Below are a series of pictures taken during this year's Xmas Lunch kindly provided by Vonnie M.
It is not known whether the applause was for the content or the brevity of the
36 members travelled to the Wye Valley and The Forest of Dean to stay at The Speech House Hotel for the club weekend. The weather on arrival and on the Sunday was excellent however the Saturday was a little wet.
On arrival we set off from the hotel into The Forest for about a three mile walk round one of the lakes which used to be open cast mining. We walked through the Arboretum where the early signs of Autumn made this a pleasant picturesque walk. The signs of wild boar were everywhere as lots of the soft terrain had been dug up. Walking was a little uneven at times.
On the Saturday after travelling by coach to Tintern Abbey we split into two groups. The longer and more hilly walk set off climbing high into the forest above the River Wye to reach the Devil’s Pulpit. The view was good despite the damp and misty weather. Much of the route followed Offa’s Dyke long distance footpath. The descent was quite slow as the ground was rocky and covered in wet leaves. We made it back to the Abbey with no mishaps having walked just over 7 miles.
The second group did a much lower level walk along by the Wye which is tidal. Both groups had an excellent lunch at a pub near the Abbey.
After lunch both groups did a shorter walk; however, quite a few of the walkers decided that some retail therapy was needed and spent the time looking round the nearby craft shops.
The evening meal was excellent with plenty of choice and was held in the Verderers Court room which was the hotel restaurant, a grand setting. Apparently Verderers are officials in Britain who deal with common land in certain former royal hunting areas which are the property of the crown.
The position was developed in the Middle Ages to administer forest law on behalf of the King. Verderers investigated and recorded minor offences such as the taking of venison and illegally cutting the woodland. Today Verderers are still found in forests such as the Forest of Dean where they serve to protect commoning practices and conserve the traditional landscape and wildlife.
Sunday was a beautiful sunny day and again we split into two groups to do local walks. The short walk set off to explore the sculpture trail in the forest looking at the various exhibits and hearing their history.
The longer walk took a six mile circuit round the forest. There were a surprising variety of woodland habitats and lakes. The Forest has lots of trails and cycle paths but it is also easy to use paths that are deserted and very peaceful. Having the sun shine through the autumnal colours made for an enjoyable walk.
We all met up again at the hotel for a sandwich lunch after which, rather than have an afternoon walk, many members set off to visit the food festival which was happening in the grounds behind the hotel.
It was again a lovely and fun weekend. Thanks go to Secret Hills who organised the hotel and all the walks.
Thanks also to Carna and Celia for some of the pictures.
An extra special thank you is due to Sue H who organised the weekend in conjunction with Secret Hills and to Sue C for looking after the the financial arrangements.
Thanks are also due to Sue H for providing this detailed and informative report.
A wet start
A wet climb up to the Devil's Pulpit.
A dry break in the Moravian Chapel.
Breakfast in the Verderers Court.
The long distance Sunday walkers.
The shorter distance Sunday walkers.
The Cathedral Window on the Sculptor Trail.
Due to further snow and the reported state of the car park at St. Andrews Church tonight's AGM has been cancelled. The new date is Friday 16th March, same venue and same time 7.30p.m..
The funeral of Hugh Bauchop will take place at Kettering Crematorium at 2.00pm on Tuesday 13th February.
The funeral of John Sellers will take place at 3.00pm on Wednesday 7th February at Kettering Crematorium.
Would members reading this post please spread the information to other club members?