NAMES OF TOWNS OR VILLAGES IN KENT
1. Aries’s entrance
2. Small field with many trees
3. An ingredient of concrete is questioned
4. A wooden nail is healthy in a laurel tree
5. The one and only road in town
6. Talk about a bit of a pig
7. Using sticks to beat a heavy weight
8. Bread roll for infants
9. Distribute the cards fairly
10. One watering place
11. Underground cellar plus a letter
12. A comedian’s shelter for his horse
13. Master with a foot condition
14. A famous garden over the river
15. Manufactured a small rock
16. Delta is finished
17. Clive from an elderly army joins the enterprising captain from space
18. The man of the cloth arrives
19. There’s a question attached to this car
20. This girl likes cooked meat
Ramsgate Paddock Wood Sandwich Pegwell Bay Sole Street (also accept Single Street) Chatham Birchington Bapchild Deal Singlewell Dungeness Whitstable Headcord Edenbridge Maidstone Dover Dunkirk Leybourne (also accept Bishopsbourne) Fordwich Harrietsham
When we walk as a group with the Ramblers, we take pleasure in the walk itself, but also in a bit of camaraderie and banter with fellow walkers. But there are other ways of enjoying walks.
We can enjoy walking with a partner or friend, with perhaps more serious or personal conversation, and time to stop and look at places, animals and flowers and trees, as we pass.
Now, for some of us, we have to walk alone, and this has its own pleasures. I am lucky enough to live ten minutes’ walk from Spring Park Woods and Sparrows Den, with easy access to West Wickham, Hayes and Keston Commons. So, I find myself, under current restrictions, walking various ways to Keston and around.
I’m familiar with the London Loop route, and now the Three Commons footpaths, but am enjoying exploring the maze of other footpaths over the commons, often getting a bit lost, but eventually finding something familiar, and less likely to meet other walkers or runners. When I do, though, I find everyone friendly and considerate; we step off the footpath and thank each other, sometimes exchanging a few words.
There is time, too, to pause and enjoy the way spring is developing all around. The trees have a lovely freshness, as they come into leaf. Celandines and wood anemones abound in the woods, and bluebells are on the brink of coming out. Gorse is bright yellow on the heathland. With less traffic and aircraft noise, the singing of birds is more apparent, and birds can be seen preparing to build nests.
I also enjoy watching other animals. Squirrels run up and down trees, and sometimes a mouse or vole will rush into the undergrowth as I approach. There are horses in the fields, and as Coney Hall ends and the hamlet of Nash begins, there is a working farm, with cattle and sheep. One field has cows with calves, and, unusually, a magnificent bull, clearly the father. The sheep I have identified as Wiltshire horned, and among them is the ram, which has an impressive set of curled horns. They are clearly pregnant, so I’m hoping to see some lambs before long. Sparrows Den is ideal for local dog walkers, and although I have to ignore friendly dogs, when they approach, I enjoy seeing the pleasure they get out of their exercise.
Solitude is not the same as loneliness, and a solitary walk can be very interesting and enjoyable, although I probably walk more slowly and stop more often, when I walk alone. But I hope it will enable me to keep up my fitness all the same, ready to enjoy walking with others, when it’s allowed again.
A final thought: I’ve often been surprised, when walking past our local fitness centre, to see people walking on a treadmill, when we have countryside on our doorstep. Some fellow walkers I’ve seen, without dogs, are obviously new to the countryside, and some have even asked me where paths lead. I wonder, when life eventually returns to normal, whether we might actually get some new members, as people discover how enjoyable this can be.
I am missing the camaraderie of group walks, but taking the opportunity to do something different during the lockdown.
I have settled into a three-day rotation where one day I stay at home completely, doing exercises learned over the years from a Pilates teacher, a yoga teacher, a physio and a personal trainer. My current favourite is triplanar toe taps – good for improving balance. I manage to work up a good sweat and make myself ache, even without the ‘benefit’ of the equipment I normally use in the gym. The second day I go walking and the third day I cycle. Of course, not being a weekly pattern, the three-day rotation means I am even less aware than usual of what day it is.
The walking has so far been good. At the start of all this, I got out the local maps. I live near the edge of Explorer 162, bordering on Explorer 147, so I often use the map on my phone or Google Earth Pro to plan walks. The latter has the advantage that if I wear my GPS watch, I can record my walks and plot them on Google Earth Pro. I have a record of all the walks I have done (whether leading or following) for years. This means I can easily spot areas I have not been to before and avoid too much repetition.
I have generally walked around five miles, always starting from home and usually averaging 3.5 mph. This compares well to countryside walks where I usually reckon on 3mph on my own or 2.7mph leading a group. That’s because walking on pavements is faster than on muddy fields and paths. Wherever possible, however, I walk on grass verges to reduce the impacts on my poor old knees and ankles. I try to keep the pace up – after all, I am using my ‘one a day’ exercise exemption from complete lockdown; it’s not a sightseeing exemption. Nevertheless, I manage to combine it with some exploration.
