14 September 2023

  • Date:                           14 September 2023
  • Walk Participants:     Lynne Burge, Sandy Arpino & Lesley Stapley
  • Distance:                     9 Miles

Day 3 Wells-next-the-Sea to Blakeney, 9 miles

Leaving the boats of Wells behind us we set off along the coastal path between the green of the land and the inevitable marsh land to our left. To get there we had to negotiate a muddy track past crumbling outbuildings which held the accoutrements of the local fishing trade. There was even a tiny ships chandlery, blink and you missed it but there were a few items for sale seen through a grubby window.

The dilapidated fishing buildings

Off along the shoreline we went, hoping to see a myriad of different seabirds but we were disappointed with the masses of seagulls and very little else. As we made progress towards Stiffkey evidence of the military use of this area became apparent. A small pillbox hid in the long grass, concrete paths appeared and disappeared, a straightened length of waterway was seen plus various roads/paths extending out into the marshlands.

The pillbox hiding in the grass

Alongside the path was a wealth of fruit- hips, haws and bushes of blackberries- were everywhere. A great place to walk if you enjoy blackberry and apple crumble! Then we came to Stiffkey Quay, the village was hiding slightly inland. It boasted the fact that Henry Williamson, who wrote Tarka the Otter, lived there during WWII.

The abundant hedgerows

The path then became a little boggy in places, but nothing that could not be by passed in a variety of ways. Around this area there were many people having parked locally and hoping to glimpse the seabirds through their binoculars. After a stop on a set of steps above Freshes Lake where we witnessed Belted Galloways grazing happily on the grass we made our way to Morston. Here there was a very welcome seating area, cafe and toilets which we availed ourselves of. Being in no rush as we were only walking 9 miles today we leisurely sat to eat our lunch and soak up the atmosphere at this National Trust site.

Boats stored at Morston Quay

Eventually we decided to soldier on for the last mile and a half to get to Blakeney. Most of the time it was along the raised sea defences and we could see the houses of the village getting closer. As we walked onto the quayside we saw benches and people sitting on them enjoying an ice cream in the warm weather. We walked past the buildings there were several plaques showing how high the water had risen in different years. Up the High Street towards our accommodation for the night we saw the delights of the village houses. All with huge pebbles on their walls and many little snickets off the road to cottages at the back of others. A charming little place. Time for a good rest before a long day tomorrow.

Wow, some floods!
Village sign

Author & Photographer: Lynne Burge

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13 September 2023

  • Date:                           13 September 2023
  • Walk Participants:     Lynne Burge, Sandy Arpino & Lesley Stapley
  • Distance:                     14+ Miles

Day 2 Brancaster to Wells-next-the Sea, 13 miles

Well, the day dawned brighter than yesterday, though that would not have been difficult. The sun was in the sky as the taxi driver picked us up to take us back to where we left off yesterday- namely Brancaster.

We walked back down the lane to the coastal path and prepared to set off. Problem. There was a sign saying path closed as there were 83 faults with the boardwalk. Ignoring this missive, as many other walkers seem to have done we set along it and yes, there were areas you had to be careful in where the wood had rotted, but it was passable. We made our way along the path at the ends of the gardens from houses in the village. They were huge gardens, but afforded no glimpse of the sea due to the vast extent of the Brancaster Marsh.

Does someone live here?

At one stage we came across an area dedicated to boats and sailing, with an activity centre alongside. We passed between the various buildings towards the end of this part of the walk. The boardwalk and ended and it became a regular path, still at the end of long gardens. Reed beds abounded along with a fair few derelict boats left in various places to decay quietly into the mud.

Rotting ship

Eventually we started to walk along a raised bank which was the sea defences. This bank took us out away from the habitable land, between Deepdale Marsh and Scolt Head Island Nature Reserve. It was initially interesting but 2-3 miles of walking along the raised pathway with either reeds or mud on either side palled after a while. A windmill gradually came into view, we knew that was the point at which we left behind this tiresome stretch, but it was one of those illusions- it never seemed to get closer. All good things must come to an end and we reached the main road and the windmill, which is a holiday home.

