Archive of Holiday Reports 2018 to date





1066 Country Walk – 18 to 21 September 2023

The 1066 Country Walk has been on the map for some time but thanks to a £160,000 grant from the European Union, Rother District Council have completely revamped the trail with improved signage, new information boards and ten large-scale wooden sculptures by local artist Keith Pettit, placed along the 31-mile trail from Pevensey to Rye.  The ceremony to re-launch the trail was on 15th October 2021.  Websites describe the walk as “a relatively easy low-level route through countryside that witnessed the Norman Conquest.”  That word “relatively” carries a lot of weight.  Parts of the High Weald are quite seriously hilly, though it has-to-be said that the hills are not very long, they just seem very long at the end of the day, or even in the middle of the day for some of the group.  See the route profile below to see just how hilly it is!  Day One of the holiday started well as we sat on the train outside Pevensey for 50 minutes waiting for a tree that had been blown down to be cleared.  That fortunate delay meant that we were not rained on as we walked through the grounds of Pevensey Castle to the start of the trail.  Given the generally grim forecast for the week, we were lucky to be hardly rained-on at all during the four days of the holiday.  The wind was fierce on the first two days but was only really-noticeable on the first day as we crossed the Pevensey Levels.  In the afternoon the sun came out and we made good progress to reach Boreham Street for the coach to pick us up only ten-minutes behind schedule, given that we had started out over an hour late.  The stretch from Herstmonceux Church to Boreham Street involved a lot of stiles.  For the rest of the route there were mostly new metal gates, some of the kissing variety but mostly simple open and shut models.  European Union money well-spent, stiles can be hard work.  The High Weald is always lovely to walk through.  Our picnic on the second day was taken at the top of very taxing hill behind some trees and shrubs that sheltered us from the wind and afforded us a wide view across the countryside that we had just walked through.  On the third day, many of us got soaking wet as we walked to the lay by at Cuilfail where we boarded the coach to take us back to Battle. That rain cleared away and the wind had dropped.  It was good walking weather and the walking was good.  Our picnic was taken seated on the benches outside the handily-placed pavilion of Westfield Cricket Club before we tackled more of those “easy” hills.  After nine gruelling miles we arrived at the Queens Head in Icklesham with just enough time for a well-deserved drink before catching the bus to Rye. The view from the garden is huge.  As we sat drinking our drinks and admiring the view, we all commented on the morose attitude of the man who had served us, duly christened “Mr Grumpy.”  It was not that he was actively bad-tempered or rude, he was just totally dead-pan.  Was he always like that or was he just having a bad day?  Who knows?  The River Haven Hotel in Rye served us well.  The staff were lovely and the evening meal was excellent.  The huge breakfast on the following day got us off to a good start.  The route from Icklesham took us past the studio owned by Paul McCartney and the graveyard in Winchelsea where Spike Milligan is buried.  The most immediately striking feature as you enter Winchelsea Church are the stained-glass windows which are a war memorial, a gift of Lord Blanesburgh, designed by Douglas Strachan and dedicated in October 1933.  They are quite lovely, lighting up the huge interior to stunning effect.  The 1066 Country Walk is easy to follow thanks to the frequent way marks.  The new information boards are excellent and the sculptures all fit in perfectly.  All-in-all, it was a most enjoyable, if at times quite tiring, holiday organised and led by Graham and Hilda.

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Pictures by Vivien, Anita, Peter, and Graham





            The start at Pevensey Castle




Pevensey Levels – Flat and Full of Sheep



        Legacies – Lower Snailham Farm




             Farbanks Henge – Pattletons Farm




                      A not very flattering sign



The Watcher – Wickham Manor Farm




              Smart new sign – half way there






 See, the High Weald really is very hilly -



   - but the views are worth the climb





         Paul McCartney’s Studio and Windmill




  Utterly Gorgeous Stained-Glass Window



           Lighting up the inside of the church


Gower Peninsula – 22 to 26 April 2023

On April 22nd, 22 members of the Footpaths Group boarded a coach at Lewes Railway Station which was driving us to the Gower Peninsula for a five-day holiday. We were staying at the 4* Pilot Hotel in Llanelli on a half-board basis. On the first day, we walked along the coast to Mumbles where we had free time to look around the town.

