About Me

When? Started: 1993 Who? Started with staff and friends from U H S, Chester. Organiser: Martyn Harris We walk every Thursday 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 Thursday than on a Saturday. Most ever: 29. Numbers walking: 2-12, and usually about 8 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.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Lady Bagot's Drive with St. Christopher's Blessing 26th May 2016

On the Clwydian Way and lady Bagot's Drive through Coed y Nant.
A few Bluebells left on the Northern edge of Coed y Nant.
The Clwydian Hills with Moel Famau still not fully clear of cloud.
Flag Iris with a Common coot on the far side of the pond.
Welsh Mountain sheep / Berwyn sheep with one quite large lamb.
Moel famau from our lunch spot by the Afon Clywedog North west of Rhewl.
Red campion near our lunch spot.
The Clwydian Hills from the banks of the Afon Clwyd  South east of Llanynys.
Clwyd hall fro the banks of the Afon Clwyd North east of Rhewl.
Walk stats: Distance: 11.5miles. Climb:450'.
Time: 5 hours 56 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Annie, Phil and David S.
An overcast day was forecast, but thankfully no rain. It did get somewhat humid towards the end of the walk, just as our legs were beginning to flag. Underfoot was a lot better than we have often experienced on this walk, our only "problem" was the long wet grass and sections of stinging nettles waiting for anyone weary shorts! Finding a dry place to sit for lunch  wasn't easy, two of us sat either side of a stile, while the others sat on the protruding rots of a large tree.
 In Coed y Nant Ramsons were the dominant flower, but several fields had plenty of Daisies and Buttercups, and seeing the Flag iris was a bonus.
 The return route along the banks of the Afon Clwyd seems like a never ending stretch with the church spire seeming not to get any nearer even wghen we knew it must be. We arrived back at the car with Roger declaring his was "dead" and David S declaring he was "worn out". We'll be doing six milers next!
 Birds seen or heard today included: Collared dove, Woodpigeon, Barn swallow, Common blackbird, House sparrow, Pied wagtail, Grey wagtail, Mallard including one tiny duckling, Common starling, Goldfinch, Dipper, Common buzzard, Lapwing, Song thrush, European robin, Blue tit and Common chaffinch.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Ruthin Castle Hotel where Sharp's Doom Bar bitter went down well and we were all glad to take the weight of our feet for a while before the drive home.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Walks and Dates May 2016