The Windmill
Getting low to photograph the reeds

After a pit stop in the local pub (only tea was drunk) we continued on another, but more interesting raised path. We could see more water channels here where boats would, at the right stage of the tide, sail out to sea. Except up until now we hadn’t been able to see the sea it was so far away due to the extensive marshes. Nothing daunted we came to a huge are of sand dunes. Picking our way carefully along and through them we eventually reached the beach. It was enormous! It stretched for miles in both directions, with the sea still some distance away as the tide was out. We ambled along looking at the shells that littered the sand, admiring the vastness of it all and enjoying listening to the splashing of the waves. It was a delightful time. We sat and just admired the beach.

The Dunes

We made our way to Holkham Gap. We knew we were going in the right direction because there were many more people as there was a large car park close to the beach. Following the path that led away from the beach we reached the car park and then turned along the coast behind a large stand of conifers and mixed trees. The path was easy to walk on, the sun was shining and the end of the walk was not too far away.

A caravan park came into sight and we knew we would soon reach Wells-next-the-Sea. A large car park was situated near the sea with the inevitable ice cream sellers and cafes. We walked along the raised track that at one time took a miniature railway from the heart of the town out to the beach. It gave us good views of the town and the inevitable marshes off to our right. Wending our way through the town, past restored buildings now housing flats and holiday lets, we made our way to our B and B, thankfully sitting down for a rest after our 14+ miles of walking.

Wells-Next-The-Sea

Tomorrow is another day and only 8 miles- can’t wait!

Author & Photographer: Lynne Burge

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12 September 2023

  • Date:                           12 September 2023
  • Walk Participants:     Lynne Burge, Sandy Arpino & Lesley Stapley
  • Distance:                     12.5 Miles

Day 1 Hunstanton to Brancaster, 10 miles + detour

Inspiration?

Starting off with a very dubious weather forecast, covers pre-emptively on rucksacks we set off from our accommodation. The path started right by the gardens in Hunstanton, next to the war memorial. Off we went, stopping quite quickly to put waterproofs on as the rain began, admiring the view over the coastline. With the tide on the way out we were able to admire the strange, linear patterns of rocks showing on the beach. The previous evening we had strolled down to witness the layers of rock in the cliff side, ranging from dark brown at the base, with a creamy layer higher up and a white layer at the top of the cliffs.

Striated Cliffs at Hunstanton

On we went over the cliff path, working our way out of Hunstanton and along the dunes, passing on our way beach huts by the score, most well painted and in good condition. Enjoying the freedom as we strolled along we took our eye off the ball and eventually found ourselves ‘up a creek without a paddle’. We had taken the wrong path, easily done as it looked correct, and ended up by a creek with no way of traversing it. This was annoying as the rain was pounding down by this stage making us steadily wetter and wetter. There was nothing else for it but to backtrack to find the correct path, which, after about a mile, we did. Checking firmly to see that we were now on the right path we continued in the rain along the coast.

Maybe it was wrong to say we walked alongside the sea. Often there was up to half a mile of marsh and reeds before the coastline, and when the tide goes out it could be almost a mile out to the sea. Anyway, on we went through puddles, with squelching feet through the nature reserve. We could not have been wetter. Eventually salvation was in sight- a cafe on the reserve and a chance to drip dry. Diving in fast we divested ourselves of our dripping coats, hanging them on the backs of chairs and ordered hot drinks with fresh scones to revive ourselves.
Discussions then took place over the logistics of the rest of the walk. Was it best to cut our loses when we could and take the bus back, or soldier on in the rain to achieve our aim? Back and forth went the discussion, eventually coming to the idea that we would walk into the next village and assess the rain situation.

