The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group
The big trip of May was our Bank Holiday trip to Leominster taking in the glorious rolling scenery of the Marches. We were graced with good weather, but nothing compared to the blazing sunshine we experienced at Ightham Mote a week later. Cressida led a superb walk through the Wealds of Kent: through picturesque villages, across fields, up hills and along ridges. It had all the ingredients of a perfect day out, including an excellent pub and tea shop - the only exception was the brief loss of half the party at a tricky path junction (thank goodness for mobile phones!).
A gorgeous, sunny Sunday saw 8 of us meet in the car park of Ightham Mote for our 7 ½ mile walk in the wealds of Kent. The walk started with us passing by the house itself. Ightham Mote is a fabulous timber-framed, 14th century, moated manor house. We didn’t have time to take in the splendours of the house, but headed out across the fields instead. Passing through meadows and idyllic villages, we stumbled upon an excellent pub just in time for a quick snifter just before lunch. Admittedly the prices were less than idyllic, but this was Kent! After refreshment we headed down the road and found the perfect picnic spot, complete with shady benches. The return route was high up along the ridge with spectacular views of the valley and the villages we’d just passed through. And we were back in time for tea. A fabulous day out.
Offa’s Dyke alternative walk:
On the Sunday of the Leominster weekend, Carol and Sue formed a break-away party offering an alternative, lower level, lower mileage option for the birdwatchers/flower appreciating members of the group – George was the only taker!, brave enough to be guinea pig, for this, Carol’s debut as walks leader! This elite group successfully circumnavigated the beautiful Herefordshire village of Kington, admired Offa’s Dyke from below, gasped at the breathtaking white water rapids of the local stream and ascended the Hergest Ridge, before a severe shower broke out causing the party to turn downwards just prior to conquering the summit! The intrepid group fought their way through the tropical Rhododendrons and Azaleas of the Hergest gardens before descending back to Kington for their well-earned CYHA sandwiches!
Carol & Sue
Cider with Susie
On the Bank holiday Monday, Sue and I forewent the walk and train trips on offer, in preference for the lure of the ‘Big Apple’. The opportunity to try the local Herefordshire fare was a ‘must’. Blossom time in the village of Putley had been recommended by Carol’s cousin, a resident of Putley. On arrival at the Village Hall we picked up a leaflet for a short walk through the orchards to a very quaint church, taking in a converted mill house en route. We returned to the Village Hall for 12 noon for the main event – Cider and Perry tasting! - £1.50 for 6 measures of various prize-winning ciders, perry, cordials and apple juices. As Sue was driving, I did the honourable thing and used up her excess tokens! We then enjoyed a slap-up Village Hall lunch – a choice of filled bread rolls, plus a selection of 5 homemade salads – our CYHA sarnies being saved for the journey home, of course! All in all, a very typical Herefordshire day out was enjoyed! (See www.bigapple.org.uk for more info).
Carol & Sue
We all arrived at Leominster YHA after either a very good journey or an awful one, having been stuck on the M25 for yonks……cups of tea and a good night’s sleep ensured we were all well recovered by the following morning.
The hostel was lovely with comfy beds and lots of kitchen space for Dave P’s breakfast extravaganza’s which were hoovered up with gusto by our greedy selves before we headed off into the rolling Herefordshire countryside for a super bank holiday weekend of walks.
The first day was spent walking around Leominster in rolling farmland and ended up in a lovely country pub where we refreshed ourselves and re-fuelled on Yeli’s rather tasty pork scratchings. The weather was warm and more than a few of us nodded off as we rested and had our lunch by a brook, having crossed a rather rickety old bridge. While the others continued up the hill for some lovely views, a few of us (me included) peeled off and headed into Leominster. The fair was on in town and, resisting the urge to lob a ping pong ball into a jar and win a cuddly toy, we watched the town’s ‘yoof’ as they screamed and turned green in the whirling waltzers and other scary fling-you-about rides which were set up in the centre. In the evening, Yeli and Tom cooked an amazing stir fry – no mean feat, especially considering they were up with the lark that morning doing all the prep. It was truly delicious.
The second day we ventured away from Leominster and towards the Welsh border. We parked in a variety of car parks and after an initial ‘where is everyone?’ moment, re-grouped and trooped off in search of Hergest Ridge and Offa’s Dyke. The weather was perfect for walking and the views from the ridge to the surrounding rolling countryside were marvellous as we ate our lunch and chomped on Yelis very tasty marzipan (thanks Yeli). Several miles further on a few of us decided to brave the slippery slopes and descend sharply to the pub while others carried onto the tea-shop. The pub was worth the struggle there and back and when we eventually got back up onto the ridge there was plenty of ‘oo-ing and ah-ing’ over the baby horses we encountered en route to the tea shop where we met up with the others. Several slabs of cake and pots of tea later we wobbled back to the cars and back to the hostel where Sue and Carol were rustling up a gorgeous chicken curry – followed by home made apple pie and custard. Yum, yum!! A great evening in the pub ensued and rounded off a thoroughly good day, one of the highlights of which - for me at least - had to be Tom chatting to the frogs we saw on the way back from the pub – ribbit, boing, weeeeee!
On the Monday we all awoke to another great day – some steamed off to the Severn Valley Railway while the rest of us headed out to the Bulmer apple orchards for a final yomp in the Herefordshire hills. The walk was great, thanks to Dave J and Jim for doing the map-reading, and getting us to the pub in good time for one last drink before we all said our goodbyes at the pub and headed off home. Thanks to Dave J for organising a great bank hol break, and to all those who cooked the breakfasts, made the delicious sarnies and created such wonderful suppers.
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