previous industrial past,some dating back to the 17th Century. Rolling mills and the production of refractory bricks would have been evident up until as recently as the 1990s.

Completing our walk in 3 hrs 15 minutes ( including stops) at an average pace of 32 minutes  for each of the 6.08 miles, we were buoyed up in the knowledge that we had 765 calories to play with as we pondered our choices at the nearby Loxley Nurseries cafe.

Many thanks to our walk leader Philip and to all of you who helped to make it another memorable and enjoyable day.

Click HERE for pictures

May 2017 Elsecar & Wentworth

The day dawned with a damp, murky walk in prospect, as opposed to the unbroken sunshine we'd enjoyed on the recce some 10 days previously.

Fortunately, the eventual precipitation proved little more than mildly irritating and probably added a slightly ethereal atmosphere, especially in the more elevated locations.

Reaching those heights soon after leaving Elsecar Heritage Centre, we soon enjoyed extensive views over the Wentworth estate, only recently coming under the auspices of the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust.

Along the way we took in follies associated with Wentworth Woodhouse such as The Needle's Eye and Hoober Stand, before U-turning at Nether Haugh, wending our way back via Wentworth Park, revealing the impressively wide facade of Wentworth Woodhouse itself, the widest in Europe by all accounts.

Not long afterwards we enjoyed the lovely walkway leading up to Holy Trinity church in Wentworth village before completing the final mile or so.

Back at Elsecar, refreshments were provided by The Pantry, who kindly afforded us the facilities of the Doghouse, delivering far more ambience than might have been been anticipated !

We had completed 7.30 miles, taking 3 hours, 7 minutes and 14 seconds, equating to a pace of 25 minutes 40 seconds per mile , burning 813 calories in the process or about a quarter of the lovely treacle tart that Paul shared !

Many thanks to all for the great company, laughs and horticultural knowledge along the way, plus the photos provided by Diane, Paul and Pippa.

Click HERE for pictures

April 2017 Dunham

With the weather rather more benign than forecast, the latest edition of Striders walks set off from the Bridge Inn at Dunham.

Following a clockwise direction and crossing the Trent at the recently-restored Torksey viaduct , the eventual distance came in at the merest smidgen under 10 miles ; 9.96 in fact.3 hours, 55 minutes and 27 seconds had elapsed since setting off, resulting in a pace of 23 minutes 38 seconds per mile and accounting for some 1337 calories, allowing for the guilt-free demolition of the bacon and sausages on offer !

Many thanks to Anne and Paul for leading the walk and to Pippa for the photos.

Click HERE for pictures

March 2017 Shireoaks

Considering the dreary, dismal day that beckoned, a healthy  contingent of 11 gathered at Shireoaks Marina, ready for 8 miles plus of varied terrain.

Little more than half a mile along the Chesterfield Canal we strayed away, towards Brancliffe Grange, then along the quaintly- named Moses' seat and on towards Lindrick Dale, after first circling and then carefully descending into an old limestone quarry.

Having marvelled at the local equivalent of Nob Hill, we crossed the A57 , soon finding ourselves in the SSSI that is Anston Stones Wood, walking mostly parallel to Anston Brook, which slightly further downstream becomes the River Ryton.

Through South Anston and making towards the canal once more, the remnants of  rain fizzled out, prior to a banana and coffee break.

The last few miles provided some of the best that the Chesterfield Canal has to offer, especially the hamlet of Turnerwood where The Canal and River Trust are heavily engaged in lock gate replacements.

Arriving back at Shireoaks after 8.20 miles and  3 hours, 13 minutes and 28 seconds  (23 minutes 36 seconds per mile), we were pleased to discover that 879 calories had been accounted for, reinforcing our perceived entitlement to a hefty carvery in the nearby Lock Keeper.

Many thanks to you all for your company, the banter and the laughs that undoubtedly brightened our day up.

Click HERE for pictures

February 2017 Collingham

The day of the walk dawned with the prospect of some barmy balmy weather for February which didn't quite materialise during our walk, though the drier, more amenable conditions were still more than welcome in the event.

As we gathered at our meeting place, it some became apparent that numbers would exceed our previous maximum for a Striders walk, topping out at a heady 21 souls.

Included in those were a significant number of new faces, who it appeared were made very welcome as we made our way around an almost flat, but interesting route.

A good portion of our walk was within the Langford Lowfields RSPB site that probably not too many of us were aware of, though have quite possibly pencilled in a future visit.

