Reports - Events & Days Out 2015

Derbyshire Country link Christmas walk

Eight members met at Ambergate train station car part to start our 6 mile walk led by Phil, with his map and walk leaflet, and lunch.

Leaving the village via the road going uphill towards a damp newly built, the views we great as the hill mist hadn't come down. We followed the canal for a short distance, then uphill again, with more views and then back down for lunch on our return from Crick.

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The return was flat along the canal path and the road to Ambergate where tea and mince pie were enjoyed out of the truck.

Lovely day for the walkers in Derbyshire country link.

Cornwall Country link Christmas brunch

Cornwall Country Linkers don't do things in halves. When we are hungry we order our food on a miners shovel and wolf it down!!!!


Oh yes there are Shovels!


After a vigorous 4 mile walk in the mist and rain, we warmed up at a favourite tea room for tea and cake.

Yet another enjoyable day as a Country Linker in Cornwall.

Cornwall Country Link Mini Cruise


The ship was very good.

Cornwall Country Link has just returned from their 3-day mini cruise and have had a most wonderful mini cruise to Amsterdam and Antwerp.

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The weather was kind. The cities were full of festive spirit.
The cruise was excellent value for money and a great time had by all.

Derbyshire Country link Christmas Dinner and Dance

Hosted at the Boars Head Hotel, Sudbury, for the second year, where 25 members from different clubs enjoyed a varied menu and put the kitchen to the test.Once Santa had delivered the post round, as a reminder as to where and what we have done in 12 months.

Derbyshire also hosted the tombolo from the autumn weekend where our support for FCN, The Farming Community Network continued, focusing on Cumbria and the flood damage.

A wonderful night had by all.

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Christmas with Cornwall Country Link

With a huge thanks to Valda and her organising skills, we enjoyed a very successful Christmas party. Cornwall Country Linkers always look forward to this favourite party and we were joined by a few other friends from other groups.

The Hotel Bristol in Newquay was the venue and they gave us excellent food, disco and accommodation.

We were also able to raise £150 for our hospice and Cancer Research in honour of a member who sadly passed away in the year.

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After breakfast the next morning a few of us braved the elements and took a stroll over the cliffs and across the windswept beaches.


Derbyshire Country Link

We recently met at the Cavendish Arms, Doveridge for drinks to regroup after hosting the 30 Anniversary Weekend at the Yew Lodge Hotel Kegworth.

The bags were part of the weekend, as a gift for all delegates and will be very useful since the introduction of the charges on carrier bags.


The new club programmes were given out in a much smaller handy sizes, glasses are required!

Lovely to be amongst the home team, chatting about the weekend and the fun we had, with fellow Country Linkers, 139 in all.

Great time.

Reports and photos are available on the weekend section and the gallery.

Have a look!

30 years of Country link


We have just returned from celebrating 30 years of country link founded in 1985, by The Young Farmers Federation to offer continued membership the those member reaching that magic age of 26.

The country link members photographed are some thoses very first members who have had continued membership with country link; many have held office at club level and now are on the national committee.

Thank you to you all.

Charles Humby, Henri Isgar, James Vaughan, Jerry White, Lesley Sheaf, Martin Clarke, Nigel Swain, Peter Hurt, Phil Charles, Robyn Heath, Sue Hague, Barry Knapton, Andrew Moffat, Jane Sychelmore and Jessie Farrquahar

Cornwall Country Link fit as fleas

This walk was a test of endurance, nearly 7 miles taking in St Agnes Beacon, down deep mining valleys and up steep rugged cliffs.

The weather was mild and the east wind was gentle. We enjoyed a pint in the Driftwood Spar Inn at the end of the walk.

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Many thanks to Cornwall member Gordon for putting us through our paces.

Cornwall Country link takes to the hills

Phil has tried three times to undertake this particular walk over Bodmin Moor to the highest tor, Brown Willy. Today the weather was changing but held dry for us, the wind was breezy and quite cool. It is a steady stomp to Brown Willy but the ground was for the most part dry and firm underfoot. We had to leap across a few babbling brooks but that added to the fun. Then we had an extremely steep climb up to the summit.

