About Me

When? Started: 1993 Who? Started with staff and friends from U H S, Chester. Organiser: Martyn Harris We walk every Wednesday and Saturdays, New Years day and May Day. How many walk? Walks take place as long as there are at least 2 wanting to walk on that day. More walk on a Wednesday than on a Saturday. Most ever: 29. Numbers walking: 2-12, a mid-week and 3-4 on Saturday. Where do we walk? Saturday: Anywhere in North and Mid-Wales, Peak District, Shropshire and the Long Mynd and as far North as the Trough of Bowland. Thursday: Anywhere within about 40 miles of Chester. Type of walk: Distance: 6 – 14 miles. Climb: up to 4000’ (but usually very much less!). Those involved in 2017:- Martyn Harris, Fran Murphy, Sue and Michel Pelissier, Annie Hammond, Sue and Dave Pearson, Mike Dodd, David and Anne Savage, Celia de Mengle, Wendy and Ian Peers, Roger and Margaret Smith, Tim and Carol Dwyer, Paul Collinson, Phil Marsland, Sylvia and Dave Jenkins, Sheila McNee, Ed Meads, Elaine and John Greenhalgh, Jim McCabe, Mal Pulford., Joyce Russell

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Lathkill Dale

26th May 2007

Well Dressing at Monyash.

Looking down Cales Dale to Lathkill Dale.

Jackob's Ladder in Lathkill Dale.

Early Purple Orchids in Lathkill Dale.
Walk stats:
Distance: 11.1.miles; Climb: 899'; Time: 6 hours 18 minutes; Walking Average: 2.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Richard and Celia.
A later than usual start ensured that we experienced heaviest of the forecast rain whilst still in the car. The temperature at the start was just about approaching the 12 degrees Celsius minimum for baring the legs. When the sun was hidden by clouds, the breeze made it feel decidedly cool!
This was indeed a walk with surprises, so much so that we were only on the move for just over 4 hours, having lunch for about 20 minutes and standing still for the rest of the time. Lathkill Dale is one of English Nature's gems, one of the Derbyshire Dales best Nature Reserves. Whilst this area is very popular with walkers there were times when we could stop and stare at the beauty of the many and varied flowers that we encountered on route, especially in the upper section of Lathkill Dale. Jacob's Ladder, a Red Book List species was the most notable species that we could recognise (thanks to a convenient information board). If the magnicent valleys and gorges, typical of limestone country with miriads of flowering plants was not enough, it was also the time of the year when villages displayed their skill of well dressing. Monyash displayed a good one depicting the anniversary of the mass tresspass on Kinder. Chunky Dippers entertained us they bobbed up and down, in and out of the water and the protective nature of Coot was displayed as it drove off inquisitive ducks as they approached the nest containing six quite small chicks. However the star display was a female Tufted Duck. The water in the river was so clear that we saw the bird dive and for several minutes observed the the bird swimming under water feeding off the bottom. Further down river the remains of Lathkill Dales industrial past came to light. The path went between the stone supports that used to carry the water away from some of the Mandale mine Company's lead mines. We also visited Bateman's House. James Bateman who was involved with the Lathkill Dale Mining Company in 1825. He installed a revolutionary pumping angine to solve the problem of underground flooding. He installed this in a shaft under the building that later became his home.

This wonderful walk is one that demands to be repeated, and the end of May into June seems to be the best time to choose.

Some of the flowers seen were: Jacob's Ladder, Ransons, Bluebells (native with their white/cream anthers and pollen), Spanish Bluebells (with their blue anthers and pollen, seen in a farm yard), Early Purple Orchids, Yellow archangel, Field Mouse-ear Chickweed, Fairy Flax, Creeping Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup, White Clover, Common Poppy and Common Field Speedwell.

Birds seen or heard include: Skylark, Carrion Crow, Rook, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Robin, Chaffinch, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Rook, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Tufted Duck and Dipper. However the bird of the day was not on the walk, but observed from the car on the way home. a Little Owl was seen sitting on top of the roadside lamp-post close to the canal bridge near the Chester turning just outside Nantwhich.

Two bees were seen on the Jacob's Ladder flowers. These were the Buff-tailed Bumblebee and the Large Red-tailed Bumblebee. The only other animals seen today were : Rabbits, Black Slugs, Snails and a Brown Trout.