Updated on 25th April with errors remedied.
Thursday 5th May 2016.
Coed Pen-y-Gelli and the Gorsedd Round.
The First Bluebell Wood Walk of the Year.
Distance:11-12 miles. Climb:1050’.
Start: Roadside parking at Lloc. If approaching from Holywell on the A5026, turn left by the public house (now a private house) into St Asaph Road. Park in left. If approaching on the A5026 from its nearest junction with the A55 (Prestatyn junction), Turn right in front of the public house (now a private house) into St Asaph Road. This is just after the the Pant Y Wacco sign and the road starts to bear left. St Asaph Road is one way and can only be approached from then A5026.
Grid ref:SJ145765.
This is a annual Bluebell Wood Walk, and is effectively a figure of eight walk based on Lloc. This walk combines two walks from Dave Berry’s book “ Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountain”.  The walk will probably nearer 10 miles as we will only complete a small section of the Gorsedd Round.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
Saturday 7th May 2016.
Bluebell Woods Around Parbold. 
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 800'.
Start: Hunter's Hill Quarry Nature Reserve. Grid ref: SD503123
Leave Chester at 08-45 a.m.
This walk is a walk that we did for the first time last year. This walk is on the East of Parbold, and visits up to ten different woods, so hopefully some will still have Bluebells on show.  The walk also includes part of the Leeds - Liverpool Canal as far as Appley Bridge. This is a walk that we have done a couple of times now. There is no description, just the OS map.  The walk includes a section around Anderton Mill and High Moor. Last time the Bluebells and wild garlic in Fairy Glen were quite stunning. Bring binoculars with you just in case.
Thursday 12th May 2016.
Eglwyseg Escarpment and Trevor Rocks.
Distance:9-10 miles. Climb:1200'.
Start: Off road parking on the Panorama road just East of the monument. Grid ref: SJ247426.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This must be one of the best walks in the Llangollen area, especially on a sunny day. a walk that makes you feel like you're  on top of the world with superb views in all directions, including the Dee Valley, Dinas Bran, the Llantysilio Mountains and the Berwyns. Always a favourite walk and on the
list at least once every year. Good whatever the time of the year. We might even hear a Cuckoo!
Saturday 14th May 2016.
The Lawley and Caer Caradoc.Postponed
Distance:10 miles; Climb:2000'.
Start:Church Stretton centre car park (pay and display). Grid ref:SO454911.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
It's Dotterel time again, so this is another walk that may give us the chance of seeing them again. The walk combines two walks taken from Ian Jones' booklet "20 Walks From Church Stretton".It is a walk that we first did in 1998 and have done several times since then. This is a superb walk, especially on a good day. It is the nearest that you can get to a ridge walk, particularly along the Lawley!
Thursday 19th May 2016.
Moel Fferna and Nant-y-Pandy.
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb: 2000’.
Start: Lay-by adjacent to the Butterfly Man Craft Centre on the A5 Llangollen to Corwen road near Glyndyfrdwy. Grid ref:SJ11584360.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
The described part of the walk is taken from Dave Berry’s book “Walks Around Llangollen and the Dee Valley”. He describes it as a fascinating walk through the wooded Nant-y-Pandy with its old slate works.  The extension takes us to the summit of Moel Fferna, let’s hope for a good day so that we can linger on the top and taken in the excellent views.
Saturday 21st May 2016.
Holyhead Breakwater Country Park and South Stack.
Distance:10 miles. Climb:1326'.
Start: Holyhead Breakwater Country Park (Pay and Display). SH225833
Leave Chester 8-30 a.m.
This is another walk that has become an annual favourite. Along the coastal section there should be  good chances of seeing Choughs, Guillemots, Razorbills and even Puffins. Bring binoculars if you can. If time and energy reserves allow we may visit the summit of Holyhead Mountain.
 As we start at the Country park, we will again do the walk in a clockwise direction,  finishing the  walk along the Coastal Path.
Thursday 26th May 2016.
Lady Bagot's Drive with St Christopher's Blessing.
Distance:10-11 miles. Climb: 500'.
Start: Ruthin Riverside Car park (Pay and display). Grid ref: SJ121582.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This walk combines two walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks in the Vale of Clwyd".  We have completed this walk many times before in all sorts of weather conditions. Conditions underfoot have been particularly challenging after lots of rain and the Afon Clwyd is in spate.  We didn't see Kingfishers last year, so hopefully we may this year..
Saturday 28th May 2016.
Rowen, Llanbedre-y-cennin and Caerhun.
Cancelled - may be included later in the year.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb:1500'.
Start: Roadside parking opposite the post office in Rowen. Grid ref: SH761719.
Leave Chester 08-00 a.m.
This walk combines one walk from Carl Rogers's book "Walkng in the Conwy valley with one walk from Dave Berry's book " Walks Around Betws-y-coed and the Conwy Valley". One walk is described as a walk exploring the attractive undulating countryside between two attractive villages with a possible extension to the top of Moel y Gaer.  The other walk is described as an easy walk, visiting a Medieval church and a the site of a Roman fort. Both Llanbedr-y-cennin and Caerhun are known locations for Hawfinch.  Will we be lucky this time! Bring binoculars, just in case.
Last time we attempted this walk, two of us chickened out of the Caerhun part as the weather wa so bad, hopefully the weather this time will be a little better than on that January day!

