Five members of the BRWI walking group went for a walk on the 11th November. Due to technical difficulties, Manuela’s alarm didn’t go off, so we observed a two minute silence at 11:05. Jakki commented how looking at the English Channel, all she could think was “all those young Boys.”
We proceeded to walk towards Pagham beach, low tide, inspired by the natural beauty of the area as Ann looked longingly at the thistles which would be perfect for Sarah’s next art class.
Under Mandy’s expert map reading and Jan’s voice in our heads, reminding us to take care, we walked on to Haven Church Farm Holiday Village, where Jan used to dance in her youth.
The highlight of the walk was standing on the bridge of the Lagoon looking at the teenage swans, just look at the joy in Lorraine and Ann’s faces.
As we parted Lorraine observed “It was nice to have a walk and a chat.”
73 miles to go! Almost there! Since the last report in June the group has completed 7 more walks and clocked up another 375.25 miles, giving us a total of 927.00 miles.
Together, our walk group has managed 18 different walks since the end of March 2021: some new walks, some revisiting old haunts, and some with an added bonus. Last Saturday’s walk took us through Parham Park to the Glider airfield near Cootham. It could have been Jan’s biggest health and safety nightmare, as the gliders were taking off alongside us! In true form, Jan had checked things out and we were on a public footpath, along the edge of the air field – such a joy when the pilot waved cheerfully to our group.
The Lavant Trundle walk might stick in our minds for a while – walking on what was probably the hottest evening of the year and getting to the very top of the Trundle, a first for some. We took it easy, with water stops en-route and were rewarded with one of the best views of the 1,000 mile challenge walks.
Each walk throws up its own memories – all shining with friendship, gleaning knowledge about our area and working on a challenge together raising funds for Sage House Dementia Unit. £410.00 have been pledged so far.
Another 2 walks should see the successful completion of the task.
“What are we going to do next?” cried the walkers.
Jan Marsden 20.9.21
To see all the latest photos, and a glider port video, click here.
Since May’s report the walk group have completed 6 more walks, culminating in its biggest challenge to date with an 8 ½ mile walk at Fittleworth.
Not only was the distance both a group and a personal challenge for some, the torrential rain the day before made walking muddy and wet in places, and hurdles were put in our way! To overcome the hurdles: we explored how many different ways you could get across a barbed wire fence, tested our horse whispering skills and summoned the energy for a sprint up, and down, the highest point in the Fittleworth area!
551.75 miles have been collectively walked by the group, since the challenge started on 29th March, with £250.00 pledged for Sage House Dementia Unit, one of our WI charities for 2021. Only 448.25 more miles to tread before our Annual Meeting in October! Can we do it?
Each walk has a different character – with different routes, different fascinating facts and different corners of the countryside and coast in our area. The relief of covid restrictions easing in May was enormous, not only did it signify less people across the nation were falling very ill, it meant we could walk together in 1 group, so the planning and organisation were simplified.
Not every walk group member walks every walk – they walk when they can if the route and date suits them. Each walk, however, has been in really good company and seemingly enjoyed thoroughly by all taking part. The walks have been to Dell Quay, Slindon Dale Park, Bognor beach and Pagham Harbour, Arundel as well as Fittleworth.
Up to a few years ago I was an enthusiastic member of our walk group, taking part in most of our 4 mile walks. Then old age and arthritis caught up with me so 4 miles was just not on. Hence I was delighted in May when Jan organised a 2 mile flat walk at low tide along the beach at Bognor which I thought I could manage – and I did!
It was a windy day but southerly so we didn’t have to walk into the wind either way. Well wrapped up we started off from the pier walking towards Aldwick. This took us past the end of the prom, where the road comes away from the sea at Fish Lane into what, for me, was unknown territory.
On the way we came across a piece of history … in the water exposed at low tide there is the remains of a floating pontoon, part of the Mulberry Floating Harbours used by the Allies to support the invasion of France on D-Day 6 June 1944. I am ashamed to say that I didn’t know of it’s existence, even though I have lived here for many years.
When we reached halfway we had a rest and were supplied with a piece of Jan’s delicious crisp shortbread – this is an essential part of any BRWI walk – I recommend it highly and have added the recipe to the site – click here if you would like to try it.
I enjoyed my walk very much, coming home feeling rather tired but very refreshed. I must admit that I was full of plans to have more low tide walks on my own, needlesstosay that hasn’t quite happened yet!
2021 – 1,000 mile walk challenge for mind, body, and Sage House Dementia Support Unit
If only we could measure chatter and laughter, or even those amazing views, or the joy from local knowledge researched and shared by our walk leaders. We would have been to the moon and back – 477,910 miles!
Despite the challenges of organising 3 separate covid-safe groups for each walk, chilly weather, discrepancies in the mileage count, and eating shortbread for fear of offending, we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves since the start of our 2021 – 1,000 mile walk. It has kept us connected through lock down, and helped us focus on getting through these strange and isolating times.
We have felt privileged to enjoy our coast and countryside in such good company, whilst exercising and exploring areas some of us did not know were there! We have learnt about our local history, and wildlife – and even about Jan’s family, as one of our few Bognor born and bred members!
To date, 20 of our members have completed 6 walks, some on all the walks and some walking when they can. We have collectively walked 306.25 miles – the miles for each walk are multiplied by the number of walkers. We are well on our way to the 1,000 mile target by our Annual Meeting in October.
During the summer, strolls, short walks and day long walks will be introduced into the programme, so that as many members of our WI as possible can be involved, if they want to. Another way to get on board is to sponsor the walkers and details about that are in The Buzz. All donations will go to Sage House Dementia Support Unit at Tangmere.
Covid-19 influenced our Autumn Walks with a vengeance!
That did not stop us getting out and about, however, and our walks were managed within coronavirus guidelines 6-person rule and NFWI guidance for WI activities. 18 of our members, please note – not all at once, have taken part in one or more walks. Recruitment of additional walk leaders has gone very well, and sincere thanks goes to those volunteers.
Bognor Pier to Aldwick along the beach at low tide was the first walk. As it coincided with a dress down day at Sage House, one of our WI charities, walkers wore unusual hats and raised £40.00 for their funds.
Halnaker Windmill walk, on a bright sunny morning, was a tribute to our late member Stella. The information our walk leaders share about key points on the walks, extended to a reading of a poem, written by Hillaire Belloc, about the similarity of Halnaker Windmill’s dereliction in 1923 to the state of the country at that time.
The erosion that the last winter’s storms caused at Climping shocked some of us on the walk along the shoreline from Middleton to Climping. Does anyone know when Climping was spelt as Clymping? Jan, our main walk leader, had to concede that Climping spelt with an ‘i’ seems to have been around longer than Clymping spelt with a ‘y’. £41.50 was raised for ACWW, Associated Country Women of the World – we were taking part in Women Walk the World Day.
The next walk took us back to Pagham Harbour North Wall to Siddlesham Quay. Sadly, no one saw the Cattle Egrets, that had recently arrived, with their yellow beaks – however, there was plenty of other wild life to spot, along with some rather tricky puddles!
Now looking forward to the rest of Autumn. Details will be sent out shortly, and more WI members would be welcome.
Easing of coronavirus lock down gave us an opportunity and we made the most of it!
Our WI Walk Group re-started in June, within Covid-19 guidelines, and managed 10 walks before the evening light diminished. Exercise, laughter, Jan’s shortbread, warm sunny evenings and conversation proved a successful formula for over 20 of our WI members.
The walks were arranged in or around Bognor Regis, with the exception of the walk to the WI Federation Centenary Oaks Wood at Slindon. We found pockets of Bognor Regis and its environs, that many of us did not know were there. We increased our knowledge about where we live and some of its history. Karen, Mandy, Frances and Sheila supported Jan is taking on the lead for some of the walks. Here are a few of the special moments:
The cross over with the different walk sub groups on the beach, at low tide, on our first evening walk, with arms stretched out to keep our social distance.
Jan’s regular sugar fix for every member.
Support and kindness, as one walk was a bit further that we were given to believe!
The amazing views across Pagham Harbour with its changed landscape since our last walk there.
Bells, Mandy’s horse, welcoming us to her home.
Local knowledge about the Barnham Canal, Chalcroft Lane airfield, Felpham Nature Reserve, and the Bersted Man.
First Aid Kit used for the first time in 9 nine years – only for a plaster!
A Bognorian, born and bred in Bognor Regis, of which we seemed only to have 1 on the walks, reminiscing about old haunts and homes.
Non-exhaustive chatter as we mixed and matched while walking along.
Sculptures at Bersted Park.
The Walk Group also ventured further afield by Zoom in July. We took ourselves somewhere even more special for 30 minutes! Amazing views of the high Himalayas, insight into family and farming communities, and the role of women there. Thanks to Jane Weston, a friend of Jan’s, for sharing the photographic journey – on paths most of us will not have the opportunity to walk on.
There were so many more special moments during the 2020 Summer of Bognor Regis WI evening walks, but most of all thank you everyone for joining in and making our walks so enjoyable.
I will miss them, and you!
Jan’s photos are in our photo album. To view them, please click here.
The corona virus had the potential to take so much from us, which meant we had to think differently. The walk group was not going to be outdone. Jan sent the usual gang of walkers, by email each month, photographic memories and notes about 3 walks we had completed over past years: Graffham Wild Daffodil Wood, Angmering Bluebell Wood, and Pagham Harbour. However, with the easing of lockdown guidelines, things changed.
We’re out and back together, socially distanced of course!
Gill suggested a walk to Sue and, within days, Jan had an evening walk organised with military precision and within social distance guidelines. Last Monday 16 members split into 3 groups – 1 group starting from the Lobster Pot at Felpham, and 2 groups starting from the Waverly, at the end of the prom in Bognor, at staggered times.
The cross-overs were always going to be a challenge – but they worked! Individuals kept apart and, although greetings and a bit of chat were exchanged, there was no crowd gathering. Some bought ice-cream or drinks at the Lobster Pot, others devoured Jan’s shortbread, and some had both!
A lovely sunny evening along Bognor Regis beach at low tide, with plenty of space and only a slight breeze, made a perfect evening. Everyone said how wonderful it was to walk along with others and chat.
Our Autumn Walks have started with a keen eye on the weather forecast, as October has been generally grey and damp so far! We did, however, squeeze in a bright, sunny walk at Dell Quay where we saw egrets, enormous toadstools and a late summer flower, disproving the chillier days.
The Federation Outdoor Talk and Walk at Medmerry, Selsey, treated some of our members to an excellent guided tour and talk by the RSPB. Unfortunately, one of the days had to be postponed given the amount of rain forecast. An alternative date is being arranged.