The day was capped with an excellent pint (or two or three) of Hartington Bitter at that pub of character the Wilkes Head at Leek. Indeed we were entertained by some somewhat bawdy folk singing, at least that's what Celia and Richard told me. My hearing isn't what it used to be, and I didn't catch all the words!

Friday, 25 May 2007

Clywedog Reservoir and Moel y Fron

24th May 2007

Nigel, Gordon and Dave check out the Georgian Hearse House
adjacent to the 15th century church of St Mary at Cyffylliog.

The view of the Clwydian Hills from the lower slopes of Bryn Ocyn.
The view from Moel y Fron, looking towards the Wind Farm above the Clywedog Reservoir.
Walk stats:
Distance: 10.8 miles; Climb: 1624': Time: 4 hours 59 minutes; Walking average: 2.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Dave J, Celia, Richard; Gordon, Michel and Nigel.
A walkng average of 2.8 m.p.h. was a record for the group, not one I expect to be repeated too often.
This walk started at the village of Cyffylliog. Weather conditions were almost perfect for walking, pleasantly warm and sunny with a gentle breeze to keep us cool. In fact the onlt hint of moisture in the air was experienced as we had lunch at the picturesque Clywedog reservoir. The initial route followed closely the Afon Clywedog and Afon Concwest along pleasant dare I say delightful footpaths through woodlands. Woodland flowers were very much in evidence, many eluding identification. Gorse and Broom showing well alongside the forest track. The Wind Farm was very much attracting the eye on the skyline once we had emerged from the forest. The lunch spot at Clywedog Reservoir was enhanced by the presence of wooden benches. A few of the group ignored the notices and pretended to be fishermen to lunch at the reservoir edge. The return route across the flanks of Bryn Ocyn gave magnificent panoramic views of the Clwydian. This spot was the sighting, if only fleetingly of a Brown Hare. The only other mammal seen on the walk was a rabbit. Plenty of butterflies and moths were observed, as well as some unidentifiable insects. Birds seen or heard during the walk include: Grey Heron, Buzzard, House Martin, Swallow, Greenfinch, Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Robin, Carrion Crow and Stonechat.
Overall this was a very enjoyable walk, farmers and dogs encountered were all friendly!
A very pleasant pint of Theakson's Best Bitter was enjoyed at the Miners Arms at Maeshafn. Hopefully it will taste just as good next week, if we get there in time!

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Kate Roberts Walk and Mynydd Mawr

Date: 12th May 2007
Mynydd Mawr from Moel Smythio

At the summit of Mynydd Mawr
We were lucky with the weather, weren't we?
At the sumit of Moel Tryfan

Walk stats:
Distance: 8.3 miles: Climb: 2497'; Time: 5 hours 10 minutes; Walking average: 2.1 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike, Celia and Richard.
This walk started from the Kate Roberts Viewpoint on the road from Waun Fawr to Rhosgadfan. The weather forecast was at best blustery showers with temperatures around 7 Celsius on the summit and the cloud base only rising above the the summit of Mynydd Mawr after lunch. We set off in bright sunshine and temperatures suggesting that shorts would be more appropriate. However later in the day we were grateful that we had heeded the original forecast, particularly near the summit of Mynydd Mawr. Rain in fact was only minimal and lasted for a very short time just as we started our descent. Our lunch time on the summit of Mynydd Mawr was blessed with no rain and clear of cloud. Most of the Nantlle Ridge could be seen, but Snowdon only appeared fleetingly. The return route headed towards the waterworks below the quarries and then contoured round the quarries to the main quarry track. After exploring some of the impressive quarry workings we visited the summit of Moel Tryfan, where a plaque informed us the Charles Darwin had visited the location to study the rock formations.
The star bird, only heard, was the first Cuckoo of the year. This was a week later than last year. Other birds seen or heard included: Buzzard, Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, Wheatear, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Raven, Robin, Skylark and Chaffinch. The only animal of note was a Common Lizard seen near to the forest wall on the approach to Mynydd Mawr. Plenty of moths were seen around the heather, but alas none of could identify them. Flowers were also well represented.
After walks drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Holywell Common and Holywell Racecourse

Date: 10th May 2007

The Pen y Ball Monument

The Bluebell Wood

Walk stats:

Distance: 12.3 miles; Climb: 1881'; Time: 5 hours 17 minutes; Walking average: 2.7 m.p.h.