Though visibility was fair, sightings of wildlife weren't abundant, though caution was exercised concerning the potential spectre of " alligator teeth " ! ( see photos)

No names, no pack drill, but somebody whose name starts with " T" and ends in

" om " failed miserably to start the tracking app. that would give us the vital statistics for our walk. Fortunately, our tracked recce from a few weeks back has informed us that we covered 7.98 miles , with an all-important calorie count of 833, though that was probably exceeded as we completed the real deal some 20-odd minutes faster.

Many thanks go out to Diane for leading our walk and providing the photos, plus all of those who made the day so enjoyable and interesting.

Click HERE for pictures

January 2017 Lound/Hayton

The weather outlook wasn't exactly enticing, but enough of us decided to shrug off the winter malaise and meet up at the Hop Pole in the mizzly, murky conditions. Surprisingly, a record total of 13 turned up despite a number of apologies received, mostly due to the dreaded lurgy or similar !

We headed off in an anti-clockwise direction, the best part of the first 3 miles on the Chesterfield Canal, before venturing off at the Boat Inn, Hayton, making towards Chainbridge Lane and Lound, crossing over the River Idle.

True to say that visual delights weren't exactly at the forefront of this first Striders trek of 2017, but that seemed to matter little as numerous catch-ups took place between members of our group, both established and newer.

Mineral extraction in some ways might be deemed to have had a detrimental effect on much of our pockmarked local landscape, but as nature, assisted by a communal desire begins to take over again, we might deem ourselves to be fortunate.

A little way before  Lound village we took a left turn , eventually passing Wetlands Wildlife Park, a popular destination in better weather.

Much of our route took us through the huge expanse of Idle Valley Nature Reserve, one of our area's finest assets, before passing by Hallcroft Fisheries where great efforts have been made to provide a tranquil setting for anglers.

It seemed like no time at all before we'd crossed the Idle again at Bolham Lane, leaving a short hike to complete our almost circular trek.

It had taken us some 3 hrs 7 mins and 25 seconds to cover the 8.64 miles at a pace of 21 minutes, 41 seconds per mile, accounting for 852 calories.

Many thanks to Geoff for leading this walk, with a special mention to Bridget for taking the photos and staying on her feet !

Click HERE for pictures

November 2016 Grove and Little Gringley

What a difference a week makes !

The scheduled walk having been postponed, we gathered by the Hop Pole walk on the 28th November, bathed in sunshine, as opposed to dowsed with rain.

Several new faces were evident, swelling our numbers to 12, a record for a Striders walk. I trust that you felt welcomed and that we will see you many more times  on future walks.

Picking our way stealthily through Shady Lane, we soon found ourselves in a more elevated position, enjoying sweeping views over Retford as we approached Little Gringley.

Soon afterwards , negotiating a steeper climb up Durham Hill, we found ourselves close to Gringley Grange, though disappointingly had to trudge over a heavily-ploughed field where the footpath had been ploughed through, necessitating an extremely cautious and slow pace for around 150 yards or so.

Underfoot conditions were generally decent and remained solid underfoot when we turned at the easternmost point of our walk, at Grove Moor Farm, near Treswell Wood and headed back towards Retford.

Winds were light , allowing us to benefit from the warmth generated by a late Autumn sun and adding to the ambience and experience.

Many thanks to Geoff and Ann for leading our walk, Geoff and June for the group photo and Bridget for the rest, ably depicting what a beautiful day we enjoyed.

Runkeeper stats came in at 7.39 miles in 3 hrs. 2 minutes and 16 seconds, resulting in a pace of 24 minutes and 39 seconds per mile and accounting for 792 calories, though Geoff's device indicated 7.52 miles, so we'll go with that !

Click HERE for pictures.

October 2016 Laxton & Ossington

Monday morning heralded a welcome change to recent weather conditions, having dawned bright and sunny as we assembled at the Laxton Visitor Centre.

A wardrobe malfunction (not quite a la Beyonce ! )  in the footwear department meant that our starting numbers were sadly reduced as we set off through the historic village of Laxton, passing several farms owned by the Crown Estate.

Not many minutes had elapsed before we came across a memorial dedicated to aircrew from a Lancaster which had crashed at that site early in 1945 ; a sad reminder of the days when assistance from foreign parts was crucial to our survival as a nation.

Heading towards Moorhouse, gently ascending the inclines that afforded us better vistas, we were a little disappointed that a local farmer had ploughed through the middle of a public footpath , necessitating a detour to avoid the otherwise inevitable build-up of mud beneath our feet.

Nearing Moorhouse, it was easy to speculate that this time of year gives rise to probably the widest array of hues that the local countryside can exhibit, especially when set against a clear blue sky.

Soon after the 4 mile mark we stopped off at the Holy Rood church , a building that teemed with a long history, as would have Ossington Hall with its wartime association with the RAF, though few remnants of its past remain.

