Category Archives: The Newsletter

This is the new venue where members and potential members of the Ipswich Outdoor Group can read about recent events, share news that is relevant to group interests but not appropriate for group emails, write about group initiatives – anything from charity fund-raising to activism aimed at keeping our footpaths open – present opinion editorials on issues close to their hearts, post classified ads, cartoons, pictures or anything else that occurs. Unlike the old Newsletter, it will be updated as and when new material comes to hand and, as this is a work in progress, it will be formatted as we go along and get an idea of what is required. Feel free to offer suggestions if any occur to you.

For the moment, content is divided into three categories: reports of past doings; announcements about upcoming events or issues of note, whether IOG instigated or particularly related to IOG interests; and classifieds, where you can advertise items for sale, for rent, or wanted. Follow the links to the right to filter.

Please send all contributions to Marie-Louise Karttunen for prompt posting.

Gerry’s Colchester to Chappel Walk – Sunday 18th February

Words and map contributed by Gerry; pic by Simon.

Nineteen IOG members including Paula, on her first walk with the group, set off from Colchester Railway station at around 10.45 on a route of approximately nine miles. The weather was remarkably warm and sunny for the time of year.

We walked along through Cymbeline Meadows, following the footpath to Bakers Lane where we descended to take the tunnel under the A12. We continued around, and then across, the golf course to arrive on the outskirts of West Bergholt. Cooks Hall Farm followed and then we joined the Essex Way for three miles of strolling through gently undulating meadows along the River Colne.

Our lunch break was passed at The Shoulder of Mutton pub on Ford St in Aldham where there were plenty of picnic tables in the garden for us to eat our packed lunches in the glorious sunshine [not many publicans will countenance walkers eating picnic lunches on their premises, rather decent of them – Ed.]. We set off again past Aldham Garden Centre following the Essex Way along the Colne through more meadows and fields. Here there were beautiful displays of snowdrops to enjoy and some weird riverside plants which (unusually) even Dave Bird couldn’t identify.

The village of Chappel was approached from high fields overlooking the impressive viaduct from where we continued on down to the village to end the walk at the Swan Inn.

There were drinks and meals available in the pub although some continued on up to the station café for coffee and cake before catching the train back to Colchester.

Rachael’s 51-mile cycle ride – Saturday 17th

Words contributed by Torben; pics by Rachael and Torben

Eight of us met in the sunny reaches of North Ipswich for an IOG cycling adventure on Saturday. Some fine racing and touring steeds were on show although a few of the riders were concerned that the pace would do more than blow out the winter cobwebs.  After reassurance from Rachael we headed out to the north and immediately lost one rider out in front (Julian) and one out the back (Paul Dickerson)!

In beautiful sunshine and light winds and on relatively dry roads we purred along via Cretingham, Earl Soham and Saxtead and were in Framlingham sitting outside a cafe slurping coffee and enjoying pastries in no time.

Well, actually, seven of us were.  In a modern day hare and tortoise fable Paul had stuck with it and made the cafe just behind us, congratulating himself with a large sausage roll and a bakewell tart. Meanwhile, the hare (Julian) had ridden so fast that he had become disorientated and found himself back at his car in North Ipswich.  What to do?  Well this pragmatic hare jumped in his car and joined us in Fram to much hilarity and we shared the fable with the staff and any customer who would care to listen!  We understand the ever-adaptable Julian was last seen touring antique shops in the locality.

With Paul deciding he would make a more leisurely return to Ipswich, Stage 2 of our circuit took us out between Fram College and the castle and photo opportunities were taken at several locations including action shots outside the Sweffling White Horse.The remaining 75% of the group was reduced to 50% as Steve (I know everyone in Suffolk) Seinet-Martin met one of his mates working on a house and he and Torben unwisely stopped to chat. After a slight delay the group reassembled in Farnham looking forward to a second stop at the Blaxhall Ship.  On the way we met another of Steve’s mates and fellow IOGer, Geoff Redgrave, out for a Saturday cycle with his daughter.

The friendly welcome at the Blaxhall Ship had sailed and the landlord can only be described as rather flustered at the sight of six lycra-clad cyclists who had the audacity to order drinks and sandwiches.  Steve decided he would get a better reception at the Station Cafe in Campsea Ashe but the remaining five braved a table in the beer garden awaiting the next move from the aforementioned landlord.  Ian enjoyed his frothy pint but was not brave enough to ask for a flake in it!

After chilling out (yeah, we got cold) over a quick lunch we returned to the warmth of the pub to find that the landlord was having problems with his card machine; he shared a tale of woe featuring £400 worth of transaction failures, which may have accounted for earlier events.  As a result Torben walked away with a free lunch and a promise to wire the payment the following day!

We picked up a very relaxed Steve in Campsea Ashe and rattled along through Pettistree, Bredfield, Great Bealings and Rushmere with further moving pictures taken for the IOG roller banner before returning to North Ipswich after a very enjoyable 51 miles of scenic cycling in the sun.

Glen’s Gosfield Gallivant – Sunday 11th February

Pics contributed by Simon; map by Cristina; words by Glen

Halstead derives from old English words “heald” and “stede”, respectively meaning a sloping hillside and a place of shelter.

