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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Wednesday Walk: Bow Brickhill to Leighton Buzzard - woods, the Greensand Ridge and the River Ouzel

Just to mention last Thursday's walk - Crowhurst to Battle - was the last of the "extra" mid-week walk postings for the time being. Mid-week walkers may recall we introduced these extra walks in February 2017 after a period post New Year when Wednesday walks attracted upwards 20 walkers, which some thought was too many. The extra walks helped even out the mid-week demand and numbers for a while, but of late numbers attending both the Wednesday and alternate Tuesday and Thursday walks have dropped off, so it's time to park the extra walks. You may have noticed some of the draft walks for future Tuesdays and Thursdays have "disappeared" from the walk postings. My apologies if anyone was hoping to go on these walks - they will be rescheduled for another time.

Book 1, Walk 41 - Bow Brickhill to Leighton Buzzard

Length: 14.7 km (9.1 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10 (more when the going is muddy)

London Euston: 10-13 hrs    Birmingham New Street service
Arrive Bletchley: 10-49 hrs
Leave Bletchley: 11-01 hrs   Bedford service
Arrive Bow Brickhill: 11-08 hrs

Return: Leighton Buzzard to Euston:  33, 53 (fast) and 59 mins past the hour

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Bow Brickhill

This lovely woodland walk is particularly nice in late autumn, when leaf colour is near its best. In order during the morning you pass through Back Wood, Buttermilk Wood and Duncombe Wood before you arrive in Great Brickhill for lunch at the homely Old Red Lion pub which serves good, honest pub grub.
After lunch you walk through an oak wood before you walk above the River Ouzel, then cross a water meadow to reach the Grand Union Canal and your suggested tea stop on the canal, the Globe Inn.
Your homeward leg is to follow the canal tow path all the way to Leighton Buzzard, after which it is a short walk through the town to the railway station.
If you like woods, this is a walk for you.
Walk Directions here L=1.41


Anonymous said...

Going. Thanks for putting it on.

Marion said...

Thank you Marcus for all your hard work organising the Mis-week walks. The reason why numbers may have fallen off is that the mid-week walkers generally prefer the established walk format and an inexpensive fare i.e. not too long or multiple options so we can walk together. Forking out £20 for a train fare just to get on a walk does not suit those on a budget any more than really expensive lunch stops do. Also the weather has been rather variable of late.

Posting experimental first walks with limited directions does not suit walkers who need to be assured that they have companions and can get back to London at a reasonable time. Those of us with time off during the week need to know that the walks are on a particular day. Having the occasional option of a Tuesday or Thursday may not fit with ones established work or social commitments.

Whilst I appreciate the need for new walks to be tried out perhaps we could avoid Wednesdays if there is no other choice of walk please.

Anonymous said...

Using Meetup as a way to further advertise the group is a great idea. However, a would-be new recruit having a quick look at the Meetup page (and keep in mind there are a huge number of hiking groups on that platform)might think only 1-3 people ever turn up on our walks. I suggest that under 'Welcome' on the first page an estimate of numbers be given: 8-30, for example. I realise a similar estimate can be found on the SWC site, but some would-be newbies will never make it that far, and be lost to those groups who lift our walks, often without acknowledgement. Having photos of walks with people walking (from the back to preserve anonymity, if need be) will also help. Younger people expect this. Thanks.

Walker said...

It is only worth resorting to Meet Up (which costs money, btw) if numbers are short. I would argue our weekend walks are well enough attended. We don’t want to have groups of 40 which make finding space in lunch pubs difficult. As for midweek walks the point of having two a week was because it was felt TOO MANY came on them when there was one a week (though on the few occasions I came - I must admit I am not a midweek regular - group sizes seemed fine).

Regarding photos of walks with people in, I put some on our Facebook page. But no one else did, so I stopped doing so.

I believe our advice for we members already has information about typical group sizes.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with everything Marion has said ,it is offputting to fork out on expensive fares etc.. walking should be an inexpensive activity! well said M

Anonymous said...

Many thanks to Marcus for another great day.
Woods, weather and company were brilliant.

Marcus said...

In transit at Bletchley, as we waited for the train to Bow Brickhill, we just about managed to separate the n=7 SWC walkers from a London based group of French Ladies, 8 of whom were doing our walk. During the course of the morning we met up en route although once we left Back Wood we never saw them again. As their leader was using one of those hand held gps jobbies I hope she didn't get her group too lost in the woods. Our written walk directions and the OS Explorer maps are so much better...... and bring back the quill pen......
It was w=sunny-and-unseasonably-warm, infact a glorious late autumn day. Said Back Wood was muddy in places but passable (this time last year it was impassable due to the forestry tree felling works churning up the paths). Onwards then through Buttermilk and Duncombe woods with some nice leaf colour to Great Brickhill where four of us enjoyed excellent lunches at the walker friendly Old Red Lion pub: and being able to sit outside at this time of year enjoying the lovely view from the pub's terrace was an unexpected treat and a bonus. Our three sandwich eaters joined us for a drink before we set out on the afternoon leg of the walk, with leaf colour in Oak Wood and in Rushmere Country Park nearing its best for the season. For once the water meadows just before the Grand Union Canal were not waterlogged and we made it safely to the Globe Inn, where we stopped for tea. A leisurely stroll beside the canal took us into Leighton Buzzard (not the prettiest of towns) and then to the railway station - where the "fun" began. All trains to and from London were at a standstill following an incident just before our arrival - someone hit by a train near Harrow and Wealdstone. We were advised by helpful staff at LB station to seek an alternative route back to London - and here we struck lucky. We managed to hire the last available taxi (with seats for seven passengers, no more) to the outskirts of Luton at a reasonable price. A slowish, but comfortable train then took us to St Pancras, where we went our separate ways home, and grateful to make it back to London given the circumstances.
Notwithstanding the end-of-walk excitement, I believe all enjoyed the walk, its variety and lovely leaf colour.
And delightful company, of course.

Marcus said...

In response to comments 2 and 5, it just shows how impossible is the task of the walk poster to please everyone, let alone anyone.
For some time we have used Wednesday walks to test drive new walks. My current fellow walk poster, who goes to great trouble, time and personal expense to devise new walks for the SWC (with limited thanks), once in a while posts a new walk on a Wednesday. For my part I am biased towards posting Book 1 walks as it helps me keep them updated. As for cost, train fares are train fares, and we try to post most walks with an after 10 am start, to enable travel cards to come into play. The comments on expensive lunches are puzzling: some Wednesday walkers will only come on a walk with a gourmet, up-market lunch stop: they are sniffy over pub grub.
As I said, it is impossible to please everyone: walk posters just do their best to strike a balance between short, medium and long walks, close to London (which incites complaints over traffic noise) or a bit further out - and shock horror, the train fare is more.