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12 January 2019: Annual Bah Humbug Walk & Lunch: Heartwood Forest

Event led by Martin T
Attendance: 7 walkers, 6 diners
Distance: 5 miles (8 km)
Time: start 11:04, end 13:04
Terrain: pavement, grass, woodland, track, bridleway.
Elevation: start 85m, high 128m, low 85m
Weather: overcast, 9°C with 14mph westerly wind, felt like 5°C
Number of churches on the walk: 1
Number of golf courses on the walk: 0
Number of sewage works on the walk: 0


This was a 5 mile circular walk from Sandridge, through Heartwood Forest and Nomansland Common and back to Sandridge for lunch at The Rose & Crown pub.

The route included a wander through Heartwood Forest’s community orchard and the arboretum, a landscaped area to showcase native species of tree and bush.  Even in winter, the colours of the dormant trees - twigs, the lot of them! - were remarkable, especially for the purple willow. The gorse was in flower; the temperature was just warm enough to detect the coconut-like fragrance of the gorse flowers.  The strawberry tree caused some consternation, hinging on discussion about whether it really was native or not.

Lunch was quite delicious, featuring spicy parsnip soup, battered squid, lamb & rosemary pie, sausage ragu, coq au vin (complete with triple entendres), poached pear, chocolate brownie, apple tartlet and sticky pudding with a caramel sauce (that resembled turkey gravy).  Drinks includes the usual beers and wines, plus a quince-flavoured gin with ginger ale.


Words by Martin Thornhill. Pictures by Peter O’Connor.

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