Unfortunately, on the second day, our coach was blocked by cars in the hotel car park so we had a change of plan and walked along the old railway line from our hotel to Swiss Valley Reservoir. The following day, we drove by coach to Laugharne and visited the famous boathouse where Dylan Thomas lived during the last four years of his life and where he wrote many of his poems. We also found Dylan’s grave at St Martin’s Church, Laugharne and his regular watering hole, Browns Hotel. After looking around the town, we walked to Carmarthen Bay - one of the most famous views in Wales.

On our last day, we followed a breathtakingly beautiful coastal path to the iconic Worm’s Head and the magical views of Rhossili with its many wild ponies grazing peacefully by the coast. We had time to enjoy a drink and an ice cream before returning home. That evening, after supper, most of us enjoyed live country music in the hotel conservatory.

Throughout the holiday, were accompanied by a lovely local guide who was a fund of knowledge and had a wealth of stories about the places we visited.

The holiday was arranged by Margaret and admirably supported by “Involved Holidays.”

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Pictures by Margaret





                Mumbles Lifeboat Station



                     Laugharne Castle



                A Poet’s Grave






              Worm’s Head – perfectly positioned





                A perfectly placid wild pony






                     Group Photo


YORKSHIRE DALES - 29 July – 5 August 2022

Despite the attempts of Southern Rail to undermine our journey, seventeen of us made our way on the four-train journey to Skipton, and thence to HF’s Newfield Hall in Malhamdale in the Yorkshire Dales. We were introduced to our guide for the week, Anne, a redoubtable lady of similar advancing years to ourselves. The following day, we started at Settle vintage station, taking the train to Ribblehead. Here we were exposed to something rarely seen of late in Sussex – RAIN! And plenty of it, for most of the day. This somewhat marred our views of the Ribblehead viaduct and entailed some of us having to eat our picnic lunch in a smelly cowshed. Others waited till we got back to the pub in Ribblehead, where we dried out, before returning to the village of Settle. The rain had stopped and we could explore this charming place.

On the following day, we walked along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to Saltaire, where we admired the spectacular textile mill built by Titus Salt in 1876, now converted into a cultural hub cum eatery with a huge number of David Hockney paintings on display. The highlight was a Hockney frieze, going the whole length and back of the top floor, showing the changes in a year in Normandy. The mill, together with the model village that Salt built for his workers form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On Tuesday, we visited the massive ruins of Fountains Abbey, where an enthusiastic local guide showed us round the different parts of the abbey and told of the deeds and misdeeds of the monks. From the Abbey, we walked to the adjacent Studley Royal water gardens, which with the Abbey comprise another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The following day, we visited the picturesque tiny village of Linton, its church with seats, each engraved with a mouse by Robert Mouseman Thompson, and the more touristy Grassington. We had our picnic lunch by the lovely River Wharfe, followed by a four-mile walk along the river to Bolton Abbey. Just before the abbey, there are some rather hazardous stepping-stones across the river, with several of them missing. Despite this, a foolhardy man attempted to cross them with a toddler in his arms. He succeeded, but only with great difficulty and assisted by his wife. After viewing this spectacle, we were able to enjoy the abbey church with its stained-glass windows.

Our final day’s walk took us through magnificent scenery, starting from Malham Tarn, allegedly the highest lake in England. We followed the Pennine Way to the limestone pavement above Malham Cove, before descending to the Aire valley in Malham. En route we made a detour to view the spectacular vertical rock face of the cliffs (gawping at the exploits of the rock climbers) and waterfalls of Gordale Scar.

