All posts by Hilary

Poly Ramblers trip to Conwy Friday 13th to Monday 16th October 2023

Friday 13th October

Once we had all settled in our rooms in the spacious Conwy YHA or in accommodation in town, we all met up for an informative tour of the ancient extremely attractive town of Conwy following the town trail the castle and town walls. We then found eateries.

Saturday 14th October

Saturday 14th October the Stroller section of the Poly Ramblers crossed the Conwy River by its elegant suspension bridge heading along the estuary and along the wide shoreline to the west shore promenade on the edge of Llandudno. After lunch they took the tramway to the Great Orme Summit which opened in 1902 and is one of only three similar ones in the world.

The hikers met at Conwy Castle to get the bus to Llandudno Palladium. We started the walk by exploring Llandudno pier built in 1877. We then visited Happy Valley Gardens before continuing our walk following the North Wales coastal path walking beneath Limestone cliffs, eventually reaching the Rest and be Thankful Cafe with its range of delicious cakes. We were treated to some extensive views and some wild goats clinging to the steep cliffside. We then descended towards the West Shore passing a village created as a decoy in World War 2. We had lunch at the West Shore completing our walk via the sand dunes and along the estuary before completing our walk back in Conwy.

Sunday 15th October

The Poly Ramblers strollers walked along the top of the town walls to join a nearby footpath leading to Bodlondeb woods, they walked alongside a marina finishing up at the coast. They had lunch at the Mulberry pub, so called because some of the floating harbours used on D Day were made there. In the afternoon they joined the North Wales coastal path to climb up Conwy Mountain to a viewpoint overlooking the estuary.

The hikers started their walk along Conwy Quay before starting the climb over the southern flank of the Conwy Mountain following the North Wales coast path. We stopped to admire the views of the coast before dropping down into a gully to reach the Synchnant Pass. We went through Dwygyfychi village and then had lunch on the beach. We walked on a cycle path, next to the road, going through the mountain tunnel before reaching the dunes to Morfa Conwy. We walked aside a golf course and around Conwy Quays Marina before finishing our walk at Conwy Castle.

Monday 16th October.

The Poly Ramblers headed up the Synchant Pass from the youth Hostel passing the Oakwood Estate built in a Mock Tudor style. We walked across fields passing a number of Llamas following a track past a lake with wonderful views before a short walk along the road and rejoining our route back to the youth Hostel.

Saturday 30th September Hanwell to Richmond Via the Grand Union Canal, Syon Park and Isleworth

16 members of the Poly Ramblers Club met at Hanwell Station to begin our walk to Richmond. I had warned about the short platform at Hanwell but had failed to mention that not all trains stopped there resulting in one member ending up at Hayes and Harlington. We stopped to admire the Wharncliffe Viaduct, one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s first great projects, before following the Capital Ring along Fitz Herberts Path named after a couple who petitioned the council for a path to join up the Brent meadows with the Grand Union Canal. We walked along the Grand Union Canal after our first stop at the popular Fox Pub to browse at their market. We continued our route towards Brentford diverting off to admire the fruit trees planted by a local group planting fruit trees for foraging along the canal and adjoining meadows. We crossed the canal at Gallows bridge and then past Clitheroe Locks to Boston Manor Park via a newly renovated wooden bridge, where we stopped for tea or ice cream at the newly opened café. We reached the Brentford Docks via a pontoon, the footpath being temporarily closed due to the construction of a new bridge across the canal. Our next stop was Syon Park, owned by the Duke of Northumberland, where we had lunch at the Garden Centre café. We reached the Thames at Isleworth with attractive views up and down the river. We followed the Thames Path continuing through a gateway and a short walk along the pavement led us to another Thames Path notice which returned us to the river. After a further short walk along the Thames, we crossed Richmond Bridge and continued towards Richmond. A walk across Richmond Green brought us to Richmond Station.

