- Created: 23 December 2017 23 December 2017
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Last year we listed a few walking-off-Christmas-by-public-transport ideas and here are another three. Living in south London, I’ve tended to look further south to Surrey, Kent or Sussex for days out, to places like Box Hill and Knole Park. Recently, I’ve cast an eye north, in search of some variety.
A day in the country is a genuine need for some. It certainly is for me. A 35 minute train journey from Euston takes you to Tring in Hertfordshire. The station sits on the edge of town and a right turn lands you plum in the countryside.
Our plan was to head north on a stretch of the ancient Ridgeway Path and then to circle back through the wooded hills of the Ashridge Estate. We made a mistake very early on and ended up doing the walk in reverse. It didn’t matter a jot, of course.
This is one of those walks studded with points of interest, man-made and natural. In the Ashridge Estate, there is a striking monument to the Duke of Bridgewater, known as the “father of inland navigation” for construction of the Bridgewater Canal. Very close to this is a Moneybury Hill Barrow, a 4,000 year old Bronze Age burial mound.
A woodland path offering views of the valley below eventually brought us out on to the Ridgeway and Ivinghoe Beacon, once an Iron Age hill fort. From up, the views are expansive and on our visit, an exhilaratingly cold wind whipped down from the north. We doubled back towards the south, following a muddy path for a while, towards Pitstone Hill before diving back into woods at Aldbury Nowers nature reserve.
If you’ve a tolerable sense of direction and enough daylight, you can take any number of paths and still make it back to Tring station.
For a gentler walk, Epping Forest is a good bet. At the far end of the Victoria Line is Walthamstow Central and from there it is an eleven minute rail journey to Chingford. A right turn out of the station and a five minute walk will put you on the edge of Epping Forest.
It’s a mix of meadow and forest, with some muddy streams and ponds and lots of beech, oak, birch and blackthorn. This is Sunday stroll territory, rather than hike. Connaught Water qualifies as a lake rather than a pond and is suitably picturesque. In the woods nearby, we saw mobiles of string, stick, leaf and acorn dangling from branches, with a touch of the Blair Witch, though they were charming too.
There are walking routes (the Holly Trail, the Willow Trail and so on) but we followed wandered wherever our feet took us. The paths changed from broad to narrow, surfaced to grassy and popular to empty.
Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge gives a focal point. It’s free to enter and offers a potted history of the Epping Forest and of the 1217 Charter of the Forest that re-established some rights of common people. These included collecting fire wood, pasturing and grazing live stock and cutting turf. When the nine year old Henry III signed, it reversed some of the Normans’ trampling on people’s rights.
The third suggestion is along the River Lea Navigation, on the Hertfordshire Essex border. This is one of those walks you can start or finish from a variety of places, all on the same line from Liverpool Street. We began in Ware and ambled south as far as Broxbourne.
Residential narrow boats and barges dot the banks, there’s a decent pub or two and Amwell Quarry Nature Reserve is there to explore if you’ve time and inclination. There are also a few reminders of the working life of the river too.
At Dobb’s Weir, we skirted Admiral’s Walk Lake and found ourselves on the banks of New River. This water course is a 17th century aqueduct that was constructed to take water from the River Lea and Chadwell Springs to a fast-growing London. The water is fast flowing and full of long, trailing tresses of weed. This was my favourite bit of the walk and enough to suggest exploration of the upper and lower regions of the aqueduct.
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- Created: 03 December 2017 03 December 2017
- Hits: 960 960
Vineyards are popping up all over Britain, especially in the south of England and Wales, and from these vineyards are sprouting many an international wine award to accompany them.
Having tasted many of the English wines that are on the market I am surprised that there has not been more take up from restaurants and bars in serving our home grown splendour.Add a comment
- Created: 16 November 2017 16 November 2017
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After several years of “meaning to go” to the Cinema Museum in Kennington, I went to last night’s screening of Bad Day at Black Rock. What a wonderful place the Cinema Museum is but possibly not for much longer.