The scenery in the Yorkshire Dales is wonderful, quite different from the Sussex Downs, smaller and greener fields, dry stone walls, craggy hills and sheep, sheep, sheep (and cows). We were treated very well at Newfield Hall, with excellent food and service. We returned on our four trains with many happy memories of an enjoyable week.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Go to Holiday Index


Pictures by Alan




       The Beautiful Ribble Valley


    Hockney Frieze – A Year in Normandy




















      Old Mill at Airton on the River Aire

Limestone Pavement – Malham Cove




                  Gordale Scar



               Group outside Newfield Hall


HIGH WEALD LANDSCAPE TRAIL – The Final Push – 19 to 21 April 2022

On the 21st of April 2017 we began a two and a half day walking holiday along the High Weald Landscape Trail, a long-distance path stretching from Horsham to Rye.  In 2018 we reached Eridge Green and in 2019 we reached Benenden.  This holiday was to finish the trail, arriving at Rye on the 21st of April, five years to the day after starting out. The holiday in 2017 was notable for the profusion of bluebells and they were no less apparent this time.  However, in this part of the High Weald, ramsons are equally prolific, not least in the magical Tilder Gill, where the stream has carved a deep cleft in the countryside and the extensive white carpet of the ramsons looked utterly wonderful.  Also in evidence along the trail were wood anemones, ladies’ smock, stitchwort, garlic mustard and quite a few early purple orchids.  Singing away above were great tits, robins, wrens, chaffinches, blackbirds, song thrushes, chiffchaffs, blackcaps, a green woodpecker and one very notable nuthatch.  Butterflies were not that abundant but there were several sightings of speckled wood, orange tip, small white and one small tortoiseshell. (Thanks Vivien) The whole of the trail enjoys the comely delights of the High Weald, rightly designated an area of outstanding natural beauty, and this section did not disappoint. It was a pleasure to walk through this gently rolling  landscape and even the toil up the occasional steepish hill was worth the views from the top. From Benenden, on the first day, we walked the seven miles to Tenterden.  On the second day, from Tenterden, some chose to stop off at Small Hythe and some to stop at Wittersham, taking advantage of a taxi ride back to the Flackley Ash Hotel, our base for the holiday. The majority completed the nine-mile hike where the hot tub in the hotel was a welcome way to soothe the tired limbs. On the final day, the three-mile stroll to Rye was accomplished with time to spare for a coffee in town before collecting our luggage and taking the train back to Lewes.    And the two most abiding memories are firstly the thousands, probably tens of thousands, of lambs along the way.  They were carefully divided into fields of twins and fields of triplets, with virtually no single lambs to be seen.  Secondly, the fields of rape, an offensively-bright sea of yellow that often seemed to stretch to the horizon.  The weather was pretty-well perfect, the hotel excellent and the whole holiday most enjoyable.  Graham and Hilda were the organisers.

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         It began with bluebells                            and more bluebells







              Spring has sprung                                            again




               Now you see them – just                       Now you do not




            Ramsons in Tilder Gill                                             



LONDON TOW PATH13 to 15 September 2021

On Monday 13th September, 19 of caught the train to Teddington Station where we met our excellent guide Sophie who took us by public transport to Kew Gardens. We had an early lunch then guided tour to see a few highlights of the gardens including “the Five Lions” - all trees surviving from 1762 when the gardens were established. As we walked three miles back to Richmond, we enjoyed views of Richmond Lock and Palace among other sights.


On Tuesday 14th, we walked to Strawberry Hill for a conducted tour of this wonderful old house. After our visit, we walked along the river to see Turner’s House and Marble Hill House. A ferry took us across the river to Ham House where we enjoyed a tour of the extensive grounds by Vivien one of our members who volunteers there. After refreshments, we walked upstream and back to our hotel, the Lansbury via Teddington Lock. We had time to relax before our evening meal.


On Wednesday morning, we checked out of our hotel and walked through Bushy Park to Hampton Court Palace for an optional conducted tour of the palace which included the sumptuous Royal Chapel. We met at the jetty for a boat trip down to Richmond from where we made our way back to the hotel. There was a choice of local pubs for a late lunch before returning home. The holiday was arranged by Margaret and organised by Travel Editions.

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NORFOLK RAMBLING – Monday 1 to 6 APRIL 2019

Twenty of us travelled up to Norwich by train to start 4 days of walking in the flatlands of Norfolk.