Saturday 20th May Chelsham Common to Limpsfield Chart

Thirteen Poly ramblers met at East Croydon Station to catch a bus to the start of our walk at Chelsham Common. We were lucky to have brilliant sunshine, and a dry spell had reduced likelihood of mud. We followed the good signage for the Vanguard Way through woodland with plenty of Bluebells still vividly coloured. We came out of the woods and into open land taking care to look for some land marks as there was no visible path. At the top of the hill, we enjoyed clear views of the London landscape. At this point we joined the Greenwich Meridian Trail. We began descending steeply, crossing a road and then gently climbing again following a ridge between two steep valleys. At the top of the rise, we had reached the highest point at about 853 ft. We continued following the route until we reached our lunch stop Oxted Downs, where we had our lunch against the backdrop of the M25. Following lunch, we descended a steep slope with steps cut into it called Whistlers Steep to join the North Downs Way. We continued along the edge of a very large field with Titsey Woods and the M25 to our left. In 600 meters we reached a set – back plaque indicating the Greenwich Meridian. We continued passing the entrance to Titsey Place. The Vanguard way crosses the line of the Pilgrims Way at this point. We crossed several grassy fields following a faint footpath, before following a track next to a high fence with the roar of the adjacent M25 before climbing up to a footbridge to cross the motorway close to the Clacket Lane Services. We kept ahead down a broad track along an access road with the huge Moorhouse Sandpits on our right. We were now crossing the Greensand Ridge. After climbing through woodland, we at last came out to the outskirts of Limpsfield Chart. We finished the section conveniently at a bus stop opposite a pub. There was considerable anxiety as to whether to bus would arrive on time to take us to Oxted station so the majority of the group opted to walk back, a small number of us enjoyed a drink in the pub garden, the bus arrived at the correct time and we enjoyed a leisurely trip back to join the rest of the group at Oxted Station.

Saturday 17th December Sloane Square to Battersea Power Station

Twenty-four Poly Ramblers braved the cold weather and train strike to meet at Sloane Square Station for a short walk to Battersea Power Station. We struggled our way through the Christmas shoppers to pause at all the glitz outside the Saatchi Gallery. Shortly afterwards a turning down Cheltenham Street led us towards the Chelsea Pensioners Hospital followed by the Army Museum which I was told houses the skeleton of Napoleon’s horse! We continued our way to arrive at the Chelsea Embankment to cross the Albert Bridge and the gate leading us into Battersea Park. The walking group stopped to admire the London Peace Pagoda unfortunately it was too slippery for us to walk all the way around it, this was followed by a short exploration of the Festival Gardens also rather slippery. We arrived at Battersea Power Station passing under the bridge with yet more ice! The Power Station, all lit up with a fairground and ice rink, was a magnificent sight. We just had time to visit the exhibition of the history of the Power Station before there was a rush to catch trains home.

Claygate circular Sat November 12

18 Poly Ramblers met at Claygate station. We were fortunate to have a warm sunny day for our autumnal walk. We began through the woods of Claygate along a rather narrow bridleway, luckily not too many horses to avoid, before crossing the A3 to climb Winey Hill to reach a large memorial cairn on top with wonderful views all around. We continued around the perimeter of Chessington World of adventures. Chessington began as a zoo in 1931 it is still a major part of the resort with Gorillas, Sumatran Tigers and a sea life centre and a number of other attractions all of which we avoided. We went over the Leatherhead Road to make our way along a narrow path through dense woodland before crossing another busy road. Then it was farmland reaching a white coal post at the boundary of Ashtead Common in Surrey. We walked between some large Oak trees before wending our way along a much narrower path until we came to a very wide horse path. It was at this point that I received a phone call informing me that I had lost five members of the group. Luckily, they were all good map readers and they caught up with us just before our lunch stop at the Star pub a well-known pub chain with excellent food and who were very welcoming. After our lunch stop, we went through Princes Coverts named after Prince Leopold of Belgium. We passed Upper Gravel Pond and Jessops Well, an 18th century brick spa house. We continued through Princes Coverts before crossing the A3 road, and finally back to Claygate.  We stopped for a drink at Platform 3 a small micro-brewery at the station before catching the train back to Waterloo.