Category Archives: Past Doings

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.

Sarah’s Great Finborough Walk – Saturday 9th November

Text and map contributed by Sarah, pics by Raj.

Sixteen people set out on the first six miles of this walk from Great Finborough on a crisp but sunny morning. We headed past the church with its magnificent spire, which we could see from several points during the day. After passing through the Golf course, we followed the Rattlesden river before heading towards Onehouse. We had a brief stop in Northfield Wood before heading towards Onehouse Church, with its round tower. After a brief photo stop here, we headed back towards Great Finborough for our lunch and pub stop. In the pub, we meet a large Great Dane called Trigger.

A few people left us during the lunch period, leaving eleven walkers for the afternoon’s four-mile loop. This loop took us south through farm land and fields. We spotted a couple of deer during this part of the walk as well as other wildlife. When we eventually returned to Great Finborough, a few of us retired to the pub for another quick drink before heading home.


 

Glen’s Commons Combination around Danbury – Sunday 3rd November

Story and pictures contributed by Christina.

Twelve of us met Glen at a car park in Danbury on a glorious autumn day. The sun was shining, two buzzards were circling nearby, and after the persistent and gusty winds and rain of the previous day it was a delight to explore this particular part of Essex near Chelmsford.

The route took us up and down the numerous inclines of Danbury Country Park with its three ornamental lakes where this photograph of colourful autumn trees and their reflections in the utterly tranquil water was taken.

We also encountered a surprisingly spacious and well preserved ice house dating from the 18th century with its ice chamber and dome made of red brick which is situated on the grounds of Danbury Palace.

The fact that Glen’s autumn amble followed paths across three commons would normally suggest many open land spaces. However, these were actually woodland areas abounding with ups-and-downs in what, by Essex standards, is a hilly area. Our group traversed parts of Danbury, Lingwood and Woodham Walter Commons. We then ventured briefly into Backwarden Nature reserve where in August and September lovely heathers attract walkers, and into the depths of Blake’s Wood with its ancient ferns the colours of which matched the autumn leaves.

Having walked around six miles or so, we stopped for lunch on a recreation ground and some of us went for a drink in the nearby Gardeners Arms Pub in Little Baddow.

This attractive walk of around 10 miles was skilfully planned by the IOG’s Mastermind of Multiple Meanders. It successfully aimed to please an audience of nature enthusiasts happy to drive a bit further, keen to explore the less known parts of East Anglia. Thank you Glen!

Mike E. was moved to add:

Glen’s walk was a delight on lovely autumnal day as we wandered through woods and common land around Danbury. It tested our fitness as the wooded areas all seemed to be on big hills which, combined with some slippery conditions underfoot, added to the ‘hardship’. Walking around the lakes was particularly refreshing as the trees were bathed in sunshine and putting on a splendid display of seasonal colour.

After the walk a few thirsty souls ended up in the Bell pub in Danbury. Here Simon recalled a dream he had had the previous night where Christina was apparently battling zombies and knocking them for six with her bare hands [that’s our Christina! – ed.].

It just goes to show what a multi-talented and varied group we are.

Thanks Glen for a great walk.

Glen’s Woodbridge Wheedle Walk – Sunday 27th October

Pictures contributed by Christina & M-L; story by M-L.

Glen’s Woodbridge Wheedle (the title referring to the last-minute nature of the walk, and Glen’s hope that it would be attended) was, in fact, very well-attended by people looking forward to soaking up some mid-autumn sun. We weren’t disappointed – it was a lovely day.

Walkers gathered at Melton car park and set off along the river for Woodbridge – with the tide at full height and the mudflats mostly covered, for a change. Past the tide mill and up into Elmshurst Park for a sunny lunch break and then we went into town, strolling along the Thoroughfare and up the hill – charming an Australian visitor with a taste of one of Suffolk’s prettier towns.

From there, Glen guided us through woodland and heath, back down towards the Deben, with some spectacular views along the way. The mushrooms were prolific, but, sadly, nothing that the mushroom foragers amongst us trusted; I wondered about those in the pic here – I remember Finnish friends picking something similar – but anything about which there is even the faintest shadow of doubt should be left strictly alone.

We finished the walk in customary style with refreshments at the Wilford Bridge pub and then some of us went on to visit Vicky and Justin’s new alpacas at their beautiful place in Martlesham. These were almost impossibly cute and ‘stuffed-toyish’, especial the baby of the little herd who politely put up with being petted, cuddled and bottle fed by the visitors. There will be another opportunity to meet these lovely animals after Christina’s planned Martlesham stroll in the beginning of January.

Thanks, Glen, for another well-planned and thoroughly enjoyable day out.


 

Raj’s Ramsholt Walk – Saturday 19th October

Story and pics contributed by Raj.