Feeding time at the trough

Setting off from the comfort of the cafe it took us time to warm up again, having got cold sitting down. The rain eased off and we enjoyed walking along a board walk and then a high coastal defence so we had sight across the whole of the marshes. Gaining said village we decided to plough on and finish what we had set out to do. Along the main road, up a minor road and off onto a track across the fields. We had to veer inland as there is no safe path along the coastline at this point due to the marshes. On we went along a pleasant track, reminiscent of last year’s Peddars Way walk, with full hedgerows supporting sloes, hips, blackberries, elderberries and a wealth of flowers. Also pigs. Young pigs tucking greedily into the food provided in their fields, vying with each other to gain the tastiest morsels, turning their backs on us when we failed to produce any food for them.

The strange rocks on the beach
Beach huts on the coast

Eventually we turned down towards the village of Brancaster and the comfort of the local pub to await our taxi. Fortified by a drink and a warm room we gratefully got into the taxi for the trip back to Hunstanton. There ensued a time of divesting ourselves of wet clothes, hanging up damp coats, stuffing boots full of newspaper and- joy of joys- a hot shower and dry clothes.
A longer walk then expected due to our unexpected detour, we sat in our accommodation pleased with the 12.5 miles that we walked in the rain, ready for more adventures tomorrow.

Author & Photographer: Lynne Burge

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23 August 2023

  • Date:                     23 August 2023
  • Walk Leader:     Felicity Heal (AKA Flick)
  • Distance:             Short WALK & BBQ
  • Start:                     10:00 am at the woodland

Woodland Walk & BBQ

On a sunny day in mid-August Petersfield Ramblers enjoyed a delightful lunchtime event.  Long-standing member, Flick, has a piece of woodland in Hyden Wood, close to Clanfield, and she invited us to a BBQ and a tour of the privately-owned sections of woodland around her.  

In a clearing within her 4 acres, there is a shepherd’s hut, a round house, a stone-built BBQ and various tools for work in the wood and for cooking. There is even a marvellous compost loo, carefully screened with wattle panels, and a ‘vacant’ and ‘engaged’ sign for use as needed! As it was high summer the trees were lush with foliage, and we were delightfully immersed in nature.

Twenty-one of us assembled (plus two dogs) all bearing contributions to the lunch – sausages, burgers, bacon, rolls, salads, puddings, cakes etc. Leaving the goodies with Anne and her husband Colin who were doing the cooking, our host took us on a walk to learn about the other areas of Hyden wood which included ancient woodland, beech trees, oak trees, ash trees (all suffering from ash die-back and which would eventually likely be felled) etc, and we saw wood stacks, a treehouse, and rotting timber for the insect life. And we heard about the primroses and bluebells which would appear in the Spring – alas, not for us to see as it was the wrong season.

Flick is acquainted with some of the other woodland owners, where they live and what they do. It was interesting to see what different owners did with their ‘patch’, some mostly left the land to nature, some coppiced their hazel trees, some used the woodland as a fun place, some cut logs for wood burning stoves.

Of especial interest was an area owned by Christine and John and their son, who use their acreage as a business. They fell trees for logs to sell, make besoms from twigs and small branches (marvellous for sweeping leaves from the lawn), and they have two ‘retro’ wood burners. Christine gave us a short lecture on besom-making and explained the process of producing charcoal, all very interesting.

It was a delightful occasion – not to be missed if it gets offered again next year!

Author: Sheila Gadd

Photography: Rosemary Field

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29 July 2023

  • Date:                     Saturday 29 July 2023
  • Leaders:               Gordon Churchill, Linda & Paul Farley
  • Meet:                    Petersfield Station bus 92, leaving at 08:30
  • Distance:             5 miles river plus 1.5 in Midhurst



A Walk Beside the River Wey Navigation

Five of us took the bus from Petersfield via Midhurst to Godalming, arriving near the river at around 10:00am.  We knew there was a chance of showers but started walking in warm sunshine along the tow path, admiring many moored narrow boats along the way. 

We came across paddle boarders who appeared to be having their first lesson and wondered how they would fare when they fell in the river which they surely would on their maiden voyage!

