2017 JOHN MUSGRAVE ANNUAL EXCURSION TO THE SLAD VALLEY
52 of us South Devon ramblers left at the crack of dawn to drive to Bulls Cross in Gloucs which is the start of the Laurie Lee Wildlife Way.
This was created in 2014 to mark the centenary of the birth of Laurie Lee whose is most famous for writing Cider with Rosie.
The walk is based in the Slad Valley ( Slad meaning damp.) There wildlife thrives. There are 4 nature reserves altogether. We discovered wild lobelia, thyme & various species of orchids.
The 6 mile walk encompasses tracks, fields, lanes, hills, valleys and beech woodland. Everything in fact to make the walk so pleasurable.
The pace was leisurely so that we could enjoy the countryside, and due to recent rains, potentially slippery.
We had lunch which was interrupted by a very curious, but luckily friendly, herd of cows on Swifts Hill where we could enjoy a panoramic view of the valley and nearby Stroud.
The weather was on our side and improved as the day progressed. We finished in warm sunshine feeling relaxed & greatly looking forward to our carvery, courtesy of the John Musgrave legacy, at the Fromebridge Inn which we finally arrrived at having gone the scenic route.
Our thanks go especially to Val for organising this really successful trip.
14 June 2017
OFFA’S DYKE 7 2ND TO 8TH APRIL17 inc
TREFONEN TO PRESTATYN approx 55 MILES
The final section!
21 of us ramblers set off from Torbay at the crack of dawn. We eventually started our walk at Trefonen, where we finished last year, & walked to Craignant. Already we were getting a flavour of the fertile green rolling landscape of N Wales.
We stayed 3 nights at the Royal Hotel in Llangollen, a quaintly old fashioned hotel with perhaps an over fondness of raspberry sauce!
The following day we walked from Craignant getting an impressive view of Chirk Castle en route, to the spectacular Telfords Pontcysyltte Aqueduct at Trevor. This was an unique experience & one not to be missed.
Day 3 was an impressive 12 mile walk from Trevor to Llandegla across to The Panoramic Walk, steep passes, board walks across moorland, & finally descending into Llandegla Forest to Bwlch Pen Barra.
The weather up to now was perfect, warm, sunny with a bite to the wind. It enabled us to get the full impact of the versatile & stunning views.
The following day we left Llandegla climbing through Moel y Plas & Bwlch Penbarra. A tough but exhilarating days walk.
We then arrived at the Beaches Hotel in Prestatyn, a totally different hotel from the Royal. More like a Premier Inn. The food was superb & the portions enormous!!
The following day we returned to Bwlch Penbarra & climbed 554 metres to Moel Famou, one of the highest peaks in the Clwydian Range, & made our way to Bodfari.
Our penultimate trek, on the following day was from Bodfari, where we climbed further into the hills towards Rhualt. Once more the views were stunning, passing numerous green fields filled with sheep, & listening to the constant bleatings of the thirsty lambs.
The last day!
Only 3 miles to go. This walk was delightful, keeping in view our hotel in the plain below, for most of the way, with a backdrop of the coast & the huge wind farm beyond.
Prestatyn is a buzzy place with lots of eateries & very pleasant to walk through.
And it has not rained once!
With increasing excitement we finally reached the end of the Offas Dyke trail! Where we congratulated ourselves celebrating with chocolates & prosecco!
All this was the culmination of months & months of detailed planning, enabling us to walk a section for the last 7years. It has given South Devon Ramblers many days/ holidays of superb walking, great experiences, lots of camaraderie, & above all,fun.
We cannot thank Bernard, our chairman enough for all his meticulous planning, along with expert help & support from Chris.
Thank you, Bernard from us all.
OFFAS DYKE 6 - APRIL 2016
Approx 24 of us have just returned from completing the penultimate section of the Offas Dyke, from Knighton to Trefonen, a distance of roughly 45 miles.
Both the weather and the terrain were variable enabling us to have a fantastic 6 days of walking including a day of challenging gradients, which we achieved and felt actually really proud of ourselves.
After completing the walks we looked forward to returning to the Dragon Hotel in Montgomery.
The staff, and in fact everyone we met, were so friendly, nothing was too much trouble.
The food was SUPERB!
All this could not have been achieved if it wasn’t for Bernard, our chairman, who, with his meticulous attention to detail, ensured we all had a wonderful 6 days of walking, and even arranging a ‘day off’.
This was when we went on an 8 mile journey on the Welshpool to Llanfair narrow gauge railway, followed by a tour of the house & gardens at Powis Castle.
A huge thank you to Bernard.