Route Map

A fairly leisurely start at 10.30AM with 15 IOG members attending and three guests Chris, Sharon and Kelli with her dog Bonnie. The weather forecast was very favourable for a change and after all the rain we’ve had over the past couple of weeks the sunshine was most welcome. We headed out of the car park and past the Ramsholt Arms towards the River Deben and then followed the path north to along the riverbank.

The view of the river with sailing boats moored up is a delight whatever the weather. We made a short stop at the 2.4 miles mark before heading inland away from the Deben over fields and down byways to Sutton. A carriage pulled by two horses went past near Sutton Hall before we reached The Plough which has recently reopened. The pub made a welcome comfort stop before we proceeded along the sandy path to Shottisham and the Sorrel Horse where we had lunch sitting outside in the sunshine .A carriage pulled by two horses went past near Sutton Hall before we reached The Plough which has recently reopened. The pub made a welcome comfort stop before we proceeded along the sandy path to Shottisham and the Sorrel Horse where we had lunch sitting outside in the sunshine.

With 6.6 miles completed we headed off back towards Ramsholt. It is worth remembering that some of the paths that are marked on OS maps may not actually be where they are supposed to be. They may have been ploughed over if they are not often used. We did encounter some lamas and pigs as a result of footpaths being diverted which made up for the extra distance we had to walk.

We arrived back at Ramsholt were a few of our group departed whilst the rest stopped for a well-earned drink.


 

Glens’s Chelsworth Charmer – Sunday 13th October

Story contributed by Glen; pics by Christina.

Gloomy skies and insistent rain forecasts failed to deter 22 hardy souls from turning out at Monks Eleigh for the start of a Brett Valley stroll, including two ladies making their IOG walk debuts – welcome to Sofia and Heather. It was pleasing that rain held off for a couple of hours.

Walking is renowned for improving one’s mental health but several people commented on the loopiness of the route as we got very familiar with hidden paths as we crisscrossed around Monks Eleigh and Chelsworth. By the time we reached Bildeston some participants had gone utterly nutty with enthusiastic gathering of fallen walnuts beneath our feet. It’s not just members who come out of their shells on our rambles!

Prior to this, in the gently undulating Chelsworth hinterland we safely negotiated our passage past a flock of sheep and bramble-arched path and through a horse grazing field surrounded by an electric fence. The buzz of conversation was undeterred.

We said goodbye to 7 people partaking in the 5.5 mile option before a near-perfectly timed lunch stop in the excellent covered-seating  facility within Chelsworth Woodland while the heaviest spell of rain fell. A few people walked (perhaps strutted would be a more apt alternative!) to the Peacock pub drink option instead but managed to bring back 3 extra human participants and two canines for the second instalment of the overall circa 11 miles full walk.

Fortunately the weather gods decided to smile upon the second part of the stroll and rain disappeared, though it did leave us with a mud legacy from a wander down the hill away from Bildeston’s curiously towered hilltop church.

A dignified tea shop stop at the end of the day at Bridge Farm Barns was notable for impressive cake slices. The member who proudly showed us a photo of her own stunning home-made, three-tiered Victoria Sponge was warmly encouraged on a future walk to substitute the image with the real thing!


 

Bob M.’s Deben Doddle – Saturday 5th October

Text contributed by Bob M.; pics by Francis.

This walk was around 15.5 miles starting from the Ferry Boat Inn car park, Felixstowe Ferry, at 9.30 for 9.45 departure. From the Ferry Boat Inn the route followed the river, winding inland at Kingsleet, through farmland at Falkenham and Kirton, and on to Newbourne for lunch. It returned via Hemley and Kirton Creek and along the Deben estuary to Felixstowe Ferry.

Eleven of us enjoyed surprisingly pleasant weather, good enough for some basking Debenside on the way back to the Ferry Boat Inn. Some members even staged a timed obstacle course race at our lunchtime break in Newbourne. No prizes for guessing the winner (obviously Rachel).

 

As a virgin leader I was just relieved that everyone returned without incident although I still cannot understand how we were 30 minutes behind schedule on the outward leg and nearly an hour ahead on the homeward stretch. Perhaps it was the thought of the beer waiting at the FBI.


 

Stour Valley Walk 4 of 6: Nayland/Bures – Sunday 22nd September

Pics and map contributed by Andy.

Andy advertised this favourite walk of his as just over 12 miles of easy walking, in and overlooking the Stour Valley. The planned pace was about 4 km per hour. Walkers met at 9:45 am for 10 am start just round the corner from the Nayland Anchor Inn.

From Nayland the route headed through North Essex along the top of the valley to Bures for lunch (and a beer at the 8 Bells over the road if desired), before heading back to Nayland through south Suffolk overlooking the valley, and stopping in at the Nayland Anchor at the end, overlooking the river.