Although I have lived in our present house for years, I have not explored areas nearby extensively. Now I am slowly filling in the gaps, walking side roads that I would not normally have cause to visit. I avoid areas that I think may be crowded and many of the suburban footpaths between roads, which are often narrow, fenced in and have no means of passing other people at a safe distance (I haven’t yet mastered levitation). It has changed my preconceptions about areas, with some being more upmarket or downmarket than I’d assumed, for example. It’s been interesting to note themes for road names. For example, there is an area nearby where all the roads are named after famous public schools and another where all the roads are named after characters or places from Robin Hood. See if you can guess where either of these is. Generally, I have realised how lucky I am to live in a leafy outer suburb. I have been amazed at how few people I have encountered while walking residential roads. On the rare occasions when I come across other pedestrians, it has been very easy to take a wide berth, especially with so little traffic around.
On the cycling days, I still only do about six miles or so (so far) but as I have never been able to cycle at a relaxed pace, I tend to push the pace and arrive home puffing, blowing, sweating and aching. Good high-intensity exercise that complements the other two lower intensity days.
As time goes on, I will inevitably find myself having to repeat more routes but for now I still have plenty of target areas to fill in on my map, so that’s where I’m off to now.
I grew up in a household where a Sunday afternoon walk often meant walking local streets and it’s something that continued into my time as a student - albeit transported 175 miles from Bromley to a Northern University city. In both locations we just walked, exploring local areas and finding points of interest.
So it’s no surprise that I’ve been doing a fair bit of pavement walking since we started the Coronavirus lockdown, not anywhere special but just around the streets of Bromley. Her Majesty the Queen described Bromley as ‘clean and green’ and mostly it is, so we’re much luckier than some people stuck in inner city boroughs, with only the occasional park to explore. I’m lucky because, where I live, I can head out to Hayes or set off towards Beckenham or Shortlands, as well as heading into Bromley itself. When I’ve been out, I reckon I’ve covered 4-5 miles on most trips - too much hard surface walking for some, but it just goes to show it can be done.
I decided early in the present crisis that I needed some guidelines and these are the ones I’ve adopted
- Never repeat the same route twice (obviously, since I can’t fly or climb other people’s fences the bits closest to home tend to be the same but I try to explore roads I don’t know or walk in areas I haven’t been to). I don’t take a map - but then I’ve lived in Bromley all of my sixty-odd years and know quite a few roads. Also, the new development at Bromley South and one or two other tall buildings in central Bromley are visible from afar and an aid to navigation if all else fails. There are also road signs. I don’t plan either, I simply let my trainers carry me along, deciding where to go only when I reach a junction - and try to take the road less travelled.
- Pay attention! The trouble with a lot of our walking from A to B is that we zone out. I walked from home to the station for thirty-five years and most days I couldn’t tell you how I got there. Walking on your own with no chatter going on to distract you, there’s no excuse for not looking at what’s in front of you. There are gardens full of flowers, beautiful trees coming into leaf, birds singing, rainbows in windows, wildlife in the form of squirrels and foxes, interesting houses and occasional extra features like war memorials and water towers to inspect.
Inspired by a road in Shortlands where the residents had posted notices listing (and picturing) what they had seen on their daily walks in their front gardens for local children, I try to remember one lovely thing I’ve seen on each day’s walk - it might be a child’s chalk pavement drawing in support of the NHS or a tree in full blossom buzzing with bees.
Of course I’m looking forward to our regular programme of walks being able to resume but, in the meantime, the weather is great, there’s a lot of green to be seen (even away from busy parks), walking the pavements is free and it’s good for body and soul!
If you have WhatsApp on your smartphone (it is easy to download from your App Store) then you too can join the Walk Sunday Afternoon group. You’ll receive reminders about the next walk, together with any changes to times or meeting places. If you want to know more about a particular walk, you can ask your question in WhatsApp and we will then try and answer your query. If you would like to join, just send your name and mobile number to me, via email@example.com so that I can add you to the group. By sending me your details, you are giving me permission to add you to my contacts list for the purpose of administering this WhatsApp group. You do not have to be a Sunday afternoon walker to join and this is a new initiative that we are trialling, so all feedback is welcome. Looking forward to welcoming you to the group.
Kent Area Council have decided to enable members to opt out of receiving a paper copy of the annual review.
They will be sending out the Annual Review as usual just after Christmas and producing printed copies and posting an electronic version on the web site. If any member would rather not receive a printed copy then they can opt out by emailing their membership number and postcode to firstname.lastname@example.org. To be effective for the 2019 edition, your opt-out should be made by 30 November 2019. They will continue to apply the opt-out in future years unless you tell them otherwise. If you are happy receiving a printed copy of the Annual Review then you don’t need to take any action.
This entails walking all the footpaths in a designated Area over the course of each year and reporting any problems to our Footpaths Officer and/or Bromley Council. Each Area equates roughly to a Ward in the Borough except Darwin which is split into three. If you would like to become a Footpath Observer for one of the Areas listed below or would like to know more about what is involved please contact us at enquiries
We currently have vacancies for the following Areas:
Orpington (13 paths, 2.4km);
Biggin Hill (17 paths, 9.4km);
Leaves Green (Darwin W) (8 paths, 15.3km).