We had excellent accommodation at the rambling Dunstan Hall Hotel for what proved to be a very cold week!


Our first walk was about 7.5 miles, taking in part of The Wherrymans Way which takes its name from the wherry, a large cargo carrying barge whose black sails were once a common side on the broads. The route ran along the banks of the River Yare through open marshes, reed beds, grazing meadows and riverside villages. We started our walk at the Saxon church at church Surlingham to the Ted Ellis Nature Reserve. Then rejoined the river before visiting the villages of Clayton and Thurton from where the bus took us back to the hotel.


On day two we walked from the hotel to the site of the Romano-British town of Venta Icenorum, an important town for both the Iceni tribe and the Romans. We then followed the Boudica Way which runs roughly parallel to the old roman ‘Pye” road. After lunch we progressed to Tasburgh to meet the bus, visiting Saxlingham Nethergate church on the way.


Day three took us by bus to Burnham Market, then through Holkham National Nature Reserve and gently downhill to the coast at Burnham Overy Staithe. We then followed the coast path alongside Burnham Creek to the vast expanse of Holkham Beach, then along the beach and through woodland to Holkham Gap ending at the pretty coastal town of Wells-next-the-Sea.


The final day saw us walking across the marshes to re-join the River Yare. We then followed the combined Weavers and Wherrymans Way along the river to Great Yarmouth from where we took a bus back to Norwich and a guided tour of the city finishing at the cathedral.


The next day we made our way home on the train.

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Northumberland Holiday - Friday 5 to 12 July 2019.

Sixteen of us caught the train up to Alnmouth, near Alnwick, for a week’s walking holiday staying at Nether Grange, the HF House, in Northumberland. Fourteen of us were doing the “Walking with Sightseeing” - option mixing short walks with visits - and two members opted for the walks programme.


We had a lovely time visiting part of Hadrian’s wall passing the famous Robin Hood tree at Sycamore Gap. Following the wall was hilly in parts but stunning views of the surrounding countryside made it all worth the effort! The  coach took us on to the superb Vindolanda - a Roman fort and museum just south of Hadrian’s wall. Back at the hotel, some people joined in the Volcano Night on the beach where competitors built sandcastles as a base for a wood fire then waited to see which one burnt longest once the tide came in.


Another beautiful walk along the River All to Alnwick gave us time to explore the formal gardens created by the Duchess of Northumberland set around a cascading fountain. Some of us went on to the famous second-hand Barter Bookshop situated in a Victorian railway station.


Monday was a free day. On Tuesday there was persistent heavy rain all day but we still enjoyed a boat trip around the Farne Islands and then a walk to Bamburgh Castle. Three of us went on a different boat trip and landed on the islands where we took many photographs of puffins, artic terns, guillemots and many other nesting birds and seals.


On Wednesday we walked to Craster, the home of the kipper, passing the dramatic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle perched on a remote headland. From there, we travelled by coach to visit the Holy island of Lindisfarne where an Irish monk Saint Aiden founded the monastery around 634. After passing the ruined monastery, we walked out to the castle based on a Tudor fort and refurbished in the Arts and Crafts style by Sir Edwin Lutyens. His friend, Gertrude Jekyll, laid out a tiny garden north of the castle in 1911. After a circular walk, we returned to the town where a cream tea awaited us!


Our final day was spent on a beautiful walk following historical carriage tracks, through woodlands and across the edge of the moor towards Cragside. It is a Victorian mansion in Tudor revival style near Rothbury which was the home of Lord William Armstrong. He was an industrial magnate, scientist and inventor of the Armstrong gun. Cragside was the first house in the world to be lit using hydroelectric power. The extensive, hillside gardens were a pleasure to explore.


Thank you Jeannette for organising a lovely walking holiday. 