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Holyhead breakwater Country Park and More 21st May 2016

Some of the many Bluebells seen today.
Distant views of Holyhead Mountain.
A natural arch South east of Porth Rufydd.
More coastal scenery in the South Stacks Cliffs nature Reserve.
Looking acros Abraham's Bosom towards South Stack Lighthouse and Ellin's Tower.
One of the Round Houses in the ancient Hut Circle East of Ellin's Tower.
Approaching on the cliff top path .
Guillemots on the cliffs at South Stacks.
Near back at the Holyhead Breakwater Country Park.
Walk stats: Distance: 10.4 miles. Climb: Slightly wind assisted 1450', probably nearer 1000'.
Time: 5 hours 53 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike.
We arrived at the Country Park later than usual in order to avoid the rain that had been forecast up to about 11-00, and set off just before 11-00 in bright sunshine but with an accompanying breeze, thankfully not to cold. This was to be the order of the day and we completed the walk without even the threat of any rain.
 Surprisingly this was another day for seeing Bluebells, mainly along hedgerows with other Spring flowers showing well. We saw one field that was white over with a mass of Daisies and one nearby bright yellow, this time covered in Buttercups. On the coast it was Thrift that came in to prominence.
 Lunch was taken, just as we approach the coast with distant views of the coast towards the South east and Porth Dafarch.  As we had lunch a Brown hare came within about 50' of us and a little further away a pair Chough foraged on the ground.
 Willow warblers were singing almost everywhere along the more inland section of the walk and several Skylarks were singing overhead as we walked through The range and the South Stacks Cliffs Nature Reserve.
 As we approached Ellin's Tower we decided to visit the ancient Hut Circles, and were surprised to see the remains of so many round huts.
 Once again we didn't see any Puffins, but there was plenty of Razorbills and Guillemots on the cliffs.
 Our returned route took us South of Holyhead Mountain, chosen as it would shelter us a little from the onshore breeze.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Herring gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Oystercatcher, Eurasian curlew, Black-billed magpie, Red-billed chough, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Common blackbird, Mallard, Skylark, Meadow pipit, Starling, Barn swallow, Guillemot and Razorbill.
 We arrived at the car, having had a good walk, and thankful that we had managed to take advantage of the best part of the day.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Bluebell Inn at Halkyn, where and IPA and Magpie Bitter were sampled as was a Perry when I got home.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Nant y Pandy and More 19th May 2016

Part of the delightful walk by Nant y Pandy.
Looking up the valley towards the upper reaches of  Nant y Pandy and the Cuckoo calling.
The startn of an unexpected climb for some.
More trekking through bilberries rather than a being on a path.
Exiting the lunch spot of choice foe most of the group - convenient tree stumps.
"Is that Sue P on top of her favourite Llantysilio Mountains"
Who can resist a steam train? This one heading for Carrog and Corwen
Walk stats: Distance: 7.9 miles. Climb: 1285'.
Time: 4 hours 45 minutes. ON the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Michel, Tim, Phil, David S., Celia and Paul.
We set off, hoping that the sunshine would last and the rain forecast for later in the day would hold off until after we had got back to the car.
 We were soon on the gentle climb through the Nant y Pandy, hoping to see a Dipper, but even better Michel glimpsed a blue flash, possibly a Kingfisher flying up stream. Once again a few Bluebells were still showing in parts of the valley.
 Heading for the moorland, we took a path a little earlier than usual, one that climbed gently alongside a fence up to the moor. This was when we heard the Cuckoo calling and at one point some of were within about 20' or so and I was able to see it fly from a tree heading towards the upper reaches of Nant y Pandy.
 The "path/track" over the moors wasn't easy to follow, but got a little better as it turned North west alongside a fence and went uphill.
 Time was slipping by and when we came to the point where a decision about Moel Fferna needed to take place, we had arrived at the Southern entrance to the Carrog Plantation and decided to have lunch instead. 
 After lunch Paul set off on the last part of the described route back to Glyndfrdwy while we contemplated which route the rest of would take, having unanimously decided a visit to the summit of Moel Fferna was not one of them.
 With rain threatening, we decided to head after Paul, and soon caught up with him. About a mile further on we decided to head back to Nant y Pandy and take the path past Dreboeth back to the car. Paul continued on the shorter route to  Glyndfrdwy, with David S warning him to avoid a slippy moss covered section of the path and walk down the field edge on the right. Unfortunately Paul failed to heed the warning and slipped over. Unfortunately his attempts to phone us fell on deaf ears, thankfully he was able to continue on his way.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Greenfinch, House sparrow, Blue tit, Barn swallow, Meadow pipit, Treecreeper, Wheatear, Cuckoo, Chaffinch, Blackcap, Carrion crow, Common pheasant and possibly a Kingfisher.
 We arrived back at the car, having had a a good walk, still dry, and all the better for the fact that Tim had been able to join us for the first time after the move to the Midlands.
 After walk drinks were enjoye at the Pant Yr Ochain at Gresford, where Purple Moose, Snowdonia Ale went down well and Celia could enjoy her crisps, even if she did buy them herself. We were also quite grateful for seats near a roaring fire as the temperature had plummeted with the rain as we arrived at the entrance to the hostelry.
 It rained even more as I arrived home, and sat in my car for ten minutes to allow it to ease off a little before getting out and running to my front door.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Trevor Rocks and the Eglwyseg Escarpments 12th May 2016