And thus it was that 22 walkers sloped off from the middle of this Essex town, passing almshouses opposite the River Colne and Halstead’s historic Townsford Mill, a relic of bygone silk weaving heyday years. There wasn’t too much of a place of shelter thereafter as wended our way out into undulating countryside but the breeze was offset by general brightness, sunshine and group bonhomie as the prospects of spring not being far way were later evidenced by daffodils in bloom to accompany oft-spied snowdrops.

The low-key Gosfield Pits Nature Reserve (the locals don’t like advertising it) with its hollows and ponds served  as a good snackstop, and we were impressed by the extent  of Gosford Lake, though less so by its billing as a “resort”. Gosfield’s Kings Head pub served a useful purpose for a short stop even if service wasn’t great, and those who sat outside found themselves in a pleasant sun-trap like setting.

Skirting next the site of the former Gosfield Aerodrome, we passed through the Forestry Commission’s Broak’s Wood on our way back towards Halstead, pausing to take in some panoramic views of the attractive Colne Valley. Half the group went on to the Bull Inn afterwards, soon after which the onset of a sharp snow/ sleet shower saluted our fortuitous sense of timing.

(The Halstead Hike walk of March 4th will cover different rural territory to the east and north of the town.)

Anne-Marie Fyfe Poetry Evening – Thursday 22nd February

Announcement submitted by Florence; image from

Come to The Voyage Out at 7pm on Thursday, 22nd February 2018 at Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club, Ferry Road, Felixstowe IP11 9RZ    £6 (£5 for Suffolk Poetry Society members)

Anne-Marie Fyfe presents an evening on writers and the sea, from great novelists, travel-writers and poets of the past, to local poets who have taken part in her workshops. Having grown up by the sea,  Anne-Marie Fyfe’s five collections of poetry and her new project combining prose and poetry all feature the recurring presence of the sea.   With sea-music by Cahal Dallat (accordion/mandolin/flute).

To book/pay online:

West Mersey Hash Harriers’ Run, Ardleigh – Saturday 10th February

Story and pics contributed by Rachael

Three of us – me, Miriam and Pete – headed to the Wooden Fenders pub in Ardleigh on Saturday to take part in the weekly hash run with the West Mersea Hash Harriers. About 15 runners turned out to take part. It was a cold morning but we soon warmed up as we headed off, running across the fields.

The hash run followed a sawdust trail set out by “the Hare” with various symbols along the way to guide the runners as to which way to go. The leading runners would spot the markers first and shout out, “On-On”, to indicate everyone should follow. Occasionally there would be a choice of direction so different runners would head off along the different alternatives as one or more routes might turn into a dead end, marked with lines of sawdust. Here we would have to return to the choice marker and continue on the correct route.

At various points along the way there was a two-spot marker. At this point the front runners would have to run back to the back person. This keeps the group together, the faster front runners have to do extra and the back runners are able to catch up, which means runners of all abilities can take part.

The sawdust markers we had to follow

There were also occasional re-grouping points where all the runners had a quick break to allow for the slower ones to catch up. The terrain covered was quite mixed, though on the whole it was generally easy running on tracks and good footpaths across fields and through woodland. But there were a couple of really muddy fields where our shoes became twice as big and heavy, and the running was really tough.

The run took us just over an hour to cover about 5.5 miles. This was my first hash run and I really enjoyed it. It makes the running a bit more fun as there are lots of things to look out for on the way and it is great that people of various running speed can take part.

Look out for another opportunity to join in with one soon!

Jacqui’s Felixstowe walk – Sunday 4th February

Report contributed by Jacqui; hotel photo provided to Tripadvisor by management; walk pics to follow

‘Welcome to Felixstowe’ the sign said, which I am sure some of the people who travelled down the A14 were glad to see after an unexpected delay to their journey to Felixstowe caused by an abnormal load being escorted by the police. A cold and breezy day awaited the 25 walkers who joined me for today’s six-mile walk, including our two youngest members, Bruce and Fred.

We set off from the car park adjacent to the town’s golf course and around the northern fringe of the Felixstowe heading across fields, quiet lanes and tracks, areas known as Gulphur, Candlet and Kingsfleet, with good views of the winter landscape – a patchwork of brown and green fields. This brought us back to within sight of the River Deben and Felixstowe Ferry, and from there it was a short but blustery walk by the sea back to the car park.

After returning to our cars it was a brief journey to the welcome warmth of the Brook Hotel where 11 of us enjoyed a delicious roast dinner. A lovely end to a good afternoon enjoyed by all I hope.

Upcoming events of interest to IOGers

John Wright – a new IOG member – wants to draw everyone’s attention to the following events. Both sound likely to attract interest!

Firstly, the Midnight Walk for St. Elizabeth Hospice in May. Walkers can sign up for the 6 or 10 mile walk via the hospice website.

Secondly, in August there is a 2nd cycling tour of Germany, again to raise funds for the hospice.

Details here: (scroll down to bottom to express an interest. Further details in Campaigns from the menu at top right).

It’s about 250 miles over 5 days beginning 21st August. All are welcome. No prior experience needed. (Last year I started training from scratch in June and fairly easily managed 50+ miles per day on the tour in August). We can help with the training and fundraising aspects. Accommodation, travel, insurance and food all included.

It would be lovely if anyone wants to join us!

Thank you.