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Sycamore Gap along Hadrian’s Wall


View along Hadrian’s Wall



Walking towards Alnwick Castle



Alnwick Castle


Group photo by Harry Hotspur in Alnwick



Cascading fountains at Alnwick gardens



Nesting guillemots on Farne Island


Puffins on Farne Island



Artic tern



Puffin with a mouthful of sand eels



Lindisfarne Monastery






Beach volcanoes on Alnmouth beach





Fifteen of us spent a very happy weekend at the Holiday Fellowship Hotel at Bourton-on-the-Water. We all travelled by car and some of us stopped off at Waterperry Gardens, near Oxford on the way there. We looked around the beautiful gardens, had lunch and enjoyed a tour of the Queen Anne house with its contemporary frescoes that stretch over three floors of the building.  


The Saturday walks all started from Bourton and followed the Monarch’s Way to Clapton-on-the-Hill and returned to Bourton via the quarry lakes. Option two included Little Rissington and the third option went as far as Sherborne returning via the Windrush valley. There was time to explore the town and enjoy a cream tea.


On Sunday, the coach dropped us in different places but we all visited Snowshill where we enjoyed a drink in the pub before continuing to Broadway. On the option one walk, there was time to explore the lovely town and have a cream tea before the coach picked us up. Those on option two also visited Temple Guiting.


On the way home, some of us stopped at Cirencester for lunch and a guided walk around the ancient market town. The guide was most informative and enthusiastic.


The holiday was organised by Margaret

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Harrington House, the Hf Hotel at Bourton-on-the Water

where we stayed for three nights.

Some of us enjoying a break during our walk

around Bourton-the-Water.




We visited this charming little church, St James at

Clapton on the Hill which overlooks the

Windrush Valley, 3 miles south of Bourton.

Lake close to Bourton-on-the-Water

which is popular with fishermen.





A view of the river flowing through Bourton-on-the-Water.


On one of our walks, we spotted this fungus

growing on a rotting branch.















An impressive front door seen in Broadway

where we ended our Sunday walk.


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Wander Round the Weald 8 – 11 JUNE 2018

Some 30 members of the group followed the High Weald Landscape Trail from Ardingly to Eridge Green for the holiday weekend that in 2018 was in the summer for a change.  This was a continuation of our walk along the first part of the trail the year before. We set off from Balcombe Viaduct and joined the trail near Ardingly reservoir, followed it though the college and then skirted Ardingly village before heading for West Hoathly by way of the valley of Cob Brook.  About half the group chose to partake of the refreshments on offer at the Cat Inn whilst the rest pressed on to Kingscote station on the Bluebell Line where an engine resplendent in its green Southern Railway colours steamed into view. The following morning we were again entertained by another blast of steam nostalgia before setting off for Forest Row and Heathfield.  The morning drinks stop was spent clambering over the huge Stone Hill Rocks with magnificent views of Weir Wood Reservoir.  The heat was becoming oppressive so after a somewhat taxing time walking through the outskirts of East Grinstead, crossing the Greenwich Meridian in the process, we enjoyed some easy walking along the shady Forest Way to Forest Row. Those of the group who carried on to Hartfield enjoyed some wide views across the valley of the River Medway, encountered some muddy cows with a, thankfully indifferent to our presence, bull, crossed the line of the Lewes to London Roman Road and managed to arrive in the village at precisely the same time that the coach arrived to pick us up.  The character of the trail changes to some extent after Hartfield becoming less hilly with more undulating farm land and with that many more stiles to clamber over.  At Buckhurst Park there is a perfect chalybeate spring just by the entrance gate from which they used to obtain their water.  It looked delicious in the heat! The day finished at Eridge Green where we set off from the following day for an easy walk back to Groombridge by way of Eridge Rocks, where the significance of the ripples in the rock strata was explained to us, and the valley of the River Grom to finish with very welcome drinks sitting outside the Crown Inn.  The countryside was very pretty, the weather was almost too good and the celebratory dinner at the end rounded off the holiday nicely.

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In the beginning at Balcombe Viaduct


Horrible happenings at Ardingly College


Steam Nostalgia One




Steam Nostalgia Two



Hi from Stone Hill Rocks


View from on-high at Stone Hill Rocks



On the Greenwich Meridian at East Grinstead



A muddy cow -


- from a very muddy pond -



- with a big, white bull!



On the Roman Road


Perfect timing for the coach pick-up.