A raven, not the bird of the day, but still good to see so close.
Our first view of Dinas Bran.
The route ahead on top of the escarpment.
Michel on top of the world.
A good vantage pouint for Dinas Bran and Llangollen below.
A delightful flower between the heather on the moorland.
One of the many Meadow pipits seen today.
The Llantysilio Mountains from the escarpment.
Another view of the Llantysilio Mountains.
Wendy leading the way across the top of Trevor Rocks.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.1 miles. Climb: 1507'.
Time: 5 hours 39 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Phil and Wendy.
 This was a glorious day for walking and Phil persuaded us to complete the walk in a clockwise direction for a change. This meant that the mile of road walking was done at the start of the walk instead of at the end.
 Walking in this direction gave us slightly different views than our normal route and made some of the path finding easier. Having said that, some of us still had to do a little heather hopping to make sure we would rendezvous with the Pelissier who had opted for a slightly lower path.
 Willow warblers and Meadow pipits were around in abundance, but the bird of the day was the Cuckoo, unfortunately only heard, but we did hear it at least eight times from early in the walk until near the very end. The calls came from several different locations and probably meant the we were hearing more than one bird. I don't recall hearing the Cuckoos so many times on one walk. We have had Dipper days in the past, today was a Cuckoo day. Skylarks singing too was another delight of this walk.
 Lunch was taken towards the Northern end of the escarpments, with good views if somewhat hazy towards the Llantysilio Mountains, the Berwens and Llandegla Moors.
 The return route across the more open moorland was somewhat tedious at times, but improved as we approached Trevor Rocks.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Raven, Meadow pipit, Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Common buzzard, Red grouse, Pied wagtail, Skylark, Stonechat, Common whitethroat and Wheatear.
 The walk took a little longer than usual, but on such a good day this was a day when the walk was not to be rushed.
 We arrived back at the car, happy to have had a superb walk and looking forward to a refreshing after walk drink at the Pant yr Ochain at Gresford. Purple Moose, Snowdonia Ale went down particularly well as we sat in the shade in the garden at the Pant yr Ochain.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