We met many dog owners with wet dogs and were passed regularly by joggers but mostly we were left to enjoy the walk together in peace, surrounded by idyllic English countryside, complete with grazing cows, butterflies and many wild flowers. 

Narrow boats passed occasionally and a couple of times some were working the locks.  A single scull caught our eye as it skimmed through the calm waters.

The River Wey holds the distinction of being among the earliest rivers in Britain to undergo navigation improvements, enabling it to accommodate barge transportation as early as 1653.

The Guildford to Weybridge waterway, spanning a distance of 15 miles, connected these two locations and ultimately provided access to London via the Thames River.

The Godalming Navigation, which was established in 1764, allowed barges to traverse an additional 4 miles upstream.

It would have been a bustling environment, being a major mode of transportation for Surrey merchants. Crews would be concerned about missing London tides and would work swiftly to unload goods of grain, timber, coal, and even explosives.

Every penny was valuable, and the time spent opening and closing locks and weirs was critical. Rollers were set on severe bends to help the barges round corners more swiftly and can still be seen.

However, Guildford railway station opened in 1845, making it possible to travel to London in under two hours. For a time, it was more cost effective to carry bulk commodities by canal, but the new railway unavoidably pulled some business away from the canals.

The National Trust currently operates and oversees the navigations as a recreational waterway.

We arrived at Guildford Castle as storm clouds threatened. 

It is believed that William the Conqueror or one of his barons constructed Guildford Castle soon after the Norman invasion of England in 1066. Guildford Castle and its grounds, which had served as a Royal Palace, a prison, and a private residence, were sold to the Guildford Corporation in 1885. In honour of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, the grounds at Guildford Castle became public gardens in 1888.

We admired the castle gardens, which are concentrated at the 11th century Castle Keep and are noted for their brilliant floral displays and settled to eat our picnic lunch.  Low and behold, half way through eating our sandwiches, down came the rain.  We beat a hasty retreat under a tree for shelter and started out for the bus station.

The number 70 bus to Godalming was delayed but this gave us a chance to finish our picnic.  In turn, this resulted in us arriving in Midhurst with enough time for a cup of coffee and ice cream but sadly not enough time for the planned short walk via the river to St Anne’s Hill to check out Midhurst Castle. This photo is from our recce.

The Normans, were Scandinavian Vikings who arrived in northwest France in the early ninth century. They ruled the Normandy region until the mid-13th century. After William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066, several kings of England, including Henry I and II and Richard the Lionheart, were Normans who controlled both territories.

On St Ann’s Hill, which is located on the eastern side of the ditch, a Norman motte and bailey timber fortress was constructed in 1066. A stone fortification was built to take its place in the late 12th century and was used for 100 years before being abandoned. Then, a new home was constructed on the plain below, which would later become Cowdray House during the Tudor era.

The foundation stones, hidden by trees, are all that’s left of the Norman motte and bailey castle that formerly stood on St Ann’s Hill in Midhurst.

The castle’s existence was crucial to the development of the town of Midhurst, even though it was later abandoned in favour of the Tudor mansion of Cowdray House. The remains of the motte and bailey, and the foundation walls are now a scheduled ancient monument. To be visited another time.

Refreshed with coffee, tea, ice cream and cake, we boarded the number 92 bus back to Petersfield, all agreeing that it was a very interesting and somewhat different walk, well worth the journey.

Author: Linda Farley

Photographs: Paul & Linda Farley

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Annual Club BBQ

5 July 2023

A few images taken on our annual club BBQ at Queen Elizabeth Country Park.

The weather co-operated and it was a splendid occasion in a wonderful location.  Thanks to Anne and her great team of helpers for organising and catering so well, it was much appreciated. As you can see, we all enjoyed the event!

