We now have a Video Trailer courtesy of our youngest member Max Parkin. Max walks with us when he can and has been a member since he was 8 years old. The video can be watched by clicking on the link below,
No, this is not a bizarre adaptation of Sir Walter Scott's famous novel, but an account of our recent walk in the environs of the Warwickshire town, famed for its castle. The previous week, we were a "Famous Five" "doing" a circuit of Droitwich, so the participation in this occasion was swollen by 40%!
The weather was well nigh cloudless, and temperatures well into to 20's right from the outset when we set out from the "Tipperary" pub close to the village of Honiley, a little distance from Kenilworth itself. A short way along our walk, John, our leader for the day, pointed out a plaqued cottage which was once the home of the composer of "It's A Long Way To Tipperary", one Harry Williams, who died aged 50 in 1924. One wonders how much he made in royalties from the song during his lifetime????
We then continued along some fairly straight and level minor roads, then, via a very interesting wildfire reserve (cranes, mergansers, etc), onwards through arable fields(baking in the sun) which seemed to extend forever, stopping for a fortifying coffee break at Honiley church. On continuing through further seemingly endless crop fields, we finally espied Kenilworth Castle in the far distance. The views across the flattish landscape were excellent, the castle itself only seeming to get closer very gradually.
A much needed lunch break was taken at Abbey Fields, just beyond the castle, overlooking the rather picturesque Abbey pool, before embarking on the return journey to the "Tipperary". Some extremely good views were obtained of the castle from the slightly rising ground on the pathway leaving Kenilworth going back towards Honiley, and the walk then proceeded via further various undulating arable fields back to the pub.....where drinks were promptly ordered, a shaded outside table area selected, and said drinks demolished in short order!
Many thanks to John Roberts who led this enjoyable walk, and both John and Steve Adams, who had recce'd this lengthy (9mile) walk only days earlier!
Both Wednesday and Sunday walkers again dug out clippers, saws, and shears to walk and maintain Section 14 of the Monarchs way, which runs from Manor Way, Halesowen to Sanders Park, Bromsgrove.
The purpose is to check stiles for safety, clear any overgrown vegetation, ensure way marking is clear and to report any planning proposals which may
affect the route.
This year there was minimal clipping to be done as rangers from Wasely Hills, Clent Hills and Sanders Park had pre-empted us It was gratifying to see that previous reports had been effective and some, (but not all) defective stiles had been repaired or removed.
Consequently our main focus this year was on way marking. Enthusiasm and laughter were evident, and much discussion ensued over exactly where and at which angle new way marks should be positioned. Responsibilities were allocated and necessary equipment distributed - hammer, nails, stickers, wet wipes,…
But where was the monogrammed Monarchs Way yellow duster? How is it possible to give the authentic final polish to the way marks without it.
None of the current working parties had it so it must be hidden in the possession of a previous participant. Could it be hiding in the bottom of your rucksack???
Thanks to Bel Glover for organising the event, and for a great report and pictures.
Llandudno April 1st - 5th 2019
Eastbourne September 9th - 13th 2019
Halesowen Ramblers aim to arrange at least two holidays a year for all of its members, this includes members who can no longer walk or choose not to walk, and the holidays are open to all.
Red Marley, (daffodil walk) March 27th
Cotswolds May 8th
Knighton, Welsh Border June 5th
Clifton/Bristol July 10th
Brecon Way August 7th
Frampton-on-Seven September 18th
Meet at Bassnage Road at 9.30
As you will see on the programme there is a morning walk on the first Tuesday of each month. We try to find fairly flat routes of about 4 miles without difficult stiles but with lovely scenery and good views. We are usually back in Halesowen by
lunch time. Walking boots are essential as well as waterproof clothing if there is rain forecast.
Most people bring a drink and a snack for the coffee break. New members are always welcome.
Meet at Bassnage Road at 9.15
A wide variety of destinations .
Walks are circular and vary between 6-10 miles
More details of the walks are available in the Walks Programme or by contacting the walk leader
Meet at Wall Well at 9.30
A wide variety of destinations .
Walks are circular and vary between 6-10 miles.