A Bluebell Wood Walk Around Parbold 7th May 2016

The church spire on Parbold Hill ahead.
The first of the banks of Bluebells, but the best is yet to come.
Some of the abundant Ransoms in flower seen today.
Cows and calves resting in the Sun.
The memorial at the site of the ancient Douglas  Chapel South close to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal East of Parbold.
A browm hare on the run.
A Lapwing taking issue with a Brown hare.
The Leed-Liverpool Canal, from Bridge 40 looking towards Appley Bridge.
One of the better banks of Bluebells.
Lambs enjoying time together in the Sun.
Bluebells in Fairy Glen as we entered at its Southern end.
Bluebells at the old windmill on Harrock Hill
Our final view from Hunter's Hill Quarry Nature Reserve, not the clearest that you will ever see!
Walk stats: Distance: 10.8 miles. Climb: 957'.
Time: 6 hours 23 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike.
This was good day for walking, perhaps a little too warm at times when the pleasant cooling breeze ceased. Definitely a shorts day and one that I regret not bringing my platypus out of hibernation.
 Bluebells in some places were magnificent, much better than those we had seen last Thursday around Lloc. We saw many more Spring flowers too and the Ransoms seemed to be at their best. Conditions were such that we could even smell the Bluebells as we walked through Fairy Glen.
 We explore one or two more paths and one took us through a delightful collection of properties associated with the Ancient Douglas Chapel that ceased use in the eighteen century.
 Perhaps the highlight of the day was watching a Brown hare running in a field and at one time being harassed by a Lapwing.
 A leisurely lunch was taken by the Leeds-Liverpool Canal at  Appley Bridge, it was so pleasant sitting their, disturbed only by the occasion passing narrow boat and cyclists on the tow path.
 As ever the final climb up Bannister Lane back to Hunter's Hill Quarry NR seemed steeper than it really is, but we arrived back at the car glad that we could take the weight off our feet and that the forecast thunder storm had not materialised.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Common blackbird, Lapwing, Eurasian curlew, Wood nuthatch, Common pheasant, Greenfinch, Blackcap, Common whitethroat, Blue tit, Song thrush, House sparrow, Long-tailed tit, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion crow and Great tit.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Netherton Hall, Frodsham. A very generously sizes pot of tea made sue that my thirst was truly quenched before a fresh barrel of Lees Bitter was put on tap and could be sampled. A pint worth waiting for, and much better than the Manchester Pale Ale that Mike had at the start.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Coed Pen-y-Gelli and a Gorsedd Round 5th May 2016

The main objective of the walk today - seeing Bluebells.
A few Bluebells in Coed Allt-tywood.
Crossing a new stile into Coed-y-Garreg.
Cowslips seen today, heading East to Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
Early purple orchids near the path as we headed East to Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
Bluebells in Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
Wood anemone in Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
Entering Coed Pen-y-Gelli Nature Reserve, our lunch spot for the day.
The site of an old lime kiln on the East of Gorsedd.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.9 miles. Climb: 593'.
Time: 4 hours 53 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Phil, Paul, Wendy and Celia.
This was a glorious day for walking, a little too warm and sunny if anything, but still a great day to be out walking. 
 This was first of out designated Bluebell wood walks, but alas they hadn't reached their peak yet. Nevertheless we did see many other Spring flowers to cheer us up and plenty of birds singing too.
 Except for one spot, the ground was very dry underfoot, meaning that most of had to clean the upper parts of our boots when we got home.
 Lunch was take in the Coed Pen-y-Gelli Quarry Nature Reserve, where we could take advantage of the lowest limestone edge in the workings to use as a seat., and the nearby ants didn't seem to mind too much!
 After lunch, Paul left as us we approached the cars, and the rest of us completed a shorter version of the Gorsedd Round using new (to us) footpaths and lanes.
 Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Goldfinch, Common blackbird, Woodpigeon, Collared dove, Common pheasant, Barn swallow, Blue tit, Great tit, Greylag goose, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Black-billed magpie, Wheatear, Rook, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Carrion crow and Jackdaw.
 We all arrived back at the car, happy that the walk had been shorter than the whole route of 12-13 miles, and glad to realise that we would be home relatively early. 
 After walk drinks enjoyed at the Bluebell Inn at Halkyn, where the Apple Jack, Somerset cider went down particularly well, well worth the five minute wait till 15-00 when the door was opened,