Choir walking group
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A walk in the mist

DECEMBER 8: A small but perfectly formed group of seven walkers assembled at Bletchingley Golf Club on Tuesday 6 December. As it was a morning start, the customary pre-amble beer was replaced by tea and bacon butties before the group ventured into the swirling mist.

The magnificent seven navigate through the mist


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A muddy outing but no casualties this time

NOVEMBER 16: Eleven walkers left the Fox and Hounds near South Godstone on Monday, 14 November, watching out for traffic on the first southward stretch, part of the old London to Newhaven Roman road.  They branched west into muddy countryside, following quiet country tracks north of South Park Farm and Cuckseys Farm.

Braving the mud near Cuckseys Farm

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Warlingham wanderings

The group welcomed three debutantes to the walk on 24 October: Ben and Sue Kennedy, and Jennie Willis. After leaving the White Lion in Warlingham, they traversed Blanchman's Farm Nature Reserve before emerging into the sunshine overlooking the Woldingham Valley.

The group contours Woldingham Valley

While the walkers admired the sumptuous views, navigator Dave explained the periodic rise of the Caterham Bourne and its source in the valley, and the chaos caused downstream as the waters flooded parts of Whyteleafe and Kenley a couple of years ago. He pointed out the dams and sluices that had since been built to contain the water.


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The joys of autumn

SEPTEMBER 19: This, the first of two autumn walks, started at the George and Dragon pub in Downe – the venue for an apres after a concert in the lovely village church ten or more years ago.  The eleven walkers were soon heading south, passing the manicured West Kent golf course in late summer sunshine.

Elaine and Pat bringing up the rear near Cudham

They turned east towards Berry's Green, crossed the main road and descended though a mobile home site to Blackbush Shaw conservation area and woodland. Some walkers' stamina was tested on the steep ascent to Cudham, but they were rewarded by refreshment in the Blacksmith's Arms – another memorable apres venue from times past, and there was a brief sing in the porch of the adjacent church.

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A walk in the sun

Thirteen walkers plus Nick Hewitt's Misty and Phil Willis' German Shepherd Suki left the Red Lion on August 22 and were soon enjoying outstanding views from the crest of Bletchingley Castle in glorious sunshine. Navigator Dave Bannister regaled the group on how Henry III's royalist forces sacked the castle during their retreat after Simon de Montfort's victory at the Battle of Lewes in 1264.

Banners extols the view from Bletchingley Castle


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Three more choir walk records

The records tumbled again when the choir set off on its walk at Mugswell on Friday July 29.  Fifteen walkers, including Nick’s ex-job mate plus his dog Misty, started at the Well House Inn ­­– the highest number on any leg of a walk since the walking group’s first outing in February 2012.  The group headed south over rolling downland towards the M25, where a resounding version of My Lord benefited from the motorway tunnel’s acoustics.

Skirting corn-fields near the start

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