Group: Martyn, Richard, Celia, Michel and Gordon.

This was a in better weather conditions than we expected. It was dry throughout, mainly with cloud covering, but with some good sunny spells especially after lunch. The down side was the somewhat cool blustery wind. The walk was primarily to attempt the complete circuit of the old Holywell Racecourse with an extension to revisit the Bluebell wood just outside Gorsedd/Lloc. The latter was still in full glory, although the colour of some of the blooms seemed to starting to fail. Nevertheless that wonderful carpet of blue throughout the wood never fails to impress. Spring flowers were still abundant making this a magnificent time to walk in the countryside. The star bird seen and heard on this was the Yellowhammer. We must have heard about 15 separate birds singing their characteristic "little bit of bread and no cheese". This was the first sighting of this bird this year for us. Other birds seen/heard included: Buzzard, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Willow warbler (more numerous than the Yellowhammer), Carrion crow, Woodpidgeon, Blackbird, Robin, House sparrow, Hedge Sparrow, Swallow and Great tit. Still no Swift or Cuckoo!
This was also a good day for rabbits. They seemed to be in almost every field that we crossed. They seemed full of the joys of spring as they bounded away from us, running faster than I thought they could!
The views today were a little more extensive than last week, particularly towards the coast and towards the Clwydian Hills. The circuit of the racecourse was completed, in two halves with the visit to the Bluebell Wood in between. Some paths on the map were found to be not there on the ground, and one stile was particularly difficult to cross (I should report this to the Local authority!). An extremely friendly farmer was also encountered, allowing us to take an easier route through his farm yard, rather than going in the fields around the outside of the buildings. If only all farmers were like this!
The walk was a, little longer than usual, but still completed quicker!
As usual refreshments were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Pentre Halkyn.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Great Orme 7th May 2007

The first viewpoint of the day, overlooking the Conwy Estuary

Looking at the Chromlech on the Great Orme.

The view towards Llandudno West Shore, Deganwy and Conway.

Walk stats:

distance: 8.3 miles; Climb: 1574'; Time: 4hours 16 minutes; Walking average: 2.5 m.p.h.

Group: Martyn, Richard, Celia, Paul, Mike, Sue and Dave P.

The weather was better than expected and the rain held off throughout the walk. It was mainly overcast, with a cool refreshing breeze, but there were also several prolonged sunny spells particularly after mid-day.

The walk started by taking the lower path below the toll road across the gun enplacement. This section is frequently the location for the feral goats. Today this was no exception, with over 20 goats being observed, several with young kids. This part of the walk also the location of the Stonechat and Wheatear. Earlier we had encountered nesting Fulmars on the limestone ledges and a pair of Red-breasted Meganser on the estuary close to the shore just after embarking on the road that goes around the Great Orme. Other birds seen or heard included, Herring Gull both adult and 2nd/3rd year birds, Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull (both West and North European races), Mute Swan, Jackdaw, Raven, Common Guillemot, Meadow Pipit, Skylark and Cormorant. The flower of the day was the Early Purple Orchard, with several in full bloom on the top of the Great Orme near the limestone pavement section. The Rangers had obviously been out getting ready for the tourist season on the Orme, several new information boards had been errected at various places on the Great Orme Historical Trail, and the old wells had been marked with new wooden signs. This was a good May Day holiday walk, enjoyed by the worker present and those on permanent holiday. A good day for nature watchers, despite the lack of Dotterals! Refreshments were enjoyed by most of us at the Britannia Inn, Pentre Halkyn.

