Many thanks to Pat Bryden for organising the walks and for providing this report…
On the morning of Bank Holiday Monday 29 May the Met Office greeted us with a Yellow Warning of thunder or heavy rain some time before 4pm – and we had planned 8 walks and tours around Abingdon, some venturing as far afield as Sutton Courtney and Radley Lakes! So the outlook wasn’t good, but we just crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. All the leaders and helpers turned up as promised, so thanks to them for their reliability and faith in Abingdon weather.
As it turned out, the rain stayed away until the last minute and the morning walks including the long walk to Sutton Courtney finished in the dry as did two of the afternoon walks. Unfortunately, just as the Radley Lakes group were admiring the orchids in a new site the heavens opened but they were glad that there were tea and cakes at the lakes to warm them up. The walkers who were learning about the small streams and rivers in Abingdon were also caught and had to make a swift get-away from the Swift Ditch.
Over-all 100 people took advantage of the opportunity to explore Abingdon and its environment. Understandably, given the forecast, there were fewer takers than usual for the longer walks including the popular 1556 Boundary walk and the Ock Valley Nature walk, but the Lost Abbey and St Helen’s tours were both enjoyed by good sized groups and the St Helen’s group had the rare opportunity to visit the Alms Houses and hear about the long and interesting history of the Christ’s Hospital charity. People also found it fascinating to learn more about St Edmund of Abingdon on a tour of places associated with him. This and the river walk were two new ventures this year.
This is the 6th year the Friends of Abingdon, as the local civic society, has organised free late May Bank Holiday walks but they couldn’t have taken place without the help of leaders from other societies in the town. So many thanks to these leaders and also the Friends who helped set up and take down the stall in the Market Place. Apart from The Friends of Abingdon, leaders came from:
Abingdon Twin Towns Society, Green Gym, Guild of Town Criers, Friends of Radley Lakes, Vale of White Horse Ramblers, Wilts 7 Berks Canal Trust.
So it was truly a community event.
PS If you wish to explore Abingdon-on-Thames in your own time – and in good weather – you could do worse than follow the trails on our photo quiz sheets which can be downloaded from this page on our website.