Here you will find stories and descriptions of many past events put on by the IOG: from concerts and trampolining to trips across Britain and further afield, with a solid foundation of reports of walks undertaken – usually with route maps and pictures.
Five of us arrived at the Lee Valley Youth Hostel in Cheshunt on Friday afternoon, joined by two others on Saturday. Lee Valley Hostel is split between the main building and five accommodation lodges, each of which has a self-catering kitchen on the ground floor, where Glenys cooked us a lovely meal on Friday evening. Kate, Glenys and I had an eight-bed dorm to ourselves on the first floor, with a balcony that looked over the park. Dave and Andy were in a six-bed dorm opposite, sharing with an Australian guy also called David.
On Saturday, while Dave and Glenys went off towards London on their bikes, Kate, Andy and I started a 14-mile walk by following the River Lee navigation north. It was warm, and a great day to be out exploring the Lee Valley. We stopped for lunch in the lovely yard of Nazing Church then headed back across Nazing Golf Course and skirted through the northerly part of Epping Forest. Finally we headed back to the hostel through Lee Valley Park, passing through the wetlands.
We woke on Sunday morning to a cloudy day, but thankfully without the rain that was forecast. After breakfast and checking out, we all drove to Epping Forest. Stopping by the visitors’ centre, where we picked up a leaflet for a six-mile route to Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, we started our walk through the forest. We passed by the lovely Connaught Water before stopping close to the Hunting Lodge to eat our lunch. We then followed the route back towards the visitors’ centre and to our cars in order to head home.
It was a lovely weekend away; thanks to Robin for booking us in even though he was unable to make it in the end. There are lots of water activities near by, including the Lee Valley White Water Centre that was used for the Olympics. It might be nice for the group to return to this hostel in the future, perhaps in the summer, in order to make use of some of these facilities.
Contributed by Glenys Johnson
Lee Valley was a revelation – acres of lakes with bird hides and fishing so near to London. Dave and I cycled along the towpath on Saturday, past houseboats and pubs on the waterfront and the Olympic Park to Victoria Park in Hackney. Had to cycle back fast as it was getting dark and we didn’t want to fall in.
For those brave enough to risk joints and dignity – or wanting to stay dry on a morning that promised rain – Sarah organised an hour of hectic fun at Flux Trampolining in Cardinal Park on Sunday 5th March. Predictably, there was a lot of laughter. The pictures speak for themselves.
Only six intrepid walkers met up at Cattawade car park by the river on Sunday for a walk organised by Jayne and Jen. It was raining at the start, which is discouraging, but it soon dried out for a bright if cloudy afternoon. The walk route (see the OS app. map above) went via East End and Bentley Wood to East Bergholt, returning via Flatford and along the river back to Cattawade. It was about 7/8 miles long – perhaps a little more (note the detour when we took a wrong turn!).
We stopped for a welcome tea break at Old Hall, the rambling, well-run commune in East Bergholt where Miriam lives – always a great experience – and saw the newborn lambs, the most recent born the night before. (Apologies for slightly incomplete map – my phone battery ran out; the route took us east along the river back to the car park.)
Contributed by Julian Parker; pics Sarah Hollingham
A select group defied a gloomy forecast and were rewarded by watery sun and 4 birds of prey (kestrel, marsh harrier, sparrow hawk and a red kite). Some navigational uncertainty led to a thrilling river crossing, the team pulling together in stirring fashion. With muntjac, snowdrops and primroses (not yet in flower) we all went home happy.
On 26th February, 21 IOGers and 4 well-behaved dogs joined David on a local walk, starting from his cottage in Stonham. It felt great to be outside, breathing in the fresh unpolluted mid-Suffolk air and seeing signs of spring everywhere: numerous hares on a distant field, snowdrops, crocuses, wild primroses and, most surprisingly, daffodils blossoming in sheltered spots. It was a pleasantly mud-free stroll through woodland, along grassy paths and across gently undulating fields.
Towards the end, we crossed a large open field holding hundreds of sheep and their lambs. I never had this before: the whole flock started running towards us, and soon some of us at the back were rounded up by the sheep and their offspring, all of them bleating in chorus. It certainly felt strange to be in such close proximity to such a large flock of very noisy sheep. Afterwards, everyone met in David’s big but very cosy kitchen, eating Marie-Louise’s chicken soup and a spicy veggie option, and lots of yummy cake made by Ginette.
A big thank you to our walk leaders, David and Glenys, for this most delightful walk and the great hospitality.
The Tap doesn’t hold this as often as it used to – which is a shame because it is always a lot of laughs. Perhaps we could find a back-up venue that is as much fun?
As usual, Sarah S. organised this and about a dozen met for a meal first. (I say ‘about’, but I know it was exactly 12 because I arrived after dinner and made it 13. Just saying.) Then our three IOG teams vied enthusiastically for the ‘wooden spoon’ and, despite getting valiantly close in terms of points, we were gazumped by another team of equal skill and general knowledge.
Undaunted, we will, no doubt, re-assemble at the next opportunity and do it all again.
Contributed by Sarah Sheppard; thanks to Nazmin for the pics.
Twenty of us set out on this cloudy but dry Saturday for an 8-mile walk from Shingle Street on the Suffolk Coast, led by myself (see route plotted out on OS Maps above). We headed north along the Suffolk Coast Path, seeing the wonders of the Suffolk Coast and across the water to Orford Ness. After a short stop at a World War II pillbox, which has recently been opened up for the public to take a look inside, we carried on up the coast path. Shortly before we headed inland, we came across an inquisitive flock of sheep blocking our way, although they cleared the path as we got nearer. I think they were more scared of us!
After heading inland we stopped at the Café ‘Coffee Republic’ at the Warren Hill Youth Custody Centre. Although it was odd to stop for lunch at a prison, it meant we could get into the warm for a bit and also use the facilities. Some of us ate our packed lunches on the benches outside while others had lunch in the café.
After lunch, we carried on walking towards Hollesley Bay Prison, where we spotted the first daffodils of the year in full bloom, a very pretty sight. We carried on past the prison and headed back towards Shingle Street. After crossing the bridge over the river, we followed the river path, a very tranquil spot, down towards the Martello Tower. We then came out onto the beach and walked past the back of coastguard cottages before getting back to our cars.
Thanks to everyone that came along and made it such an enjoyable day.
Twenty walkers gathered at Martlesham Church car park at 1.30 pm – a pretty good turnout considering the lowering skies and nippy wind – and Jacqui Taylor, who had organised the event, began by diverting us through the churchyard where there was a lovely early display of snow drops. This was not weather for hanging around, however, and we moved swiftly (well, fairly) on along a route that offered a surprising amount of variation in the course of its 5.8 mile length (see Glenys’ map, courtesy the OS application on her phone): woodland and a babbling brook, heath, fields and manors, breezy contact with the River Deben and a bit of close up and personal with some birdlife. Lots more too, no doubt, but the conversations were, as usual, distracting. Hungry and ready for the 2-for-1 offer on the Sunday roast half of us wound up at The Fox at Newbourne – always a warming and jolly way to end a winter walk.