More details of the walks are available in the Walks Programme or by contacting the walk leader
Ten Pin Bowling February 19th
Map Reading February 26th
1970's Evening April 6th
Skittles Evening October 15th
Christmas Meal December 4th
During a very pleasant walk to Sheepwalks early in the New Year led by Alan, Wendy told us about a chapel that she had read about some years earlier. It was not marked on the OS map, but as we passed Priests Wood, through the trees one of our eagle eyed ramblers spotted a small building, which on closer investigation turned out to be the Chapel that Wendy had read about.
On the south side of the head of the valley is Priest Wood. Within this, in a yew grove, is Shenstone's Chapel (listed grade II), a gothic church-like building of roughcast brick with a two-bay 'nave' and cylindrical west tower. The Chapel was in existence by the time Shenstone died in 1763.
The church is still standing and in remarkably good condition
Who would have believed that a walk within a couple of miles of Halesowen would yield a testing climb and descent to rival anything found in Snowdonia or the Scottish Highlands? Yet such was the case when the Sunday and Wednesday groups respectively embarked on a two part walk to explore the trackbed of the old Halesowen Railway and its environs recently, both walks being planned and capably led by Steve Adams.
The first part of this odyssey was undertaken by the Sunday walkers, commencing at the "Black Horse" pub at Illey, looping round via Lapal and Leasowes Country Park, via the vicinity of the old Abbey, crossing Illey Lane again, to eventually gain the old railway trackbed in the vicinity of the site of the former railway goods shed, constructed to service the traffic originating from the erstwhile Harry Vincent "Bluebird Toffee" factory. Crossing the trackbed to the main Halesowen to Romsley road opposite the toffee factory itself, the route then doubled back to the vicinity of the former Hunnington station, a substantial brick construction of typical Midland Railway design, now in residential use. Striking out in a south-easterly direction, and parallel to the railway trackbed leading towards Frankley, the walk soon gained the trackbed proper, and after about a quarter of a mile the first big challenge began!
At this point, the railway spanned Twiland Wood (variously known as Dowery Dell) on a rather spindly steel viaduct 100 feet above the valley below. This viaduct was demolished in 1965, and so we were left with the necessity of scrambling down the high embankment on the northwest side in order to follow the route of the railway. This was, to put it mildly, fairly exciting, and punctuated with some thrills and spills! On gaining the valley floor, a climb which steepened to an almost sheer gradient beckoned, in order to regain the original trackbed on the Frankley side....which the doughty Sunday walkers, with a suitable array of expletives, took in their proverbial stride! Thereafter the trackbed route was fairly "level pegging" for another quarter-mile or so, then descending to an underbridge near to a fairly recently installed water plant, veering then under the embankment to head northeast to near the Waseley-Frankley road, then back north and northwest back across fields, to some welcome refreshment at the "Black Horse" starting point.
Part two of this interesting walk was the province of the Wednesday walkers, once again commencing at the "Black Horse". This time the walk initially struck out in the Woodgate Valley direction, skirting once again the Lapal area, but this time looping round to the southeast via a long slog of a climb up to Frankley Beeches. After the subsequent descent, the Halesowen Railway trackbed was gained near the point where it was severed by the M5 construction in 1965. The walk then headed in the opposite direction from the one followed by the Sunday walkers, in a northwesterly direction, in some heavy undergrowth past the site of Frankley Sidings, originally intended to handle freight workings in connection with the construction of the nearby Bartley Green reservoir.
Soon (too soon?!) the route once more arrived at the precipitous southeastern end of the chasm across Dowery Dell, the end to which the Sunday group had climbed up to previously. Now the drill was to scramble down this side, the hundred feet or so to the foot of the embankment at the valley bottom, grasping wherever possible branches and undergrowth to ensure some sort of stability, and prevent an unscheduled nose-dive! Of course, the next stage was the concomitant climb back up the other side, the more resilient members of the group attacking this fearsome section with a will, assisted in no small measure by leader Steve (who had ascended first) throwing down some "bungees" secured to trees, as a reward to those who had succeeded in clambering three-quarters of the way up!
Those members of the group who had had their fill of excitement for one day had been provided with a more civilised route from the base of the embankment, and were to meet with the "railway routers" about halfway back on the section back to Hunnington station. From there, the route was the reverse of the Sunday walk back as far as Illey Lane, then a bit of "road work" up the lane, a slight deviation on the opposite side of the lane to minimise the road walking, and back, once again to the "Black Horse".
