Peter's walk was a stroll around Levin Down, near Chalton. It is a nature reserve looked after by the Sussex Wildlife Trust. The name Levin Down is thought to originate from the Saxon leave-alone Down and farming hasn't spolit it over the centuries. The Hardwick sheep keep the grass trimmed and Juniper thrives on this hill, as well as many varieties of wild flowers. The views were beautiful on a bright morning and the walkers were escorted by a dog for much of the walk but the dog cannot be blamed for anyone who may have slipped up. Lunch was taken in The Fox Goes Free and was excellent, but then William III often used to visit, so it must be good! The walk was about 4 miles.
After gathering together on a chilly morning the first building on the walk we passed was Middle Lodge built in 1840 as one of the entrances to Stansted Park, a 1,800 acre estate, now owned and managed by the charitable trust “Stansted Park Foundation”. Continuing in the forest in an area known as Batty’s Park our leader got confused on the many paths and took a bit of a diversion, but it didn’t detract from admiring the autumn colours and from keeping an eye out for the many deer frequently seen and heard nearby. A coffee break was taken in the grounds of Christ Church Forestside, built by the owner of Stansted House in 1852 to serve its estate workers. Further on the walk was again diverted, this time by woodland management which currently is concentrated around the control and managing of trees affected by Ash Dieback also known as Chalara, caused by a fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus. This disease is a substantial threat to the UK’s forests and trees growing in parks and gardens. Lunch was taken in the Castle Inn at Rowlands Castle before the walk continued along the Avenue looking towards Stansted House. We passed a memorial marking the spot where a 23 year old Canadian air man who died when his Typhoon crashed here in 1944. The Avenue is also part of the Monarchs Way footpath which starts in Worcester and runs for 625 miles to Brighton. However, not wanting to go to Brighton that day, the group diverted and went back to the car park having covered six and quarter miles in total.
Celia and Miguel's walk suffered from too many people being on holiday and others suffering from ailments so incredibly only Celia and Miguel did any actual walking! Starting from Binderton Lane, they tackled the Trundle and deserved and got excellent weather for the walk. However lunch was well attended at The Royal Oak in Midhurst. Many thanks to Miguel for the photos.
Marian, Linda, June and Maddie decided to have a fun day out in Portsmouth, with most of us leaving Petersfield Station to meet others in Portsmouth Harbour. It seemed churlish to rush in to a walk without first having a coffee near to the Spinnaker Tower. Suitably refreshed, we headed along the Millenium Walkway marked with a chain link on the pavement. With lots of interesting views we eventually reached the funfair in Southsea, but sadly the Big Wheel wasn't working, so the nervous heaved a sigh of relief. Heading inland we found Portsmouth Cathedral for a quick visit and then wandered on to the John Pounds memorial. He was the originator of the Ragged Schools movement and was a shoemaker, altruist and teacher for the poor children of Portsmouth. Travelling back towards the harbour we walked down Lombard Street with its 17th and 18th Century houses buit within the walls of Old Portsmouth. Lunch was taken in the Old Customs House, on the edge of the relatively new Gunwharf Quays. Afternoon walking was relatively short with a wander through the Historic Dockyard before we eventually gathered together for refreshments near to HMS Warrior, launched in 1860 and at the time the ultimate weapon in warfare. A great day out and we probably walked about 6 miles
Mary, John and Barbara's walk started in the recreation field in Rogate village. After crossing the A272 the walkers headed for Haben Farm and the hamlet of Habin (at least one of these spellings must be correct!). Crossing the River Rother twice they reached the tiny church of St Peter in Terwick, with its origins back in the 11th or 12th Century. Crossing the A272 once again the route went through Fyning and on to Terwick Common before looping back to eventually reach the cars in the playing field. Splendid lunch was had in the Jolly Drover in nearby Hillbrow. The walk was about 3.1/2 miles