The landlord is the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and it is planning to sell to a developer. Losing the museum would be a tragedy. This dispiriting affair fits in with the loss of the Carnegie Library and threats to Dulwich Hamlet. There’s a petition to save the museum here.Add a comment
- Created: 31 October 2017 31 October 2017
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“I was forty years old and a failure as an actor when the opportunity to play Dr Frankenstein was offered to me. Despite years of endeavour both in America and in British television, I could see no future and was about to give up acting to design scarves for a living.”
- Created: 24 October 2017 24 October 2017
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Whether you are stepping out from beneath the confetti on your big day, charming the board of your company into a New Year's bonus, or simply organising an impromptu neighbourhood knees-up, realising you don’t have enough bubbly to complete the job can be a harrowing experience. Add a comment
- Created: 16 October 2017 16 October 2017
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From the back of the church comes rhythmic clapping and percussion. On screen, Mr and Mrs Bunting, landlord and landlady of a boarding house, go the door. It’s the police, led by Joe, the detective investigating the serial killer called The Avenger. Joe speaks; “We’ve come to have a word with your lodger”. They go upstairs as the tempo picks up and into the lodger’s room. The suspect is kissing Daisy. She is the landlords’ daughter and Joe’s girlfriend. Add a comment
Prince Luitpold of Bavaria in London to announce that “beer is for all occasions!” especially weddings!
- Created: 10 October 2017 10 October 2017
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Prince Luitpold of Bavaria has been in London this week extolling the benefits and joys of beer drinking. During a lunch the Prince gave at Royal Windsor Racecourse on Monday we were served a different beer for each course. The pairings were surprisingly better than I expected (being a more wine orientated drinker) but, perhaps given the profiles of the different beers, they are more obvious than we might imagine. Add a comment
- Created: 03 October 2017 03 October 2017
- Hits: 443 443
My walk to work takes me through Brockwell Park. This morning was one of those cold, crisp mornings. The leaves are a lovely mix of green, gold and red. My wandering mind stopped lighted on sloe gin. This rich and warming drink is very easy to make, with has just three ingredients; gin, sloes and sugar. Opinion about the proportions varies and I guess there are family recipes aplenty. Add a comment
- Created: 10 September 2017 10 September 2017
- Hits: 452 452
We at InDulwich tend to do things at our own pace and if we are on trend it is more by accident than design. I did remember an article in the Guardian declaring edible flowers to be the “summer’s hottest food trend” but it was returning from a summer holiday to discover that nasturtiums had taken over the garden that stirred me to action. Add a comment
- Created: 05 September 2017 05 September 2017
- Hits: 805 805
There is Montepulicano d’Abruzzo wine everywhere in London but how do you sort the truly remarkable from the truly ordinary? Well, it is all in the taste, and considering that I have visited this winery, tasted their wines and enjoyed them emphatically, here is a very decent tip:
Cantina Zaccagnini, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo - a rich full bodied red wine with smooth silk tannin, cherry, spice and a hint of chocolate. Perfect for a whole range of dishes especially roasted foods but equally pleasant with lighter dishes or with cheese.Add a comment
- Created: 17 August 2017 17 August 2017
- Hits: 1497 1497
When the new version of Beauty and the Beast was released, an Icelandic woman sent a message via Facebook to her daughter asking if she would like to see it. Realising she had directed it to the Finance Minister by mistake, she sent a quick retraction. ‘Oh well, I’ll see it later’ came the reply.
- Created: 18 July 2017 18 July 2017
- Hits: 2737 2737
We once spent a weekend in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. It rained steadily and heavily. We had a room in a cheap B&B. We had an energetic five year old with us. A lull gave us half an hour on the beach but the rest of the time was miserable. We divided it between some mediocre cafes and an arcade where our kid played air hockey (fun at least) and had her first taste of a shoot ‘em up video game (hmm....). We dived into a cinema that was showing Top Cat: The Movie. It was desperately awful, even our daughter thought so.Add a comment
- Created: 06 July 2017 06 July 2017
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Walking around the Giacometti exhibition at the Tate Modern there is an unmistakeable intensity in the air. It’s always been there since our first encounter in the sculpture garden of The Maeght Foundation, Saint-Paul de Vence in the South of France. Giacometti achieves something in his creations many other sculptors can only dream of; he imbues them with the fiction of life. The sensation of presence lasting only a split second, a first glance, emanates from the work in front of you. Add a comment