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Considering the age of some of our members they did very well to reach the summit. Jean a new ish member who is between 70 and 80 was delighted to achieve a long time ambition of climbing this challenging tor. Splendid views were our reward on reaching the top.

Cornwall's programme of events is on the web site and we welcome everyone to our fun events.

Well done to you all.

Cornwall County link are walking again

Blessed with lovely autumn sunshine today, for our Sunday walk.

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Right out on The Lizard, the most Southerly point of mainland Britain and walked from Cadgwith Cove along the cliffs to Kennack Cove and back inland passing medieval water mills and lovely wooded valleys.


A very pleasant walk surrounded with good scenery and friends.

Birds in the Spring

image001.jpgimage002.jpgLeft - This photo of a Great Spotted Woodpecker was sent in by David Pilkington who 'spotted' it in his back garden at the end of May.

Right – I snapped this Robin in The Dingle in Quarry Park in Shrewsbury on the Shropshire weekend in May.

A ’Cher‘ Moment Turn back time

image001.jpgIn a coach at this springtime season of the year in the heart of the English countryside is a delight in itself. Then to see how far forward the over winter barley crop especially has headed before ongoing harvesting takes place in mid to late July.

A large dairy complex of a farmstead ahead which is one Shadymoor Dairy Farm with it's farmer ready to welcome us into his farmhouse.

With milk quotas gone, the potential for increasing production in a very uncertain period in time has it's limitations in what we were to see on the farmstead walk. This 930 acre farm supports a 600 cow unit fed on a T.M.R (total mixed ration) indoors throughout the year with 250 in calf cows strip grazing outside. The herd averages 8000 litres of milk per cow per lactation.

Ten hours milking time taken up at each end of the day with two tanker collections daily. An average of these two collections tested should give a true record of butter fats quality. After milking the cows are rigorously given a foot bath to help prevent dermatitis.

100 cow outside feed passages and sand bedded cubicle buildings were inspected with the latest calves being born in a separate building. After colostrum, lactio milk substitute is fed to the calves at ½ to ¾ rate. Brit blue bulls are favoured for the heifers of this commercial British Fresian/Holstein herd.

We inspected the poly tunnels costing £5500 each which have been very successful for calf rearing; the calves are then sold at one month old through Market Drayton livestock market. The farm is going through a period of modernisation, we were treated to seeing a New Zealand designed Wycato rotary parlour which is under construction. In four days the concrete pit and decking will be in place with a vetinary bay for pregnancy testing and we were told an anti-clock test run had also taken place. Coming up to lunchtime, our coach headed off through the streets of Shrewsbury to the meadows of the upstream River Severn. In Shrewsbury, birthplace of Charles Darwin it was a market day with church bells ringing out in joy for the V.E.Day anniversary which was yesterday, May 8th. The River Severn was in flood condition as we saw during our second farm visit. Great Berwick Organics first treated us to a burger lunch of Longhorn beef, salad and mustards. Organic production of beef was from a rare breed of 280 including 120 cows. 60-70 animals are slaughtered and marketed each year at 30 months old. In the marketing business words and fashions are all important when advertising through the internet online. Longhorn animals are slaughtered at Wrexham, hung back at the farm for 35 days before being chilled and vacuum packed. Pies are also manufactured for the markets attended. Bone marrow custard is also on sale and a visit to the organic crops area was by a tractor trailer. Premiums are paid within a higher stewardship scheme; crops grown on the giant loop area of the River Severn are linseed, quinoa and spring cereals.

My Sunday activity was not far away, being at Sunny croft, a National Trust house. The house, originally built in 1880 by John Wackrill, a local brewer, to house his wife and five children, sold it to his sister-in-law Mary Jane Slaney, the widow of a wine & spirits merchant in 1894 who extended the house and gardens as we see them today.

image002.jpgAs a result of the Victorian industrial revolution, industrialists had money to invest in country properties by the early years of the 20th century. One John Vernon Thomas Sander, an industrialist and solicitor of Coalbrookdale and the villa of Buckatree Hall, now the hotel where we are having our Country Link weekend, bought Sunnycroft in 1912. The house remained in the Sander family, passing to John Sander's second son Thomas Offley Sander in 1943 and then to his daughter Joan Sander, who remained for the rest of her life, bequeathing the house to the National Trust in her will. In the heyday of the house and its family, a great deal of entertaining took place with the men retiring to the billiards room and the ladies to the drawing room. In house service ended in 1945. A humble mistake on purpose is to be seen in a floor tile near the front door, denoting that even a craftsman can come unstuck sometimes. Examples of Joan Sander's needlework and her Red Cross nurses uniform are on show. A medicine cabinet is to be seen just as it was in the family's day and the black Daimler car in which Thomas Offley Sander went to work in is on show in the coach house.