Clearly a Chalybeate Spring



Wavy strata at Eridge Rocks




Drinks all round -



- at The Crown in Groombridge


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CYPRUS 18 – 25 APRIL 2018

On April 18th 27 members of LFG flew from Gatwick to Paphos in Cyprus. Participants seemed to fall into two groups, those who arrived at the airport hours in advance of the flight, and about 10 others who turned up at the gate about 45 seconds before it closed, causing the organiser (Alan) a little anxiety. The latter group included one participant who had arrived at the airport only to discover that they had brought their spouse’s passport! However the correct passport was taxied up and arrived just in time. After that slightly inauspicious beginning, everything went smoothly. We were met at Paphos airport by Graham and Sue Robinson from Bath and West and driven to the Aphrodite Beach Hotel in the north-west corner of Cyprus, close to the Akamas peninsula. Although it was midnight when we arrived, the very hospitable hotel staff provided a soup and salad buffet for us before we retired to bed.


The following morning after our briefing, we were taken to Droushia, a village in the hills a few miles away and from there we walked seven miles through agricultural scenery in the hills above the hotel, ending up in the village of Kritou Terra, where some members refreshed themselves with ice-cream, whereas others waited till our return via Latchi, where the organiser had remembered from a previous visit an ice cream parlour offering 31 flavours of home-made ice cream! On the following walking days, the group split into two, the short walks being 5-6 miles and the longer walks 7-10 miles. On Day 2 the short walkers had a stroll along the beach to Polis, whereas the longer walkers were again taken up to Droushia, which was in the clouds with a howling wind – not what we’d bargained for! As we walked downhill back towards the hotel, the wind dropped and the temperature gradually increased. After that day, the weather improved – beautiful blue sky, temperatures in the lower 20’s and hardly a cloud in sight. Days 3 and 4 were spent exploring the Akamas peninsula. The longer walk on Day 3 was up to a fire tower at the top of a hill, from where there were magnificent views of the coastline in all directions. On our descent we met up with the short walkers for our lunch stop, from where we all descended via a narrow rather rough path, not helped by a water pipe running along the middle of it. We managed to all make it back in one piece. The next day the long walkers again climbed up, this time to the top of the 1200 ft Moutis Soutiros, from where there were more spectacular views. We descended to meet the other group at a lovely beach by a secluded bay, where we had lunch. Some of us swam in the sheltered bay, where the water was warmer and it was smoother underfoot than at the beach by the hotel. We returned along the coastal track. Unfortunately one member inadvertently chose to examine this track at close quarters in a horizontal position and a substantial amount of blood was shed in the process! After an excellent stitching up job at the local hospital, we were delighted that the participant was able to continue with the trip and two weeks’ later the wound was barely visible.


Day 5 was our day off from walking and we were taken on a coach tour visiting several sites on the island including a mouflon enclosure, where these rare mountain sheep-goats could be seen, and Kykkos, the (very overdeveloped) monastery where Archbishop Makarios started his career. We stopped for a delicious 10-dish lunch in the village of Phini, and later spent a short time in the picturesque village of Omodos for a bit of souvenir shopping, before returning to the hotel. The next day was another walk in the hills near the hotel before we returned to the UK on Day 7.


It was an excellent time of year for wild-flower enthusiasts. There were lots of bright yellow corn marigolds by the sides of the tracks, at least four types of orchids, wild gladioli and several types of rock roses (cistus) to name but a few. We saw many sheep and goats wandering across the hillsides. The sea by the hotel beach was pretty cold but a few stalwarts braved the waters after the days’ walking. Food at the hotel was excellent, as was the hospitality shown to us. All-in-all, a splendid trip, which was enjoyed by everyone. Our thanks to Graham and Sue from Bath and West and to the Aphrodite Beach Hotel staff for all their organisation and understanding of our needs.

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IMG_6502 (2)

Bee orchid



Agama Lizard





Corn marigolds



By the fire tower



View of our bay



IMG_6622Atop Moutis Soutiros



Deep blue Med



Breakfast on the balcony



















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