Three walks in seven weeks

The walking group has been active since the record-breaking walk of April 28, undertaking three walks in the space of seven weeks. And it notched its fiftieth walk since the group was started in February 2012.

Roger shows us the way (photo Trevor Watkins)

THE FIRST, ON 25 MAY, began and ended at The Diamond in Oxted, with a half-time break at the Royal Oak near Merle Common.  The walk was led (after a fashion) by guest navigators Roger Lee and his partner Faith.  Key moments came as the group crossed the Uckfield railway line and obtained stunning views across to the North Downs. Later came an enforced diversion, when a herd of cows and calves repelled the group after it attempted to cross their pasture. 

Crossing spring meadow near Hurst Green

It proved a delightful late-spring walk.  Twelve members took part, plus the faithful Suki.  One member, M*rt*n P*rk*ns, took a short cut to the Diamond near the end, although he claimed later that this was to ensure he could get the drinks in by the time everyone else arrived.


ON JUNE 6, we walked around Biggin Hill, with the start/finish at the Old Jail and half-time at the Old Ship in Tatsfield. We initially retraced some of our earlier Downe Walk before striking through Cherry Lodge Golf Club. 


New Zealand-bound Martin Perkins leads a steep ascent

Then came a steep descent through woodland followed by climbing Rag Hill near the crest of the North Downs.  We crossed Park Wood Golf Course, bringing stunning views of the London skyline before subsiding at the Old Ship.  The second half brought more steep descents and re-ascents and culminated in our singing Lily of the Valley to delight the owner of the flower-shop of the same name.  Distinguished guests on the walk included Brian and Derek (dinner only) Perkins, brothers of our esteemed tenor Martin Perkins, all bound for the New Zealand rugby tour the following day.

There were fifteen on the walk, equalling the size record set on 22 December last year.


THE THIRD WALK in the sequence began and ended at the California in Banstead on 12 July, stopping en route at the Woodman in Woodmansterne.  We started by traversing Banstead Downs, then crossed the Epsom Downs rail line to reach the A217.  

Crossing meadow-land near Banstead

A section up Bolters Lane took us to Banstead Village, where we walked through a very soggy cricket ground - bringing reminiscences and nostalgia from choir members (Pete and Dave) who had played there in days of yore.  Following half-time at the Woodman, we wandered through the commercial lavender fields, passed between Oaks Park and High Down prison, walked over Banstead Downs again to reach the California for dinner.

A soggy Banstead cricket ground 

The walk, with eight members taking part, was notable for being the fiftieth outing of the choir walk group.  The first walk was on 8 February 2012 and took place in a wintry Kent landscape. The pioneer walkers were Pete Smith, Jon Evans and Peter Gillman, all members of the choir bass section. For the following walk five weeks later, the basses generously opened the walking group to the other three sections (in this case consisting of tenor Dick Jones), and the rest is history. 

The Banstead eight - making history

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