An excellent walk organized by John for the Sunday walkers on Sunday 24th March to the National Arboretum at Alrewas.
John couldn't provide his customary sewage plant, but improvised with the local quarry.
Another excellent walk , the first coach trip this year
Weather, coach and route all thanks to Beryl and Geoff
Brampton Bryan to Knighton Walk
The coach offloaded our happy band of walkers opposite Brampton Bryan Castle and Village, (which incidentally was damaged in the civil war after a siege by the Royalists). The castle is also famous for the extensive manicured yew trees which, we found out from our original walk, took 2 men a full month every year to trim!
We had however to get going, once through the Harley Estate we had a very long slow tiring slog up the side of a hill to Heathy Park. Our efforts were rewarded with a coffee stop affording spectacular scenery as we sat amongst bilberry bushes. The trail then continued down through Penwardine Wood.
We then had to tackle an overgrown bridal path which soon became very, very muddy (see photo) also this path served as a drainage channel as well as a way for long legged horses, so it was not easy for us to trudge through! We progressed, mud splattered, over the top through Hill House Farm and then marched along the appropriately named Long Wood for a lunch break. Climbing again after lunch we came to the Space Centre Observatory at the high point of the walk. It was a bit too early for star gazing so we pressed onwards. We eventually joined Offas Dyke Path whose undulations we then followed walking down alongside the famous ditch into the town of Knighton. Suitable Pubs and Teashops were quickly located to suit everyone’s taste and we all enjoyed the reward of liquid refreshment at the end of a tiring but perfect day!
August 7th was a date of much expectation, for everyone was agog at the prospect of tackling Pen-y-fan in the Brecon Beacons, on one of our regular coach trip "spectaculars", this time organised and plotted by Alan, Patrick, and Bob.
Weather, of course, was a crucial issue, and in time-honoured fashion, the weather gods smiled on us, and it turned out to be just right....not too hot, not too cold, moderate wind, good visibility, and, most importantly, not wet!
The trip was undertaken in two small coaches rather than one large one....no complaints....plenty of room for everyone plus their rambling impedimenta....and it proved to be around a two hour journey, the coaches having no small difficulty in inserting themselves into the overpopulated car park at the start of our climb. Obviously there were many intrepid would-be climbers with the same idea as ourselves!
After due preparation and briefing by our leaders, the climb began in a fairly innocuous fashion. It soon became clear, however, that as the path steepened, the gradient would be quite unrelenting, and muscles and lungs were soon "in extremis"! The views unfolding, however, were becoming more and more spectacular, and when a "coffee stop" was called just below the Corn Du peak, they were very rewarding indeed. Then onward, on the final scramble to the top of Corn Du and more superb views, with the final trek across the joining ridge to Pen-y-fan evident. Following the mandatory photo call on Corn Du, a purposeful attack on the peak of Pen-y-fan itself was made....with another glorious vista and more triumphant photos on attaining our goal!
A circuitous loop, taking in more breath-taking views to the east, then ensued, during which a well-earned lunch break was taken. Then onwards, looping back down on the south-eastern side of Pen-y-fan and Corn Du on an exciting and little-used track, to arrive once again on the main path downwards just beneath Corn Du. A deviation was then made to the west, to provide some variety on the rest of the descent.
Some way along this new route, it became apparent that we had suffered some attrition in our numbers, with both Mick K. and Bill being on the "missing" list. Where could they be? Had they been kidnapped, to be held for ransom? Had they been abducted by aliens? Had they become victims of spontaneous combustion? Had they slipped into a time warp? Conjecture and theory abounded! Eventually it was decided that they had either ignored or second-guessed our leaders, and taken the regular path back down to the car park. And they really missed a treat! The alternative undulating route that our leaders had plotted was, again, wonderfully spectacular, with interest maintained right to the final descent to the main road: turning east, a short trek along a track parallel to this road soon took us back to the main car park from which we had started all those hours ago. And yes, Mick and Bill were there, beaming, to greet us!
A tired but exhilarated band of ramblers then set out on the long run home, punctuated with a much appreciated stop-off at suitable hostelry! Then the final leg of M50 and M5 back to Halesowen, and no doubt some sound slumbers that evening!
Many thanks to Beryl, who organised the transport, and Alan, Patrick and Bob, who conceived, recce'd and organised the walk to everyone's satisfaction.
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