CANCELLATION – our 2021 programme is on hold.
Sadly group coordinator Steve Mustoe had to put out this message on 6 Jan.
The first Probus walk of 2021 was planned for Thursday 21st January but with the current restrictions and alarming spread of the virus I’m afraid that it is now off. Many thanks though to Alan Reilly who had planned a walk in the Ashtead vicinity, had lined up group leaders and who is willing to lead the walk when circumstances permit. Quite when this will be is anybody’s guess as even the next scheduled walk on February 18th must already be in doubt!Hi Everyone,
Thursday 17 December 2020
Though in a year free of Covid regulations we don’t have a monthly full club meeting in December, we most certainly do usually have our final walk of the year during the month. So working under strict Rule of 6 & Risk Assessment regulations 18 of us were blessed with one of December 2020’s sunniest days as we took to Bushey Park on the hour of 10. The Royal Park is a space certainly large enough to accommodate the several 100 other walkers and cyclists who also took advantage of the gloriously unseasonal conditions. Your photographer was part of the group of 6 led by Stephen Rouse and we quickly lost the masses as we headed east towards Hampton Wick. Our route is well known and much appreciated by Moleside walkers – not a single incline, absolutely no stiles and water alongside us almost the entire way. It only took a couple of minutes for Stephen and Kay’s dog Roma – definitely a Moleside walking regular – to take full advantage. The temperature rose and no one felt the need to rush. Our group of 6 – being the middle one – was not intended to catch up with our first group and, with no danger of that happening, we made the halfway mark beside Kingston Bridge in under an hour. Here we encountered larger numbers of fellow walkers – and plenty of cyclists who, in the main behaved more deferentially towards us then we believe they might have done had we met them in the road whilst driving our cars.
We were at Hampton Court in time to hear the Palace clock striking midday and, sadly with no traditional post walk lunch possible in these challenging times, we were all agreed that we are most certainly missing all the opportunities to get together that our Walking programme offered us before we had to start locking down and social distancing at the end of March. Thanks to Alan Willis who navigated Group 1 today and to Steve Mustoe who led Group 3. It is great to know that Steve is already drawing up our 2021 walking programme. We’re certainly looking forward to it.
Thursday 15 October 2020
Rule of 6 & Risk Assessments = totally compliant Walking
Following the revisions to the Covid restrictions which had caused us to cancel our September date Steve Mustoe, ably supported by Peter Wall & David Owen, redesigned the club’s approach to our monthly walks and 18 of us were blessed with sunshine as we explored Norbury Park in October. Subdivided into pre determined groups of 6, each one navigated by one of our group leaders, we maintained 5 minute intervals as we followed a carefully prepared route, risk assessed following the guidance of the Ramblers Association. A very big thank you to Steve for wrestling with all needed for us to be compliant. Two of us took advantage of the highly efficient woodland coffee bar that has popped up by the Norbury Sawmill whilst we all, in turn, took in the amazing view of Canary Wharf and Dockland London and admired the fine houses on the east side of the Mole Valley.
Through the woods, close by Druids Grove, and across the fields we progressed to the Crabtree Lane car park from where we turned north for the more open walk back to our starting point by Bocketts Farm. As we made our return we got the news that the government had now further tightened the Covid regulations which may mean that this could be our last walk for a little while. But we cannot discount the determination of the Moleside Walkers – and our group coordinator – to think yet again about how we might continue walking whilst taking strict note of the responsible behaviour we must all support and demonstrate. It’s very sad that we may not be able to emulate soon the record breaking turnout we enjoyed back in August – but all of us will be watching our emails closely for news from our leader about any plans for November.
Thursday 20 August 2020
A record breaking Walker Turnout
More Molesiders than ever before – or at least as far back as any of the stalwart club regulars could remember – were with us beside the Downside Bridge over the Mole for this memorable walk through the local water meadows. And it was a first test for a digital mapping service which we hope we can develop to create an archive of enjoyable local routes to which we can always return. Peter Wall & Alan Willis did the mapping as we all followed our leader for the day – Paul Walker. With us too for his first Moleside Walk we welcomed Philip Schofield as we followed the carefully identified Right of Way westward
towards Pointers Lane and the corner of Surrey that was sliced through by the M25 in 1986. Apart from the short section of our walk where its route has to follow noisily close by the motorway everyone enjoyed the peace of the fields around Pondtail Farm to the north of the village of Downside. We returned past the tiny Chapel and onto the lane that skirts Cobham Park. And, almost like old times, a dozen of us retired to The Plough, the pub adjacent to where we had started our walk, for a thoroughly enjoyable outdoor lunch under the trees.
