Short Walks

The aim of the group is to provide gentle exercise on an easy short walk in varying locations within a short drive from Chinnor.

We meet on the second Wednesday of each month (excluding December) at a place decided by the walk leader. The walks start at 2.00pm (1.00pm during the winter months of November, January and February).

The walks are led by a different person each month and start within a 15 mile (approx) radius from Chinnor. The length of the walk is between 2 and 4 miles and is usually fairly easy walking – that is, no steep hills, not too many stiles, not too muddy (if we can help it) and limited road walking (although it’s impossible not to walk on roads sometimes). The walks last about 2 hours.

As a rough guide, the walks are usually in the countryside in the summer and sometimes round towns (eg guided town walks) in the winter. As well as this, in the winter, we try to have our walks not too far from Chinnor because of possible weather problems.

As regards the weather, unless it’s obvious that we must cancel the walk, the Group Co-ordinator (or his deputy) and the walk leader(s) turn up to the walk. Then if the weather is inclement we decide between us all at the start of the walk whether or not to continue. We always recommend walkers wear boots or walking shoes and to be prepared for rain etc.

We try not to repeat the walks too often and try to make the walks interesting. In the past we have had guided tours around towns, guided farm walks, orchid walks and walks on National Trust land. The walks can be in open countryside, in wooded areas or along riversides – in fact, pretty well anywhere. We try to include information about the area we walk through (such as history) to add to the visual enjoyment.

Lastly, we often try to end our walk at a café or pub if it’s convenient. This is very sociable, our members love it and the Short Walks Group has become quite popular. The normal turnout for a walk is about 20 people.

On a more serious note, whilst every care is taken to avoid accidents, members join a walk at their own risk.

To join the Chinnor U3A Short Walks Group, contact the Group Co-ordinator (details on this web site) via phone or email. The Group Co-ordinator will need to know your name, what U3A branch you are in, your email address (if any) and your phone number.

Additional Information

All members are encouraged to occasionally lead a walk – the group co-ordinator cannot lead all the walks. Assistance is available for walk leaders new to the role, such as informing the person where to get suitable books of walks, trying out and/or leading a walk with an established walk leader or perhaps just sorting problems with maps. Even if members can’t actually lead a walk, it is always very useful if they can suggest walks for the future.

A register of members attending walks is maintained and the Group Co-ordinator (or his representative) may take one or more photos of the group during the walk – this is purely for our bi-annual Chinnor U3A magazine Contact.

There is no Short Walks Group membership charge and generally no cost for coming on any of the walks, except for paying for parking at the start of the walk, paying for a guide on the few occasions when we have a guided walk, or paying for your own tea and cake (for example) at a café or pub at the end of the walk.

The Short Walk Group Co-ordinator issues a programme of walks bi-annually (usually by email) to the members to detail the “summer” walks (April, May, June, July, August and September) and the “winter” walks (October, November, January, February and March). The current programme is also displayed on the Chinnor U3A web site.

Although we have no walk in December, we do have our own Short Walks Group Christmas Lunch in December. This is usually on the same day as the Chinnor U3A Carol Concert and again is usually at The Crown in Chinnor.

Members of our other Chinnor U3A walking groups are always welcome to join us. Similarly, members of any other British U3A branch are permitted to join us on a walk at no cost. Any non-U3A friends you wish to bring on a walk may come for a first “taster” session (at a cost of £1) but need to join the U3A to attend further walks.

Members are permitted to bring their dogs on walks at the discretion of the walk leader. Owners will be fully responsible for the behaviour of their dogs at all times – particularly regarding sheep for example and other animals. Also be careful your dog does not trip people up or cause any other problems.

Exceptionally, members may bring children on walks WITH THE PRIOR AGREEMENT OF THE WALK LEADER provided that they are used to coping with the distance and terrain and are well behaved. And again, the safety of the children is the sole responsibility of the member(s) bringing the child or children.

Programme October 2019 to March 2020

October 9th (Wednesday) 1pm Grid Reference SP757011 Post Code OX39 4DH
Meet at the Chinnor village centre to walk down the High Street and cross Lower Road, towards where Chinnor turf used to be. From there we take a footpath across fields towards the top of Emmington, where we meet a gravel road and head right towards Henton. After a while we turn right again onto a footpath across more fields and come out back in the village further up. Then cross back over the main road and take the track up towards the Chilterns and a footpath right across the back of Doveleat, bringing you back into the High Street by the church. This is a very flat 3.2 mile walk with no stiles. Tea/coffee/cake in the Village Centre.
Leader: Jan Crompton

