In most recent years the Group has enjoyed a walking holiday somewhere in England, or occasionally overseas. The last few years have seen us walking in the the Cotswolds, the Peak District, Somerset, Yorkshire and Norfolk.
2018 - Long week-end in Bourton on the Water
This was the first HF holiday our group had taken for a very long time. Bourton on the Water is a beautiful Cotswold Village, known for its picturesque High Street with the River Windrush running through it. Twenty-four of us arrived at Harrington House on 30 April for our 3 night break. The House is a lovely Georgian building of golden stone, set just behind the main street of Bourton on the Water. The rooms in the house had been recently redecorated to a very high standard with new bath/shower rooms. As with all HF houses there were boot cleaning facilities and a drying room.
Our first gathering was for afternoon tea where we were introduced to the House Manager and our three walking guides. The weekend arrangements were explained to us and then we were taken for a walk around the very attractive village.
We met in the bar later for our pre-dinner drinks and a presentation of the next day’s walks. Three circular walks were on offer on Saturday, all starting from the house. The walks on Sunday were linear and we were taken to our starting points by coach. The walks were of varied lengths (6/8/11 miles) and gradients, meaning that there was something on offer for everybody.
Walks were leisurely with lots of opportunities to stop and take in some lovely scenery and pretty villages, all with churches which we were able to visit and others with interesting shops and tearooms. There was, of course, a stop for the substantial packed lunch provided.
(Photo: D Richards)
On Saturday we visited Upper & Lower Slaughter and returned to Bourton, with plenty of time to look around the village. On Sunday we visited Little Barrington, passing through the sleepy hamlets of Westwell and Holwell. All three walks ended in the delightful small market town of Burford, where we had time to explore its packhorse bridge and high street lined with 17th and 18th century houses and inns and lovely cheese shops. We returned to the house by coach.
Evening meals were delicious and went down well with wine from the bar. Following this, on each evening the walk leaders had organised activities such as quiz nights or a games evening for those who wanted to take part. These were all light-hearted and a lot of fun.
Although the weather had turned a little cold and drizzly over the weekend, the consensus was that we all thoroughly enjoyed our break and look forward to another HF holiday soon. David & Linda.
2017 - Peak District
Julie C reported on our 2017 holiday:
On 3 September thirty nine members of the Epsom and Ewell Ramblers set off by coach for Kerridge in the Peak District National Park. En route to our destination we stopped at Shugborough, a National Trust park and house. Perhaps the most interesting part of this Georgian mansion was the apartments once lived in by the 5th Earl Anson, Patrick Lichfield, cousin to the Queen and celebrated photographer. We knew we had got off to a good start when we arrived at Hollin Hall Hotel to be welcomed by a roaring fire in the beautiful entrance hall of this lovely Victorian country house.
(Photo: R Hayward)
Over the next few days we enjoyed five exhilarating walks through varied countryside. The steep walk up to the White Nancy viewpoint was perhaps the most challenging but we also enjoyed the canal walk from the hotel, the Monsal Trail along the route of the old railway line to Bakewell, and the Macclesfield forest walk with wonderful views of the reservoir and surrounding countryside. A visit to Lyme Park - used for the notorious ‘lake’ scene in the film of Pride and Prejudice (did anyone manage to find ‘Darcy’s Pond’?) – included a walk taking in the wonderful countryside surrounding this beautiful house.
Our hotel was just a few miles north of Macclesfield, at one time the centre of the silk weaving industry. A fascinating tour of the perfectly preserved mill was followed by time to explore the Silk Museum next door.
Bob’s tireless research of what appears to have been a very large number of pub restaurants definitely paid off. We enjoyed excellent meals throughout the week. It was no mean feat of his to find establishments able to accommodate forty hungry people all wanting to eat at once.
On our journey home we stopped at Canons Ashby, a charming house built from the remains of a medieval priory following its dissolution by Henry VIII, and for the most part unchanged since the early seventeen hundreds.
Many thanks to Bob for the hard work and meticulous planning which made this such an enjoyable holiday and to Malcolm, our coach driver.
2016 - Somerset
Jenny L writes about the group's holiday in 2016, based at Dunster in Somerset ….
On 5 September 36 Ramblers plus our usual coach driver Malcolm and his wife, Jan, set off for a holiday in Somerset. On the way to Dunster we stopped at Stonehenge for a wander around the stones and a short walk.