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21 June 2023

  • Date:               21 June 2023
  • Walk Leader: Lynne Burge
  • Distance:         10 Miles
  • Start:               10:00 am Hedge Corner GR: SU688 304

HEDGE CORNER ALTERNATIVE ROUTE

The hot, humid weather saw 15 eager ramblers ready to walk new paths from the far side of Hedge Corner on the A32. Until now we have always stuck to the east side of the main road but today we ventured on the west side.
To begin with there was some road walking along a quiet lane that led to the bottom of Monkwood. Passing along we saw banks of foxgloves under the trees, all a beautiful deep pink colour reflecting the sun. Then came some very desirable houses, one called Ramblers so we had to stop and take a photo! Working our way up into the main part of Monkwood we at last made it onto paths leading northwards. The route is evidently a BOAT (byway open to all traffic) as there were great gouges out of the surface made by large tyres. Thankfully, due to the hot weather, the ground was hard and not muddy. Relishing being under the trees we made our way along to emerge onto a minor road.

Following this we headed gently along Lyeway Lane, so called, it is thought, as it may have had something to do with Ley Lines. Believe that if you will. Then we came across the ESSO pipeline that is being built in the area, an ugly scar across the landscape. Turning off the road we made it to a gentle path which we followed after a coffee stop. This was along Andrew’s Lane and led us eventually down past some farm worker houses into the edge of Gilbert Street
Turning a very quick left we joined part of the St Swithun’s way which led over stiles and across fields. One problem occurred at a tricky stile that had barbed wire all around it and no convenient hole for a rather large dog to get through. Thanks to the efforts of Peter, our newest member, who valiantly picked Fergal up and helped him over the obstacle to the relief of everyone.

Taking a short detour to allow those walkers who had not seen the restored church in Ropley-it had been devastated by a fire several years ago- we continued on our way along a delightful route. The trees that lined both sides provided much needed shade as I could hear a few tummies beginning to rumble. Thinking about where we could stop for lunch we began to cross a field that was full of oil seed rape. The way was not easy. The rape once flowering has finished tends to droop in all directions and trying to see the path and where to carefully put one’s feet was difficult. But, being Petersfield Ramblers we strode our way through it to the trees at the edge of the field. Lunch was next on the agenda and a change to rest weary legs.

Nothing daunted, after eating we continued across the next field of rape and then was realised onto a gentle track that turned east in the direction of the cars. More fields ensued, followed by more roads until we were beginning to near the end. Up through a copse led us onto a path above the A32 and above a field that once was used for paint balling. The eagle eyed amongst us spotted wrecked caravans, covered with paint, that were used as targets. In fact you can walk through the original field but it is not a pleasant experience as it is littered with redundant caravans and bits of scrub.

All that was left of the walk was to drop down to Woodside Farm and the various cottages there, follow up past a tree surgeons yards and cross a field sown with clover. Back along the road and we were at the cars ready to go home for a shower and a cup of tea. Over 10 miles on a hot day and they were all still smiling.

Author: Lynne Burge

Photographs: Lynne Burge & Claire Anderson

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Annual Day Out

  • Date:               7 June 2023
  • Distance:         5, 7 or 10 Miles
  • Start:               Ryde bus station at 10.50am

CLUB ANNUAL DAY OUT

TO THE ISLE OF WIGHT

Twenty members of the Petersfield Ramblers, complete with Pickle the Labrador, travelled to the Isle of Wight to enjoy a day out. It was an easy journey; train to Portsmouth then straight on to the ferry, using our ‘Ticket to Ryde’. The first walk was the length of Ryde pier to the bus station – seemed about ½ mile to me but no problem as we were enjoying the glorious sunshine and looking at the sea.   Then we split into 3 groups for a choice of a 5-mile walk, a 7 miler, and a 10 miler.

The short walk was along the coast to Quarr Abbey which is a magnificent edifice and is home to a small group of monks. It was founded in 1132 and was populated by monks from Normandy. It’s set in a lovely natural environment, has some gardens and a lovely tea shop. Well worth a visit.