Friday, 4 May 2007

The Bluebell Wood Walk

Date: 3rd May 2007

Coed Allt-y-tywod (The Bluebell Wood)

Walk stats:
Distance: 9.4 miles; Climb: 835'; Time: 4 hours 30 minutes; walking average: 2.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Celia, Gordon, Michel and Richard.
This was a walk that displayed Bluebells in their full glory, particularly in Coed allt-y-tywod, the first of the three woods on this walk. We did well to visit the woods a couple of weeks earlier than usual to catch the Bluebells at their best. Other flowers of note were the Early Purple Orchid, again in the same location they were last year. The shock of the day was the forest devastation around the Watch Tower. This now exposed location of the tower should have given us the views for which the tower was built. Alas the sunny hazy conditions meant that distant views were unclear and left much to the imagination, giving us an excuse to revisit the place in the future. On route several birds were heard or seen including Greenfinch, Buzzard, Grey heron, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Blackbird, Carrion crow, Rook, Robin, Song thrush, Dunnock, House sparrow, Swallow, Jackdaw, Moorhen, but he star birds of the day were two House martins skimming the edge of a pond for mud. Rabbits were in abundance and one Brown hare was seen. Two Badger latrines were encountered on paths. Overall this was a very pleasant walk, even the locals encountered were helpful!

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Dates and Walks May 2007

Updated 24th May 2007

Thursday 3rd May 2007

Coed y Garreg, Coed Pen-y-Gelli and Maen Achwyfan.

Distance: 9 - 10 miles.

Climb: About 1000' (at a guess!).

Start: Lloc/Gorsedd. Roadside parking at Grid ref: SJ145165.

To get to the car parking area, take the A55 as far as the junction for Trelawnyd/Dyserth, signposted A5151. However this time after crossing over the A55 at the first roundabout take the A5026 to Gorsedd (May also be signposted Holywell). Follow this road for about 1 mile to Lloc. Just after the village sign Lloc, the road bears left then right. After about 100 yards there is a garage on the left. Opposite the garage turn right in fron of a pub into a one way street, and park on the left side of the road adjacent to a stone wall (houses on the right).

Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m. and meet in the parking place. Most people should know the parking place, its the same place that we parked on several occasions last year and the year before.

This is the first of the Bluebell Woods walks. The main Bluebell Wood is Coed y Garreg which is at the start of the walk. The walk combines two of Dave Berry's walks from his book "Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountain". The first walk is the one we usually start at Lloc, and also visits a local nature reserve (an old quarry) Coed Pen-y-Gelli. This is essentially the Bluebell Walk! The second walk is one we normally start from Whitford and visits two ancient monuments. These are Maen Achwyfan and an old stone watch tower.