(Photo: R Hayward)
On the Tuesday morning we had an interesting walk around the market town of Dunster, which the proprietor of the Yarn Market Hotel, where most of us were staying, led providing us with a lot of historical information. Bob H then took us up onto the moor where we had fine views across the Bristol Channel & Exmoor.
The following day we walked from Porlock Town to Porlock Weir. This walk unexpectedly involved some SAS training as we ploughed through undergrowth and across fallen trees. Our intended path had disappeared under a sea of impassable mud as some forestry workers were felling trees and using heavy vehicles which had ploughed up the ground. After our endeavours we were rewarded with ice creams at Porlock Weir and a return walk along the coastal path and Porlock Marshes.
The next day the walk was from Countisbury to Lynmouth via Watersmeet, a beautiful area. On the Friday we had a steam train ride from Minehead to Watchet & Williton, always a highlight of our holidays. We then walked from Williton to Watchet and at the highest point had fine views of the countryside. The Saturday walk was from Wheddon Cross on Exmoor and on the Sunday on the way home we stopped at Lytes Cary a delightful National Trust property.
As usual Bob had arranged excellent meals for us at our hotel and at several good pub restaurants. The weather was beautiful and although some of our party decided to sample the local health services (beginning to be a feature of our holidays) we had a great time. Our thanks to Bob for organising and leading the holiday with such lovely walks and good meals and to Malcolm for driving us safely.
2015 - Yorkshire
Maureen and Tony G sent this report:
A small group of Ramblers gathered at the Queen Adelaide (the first pick-up) before 8am on Sunday morning in eager anticipation of their Yorkshire Holiday, based at Saltburn-on-Sea. They were not to be disappointed in their choice of holiday.
(Photo: R Hayward / J Marmoy)
What made the holiday so good? Was it the walks, 8 in total, varied terrain, length and theme? The hotel? Saltburn itself? Bob and Dorothy’s meticulous planning, including the routes for Malcolm our coach driver? He didn’t scrape the sides of the coach going over the narrow bridges, nor entrance gates. The breakfasts - we did have to wait for breakfasts but patience was rewarded: kippers; or for those who got up very early, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon; a "full English"; or simple poached eggs on toast; or just toast and jam and fruit and yogurt? Was it the pubs, the beer, the weather, the varied venues for our evening meal, the sumptuous sunsets and the wonderful view of the sea, cliffs and wide sweep of the sandy/pebbly bay from the Spa Hotel dining room? Was it being in Yorkshire with its friendly people and scenery (we glossed over the industrial bits)?
Monday’s walk set the standard, down the steps of the Hotel to the sea, past the ancient stone building with its name, "The Mortuary", pause for information from Bob, up the steps to the cliff, onto the Cleveland Way. A cliff top walk with a difference, cliff edge on the left, “Watch out Ian!” and a single track railway on the right. We paused by a Roman Watchtower, found an unusual modern sculpture and had sat down, when a train came past and the driver hooted and waved. Later the route turned inland through trees and flowers, orchids, beside Saltburn Gill and we followed this back to the beach. The cafe beside the river welcomed us with cream teas and ice cream.
2013 - Norfolk
A look back to our holiday in East Anglia, organised by Bob H. His account is below but it omits the most important part – a huge thank you to Bob for organising a most enjoyable week.
Epsom and Ewell’s Royal Appointment!
In June I led 29 members of Epsom and Ewell Ramblers Group,on a week long holiday in North Norfolk. We based ourselves at the 17th century Crown Inn in Mundford. This gave us the opportunity to walk in Thetford Forest, and along a section of the North Norfolk Coastal path from Wells Next the Sea. We took the opportunity to visit Sandringham, the Queen was out that day, so we just looked around and walked in the nearby Sandringham forest estate.
(Photo: R Hayward)
The weather was fine all week and a good selection of Inns provided the food and drink along the way. The village of Mundford is small and very quiet. The weather allowed us to enjoy a barbecue one evening in the garden of the Crown. The accommodation was varied with some enjoying a whole house, while others rested in the attic of the Inn. We also walked in Brandon Country Park, and around Thetford Town, home of the Dad’s Army Museum. We visited two National trust properties en route to and from the holiday destination, Ickworth and Anglesey Abbey.
The company was good and much fun was had, so let’s do it again soon somewhere!