Chelmsford YHA Group


The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group

November 2008

Another Year of Fab Trips & Great Walks

Another year, another AGM. It’s always nice to reflect on all the trips from the last year and remember the fabulous places we’ve been to.  Please see the back page for a summary of our recent AGM – the full minutes of the meeting are available from our Secretary, Dave J.


Essex Way, Willingale
Walking the Essex Way

A few of us have now made a start on Cressida's grand scheme to complete the Essex Way long distance path in eight sections over the next year or two. We did the first section, from Epping to Willingale, on a wonderfully sunny day which really brought out the Autumn colours.
We started by posing for photos under the plaque on Epping railway station which marks the start of the route. The first navigational challenge was to find the footbridge over the railway, and having succeeded with that, we headed out across the fields.  Despite the drone of the unseen nearby motorways, the route was surprisingly pleasant and rural.

Another walking group (larger than ours) were following the same route, and we nearly picked up a few stragglers who didn't seem to be sure which group they were with (a missed recruitment opportunity, I think!). We managed to keep ahead of the other group (by spending less time in the pubs), and had a look round Greensted log church (oldest in the world). After a pub stop in Ongar, we followed the River Roding meandering northwards, and finally climbing the hill to emerge between the two churches in Willingale (stories vary about why there are two churches next door to each other).

That's 11.6 of the 81 miles done (and Cressida even issued us with certificates so we could log our achievement).  If the remaining sections are anything like this one, we've got some very enjoyable walks to look forward to in the New Year.  And even if you weren't able to join us on this first section, it's still worth joining us on future sections, which should all be interesting walks in their own right (and there might well be an opportunity for those who missed it to catch up on the first section some other time).

Dave P

Start of the Essex Way, Epping Intrepid walkers at the start Epping station Walking the Essex Way Greensted Church

From Malt Shovel to Malt Shovel

Following our weekend at Ridgeway in September, we shared an end of walk drink in the Malt Shovel, Upper Lambourn, and James and I waved the others home to Essex, while we headed further south west and checked into the Cheddar Youth Hostel, a newly refurbished place in the centre of town, just a stone’s throw from the famous gorge.

Monday dawned overcast so we dived down Wookey Hole Cave. The cave itself is spectacular, but rather spoilt by all the commercialisation that surrounds it. Emerging from the cave into lovely sunshine we headed off for a short but steep walk up pretty Ebor Gorge.

On Tuesday we explored Cheddar Gorge itself, walking up the northern side, across the top and back down the southern side, getting some splendid views of the Gorge, and the Somerset Levels below. We could just make out Glastonbury Tor in the distance.

Leaving Cheddar on Wednesday we drove further west and spent the day on the preserved West Somerset Railway, arriving in Minehead in time for the best ever fish ‘n’ chip lunch, before returning to Cannington and our B&B in an old refurbished mill in the grounds of a 17th Century Manor House.

Thursday again dawned dull, but the sun quickly appeared as we followed the Parrett Trail from Cannington to the mud flats of Steart Point. This was a long walk of over 13 miles, but flat and easy going - it reminded me of walking along the River Crouch in Essex. And to celebrate our lovely walk, and the end of a splendid holiday we headed to the best pub in town for a meal - the Malt Shovel.

On Friday morning we packed up the car and headed homewards, but there was time for a picnic lunch and a short walk to take in the autumnal colours of Dyrham Hall, a beautiful NT estate only a couple of miles south of J18 on the M4.                                                                                           


Highlights of the Year


Many thanks to all those who took the time and effort to turn out for our AGM. By 8:45pm we had the necessary quorum (John M arrived to a grateful cheer). We filled the waiting time by passing around a get-well-soon card for Jane Townsend – usually an AGM stalwart, but sadly convalescing from an operation this year.

The meeting followed the usual format. Dave J produced last year’s minutes, which were duly approved, and we headed straight into the Chairman’s report.

Mike gave a summary of all the trips from the last year, including memorable moments such as the flooding at New Year and Carol’s encounter with an icy bog at Easter. All evidence of another super year of fun-filled activities.

Dave J gave the Secretary’s report. Membership was roughly unchanged at about 67, of which 14 members went on about half the trips and 12 went on none – they simply don’t know what they’re missing!

The last report came from Dave, our Treasurer. In the last year we’ve had 12 trips, with an average of 16 attending. The cost of our trips averages out as £25 per night, including all food and transport (but not beer). This included some 510 sausages, 220 pints of milk and a massive 20kg of cheese. Thanks to the resolution at last year’s AGM the 1000-odd tea bags we’ve used were mostly fair trade. It was remarked that the sausage count was down from previous years, but this was down to the rise in the number of compulsory YHA breakfasts (Dave only counts home-grown sausages).

The committee was re-elected unopposed, with the exception of Clive who has decided to stand down. There was a vote of thanks for Clive’s contribution over the last few years.

The number of membership enquiries is down this year, and with a drop in enquiries a drop in membership is likely in the coming year. There has been little change in committee members recently and we are keen to encourage members either to join the committee or organise events and trips. If you are interested, but feel daunted by the prospect, please remember that all members are welcome to attend committee meetings and the existing committee are always ready to advise & assist.

There was some discussion on the format of CYHA News. Whilst it was acknowledged that the newsletter is an asset, the lack of those willing to write articles is making it harder to fill each month. In the coming months we may occasionally produce an A4 newsletter, rather than the usual A3 folded format. In the meantime we are still delighted to receive your contributions, large or small, CYHA trips or just things you think the group may be interested in. It’s your club – be part of it!

Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer