Trust’s Roundup – Walk The Path 2014

On 27th April, despite gloomy weather forecasts, rain on the day, and the minor glitches that are inevitable on a day like this, over 230 walkers yomped home through the mud to complete the Trust’s second running of Walk The Path.

Ken Bigrave, BVCT Trustee and organiser-in-chief, writes:

“230 walkers braved the elements. Yes, it was muddy, yes, it was wet, and yes, the river flooded near Swallowfield – but did that stop them? No! After three to four hours walking (approx 11 miles) they drifted in in small groups to The Crown at Swallowfield – and I have never seen so many smiley faces, all with stories to tell. Some spoke of kingfishers and herons, some of bluebells and primroses, and there was many a mention of mud and puddles – but the best one was from a couple who arrived very wet and tired-looking, looked up and asked “Is the pub open?” Priceless.”

Mike Swaddling, acting BVCT chairman, writes:

“As well as the walkers, we should pay tribute to all the helpers – marshals, refreshment ladies, rangers etc. – who stood around for hours under the same changeable skies to guide and sustain the participants. Even the Mayor of Sandhurst ignored the forecast and turned out to cut the ribbon for us. It was a superb team effort.”

Here is a small selection of quotes from the walkers’ feedback:

“Myself and my friends really enjoyed it and appreciated you all putting yourselves out and organising it so well”

“Brill. Sign me up for next year. Now, where did I put those experimental water shoes?”

“ … we were extremely impressed at how well organised the whole thing was – every detail seemed to have been taken care of and as far as we could see it all went like clockwork”

“A special thank you to the volunteers at the end who helped us over the electric fence to avoid wading through the flood, as well as all the cheery folk along the way who had a smile and a few words of encouragement to keep us going”

“Thank you for organising yet another fantastic day’s walking. Yes, we were two of the ‘tired, wet and muddy’ brigade, but it no way spoiled the day. One of the joys of walking in the English countryside is that … the weather always throws up a few challenges.”

“With the additional rain on top of the extremely wet winter, it can’t have been easy getting us all round safely, so thank you to everyone who helped out on the day.”

Below are some pictures showing how the first group set out in sunshine, but by the time they were getting towards the end the weather was definitely on the turn! But anyone who undertakes an eleven-mile walk is a serious walker, and any serious walker in this country comes prepared for all weathers!

We would also like to say our thank-you’s to the walkers for being so cheery and understanding, and to say – the next Walk is already on the drawing-board.”

WTP Walkers

WTP Walkers

WTP - Swallowfield Bridge

WTP – Swallowfield Bridge

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About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
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