Thank you Paul & Andrea.
Thursday 23 July
Out in force again
The sun shone brightly for the 15 of us who rendezvoused at the Shere Road Car Park on Sheepleas under the guidance of Brian Manners. It was excellent to welcome Ray Blues amongst us for his first Moleside walk in some time. Those of us who know – from personal experience – the chances of becoming pretty lost in this wonderful mix of open space, once coppiced woodland and deeply shady forest always admire the confidence that Brian transmits here and this walk was one of his very best. As we knew he would he got us safely to the viewpoint which has featured in many previous Moleside visits here. But it was the open spaces that stole the show this July, resplendent in wild flowers of many colours – almost as if the contents of an enormous sack of typical English meadow seeds had been carefully distributed across the many acres.
As Brian had promised there were a few gentle inclines but positively no stiles. Easy walking it may have been and any challenges would have come from the many finger posts we encountered, each one telling us no more than the routes in these directions were all Public Bridleways. Not much of an aid to navigation but we had no need of such assistance and we covered a little over 3 miles together in just 2 hours. The 6 of us in the group who, carefully following recommended procedure, retired to The Queen’s Head in East Clandon for refreshment afterwards, all felt we had earned a drink – and the pub lunch that followed. Hopefully more of us will be able to do the same when we get together again in August.
Wednesday 24 June
The Walking Group in action again – for the first time since February.
Our first walk for 4 months saw 9 of us revisiting Puttenham Common and the Hogs Back. We followed the North Downs Way for part of the route and enjoyed glorious sunshine throughout. We walked this route last winter but this time we had leafy trees, fresh ferns and even an abundance of tiny froglets hopping across our path.
Steve Mustoe led the way and looked a daunting figure carrying a length of 4X2 wood over his shoulder because one of the stiles we had to take was broken.
Regrettably we still can’t retire to a pub afterwards but a few folk had brought a packed lunch to enjoy. Social distancing was observed and a great time was had by all.
Thanks Steve for getting things going again on two legs and thanks too to Peter Wall for his photographs. He’s particularly proud of the one we feature below but wants it to be made clear that he is not checking whether it could be time to leave for home. Rather than having to be behind the camera he managed to feature in his own group shot by successfully activating an impressive gizmo in his Apple watch. An achievement of which he can be very proud.
Wednesday 22 January 2020 – The Woodman, Ashtead
Thursday 19 December 2019 – The Jolly Farmer, Puttenham
No great sunshine but at least no sign of the torrential squalls we had all come prepared for. Led by our group co-ordinator Steve Mustoe, thoughtfully carrying timber in case any stiles needed DIY, we met on the south side of The Hogs Back and set off downhill from what we noted was called the Puttenham Top Car Park. Through mixed woodland we passed 2 attractive lakes (The Tarn & General’s Pond) and then started a steady ascent towards the North Downs Way. Despite a substantial fallen tree doing its best to prevent our progress, we kept to our plan and, after a couple of hours very pleasant walking, made our way into the open fields that led us downhill to the Top Car Park. Great views to the south were enjoyed on our descent before repairing to Puttenham’s Jolly Farmer for an excellent lunch – which several of us intend to repeat on another day.
Thursday 21 November – Withies Inn, Compton.
With the ground covered in autumn leaves and soon finding ourselves deep in ancient woodland, we were delighted to be accompanied today by Steve’s dog who made sure we were all together.
The walk took us to the north of Loseley House where we had a good view of the house in the ground of the park. Then on again and finally back to the pub where we enjoyed our lunch.
Thursday 24 October – Half Moon, Ripley
The weather was not kind to us today – after a spell of cloudy but dry conditions earlier in the week our outlook for Thursday promised a generous soaking under leaden skies. But such things do not discourage the Moleside regulars who turned out in impressive numbers. Led by Brian Manners we investigated the stretch of