Book a Longer Walk

Bookings are only accepted from those who have joined the Longer Walks Group.
 
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In the interests of fairness bookings made before the stated date and time will not be accepted.

Wednesday 11 / Thursday 12 September 2019 : Booking open
Peak District Residential
Numbers will be limited to a maximum of 15 walkers.

For our 2019 two day residential we will be based in the spa town of Buxton, Derbyshire. Located in the Peak District, Buxton is the highest market town in England, well placed for both bus and train services and offers a range of accommodation.
 
In order to take account of local conditions, there is some flexibility in the programme, with both higher level and lower level walks planned; including shorter options should the weather be unkind. However it is intended that one of the walks will be on the limestone hills and dales of the White Peak to the south, while for the other we will venture north to the gritstone valleys and moorlands of the Dark Peak.

Walk 1 : White Peak – Wye Dale
Topley Pike to Buxton
10.5 miles/17km – 541 metres of ascent
 
A short bus ride along the Wye Valley takes us to Topley Pike where we follow the river-side footpath for a while before joining the Monsal Trail which we follow east to Millers Dale.
After leaving the Trail, we loop around the village before taking a steep path (lots of lung busting steps!) through a nature reserve to emerge on the moorlands around Priestcliffe where we join the Limestone Way. After crossing the A6, a further but less difficult climb takes us up above 400m and along our highest stretch of the day, before we descend into the pretty village of Chelmorton. We now have a fairly gentle walk through farmland until we reach Deep Dale . Described as a hidden gem, Deep Dale is a fine example of a dry, limestone, valley that has been very aptly named. The descent is steep, and to begin with probably one of the steepest we have done, but after 10 metres or so it gets a bit easier, and you realise it looks much worse than it actually is. Nevertheless care is needed and some may prefer a bit of bottom-shuffling to begin with! Happily the climb out of the other side is much more straight forward!! We are now on the homeward stretch and make our way across pasture land to enter Buxton from the south-east, finishing our walk in the town centre.
 
▪︎ Download the plan for the day

Walk 2 : Dark Peak – Goyt Valley
Whaley Bridge to Buxton
10.0 miles/16km – 531 metres of ascent
 
This walk along the Goyt Valley can be attempted in either direction and has high and low level variants. A final decision will be taken in light of the prevailing conditions on the day of the walk, but preferably we will catch the train to Whaley Bridge in the morning and walk back to Buxton. The low level option is described here. From Whaley Bridge station, we pick up the Midshires Way and after passing Toddbrook Reservoir head south, climbing steadily towards the Goyt Forest and Hoo Moor. Soon we descend into Mill Clough, and as we climb out of the other side, we must finally decide which route to take. The higher route continues south through coniferous woodland to the west of Fernilee Reservoir, while the lower route descends into the valley bottom and follows its eastern shore. South of Fernilee (where the high level route re-joins us) we climb away from the shore but continue south above Errwood reservoir before ascending steadily to our high point for today at 420 metres above sea level. At Goyt’s Lane we meet the track of a dismantled railway, which we follow across the moor. On reaching the edge of the moorland plateau, we descend a steep, wooded hillside to reach the Cavendish golf club and soon arrive at the outskirts of Buxton. The walk finishes with a stroll through the beautifully restored Pavilion Gardens.
 
▪︎ Download the plan for the day – low level route
▪︎ Download the plan for the day – high level route

Thursday 26 September 2019 : Booking opens mid-day 29 July 2019
North Downs Way 6: (Halling to Otford)
14.5miles / 23 km (level : strenuous)
Depending on the travel option chosen, rail fares will be between £18-£26

Although NDW5 ended at Otford Station, due to logistics, we are reversing the next section and walking back to Otford from Halling. This is a beautiful section of the North Downs Way, much of it through woodland, but its length and the repeated steep ascents and descents make it quite challenging. As it is also late September we will need to make good progress to finish before sunset. Please bear this in mind before booking.
 
From Halling Station we have a walk of just over a mile and a climb of 135 metres to join the NDW, going in a westerly direction. The route is mainly level as we head towards Great Buckland, where we turn south to walk to Holly Hill, where we deviate a short distance from the NDW for a refreshment stop on the hilltop. We then descend the steep chalk scarp to follow the Pilgrim’s Way along the foot of the Downs. As we approach Trosley Country Park, we climb back up to the top of the ridge and enter Vigo Village, where we have our picnic in the grounds of The Villager pub.
 
After lunch we continue through woodland, eventually descending the chalk once more to cross over the M20 and walk through the village of Wrotham. A further level section along the Pilgrim’s Way ends at Chalk Pit Wood, and the last of the steep climbs. Our final section undulates slightly with good viewpoints at Kester and Otford Mount as we gradually descend to Otford Station.