Monday 7th May 2007

The Great Orme.
Distance: 9 miles.
Climb: 1000'.
Start at Southern end of West Parade. Grid ref: SH774815. Roadside parking adjacent to the boating lake.
This is a walk that we have done several times before, and is a very pleasant walk that avoids most of the tourists that may be visiting Llandudno on the May bank holiday. The walk also goes past the old copper mine, now a visitor attraction (well worth a visit if you haven't been before). It is another walk that continues our search for he Dotterel, so bring your binoculars with you. We're more likely to see "wild goats". However there will be plenty of opportunity to see other birds on the walk too!
Thursday 10th May 2007
Jamie and Mel Eunson announced the arrival of their son Geraint Alisdair.
He weighed in at just over 7 lb.
Both mother and baby are well and hope to be going home early next week.
Thursday 1oth May
Holywell Common, Holwell Racecourse and More
Distance: 10 miles.
Climb: Unknown!
Start: The Crooked Horn Inn car park, Brynford. Grid ref: SJ186741. Parking is allowed. Park near the roadside close to the inn sign.
This is a variation on he walk that we have done several times, but this time it is hoped that we can complete the whole circuit of the racecourse. We also have the opportunity to visit the Bluebell Wood, Coed y Garreg, if we think that a second visit is worth it. It will mean that we have to retrace our steps a little in order to do so. The walk also visits the Pen y Ball monument, another good viewpoint.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m. and meet at the Crooked Inn. To get to the Crooked Horn Inn follow the A55. Exit at the Penre Halkyn/Britannia Inn turn off (B5123). Follow this road past the Brittania, and keep straight on at the first junction. When the road takes a right turn down to the A55, keep straight on (a left turn) for Brynford. The Crooked Horn Inn is on the right just after a mile.
Saturday 12th May 2007
Mynydd Mawr and the Kate Roberts Walk.
Distance: 7 - 8 miles.
Climb: 2350'.
Start at the viewpoint car park adjacent to the Kate Roberts Memorial Plaque.
Grid ref: SH515584.
To get to the car park, assuming that you are approaching on the Caernarfon to Waun Fawr Road. It is on the minor road from Waun Fawr to Rhosgadfan. Take the minor road on the right, just after passing the Snowdonia Park Hotel. Follow the minor road uphill, and the parking area is a few hundred yards after crossing a cattle grid, just as the views open up.
This is a walk that we have done several times, and gives wonderful views of the Snowdon Range, Nantlle Ridge and the Hebog Range, as well as coastal views to mid-Wales and the Lleyn Peninusla. This is indeed a walk that offers all round views, a walk that gives testimony to the beauty of the Welsh countryside!
Leave Chester at 8-30 a.m.
Thursday 17th May 2007
No group walk. I decided not to walk since it hadn't stopped raining by 10-45 a.m. Only Richard went in the end!
Saturday 19th May 2007.
Can't walk - a builder is coming round to fix the roof, providing the weather is OK. The forecast at the moment seems quite promising. It looks as though I'll have to watch the Test Match. I suppose without Lara, England do have a chance of winning.
Thursday 24th May 2007
Clywedog Reservoir and Foel Uchaf.
Distance: 9 miles.
Climb: 1500' + (at a guess)
Start: Cyffylliog village centre (the road on the left after passing the school seems the best option.
Cyffylliog is located by taking the first turning on the right off the B5105, just after Llanfwrog church. Parking is not easy in Cyffylliog, so I suggest that we meet at the Love Lanecar park in Mold. Grid ref: SJ239642, and then take as few cars as possible.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m. and meet at the Love Lane car park.
The walk is taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Hiraethog Moors and Lakes". We have done the walk once before, but on a Saturday. It seemed quite a good walk, so I thought that it would be worth repeating again. It is described as a stretched figure of eight walk featuring attractive wooded river valleys, open hills, forest, a scenic upland reservoir and excellent views. What more could you ask for in a walk? There is an excellent lunch spot, with plenty of seats available alongside the Clywedog Reservoir. Without a dog that wouldn't go over stiles, progress should be easier! Hopefully without the presence of a rival dog, we won't be attacked by the local dogs this time! Lekis recommended just in case!
Saturday 26th May 2007
Lathkill Dale and More.
Distance: 7.25 miles (+ 3.75 mile extension if desired)
Climb: 1000' (+ a little extra!)
Start: Moor lane Car Park, Youlgreave. Grid ref: SK194644.
To get to Youlgreave take the A51 from Chester to Nantwich and then the A500 to Stoke-on-Trent. Once near the Potteries take the A53 to Leek. At Leek take the A523 to Ashbourne. At Ashbourne take the A515 towards Buxton through Fenny Bentley, Parwich to Newhaven. At Newhaven turn right onto the A5012 towards Matlock, but then turn almost straight away left towards Friden and Youlgreave. Keep straight on this road, ignoring any right turns, including the one to Middleton. (This keeping straight on might appear as a left turn off the main Middleton/Youlgreave Road. Keep on until a T-junction is reached (just after a minor cross-roads). Turn right at the T-junction. The car park is on a side road on the right after about 150 yards.
This is one of the classic White Peak walks. It is one we have done before, but is one well worth repeating. The extension, if completed follows the Lathkill Dale to its end and onto Monyash, past The Hobbit , and then follows the Limestone way back to the car park.
Leave Chester at 8-00 a.m. If need be we could meet at Celia's and go in convoy (let me know if you want to go in convoy).
Thursday 31st May
Bryn Alyn and More!
Distance: 7 miles (+ whatever we do in exploring the environment around the route).
Climb: about 1500' (at a guess).
Start: Large layby on the A494 Mold to Ruthin road 0.5 miles south of Llanferres.
This a walk based on Dave Berry's booklet "More Walks on the Clwydian Hills". It explores the varied countryside between the old lead mining villages of Maeshafn and Eryrys. Highlight includes impressive limestone scenery, pastureland and attractive woodlandsgood. The views of the Clwtdian Hills towards Moel Fammau are superb, weather permitting. This walk is shortern than some we have completed of late, but it does allow us to do some exploring around Nercwys Mountain (home of Nightjar and Woodcock) and Bryn Allen (known locally as Pothole Mountain) . Wild flowers asscociated with limestone should be in evidence in the Bryn Allen area.
After walk drinks will probably be at the Miners Arms at Maeshafn.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m. and meet in the layby at Llanferres.