WALKING HOLIDAY IN CORNWALL 2016 - looking back
SDR chalked up another enjoyable week with our 5 night stay in Falmouth 2016.
(If you haven’t yet participated on one of these waking holidays, you are missing out. Look out for an announcement about the trip for 2017 at the AGM but you need to be quick as they quickly get booked up!)
Our accommodation surpassed any expectations we might have held of a two star hotel: spotlessly clean, the rooms were comfortable, the food ample, fresh, and well cooked, the seafront location idyllic. All the staff were professional, thoughtful and customer-focused. We were similarly impressed with the cheery good nature of our driver, Sean, who negotiated narrow Cornish lanes and hairpin bends with ease.
Few of us were strangers to Cornwall but Les had arranged for us to explore in all directions from Falmouth. We were charmed by the Roseland peninsula (thank you, Janice, especially for your dogged persistance with the ferry); we were awed by the rugged north coast, the giant stacks known as Bedruthan Steps, the golden beaches and romantic coves; Colin and Anne took us along a magical trail on the Lizard peninsula to sparkling Kynance Cove and Gunwaloe Church; Jenny, who led twice over the week, took us on an inland coast to coast pilgrimage, St Michael’s Way, from Carbis Bay to Marazion.
We all felt our interest in Cornwall was re-kindled by the week. Celia’s head mended well after her tussle with a low hanging branch and she never lost her good humour; Dave proudly boasted winning 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes in the quiz (there were 3 teams) but most important of all, Bernard’s toe op went smoothly and he still has all his digits!
Thanks and congrats to all who worked to put together this wonderful holiday.
Watch out for the flyer for the Annual Walking Holiday 2017.
The trip on Vigilance - 13 August 2016
On a gloriously sunny day, we set off for a 3 hour sail from Brixham harbour on VIGILANCE, a 90 year old, 73 foot long, Brixham trawler.
It was manned by a group of highly efficient and enthusiastic volunteers.
Their mood was enhanced either by the fact they had just heard that they had achieved charitable status, or the fact that they shared a splendid array of homemade cakes baked by several members of South Devon Ramblers!!
We, as passengers, were encouraged to pull on the ropes and also take the wheel!
As the first sail was in progress, we were alerted to a sighting of a possible dolphin, whereas the 2nd sail had the experience of watching a pilot whale surfacing behind the boat!
It was a truly lovely day, the weather being perfect for a lazy sail around the Bay.
The Fish Supper - 11 March 2016
Having starved ourselves all day we were looking forward to our fishy ‘extravaganza.’
While we waited for our food to arrive, we watched a couple of fishing boats, night lights on, enter the harbour.
We could see that some of the catch were still flailing in their containers.
There was a mixture of delicious starters to whet the appetite, followed by the ‘catch of the day’. This was either grilled of fried haddock, cod, whiting or pollock.
This was made complete with salad & unlimited chips.
I think we can safely say that Rockfish did us proud. The staff were efficient & friendly.
They apparently thought we were friendly & polite, & thanked us for being such easy customers.
(Typical of South Devon Ramblers! )
On Friday evening of 12 February 32 of us gathered in the comfortable surroundings of the library of the Berry Head Hotel to listen to Dr Sarah Wollaston speaking about ‘Life as an Westminster MP’.
We all thought how friendly & well-grounded a speaker & MP she was.
The diverse topics covered were the junior doctors strike; the European Union; the railway at Dawlish; coastal erosion at Slapton; & how since the new rules, plastic bag demand had dropped by 75% ( as we do not like to spend 5p on a new bag! )
The discussion ended on a lighthearted note discussing the attributes of Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, & Boris Johnson!
This was followed by a lovely supper with hot coffee!
I think we can say that no matter what our political affiliations are, we all thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
Private Tour of the Britannia Royal Naval College Friday 24 April 2015
We all found, initially, the entry to the college rather unclear and confusing.
But then we were met by our guide, a retired naval officer, who gave us an excellent and absorbing talk on the college past and present, with more than a smattering of humour!
The land on which the college stands, had been compulsorily purchased from the Sir Walter Raleigh estate.
Sir Aston Webb, the architect, was commissioned to build the college which was completed in 1905.
The cadets, some from abroad, some from the Commonwealth, are mainly graduates, and up to 15% of each intake are now female.
They go through approximately 30 weeks of training which involves leadership skills, seamanship, and academic prowess.
The Brittania Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, is today globally recognized and very highly respected as an initial officer training establishment of the British Royal Navy.
Towards the end of the tour we sat down to a truly delicious cream tea, and yes, it was substantial!!
Our grateful thanks go to our guide and his charming wife.