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!


15th January Blyth, Langold and Carlton In Lindrick areas Leaving from the White Swan , High Street, Blyth, there's ample parking in front of the pub or on the green. Distance around 12 miles, with no major inclines but there are roughly 7 or 8 stiles to be negotiated.
19th February Five Weirs walk, Sheffield Setting off from the Park and Ride car park at Meadowhall (please don't use the main Meadowhall car park as there are limits on duration of stay).
Best postcode to use for satnav is S9 1QJ, which takes you to Barrow Road, then take the next left turn into the Park and Ride car park. We should be assembling on the lower level.


For more details Contact: Tom Bell 01777 710969 (Mobile:07879519220)




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.