The following walks are fully booked.
 
However it often happens that there is a cancellation and a space becomes available nearer the day of a walk so if there is a walk that you would like why not join the waiting by filling in this form:

Thursday 25 July 2019 : North Downs Way 4: (Merstham to Oxted) 10.0 miles / 16.0 km

Waiting list only

From Merstham Station, a footpath takes us across the M25 to re-join the North Downs Way. After crossing the M23, there follows a steep climb up Ockley Hill, which ends at heights of just over 200 metres. We continue along the crest of the chalk ridge enjoying the views south over the Weald, with the sound of the M25 traffic never too far away. South of Caterham we enter an area of woodland, where a grassy viewing area provides a great spot for a break. Refreshed, we continue eastwards, descending steeply to cross the A22 before climbing to heights of over 200 metres once more. At Gangers Hill on Oxted Downs, we are faced with a steep descent. A flight of 109 timber and earth steps constructed to take the NDW around the old Oxted cement works. Once safely past the quarry, a final steep climb provides further fine views to the south, particularly for those able to block out the sights and sounds of the M25 in the foreground ( this is not a walk for those with an aversion to motorways).Finally we begin our descent to Oxted, using a footbridge to cross the motorway for the final time before walking through the town to reach the station.
 
▪︎ Download the plan for the day

Thursday 8 August 2019 : Wendover Circular
10.75 miles / 17 km (418 metres of ascent)

Waiting list only

Although just over 10 miles in length, if you book, please be prepared for a number of ascents and descents, and some are steep. Stamina will be tested! Nevertheless, this is a beautiful walk which initially utilises less frequented Chiltern paths, before following the Ridgeway National Trail back to our start point in Wendover. Leaving the town, we head south-west, climbing through fields and woodlands to reach the tiny village of Dunsmore before continuing to Little Hampden Common. Sightings of Red kites, fallow and muntjac deer are common on this section. We then continue west over farmland before traversing Sergeant’s Wood, to reach the half way mark and our picnic spot at Whiteleaf Hill. The afternoon section follows the Ridgeway as it climbs and dives along the edge of the Chiltern scarp. After reaching the summit of Whiteleaf Hill with its fine views of Princes Risborough, we descend to Lower Cadsden, noting as we pass the ‘the pub of choice of Prime Ministers for many decades’ aka the ‘Plough’. Recent stories attached to this pub, include the 2012 tabloid storm when David and Samantha Cameron left Nancy their eight-year-old daughter behind, and the visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015. The pub of course is a major clue that we are not far from the official country residence of the P.M. ‘Chequers’. However we have to complete another climb to the top of Pulpit Hill before we are able to follow the path around the edge of the Chequers estate, bristling with warning signs and CCTV cameras meant to deter the potential trespasser. From Buckmoorend, we begin our final climb of 80 metres to the summit of Coombe Hill. At 260 metres above sea level, and adorned with an imposing monument to the fallen of the Boer War, Coombe Hill provides magnificent views over the Vale of Aylesbury, with guide books claiming that on a clear day you can even see the Cotswolds. We are now on the final stretch, as we descend to Bacombe Hill, passing through a local nature reserve to emerge on the road close to Wendover railway station.
 
▪︎ Download the plan for the day

Thursday 22 August 2019 : North Downs Way 5: Oxted to Otford
14.0 miles / 22.5 km

Waiting list only

This walk starts at Oxted Station, from where we retrace our steps to the end of NDW4 in order to pick up the beginning of section 5. Once there, we are soon climbing a rather steep slope to reach Botley Hill, which not only sits on the Greenwich meridian but is also the highest point of the North Downs Way at 853 feet (260 metres) above sea level. It is also claimed that the summit of Botley Hill can be seen from Ally Pally! Suitably impressed, we continue through woodland, fields and country lanes, eventually reaching a NDW milestone. This informs us that we are now leaving Surrey and entering the county of Kent, where we will remain for the rest of the ‘Way’. Shortly afterwards we come upon a field providing lovely views to the south, where we will stop to eat our packed lunches. The road noise from the M25 just to our south is evident here, but if you concentrate on the landscape and the birdsong it becomes less obvious. After lunch we continue to walk through fields, with the opportunity to spot rabbits and, possibly, deer. After a steep, but short descent we reach a busy road that soon takes us across the M25 and into the hamlet of Dunton Green. From here we head east across fields towards Otford. As we enter the village, we cross the River Darent, to walk along the High Street, with a choice of two pubs for what will be welcome and well-earned refreshment before heading to the station and the train ride home.
 
▪︎ Download the plan for the day

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