With a gale forecast we opted for the relative safety of Weavers Down. We collected guest walker Stella in the car park before setting off towards Chapel and Wheatsheaf Common. As we skirted the golf course we kept a wary eye out for stray balls, luckily the only one we saw close up was hidden in the leaves near our chosen coffee stop. The statue of Lord Strathnairn was as impressive as always, at the entrance to the Foley Manor Estate. It was in storage for 33 years after being found to be in the way of a new subway for Knightsbridge underground station. Eventually Westminster Council gave it/sold it to Foley Manor on condition it would be accessible to the public. Lord Strathnairn died aged 84 in Paris, was buried in Christchurch, Hants and never married. A heroic leader and strategist, he walked from Mount Lebanon to Beirut so that some of the elderly American missionaries he had rescued could be carried on his horse. When in command of the Central Indian Forces of 1,540 men, he routed 20,00 men of Tatya Tope's army. Guns captured by him during this period were later to be used on his statue. We eventually found our way to The Deers Hut in Griggs Green where the service and food were excellent. Refreshed, we returned by skirting Weavers Down and by passing through Langley. The weather had been very kind with only a smattering of rain and the trees saved us from much of the wind. The walk was about 6.1/2 miles. Thanks to Jane, Stella and of course Marian for the excellent photos.
The weather could not have been better for our stroll through the commons and woodland around Ludshott Common. It may have been February but the sun shone all day long and it was aound 16° C for much of our walk. Starting from Bramshott Commom we headed for the stream to the west of Waggoners Wells. From there we found our way to Ludshott Common, one of the largest remaining areas of heathland in East Hampshire, skirting the houses of Headley Down on the way. We also managed to catch a glimpse of Butser Hill through a slight haze. Lunch was taken in Applegarth Farm Cafe which made a change from a pub! After lunch we made our way to the eastern end of the series of ponds known as Waggoners Wells. They may have been originally formed to be hammer ponds, but iron making had moved north by the time they were completed. It was a very still day so the reflections in the ponds were very good. After a few inclines we eventually reached the Bramshott car park. Thanks to Marian, Denis and Jane for additional photos. The walk was a little under 6.1/2 miles
Reaching Tilford green we were surprised to see many other walking groups had chosen the green as their start point. Fortunately we did not seem to cross their paths except at the Frensham Pond cafeteria but plenty of seats were availbale. We had walked there from the green, partly following the River Wey (South Branch) and meeting some livestock along the way. We enjoyed a leisurely coffee stop to avoid clashing with of a group of 20 who were booked in the pub at the same time as our original booking. After our stop we headed for the RSPB reserves of Tankersford Common and Farnham Heath Nature reserve where there was plenty of evidence of clearance work being undertaken to create more biodiversity. Next we walked along Sheephatch Lane to cross the River Wey (Northern Branch) and then follow it back to the Barley Mow for a good lunch. The walk was about 5 miles.
Another very enjoyable night with walkers and friends at the Barley Mow in Walderton. After an hour of skittling we stopped for a splendid buffet which left no-one hungry, especially after second helpings! Then a few more skittles to see which team had won and to discover the bowler of the night. Trying to deny any skill was involved, Isabel was declared the champion with some very consistent scoring throughout the evening. Then it was raffle time. Everybody had brought along a gift that was valued, but not quite enough, or indeed a bottle of wine, so Marian's raffle was a rewarding experience for many. An excellent raffle and the club funds were enriched by £60, so thanks to everyone.
Denis's walk started from St Mary's Road in Liss and took us past the International Presbyterian Church of St Peters before taking the bridge over the A3. A few fields and inclines later we were at The Hawkley Inn. The food and service was excellent. Well refreshed we had the supposedly easier task of walking downhill back to our start point. However mud at the side of a road and a steep hill proved too much for one walker who came off worse for the challenge resulting in a sore head and muddy coat. Everybody was more careful after that and we finished the 6.1/4 mile walk without further injury. Great walk with nice weather and lunch.