SOC Walks Programme 2013


 
Tuesday 9 April - Mereworth Woods

This walk takes us through extensive woodland but there are open stretches where the Medway valley can be viewed. It is well sheltered so we walk here early or late in the season, and if it does rain hard we can drive to Silverleigh in West Kingsdown for indoor naturism.

 

Friday 19 April - Chiltern Scarp

On leaving the pub, we pile into some of the cars to reach our starting point on The Ridgeway Path near Lewknor. Passing under the M40, we climb to the summit of Beacon Hill for an early lunch. This walk includes two assaults on the scarp and is not suitable for weak hearts or knees.

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Thursday 2 May - Quainton

Quainton Hill rises prominently out of the Vale of Aylesbury offering fine views of the surrounding countryside. Later, we descend from a second high ridge into quiet fields and woodlands. This route is not a closed circle, and it is necessary to park some cars at the far end to ferry us back to our pub on the village green.

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Monday 20 May - Box Hill Maze

Our new walk for 2013 starts where the River Mole cuts through the North Downs and follows an amazing tangle of footpaths through beautiful wooded and also open territory with splendid views. But you have to be able to cope with several steep climbs.

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Tuesday 4 June - Broad Chalke

We follow one of the lesser known ridgeways to the west of Salisbury including the ancient earthwork of Chiselbury. There are fine sweeping views as we follow the lip of a steep escarpment. Be aware that, in some respects, this is our toughest walk and rough underfoot in places, but it has nevertheless attracted record numbers and we can be nude for more than 85% of the time.

 

Tuesday 18 June - Harting Down

Downland walks are always popular and this circuit starts at the southernmost point. We head north-east gradually ascending the dip slope to the crest of the South Downs where we enjoy splendid views over the countryside around the village of South Harting. After heading west along the ridge, we close the loop through rolling fields and woods.

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 Friday 28 June - Giant's Grave

After a steep ascent from Oare to Giant's Grave, we enjoy a fine view for an early lunch before heading north and then west through attractive woods and fields to Knap Hill, site of a Neolithic camp. The finest part of this spectacular circuit, one of the best in our collection, takes us back to the pub along the broad open summit of the south-facing escarpment of the Marlborough Downs.

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Monday 8 July - Dean's Bottom

This is the third time this walk has appeared in our programme, and it is the sixth walk in our collection to make use - briefly this time - of The Ridgeway long distance path. We meet in the village of Aldworth in Berkshire and walk through superb downland scenery in a large figure of eight. There are ups and downs but nothing too strenuous.

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Thursday 18 July - Ackling Dyke

This is quite close to our Broad Chalke walk but we start from an adjacent village 2 miles to the east and head south instead of north. Ackling Dyke is a name bestowed locally on the Roman road between Sarum (now Salisbury) and Poole harbour, which we follow for several miles. The scenery may be less dramatic than Broad Chalke, but it is still beautiful with lunch in a secluded Alpine meadow.

 

Saturday 27 July - Hoo Peninsula

This walk is in a most unusual setting where we start in hills and woodland before exploring a huge and virtually deserted area of marshland alongside the Thames Estuary, which is why we can do it on a Saturday. This area is full of historical interest, and has a chequered history of smuggling exploited by Charles Dickens for Great Expectations.

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Tuesday 6 August - Hinton Downs

After gathering at The Plough in Wanborough, we pile into some of our cars and drive two miles to start the walk at Fox Hill. This is a fine walk, all wide open apart from sections along the Ridgeway path. We expect to have an early lunch in the Secret Valley followed by a tea break on the ramparts of Alfred's Castle close to the Ashdown Park stately home. We also have a plan to avoid a rather long walk on a minor road.

 

Wednesday 14 August - Whiteways Cross

After securing the use of a private room at the George & Dragon in Houghton village a mile to the east of the Whiteways Cross car park on the B2139 where we enjoyed dinner together in the nude in 2011, we now meet at this pub in the hope of securing another. This year we meet at the George & Dragon, and then drive in some of the cars to Whiteways Cross where we start walking clockwise around the normal route. At the end of the walk, the majority will pass close to Whiteways Cross but walk on another mile to the pub for what we hope will be a very private dinner, despite the disappointment in 2012.

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Thursday 22 August - Mayfield

We did this walk in East Sussex for the first time in 2011. It follows a delightful wiggling route through a mixture of pasture and woodland combining great views across the Weald with some enchanting almost Alpine settings. We stopped then for lunch in Wadhurst Park where herds of deer are often seen grazing.

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Friday 6 September - Red Shoot

This year we repeat the route heading north from the Red Shoot Inn & Brewery which we first used in 2010 as it has advantages over our original route heading east. The New Forest is very popular and the original walk crossed three public roads and even a car park. The new version takes us further from civilisation, although there were some dog walkers around in 2011. While there are sections through woodland, most of the way we walk over heathland on unmade roads and tracks through the heather.

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Tuesday 17 September - Turville Valley

This was our new walk for 2012. It lies broadly between our Maidensgrove walk to the west and the M40 to the north, and includes all the best features for which the Chilterns are rightly famed. Bill Haynes who organised these walks for 12 years, and devised this walk as well as many others, joined us briefly but only for the first mile on 12 July 2012. Sadly, he died on 16 December 2012.

Tuesday 24 September - Hannington

The village of Hannington is not far from the famous Watership Down, but to make a circuit suitable for nude walking we head west and then southeast over this very pleasant part of the rolling Hampshire downs.

 
Thursday 3 October - Ashdown Forest

The route for this walk has evolved over the years, but in 2011 we fell out with the management of The Red Lion which we had used for many years. This year we will meet and leave our cars in a free car park owned by the Forest authority. It is on the west side of the A275 half a mile south of its junction with the A22 at Wych Cross. The walk will start and finish here, GR: TQ417311 where we will aim to meet at 11.45.

 

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