November 13th (Wednesday) 1pm Grid Reference SU555987 (approx) Post Code OX44 9PX
Park and meet at Harcourt Arboretum car park (entrance fee £4.00 each for senior citizens [65 and over]). The arboretum (part of Oxford University) is on the A4074 near Nuneham Courtenay and Marsh Baldon. The walk is very easy –about 2½ miles, no stiles, only slight slopes and nice obvious paths – going through the acer glade and the woods, leading out onto the meadows. Refreshments after the walk at Notcutts garden centre (OX44 9PY) – about ½ mile away.
Leader: Graham Stone

December 10th (Tuesday) 12.30pm Grid reference SP755008 Post Code OX39 4EX
No walk but ------
Christmas lunch at the Crown public house in Chinnor for the Short Walks Group (for those who have booked the meal). This is straight after the Chinnor U3A Carol Concert (which starts at 10.30am).

January 8th (Wednesday) 1pm Grid reference SU691945 Post Code OX49 5AD (approx)
Meet in Watlington at the Hill Road car park (left at the cross roads by the Town Hall) – free parking – or nearby. Approximately 2 mile partly-guided group walk around the historic market town of Watlington. Includes short talks (by Tim Hawton) at the town hall and the church. No hills, no stiles, and no mud! Refreshments afterwards at The Granary.
Leaders: Pat Fewell and Sue Speight

February 12th (Wednesday) 1pm Grid reference SP709056 Post Code OX9 3EZ
Meet at the war memorial garden in Park Street, Thame. This historic town trail is about 2 miles and explores the Victorian and Edwardian area, east of the town centre. Try and park in the open market car park if possible or nearby (may need 3 hours). Possible visit to the museum (if they’ll open it for us). Refreshments afterwards at Treacles tea shop.
Leaders: Mavis and Tony Shortman

March 11th (Wednesday) 2pm. Grid Reference SP 920141 Postcode HP23 4LJ
Meet at Startop’s End car park (minimum charge £3.00), Marsworth, on B489 between Aston Clinton and Pitstone. The 3 mile (level with no stiles) walk takes us east on the main Grand Union Canal towpath and turns southwest along the Wendover Arm. Leaving the canal behind we walk north alongside the Tringford Reservoir and along the northern side of the Startops End Reservoir to return to the car park. Here is the Bluebells Tearoom where we can partake of refreshments.
Leaders: Edith and Brian Butler

Being the Short Walks Group, the walks are fairly easy – that is, not too far (about 3 miles), no steep hills, not too many stiles or other obstacles and not too much mud (although that is very dependent on the weather). However, if you are unsure of your ability to walk up to 3 miles at a normal person’s pace or would have major trouble getting over stiles, please try the Strollers Group first – they only walk about a mile, usually on flat paths. Alternatively, take a more able-bodied person with you (on each walk) to guide you back to the start of the walk if you have trouble.

We would ask all walkers to note the following points:

  1. Please wear suitable footwear, preferably walking boots, and be prepared for rain.
  2. Please contact the walk leader beforehand if you wish to bring a dog or a child. Dogs must be put on leads when requested by the walk leader.
  3. Please share cars whenever you can.
  4. Please telephone the walk leader in advance if we need to wait for anyone (we won’t normally wait more than 10 minutes maximum).
  5. Similarly, for those without a computer please phone before a walk to make sure no details have changed such as the start of the walk.  Note I usually notify people by Email.
  6. If the weather is inclement on the day of the walk I will try to notify people of cancellation in time by email before the walk.  If the weather is bad just when we turn up for the walk, we decide between us whether or not to continue.  Normally the walk leader(s) and the group co-ordinator (or his deputy) will turn up anyway.
  7. The post code and grid reference for the start of the walk are fairly accurate but are sometimes approximated (in the case of post code, for example, if we meet at say a car park).
  8. I will usually take a photograph of the group during the walk – this is purely for use in our Chinnor U3A twice-yearly “Contact” magazine.
  9. Lastly, although the walk leaders and the group co-ordinator (myself) try to ensure that the walks are as safe as possible, please be careful not to trip on exposed tree roots (or other obstacles) or slip on mud and take care climbing over stiles.  Keep clear of animals in fields (particularly if they have young) and be especially careful when walking along or crossing roads on the walk.
  10. With this in mind, your safety is ultimately your responsibility – the walk leaders and group co-ordinator have done their best to make the walks safe.

I would be most grateful for volunteers to occasionally lead a short walk.  We have a shortage of walk leaders – without them we wouldn’t have a walking group, so please contact me if you are able to organise and lead a walk.  There are plenty of books available to help you that describe a variety of short walks.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have organised and led walks in the past.

Graham Stone

Short Walks Group Co-ordinator

Chinnor and District U3A

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