A larger group of us got the no 3 bus to Brading where the 7-milers went in one direction and us longer walkers found our way through some streets and on to Brading marshes which, being June, was a mass of wildflowers. The colours were stunning – ox-eye daisies, buttercups, clover, vetch, birds-foot trefoil, and some we couldn’t identify. Looming above us to the south was the monument on Bembridge Down and ahead of us was the National Trust Bembridge Windmill which we walked past, and at which some lingered for an ice cream!

We moved on to Bembridge Harbour and admired the boats while we stopped to eat our lunch, after which we walked a narrow causeway across the water. Further along we came to a beach with a large shop and eating area at which I’ve heard crab sandwiches were to be had, but we’d just had our lunch so didn’t partake.  After a little trudge along a sandy beach where some people were swimming, and some were roasting themselves in the sunshine – hardly wise for some who were obviously burning and looking like lobsters – we entered woodland.

And that’s where things became challenging. We think there had been some sort of landfall because we had to re-route ourselves, turn back, scramble over tree roots, take huge steps down, walk down ladders, not my favourite part of the walk by any means! Lovely views through the trees to the water though. However, we finally landed on a beach then found a hard footpath which took us back to Ryde.  Along this path we came to the very attractive village of Seaview where we stopped for tea or ice creams, admiring the view across the Solent to the Spinnaker Tower and surrounding area.

A spectacular day arranged by Lynne who managed to arrange all this without reccing anything in advance. When all were gathered about 5pm there was a treat of Tony’s Fish ‘n’ chips. A fitting end to a spectacular day.

Author: Sheila Gadd

Photographs: Sandy Arpino, Jo Legg & Rosemary Field

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14 June 2023

  • Date:                      14 June 2023
  • Walk Leader:       Val Wood
  • Distance:                 10.5 miles
  • Start:                      09:15am, Lower Froyle Village Hall CP GR: SU760 440

Rolling Hampshire Countryside

on a Hot Sunny Day

Some 8 ramblers, plus Pickle the dog our honorary canine member, met at Lower Froyle, a charming village about half an hour’s drive north of Petersfield.  Because of very high midsummer temperatures we have gathered early to try and avoid walking for too long at the hottest time of the day.  In addition, we could always shorten the walk if it became more of a slog than pleasurable.  After sorting out some parking issues to the satisfaction of a couple of overzealous residents, we set off suitably prepared as our Australian cousins would say: “Slip, slap, slop” – slip on a shirt, slap on a hat, slop on the sunscreen.  AND, of course, with plenty of water. 

Our route takes us across the recreation field down a path to Park Lane, then out onto the main village road where we turn right and almost immediately left into Hussey’s Lane past the well maintained village pond. This is a delightful, quiet lane with many attractive period houses, one a former brewery.  Soon we leave the metalled lane behind as it peters out to become a bridleway heading uphill and north.  Eventually we reach another little used lane for a few yards before turning west along a wooded bridleway know by many locals as the “Sheep Drove” track which crosses Well Lane.  At a crossroads we turn north again, first through some woodland, then opening out to a long field overlooking the campus of Lord Wandsworth College. (1)

We walk towards the college, but at a five path crossroads turn west along the substantial by-way Frog Lane which, in the winter can turn into a quagmire, it being a favourite of trial and quad bike riders.  Leaving it behind we turn north passing Manor Farm and shortly arrive at the junction of Well hamlet which, of course, has its well in pride of place on a grassy triangle where the lanes cross.  Whilst comprising only a few dwellings and agricultural buildings, it has an attractive 15thC pub, The Chequers, which has been a popular drinking/eating establishment for many years. Pressing on northward again we walk through a wild flower meadow before crossing somewhat dry pastures with sheep grazing – relatively rare in this mainly arable farming countryside.  Turning left past the hive of industry at Stapely Farm which really is humming with machinery that we deduce is processing quality topsoil, we then cross a road into a section full of cereal crops, fortunately with wide paths cutting through the strong growing plants.  Happy to find some shade as we approach the village of Long Sutton, we walk through a recreation field to cross the road onto a shady path that runs adjacent to the road along the boundary of the front of the College.  Turning south, after stopping to say hello to a curious donkey, we find a couple of shady spots which are perfect for a welcome lunch break.  

