The aim of the group is to provide gentle exercise on an easy short walk in varying locations within a short drive from Chinnor.
We meet on the second Wednesday of each month (excluding December) at a place decided by the walk leader. The walks start at 2.00pm (1.00pm during the winter months of November, January and February).
The walks are led by a different person each month and start within a 15 mile (approx) radius from Chinnor. The length of the walk is between 2 and 4 miles and is usually fairly easy walking – that is, no steep hills, not too many stiles, not too muddy (if we can help it) and limited road walking (although it’s impossible not to walk on roads sometimes). The walks last about 2 hours.
As a rough guide, the walks are usually in the countryside in the summer and sometimes round towns (eg guided town walks) in the winter. As well as this, in the winter, we try to have our walks not too far from Chinnor because of possible weather problems.
As regards the weather, unless it’s obvious that we must cancel the walk, the Group Co-ordinator (or his deputy) and the walk leader(s) turn up to the walk. Then if the weather is inclement we decide between us all at the start of the walk whether or not to continue. We always recommend walkers wear boots or walking shoes and to be prepared for rain etc.
We try not to repeat the walks too often and try to make the walks interesting. In the past we have had guided tours around towns, guided farm walks, orchid walks and walks on National Trust land. The walks can be in open countryside, in wooded areas or along riversides – in fact, pretty well anywhere. We try to include information about the area we walk through (such as history) to add to the visual enjoyment.
Lastly, we often try to end our walk at a café or pub if it’s convenient. This is very sociable, our members love it and the Short Walks Group has become quite popular. The normal turnout for a walk is about 20 people.
On a more serious note, whilst every care is taken to avoid accidents, members join a walk at their own risk.
To join the Chinnor U3A Short Walks Group, contact the Group Co-ordinator (details on this web site) via phone or email. The Group Co-ordinator will need to know your name, what U3A branch you are in, your email address (if any) and your phone number.
All members are encouraged to occasionally lead a walk – the group co-ordinator cannot lead all the walks. Assistance is available for walk leaders new to the role, such as informing the person where to get suitable books of walks, trying out and/or leading a walk with an established walk leader or perhaps just sorting problems with maps. Even if members can’t actually lead a walk, it is always very useful if they can suggest walks for the future.
A register of members attending walks is maintained and the Group Co-ordinator (or his representative) may take one or more photos of the group during the walk – this is purely for our bi-annual Chinnor U3A magazine Contact.
There is no Short Walks Group membership charge and generally no cost for coming on any of the walks, except for paying for parking at the start of the walk, paying for a guide on the few occasions when we have a guided walk, or paying for your own tea and cake (for example) at a café or pub at the end of the walk.
The Short Walk Group Co-ordinator issues a programme of walks bi-annually (usually by email) to the members to detail the “summer” walks (April, May, June, July, August and September) and the “winter” walks (October, November, January, February and March). The current programme is also displayed on the Chinnor U3A web site.
Although we have no walk in December, we do have our own Short Walks Group Christmas Lunch in December. This is usually on the same day as the Chinnor U3A Carol Concert and again is usually at The Crown in Chinnor.
Members of our other Chinnor U3A walking groups are always welcome to join us. Similarly, members of any other British U3A branch are permitted to join us on a walk at no cost. Any non-U3A friends you wish to bring on a walk may come for a first “taster” session (at a cost of £1) but need to join the U3A to attend further walks.
Members are permitted to bring their dogs on walks at the discretion of the walk leader. Owners will be fully responsible for the behaviour of their dogs at all times – particularly regarding sheep for example and other animals. Also be careful your dog does not trip people up or cause any other problems.
Exceptionally, members may bring children on walks WITH THE PRIOR AGREEMENT OF THE WALK LEADER provided that they are used to coping with the distance and terrain and are well behaved. And again, the safety of the children is the sole responsibility of the member(s) bringing the child or children.
April 11th (Wednesday) 2pm. Grid Reference SU578941 Postcode OX10 7JP (approx)
Meet at Bridge End Car Park in Dorchester – take A4074 from Benson, turn left into Dorchester, go over Dorchester Bridge and then take immediate first left to car park. This is a 2½ mile walk, going through Dorchester to the ancient earthworks of the Dyke Hills, across to Days Lock, along the River Thames and back to Dorchester with an opportunity to visit Dorchester Abbey at the end. Refreshements after the walk at The Abbey café. No stiles.
Leaders: Pat Fewell and Sue Speight
May 9th (Wednesday) 2pm Grid reference SU739997 Post Code OX39 4SW
Park and meet in Kingston Blount Village Hall Car Park. At Kingston Blount turn into Pleck Lane, then right into Bakers Piece (hall at end of road). No stiles, no hills. 1½ miles wandering round Kingston Blount and Aston Rowant talking about the Parish’s history, then tea and cake break at the 12th Century Aston Rowant Church (Donations to the Church Funds please) at about 3.45pm, followed by 1 mile walk straight back to our cars. Will need to know numbers attending nearer the time.
Leaders: Di Eaton, Jan Gooders & Peter Hetherington
June 13th (Wednesday) 2pm Grid Reference SU710917 Post Code OX49 5HG
Park and meet in car park of Greenfield Farm near Christmas Common. Guided wildflower walk (about 1½ to 2 miles) around the farm. This is a 10 acre wild flower meadow surrounded by woodland, established 18 yrs ago. Traditional Chiltern chalkland meadow in beautiful peaceful setting with 100 species of perennial wild flowers, grasses and 5 species of orchids. £4 per person for visit. Refreshments afterwards at the Fox and Hounds.
Leader: Graham Stone
July 11th (Wednesday) 2pm Grid reference SP760031 Post Code OX39 4AH
Park at The Peacock at Henton. Mostly flat 2¼ mile walk with 3 (sturdy) stiles. The walk takes us past the Kilconnel kennels, through a bamboo plantation to Forty Green and, crossing fields and passing Cuttlebrook, we return to The Peacock. Refreshments afterwards at The Peacock (need to know numbers before we walk).
Leader: Jill Bloxham
August 8th (Wednesday) 2pm Grid Reference SU709936 Post Code OX49 5HS (approx.)
Meet at the Watlington Hill National Trust car park. Take the Stokenchurch to Christmas Common road past Cowleaze wood. Turn right onto Hill Road, towards Watlington and travel about 200 yards before coming to the car park on your left. The walk is about 2½ miles along fairly level ground with just one short gentle incline. There are no stiles and much of the route is through woodland which will give dappled shade on a hot summer’s day. Following heavy rain there may be muddy areas. Refreshments will be available at the Fox and Hounds.
Leaders: Edith and Brian Butler
September 12th (Wednesday) 2pm Grid Reference SP594058 Postcode OX33 1NB
Park and meet at Church Road Car Park in Wheatley (opposite parish church). This 2.9 mile walk is through the Shotover Country Park and down Old Road back to Wheatley. No stiles, no steep hills, just a gentle uphill stroll in the park. Refreshments after the walk in The Sun Inn café (a pub converted to a tea rooms) or in its fair-sized garden (if weather nice). Parking limited (share cars if possible).
Leader: Angela Holdaway