Well into the return journey to Laxton we wondered if a local watercourse might be named the " Oss" in line with the prefix of Ossington, with Adrian further considering if " trich" could be an local ancient name for a brook, or stream, which would then give us the Osstrich! ( Feel free to groan !)

Arriving back, we opted out of a pub lunch, resulting in a delay in replacing those 871 calories that had been burned during our 8.48 mile jaunt. A total time of 3 hrs, 8 minutes and 51 seconds, including stops, equated to a not-too-shabby pace of 22 minutes and 17 seconds, especially given the frequently soggy underfoot conditions.

Many thanks to all for your company and humour and also  to Diane for some lovely photos, some of which date back to our walk last year !

Links: Photos     Laxton Visitor Centre    Ossington Church

September 2016 Dunham and the Cliftons

Monday morning dawned damp with the faint, though eventually unfulfilled promise that things might improve as the day went on.

Mercifully, the rain could never have been described as heavy at any stage.

We set off from Dunham-on-Trent a few minutes earlier than scheduled, initially musing over what seemed to be an inordinate number of names for such a small place on the local war memorial.

Spirits were lifted ( well, mine at least ! ) soon afterwards as we crossed the Trent for free as pedestrians and the southbound trek ensued on the east bank of the Trent.

Within minutes we could see why the Romans would have decided to set up a hill fort between Newton-on-Trent and North Clifton, something that at least a few of us were hitherto unaware of.

Roughly 2.5 miles into the walk brought us into the pretty village of North Clifton and the Pure Land Japanese Garden, which I can vouch for as an oasis of tranquility.

Some twenty minutes later, having passed by large fields of a local speciality , pristine lawn turf, we went past the St.George the Martyr church, shortly before reaching South Clifton , equally as impressive as its North sibling.

Admiring oodles of  mostly late 19th , alongside less numerous architecture from other eras, we swung in a westerly direction, reaching the Trent bank at the very nearly exactly half way distance, looking almost directly across the river towards High Marnham village and the Brownlow Arms.

Not too much further on we were to swing away from the Trent again, heading once more towards the aforementioned St. George church, though not before a few of us were almost sent bowling by some high-spirited horses we met !

Walking alongside the church, towards the front , we heard noises emanating from within, which on inspection were found to be allied to a lady who was engaged in the restoration of some of the woodwork.

Soon afterwards we were up on the elevated section of the Trent Viaduct, once more heading west and over the river.

Once we'd manoeuvred ourselves off the viaduct and down to ground level we knew that a tad over 2 miles would bring us back to Dunham, though not before negotiating a slightly annoying number of slippy stiles in the interim.

Once done, the majority of us called in the Bridge Inn, where we enjoyed various elements of their locally-produced fare.

We had stopped the clock after 3 hours, 28 minutes and 16 seconds, producing a respectable pace of 23 minutes and 5 seconds per mile and accounting for 733 calories, hopefully enough to take care of our man-sized gammon steaks !

Many thanks to Geoff who co-led the walk, plus Pippa and Diane for access to Runkeeper stats and photos , also not forgetting all our fellow walkers who brightened up an otherwise dismal day.

Click HERE for pictures.

August 2016 Alkborough

Nine of our members congregated ( like you do !) by the St. John the Baptist church in the beautiful village of Alkborough, North Lincolnshire, eager to enjoy the local landscape.

Just two of us had the pleasure of this same walk almost two years ago, so this picturesque corner of the world was set to widen its fan base and it didn't disappoint.

A lengthy period of dry weather had provided the starting gun for local farmers to harvest their crops in earnest, judging by the number of combine harvesters in evidence, the distant rattle of machinery rarely being out of earshot.

The sunny intervals that had been forecast showed up in timely fashion, with nigh on perfect temperatures , assisted by a light easterly wafting our faces for the first four miles as we approached Winteringham.

After negotiating a left turn in Winteringham, another local gem, we soon arrived at what was probably the most easterly and lowest point of our journey, Winteringham Haven, before trekking our way towards Whitton , some three miles further on.

For much of our walk the impressive structure of the Humber Bridge was in view , remarkable by any standards.

Our last couple of miles were mostly through pastureland, with a generally benign incline affording us excellent views overlooking the locality where the  Rivers Trent and Ouse join to form the Humber.

We completed our walk after 3 hrs, 41 minutes and 37 seconds of lovely scenery, pleasant weather and great company, averaging 24 minutes and 13 seconds per mile ( including stops) and accounting for 750 calories. Both Geoff and Pippa's devices clocked up exactly 9.15 miles by some miracle ; that'll never happen again !

Many thanks to all for making it a memorable day, with special thanks to Diane and Pippa for the photos, for which click HERE.