Pattingham Walk (January 2019)

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  We welcomed three newcomers to our Sunday group on the 27th of January, with some suitably wild and windy weather. So warm greetings to Linda, Dave and Vicky to our redoubtable band of trekkers, all of whom enjoyed our circular ramble in the environs of Pattingham, notwithstanding the icy northern blast that assailed us throughout!

Also covering herself with glory was Kathryn, one of our newest recruits to walk leadership, who piloted us unerringly through the wind-blasted landscape without a hitch, and without a prior recce of the route, to boot! A talent for the future, to be sure!

The walk itself was on a gently rising inclination from Pattingham, and was a pleasant mixture of country lanes, field edges, and field and woodland paths....wonder of wonders, relatively devoid of mud!....which at one point skirted the remains of an old RAF wartime airfield.  

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At the higher elevations, towards the middle part of the walk, conditions could be described as extremely bracing! Refuge then had to be taken from the elements for our lunch stop, and if the general windy turmoil all around could be ignored, it was possible to enjoy the view! The last third of the walk gave a wonderful westwards vista looking towards the Wrekin and Shropshire. Had the weather conditions been more benign, a spot of sunbathing might not have been out of order.  "Our prowess under arduous conditions was underlined by the fact that on part of the route, we were rubbing shoulders with competitors in a sponsored "Tough Guy Challenge" event!....a mere bagatelle for seasoned Halesowen Ramblers! ".

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable "wind in the hair" experience for us all, with caution due on the return drive home because of the continuing hazard of fallen trees (a recently fallen one of which seriously disrupted the planned outward travel route of a number of us), and copious amounts of surface water on the roads. 

Another demonstration of the "can do" mindset of our indefatigable Sunday walking group!

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Did anyone see where Dave and John went?

2019 EVENTS

Group Holidays

St Bees Group Holiday September 2019

Llandudno  April 1st -  5th 2019

Eastbourne  September 9th - 13th 2019


Coach Trips

St Kenelms Coach Trip 2018

Red Marley, (daffodil walk) March 27th 

Cotswolds May 8th

Knighton, Welsh Border  June 5th

Clifton/Bristol July 10th

Brecon Way August 7th


Tuesday Walks

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Meet at Bassnage Road at 9.30

These walks are scheduled for the first Tuesday in the Month and are designed for more gentle walks to enable walkers of all abilities to participate.

Walks are generally 3-4 miles


Wednesday Walks

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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

Sunday Walks

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Meet at Wall Well at 9.30 

or

High Street Car Park at 9.00am 

 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 

Social Events

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Ten Pin Bowling  February 19th

Map Reading  February 26th

1970's Evening  April 6th

Skittles Evening  ???

Christmas Meal December ???

Railway Walks (February/March 2019)

Viaduct at Dowery Dell 1939

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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.

Hunnington, Bluebird Toffee factory

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 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!  

Lunch on top of the Viaduct

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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.

Emerging under the M5

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 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.  

Viaduct from below

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 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! 

Group descending into Dowery Dell valley

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  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".