 

Ian’s Gentle Cake and Coffee Cycle- Saturday 21st September

Text and pics contributed by Christina; map by Ian.

On Saturday 21st, 6 of us got our bikes, helmets and cycle gear out and joined Ian on a social ride. It took us through Bucklesham, Foxhall and Newbourne, where we stopped at a delightful café and had – as advertised by Ian – delicious scones, cakes and cups of coffee or tea. We were most comfortably seated on cushions in an open barn watching chickens picking crumbs nearby, as well as a buzzard which was circling over the neighbouring field. Ian said he was convinced it was a golden eagle; he then had another vision of this splendid predator, elusive in these parts of Britain, when we stopped at Freston Boot. Perhaps a trip to Specsavers?

We then proceeded to Kirton and Fakenham where a lush green and gently undulating landscape rather unexpectedly came into view, followed by the River Deben and Bawdsy Manor and the open sea in the far distance. En route our group spied a couple of peregrine falcons in close proximity. The birds sported chains and were sitting on wooden posts in somebody’s front garden, a most unusual sight.

From there we rode along the sea front to Languard Viewpoint where we stopped for lunch whilst waiting for the hourly habour ferry to take us across to Shotley Peninsular. I watched the small yellow and white ferry boat approaching our part of the beach, thinking to myself it was not really suited to take our group and 6 bikes as well as another group. However, I was mistaken; we all managed to get on board and were able to sit at the front and had a most enjoyable journey of about 30 minutes to Shotley Gate via Harwich.

Immediately past the Oyster Reach Pub we had Freston hill to tackle, which proved almost endless and a bit of a killer, but we all survived. We sat outside the Freston Boot Restaurant, pleased with what we had achieved and glad to be out and about in this glorious weather. We did over 40 miles in the end and at a “steady old pace” according to Bob Stoner who had cycled all the way from Felixstowe to join us at our starting point – Cliff Lane in Ipswich.

Thanks Ian for this well organised and enjoyable cycle ride.


 

Glen’s Dengie Discoverer Walk – Sunday 15th September

Text and pics contributed by Christina.

On Sunday 15th September, 9 of us made the 1 hour and 20 minutes trek to Burnham-on-Crouch to join Glen on a leg stretch of about 11 miles. It felt warm and the sun was shining, and it was so lovely to be by the water. That day we explored the Essex backwaters of the Dengie Peninsula. The walk started with a stroll through the centre of Burnham-on-Crouch to the riverside. A boat caught our attention because it had a fearsome shark at the front with two human limbs sticking out of its jaws (!) We then ambled alongside the Crouch Estuary opposite Wallasea Island and around a busy marina to Creeksea.

Glen then led us inland through farmland and open countryside towards Ostend and on to Southminster where we enjoyed a drink in the garden of the Queens Head pub. En route we spied a private railway at Mangapps Farm where a railway enthusiast farmer had built a short length of line over his land. A Glen walk to be remembered, it offered great views onto the river and creek, and I enjoyed the good company.


 

Miriam’s Bicycle Adventure! – Saturday 31st August

Setting off from Ipswich at 9.30am and cycling to Shotley to catch the 11.00am ferry – loads of time to spare, I can hear you say. We thought so too!

It wasn’t until we encountered a sign suggesting Ipswich was only 4.25 miles behind us and Shotley was still something like 5.5 miles away, and we’d spent 70 minutes getting there, did it become apparent that we weren’t likely to make it!

However, being late for the ferry did have its rewards. Time enough for refreshment in the establishment opposite, and a rather protracted tour of the nether regions of Ipswich. We certainly seemed to experience parts of the town I imagine are rarely enjoyed on a cycling trip to Shotley!

Catching the noon ferry still left us plenty of time to relax in the sunshine beside Miriam’s beach hut. The tide was in, the sea pounding against the concrete defences, but this did nothing to deter Rachael and Lynn from braving the choppy waters for a half mile swim, or more. Others (Ian, Miriam, and yours truly) were shamed into joining them for their second dip. ‘It’s lovely and warm’, they fibbed, without a hint of embarrassment at such an obvious falsehood!

Francis resisted their underhand tactics until later, and Emma feigned sleep throughout!

Peters 1 and 2, and Barry, joined us for much of the afternoon. Somehow, they were awarded a slice of Rachael’s baking triumph despite avoiding the rigours of the cycling and the swimming. Some might say that Peters 1 and 2, having driven to Harwich to deliver the cake, were deserving of a portion. You can form your own opinion!

A game of boule ensued, with Miriam, Barry, Ian and the author vying for the honours. Ian didn’t seem to realise the the gentlemanly thing to do was to let our hostess take the prize, despite Barry and my superhuman efforts to do just that. He won without the slightest hint of embarrassment. Some people!

Grand day, Miriam. A hearty thanks on behalf of all your victims!