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.
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 April 2019 to September 2019
April 10th (Wednesday) 2pm. Grid Reference SU 785854 Postcode RG9 6TL
Meet at Mill End car park, between Hambleden village and Hambleden Lock. Crossing the weir, we continue on a country lane to The Flower Pot public house, stopping there for tea/coffee and biscuits. After our refreshments, we shall walk back upstream along the riverside back to the weir and return to our cars at Mill End car park. 2.6 mile walk, no stiles, flat with lovely views of the river and countryside.
Leader: Chris Melbourne
May 1st (Wednesday) 2pm Grid reference SP757006 Post Code OX39 4ER
3 mile walk around the Kiln Lakes in Chinnor. Meet and park at railway station car park (opened for us at £1 per car). No stiles, mostly flat with occasional very short “steepish” ramps. Still white with chalk but very beautiful as nature gradually takes over. Lots of birds on the lakes and butterflies. Lovely views of wooded hills of our Chilterns nearby. Tea, coffee and cake in the station’s “carriage café” after the walk.
Leaders: Graham Stone and Jill Bloxham
June 12th (Wednesday) 2pm Grid Reference SU824969 Post Code HP14 4HA (approx)
Park at the NT car park in Bradenham village near the cricket pavilion for the 2 mile walk. We walk across the cricket green to the parish church of St Botolph and cross the road. Continuing up the wide, gentle slopes to the Park Wood, strolling through the wildflower meadows until we come to a choice of routes. Up the short steep hill, through light woodland and back to join the route or taking the lower track and down through the meadows and back to the village. Walking down the road we can view the ancient Puddingstones and Sarsen stones on the left. Continue on foot or by car to the Red Lion (tea room) for tea, coffee and cakes.
Leaders: Richard and Rosemary Webb
July 10th (Wednesday) 2pm Grid Reference SU702868 Post Code RG9 5AX
Meet at Nettlebed by the old Brick Kiln. Take B481 from Watlington turning left at junction with A4130 Henley Road and then immediately left to park on the lane. The circular walk (about 2½ miles) will pass via Joyce Grove Grounds, the Church and then proceed through Nettlebed Common etc. Refreshments afterwards at The Field House Kitchen.
Leaders: Mick and Judy Keen
August 14th (Wednesday) 2pm Grid Reference SU503942 Post Code OX14 4NJ (approx)
Sutton Courtenay. Park in the small central village Car Park by the Abbey entrance or roadside nearby and meet outside the George and Dragon for a 2½ mile circular walk. No stiles and flat. The walk starts by exploring the village and on reaching the River Thames, crosses the weir, and follows the cut to Culham Lock returning through fields along the Thames. We end in the Churchyard looking at famous graves and return to the George and Dragon for tea and cake.
Leaders: Rosie and Peter Hetherington
September 11th (Wednesday) 2pm Grid Reference SP 888091 Postcode HP22 5NQ (approx)
Park and meet in the main car park of Wendover Woods (parking £4.30 for 4 hours). Circular 2.8 mile walk on mostly wide, well made woodland paths. No stiles, some gradual slopes (up and down), exposed tree roots in places on smaller paths (so be careful). This is a very pleasant walk with a chance to meet The Gruffalo (if he’s still there). Refreshments after the walk at the old (or new, if open) café there.
Leaders: Jenifer Swann and Rosemary and Peter Brook
We would ask all walkers to note the following points:
- Please wear suitable footwear, preferably walking boots, and be prepared for rain.
- 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.
- Please share cars whenever you can.
- Please telephone the walk leader in advance if we need to wait for anyone (we won’t normally wait more than 10 minutes maximum).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Short Walks Group Co-ordinator
Chinnor and District U3A