Refreshed we continue south and at the familiar five path crossroads turn east, eventually meeting the Lower Froyle to Long Sutton Lane.  Turning left on the metalled road we go past one or two houses near a junction, known as the Bumpers, where once there was an isolated pub/ale house, now long demolished.  Turning right onto a footpath we once again find ourselves crossing mostly cultivated fields, this time growing broad bean plants (no pods that we could see) which we understand are a nutritious source of protein for livestock and a valuable part of crop rotations.  Leaving these behind we walk through a small copse and ascend through a grass meadow eventually meeting a mostly tree lined wide track which leads us past Saintbury Hill Farm and its unused yard and buildings, before dropping down Bambers Lane to the main village road to return to the carpark. 

A distinctive walk through varied and attractive rolling countryside, typical of north east Hampshire and following paths largely unfamiliar to Petersfield Ramblers.

Author: Val Wood

Photography: Val Wood & Sandy Arpino

(1) Lord Wandsworth College is named after Baron Sydney Stern, a Liberal MP, who was granted a peerage and took the title of Lord Wandsworth.

When Lord Wandsworth died in 1912 he left a generous bequest to educate the children of agricultural workers; children who had lost one or both parents, through bereavement, and needed the support of a boarding environment.

Lord Wandsworth’s Trustees purchased the site on which the College now stands and the first ‘Foundationers’ arrived in 1922, followed by fee-paying students in 1946.

November 2022 marked 100 years since, Alfred Beckwith (Pupil No 1) walked through the Acorn Gate at LWC and bought Sydney Stern’s amazing Legacy to life. The Foundation remains at the heart of the College today and has had such a positive impact on so many lives, with over 2,500 Foundationers having walked through those same gates during the first 100 years.

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May 2023

  • Date:                           May 2023
  • Walk Leader:          Christine Tully
  • Distance:                   8 miles approx
  • Start:                           10:00 am Festival Hall CP

A Local Spring Walk

We are very blessed in Petersfield to be surrounded by beautiful countryside, lovely for walking at any time of the year.  However, in certain seasons there are additional features, such as spring flowers.  The route of this local walk is chosen in May for bluebells and new life on the pond!

Starting from the Festival Hall car park, we walked round Petersfield Pond and were rewarded with the sight of goslings and other hatchlings.  The swan was standing by the nest and so we were able to get a view of the eggs (from a safe distance!).  It is good that the temporary fence protects this nest from intruders!  Then on a large log in the pond we saw four terrapins.

From there we walked through the heath, along Durford Road, and on paths towards Durford Abbey Farm.  It had been raining frequently. So the paths were somewhat muddy and the River Rother was in full flow!

Durford Abbey was established about 1161 on the northern bank of the Rother, in the parish of Rogate, by Henry Hussey, lord of the neighbouring manor of Harting.  The monastery was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist.  It was dissolved around 1536 and is now a farm.

We then walked up the road towards Durleigh Marsh, noted for its horticulture.  One of our group made a quick purchase in the farm shop before re-joining us.  We took a path eastwards and then northwards towards Carrols.  There were some bluebells in the hedgerows.  From there we took the westward path towards Sheet Common.  We had lovely views of the South Downs and glorious views of bluebells, especially in the bluebell wood near Barns House. 

We could see dark clouds forming and were aware from the weather forecast that we might have to cut the walk short.  We had our picnic lunch on Sheet Common, and just as we were finishing, the clouds opened.  There was torrential rain.  The ramblers hastily bade farewell and dashed home as quickly as they could!

Had we been able to complete the walk, we had planned to walk northwards up Mill Lane Sheet to the mill, across the fields to Burntash Farm, and on to the road.  From there a path goes down to Kettlebrook Cottages, up to the Harrow Inn, and from Steep the Hangers Way goes down to Tilmore Road.

We hope to complete the walk in the future years!

Author: Christine Tully

Photographer: Jeremy Bacon

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