You can reporrt problems with footpaths stiles etc via the Ramblers app or directly to the relevant local authority in whose area the footpath is in. Below are links to our nearest ones. On some websites, Kent for example, you zoom in on a map and click on where the problem is. This generates an exact location for the Rights of Way team. On others it is helpful to know the footpath number and grid reference. Photographs can also be useful. If you have problems with using the links you can contact us at enquiries and we will pass the information on.
London Borough of Bromley https://fix.bromley.gov.uk/
East Sussex http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/leisureandtourism/countryside/rightsofway/default.htm
Please also let me know so I can keep an eye on the matter.
Footpaths Secretary, Bromley Group
We are looking for one or more volunteers to replace Philip Wall in this important role. None of our walking, whether group walks or solo, would be possible without the maintenance and enhancement of the rights of way network. There are three aspects to the role and it is possible that different people could deal with different aspects, if nobody is able to cover all three.
Dealing with rights of way matters such as proposed developments that affect the footpath network, proposals to re-route paths, etc. This aspect of the role is supporting, and supported by, Kent Area and Ramblers nationally, in dealing with issues within the London Borough of Bromley. It includes interacting with the relevant local authorities and working with the Ramblers to pursue any local issue through the legal process, should that prove necessary.
Coordinating our network of about a dozen footpath monitors, ensuring that all paths in the borough are walked out periodically and reporting any problems found. This aspect of the role can be desk-based and could be done by someone who is not a regular walker.
Convening and leading working parties to do path clearance or improvement. We already have a good number of volunteers to be part of working parties; the role is therefore largely one of planning and supervision.
It is difficult to estimate the time needed for each of these. The regulatory aspect depends on what developments are proposed, although in recent years the time needed for this in our area has been modest. The monitoring aspect requires communicating with the monitors twice a year and making sure that all paths are covered. The timing is flexible, so could be done at a time to suit you. The maintenance aspect is also variable, depending on problems identified. Because Bromley is less rural than other areas in Kent, many paths are suburban and tend not to get so overgrown or obstructed.
If you think you could help with all or any part of the above, please speak to Tony Upson in the first instance. He and Philip can give further details and insight into the role. We are conscious that many of you are not regular participants in led walks but prefer solo walking or do not walk at all. We would be very interested in hearing from you as well as from regular volunteers.
A big thank you to Barbara Phelps who has kindly volunteered to co-ordinate mid-week walks on days other than a Wednesday. As a result, you will see from the walks programme that we have about a dozen walks (mainly on Tuesdays) of varying lengths and times of day to enjoy this summer.
Do you have a favourite walk that you could share with fellow ramblers ? Could you commit – perhaps just once a year – to leading a short local walk, perhaps with a friend or with another leader ? Volunteers are urgently sought to help with short Sunday walks; no previous experience necessary, just a desire to “give back a little” and of course, to walk. Any assistance that you require will be gladly given. Jean P can be contacted on enquiries – and is looking forward to your email.
After many years of providing us with interesting and popular short Sunday walks, often accessible by public transport Jean P is retiring and we are looking for someone else to volunteer to coordinate these walks. If you feel you could spare the time (there are only 3 programme booklets a year) the Tony U would be pleased to hear from you.
There has recently been comment in the media about dogs and the problems they may cause to ground nesting birds during the breeding season. The advice from the Ramblers is that dogs can be prohibited from areas where birds are ground nesting, and that walk leaders should explain this in advance in the walks programme by stating that a particular walk is “Not suitable for dogs” or “Dogs on leads please”. In fact, the Ramblers recommends that dogs are kept under close control at all times, and kept on a lead on roads, near livestock or sensitive wildlife, where the terrain requires careful footwork and wherever the law or other official regulations require it. If walk leaders discover that ground nesting birds may be an issue after the programme has been printed, please ensure that dog owners are aware at the start of the walk and that they take the necessary action. And, please clean up after your dog.
We do urge you to look at the website before you set off for a walk in case there have been any last minute changes due to weather, ill health, roadworks etc.
We do also ocassionally send emails to Bromley Ramblers who have given us their email address. Note this is quite seperate from the email address the Ramblers hold for you. If you wish to receive these emails please you would go to the Mailing List Page and follow the simple instructions to add yourself to the list. You can also remove yourself there at any time as well if you wish.
Members of Bromley Ramblers can now get an exclusive discount of 15% at the Páramo Brand Store in Wadhurst or 20% if you buy two or more Analogy jackets. This discount can only be used on Páramo and Nikwax items. There are also various short-term offers on specific products, available in-store or by mail-order. As well as Páramo, the store stocks various other brands.
You will need to show your membership card and mention that you are from Bromley Group.
Store details are:
Páramo Wadhurst Store
1 Central Parade
Tel: 01892 785634
Tuesday 18 August 2020Starting at 10:00A moderate 6 mile / 9.7 km walk