Walkers go back to school

Seven walkers made an early start at 1pm from the White Hart in Chipstead on 29 October as the clocks had gone back the night before. The route led downwards into Chipstead Valley and the Old School House, home of former choir stalwart member Ernest Williams.

Ernest and early walkers outside Schoolhouse

Ernest welcomed the walkers, relating the history of the house and school as they settled down in his cosy living room, some within its inglenook fireplace. They were joined by Martin Perkins, Roger Lee and Faith Wood, who had  represented the choir at that morning’s funeral of former member Keith Jones. 

Lambs and walkers gambolling in winter sunshine

The enlarged group crossed the railway and continued on to Chipstead Downs and Fames Rough, where navigator Dave pointed out the information boards describing the unique flora. A climb up steep steps around the western border of Banstead Woods led to Perrott’s farm and a long open path towards Banstead.  After passing through Banstead Cricket Club, the group reached The Mint pub.  

Following the customary half-time refreshment, the walkers turned on to Park Downs and headed for the southern edge of Banstead Woods, marked by the start of the Narnia trail and the impressive carved lamppost with Lucy Pevensey waiting beside. We met Aslan the lion and proceeded along the foot of Chipstead Downs towards the tempting lights of the Ramblers' Rest pub.  

The group, refreshed, at the Mint

The group now split into three.  The original starters (plus Faith) took deep breaths and ascended the steep path over the railway and fields back to the White Hart. Roger returned to Ernest's house to collect his car. Martin was unable to resist popping into the Ramblers' to test the beer while waiting for Roger to give him a lift. The walkers were reunited at the White Hart where they were joined by Ted Mouat for an excellent dinner.


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