Tom Knox – Yorkshire Country Link

Tutbury Flower and veg Show

The Results

The banners have been up for a fortnight to remind us to start preparing our entries for the big day.

The beans need to be straight. The onions large and round. Your 6 best tomatoes will only do. The dahlias big bright and perfect in every way.

After the hum of the morning putting entries in the judges verdicts are in.

Pats French beans won and sweet peppers, the beans weren't straight enough this year.

Phil won with his dahlias and had the prize winning cooking apples and 3rd in the tomatoes. Maria won the flower arrangement entitled “Tutbury Twinning,” The village is twinned with Ollainville in France.

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A lovely day in the village.

Yorkshire Country Link Farm Walk

The Knaresborough Discussion Group invited Yorkshire Country Link to join them on a farm walk at Elm Farm, Green Hammerton, home to the Powley family. Summertime, just the right time to see the countryside at its best, even though the evening was cold for the time of year. We met at the farmstead which has land each side of the Roman Dere Street between York & Harrogate.

image001.jpgThe farm supports a herd of pedigree South Devon beef cattle. What an atmospheric view, when we eventually reached a field of 70 cows & their progeny born in March. A fast growing, good conformation breed, chosen for their placid nature & easy calving characteristics. The South Devon/Limousincross calves weighed in at 150kilos at 70 days. Last year's replacement heifers are fed at the homestead with a protein & dry matter clover silage ration. Aberdeen Angus semen will be used to AI them at 2 years old. In summertime, the animals being in good condition & served is the aim before being winter housed. Weaned calves go onto creep feed & the bull calves fattened to 15 months. Initially they are fed clover silage & concentrate feed, and then the silage is replaced with clean straw.

The farm has a contract with Asda, which provides the costs of the cow neck transmitter collars & a recording meter/transmitter powered by solar energy to detect when the cows are in season. This often seems to occur at night & the cows are artificially inseminated next day. It is believed that this is the only technology of its kind in use in Yorkshire. The meter/transmitter is mounted on a tractor trailer so it can be moved with the cows. However, although the equipment allowed monitoring from the comfort of the farmhouse, we were told the human eye still has its place & the cattle were checked regularly.

Three year red clover & grass leys are topped at the three leaf growth stage when the cattle are moved on. A sulphur/potash fertilizer is used on the heavy soil type.

Overall, the Tom & Mike Powley said they got tremendous pleasure through their stockmanship work with the cattle. The South Devons are well represented at the Great Yorkshire Show held annually in July. The evening was rounded off with ample portions of steak pie at a local inn.


Words by Tom Knox
Photos by Elsie Rymer

Bike ride on the Monsal Trail

image002.jpgThe day started well with the sun shining and all loaded on time, 5 bikes 5 country linkers and we off up north to Bakewell. Parked and coffee and cake in the sunshine, a wonderful start.

Waiting for team Nottinghamshire, this is where a technical hitch arose, as they had met the other end of the trail, and no signal on the phone. Both groups left, and phones came alive, and we met in one of the tunnels, what fun. We all pedalled to Bakewell town and parked the bikes for an hour, to visit the chippy and the cake festival in town for lunch. At the festival there was a shaving foam fight going on.

We were then back on the bikes off up the hill to Hassop Station where Derbyshire departed leaving Notts to pedal another 8 miles to their cars while we had tea and cake and home.

A lovely day out in Derbyshire with fellow country linkers.

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Cornwall country link strutting their stuff

image001.jpgshirts.jpgOnce again a nice group of 15 members met up for a very tasty Sunday lunch at the Hawkins Arms in Zelah on the outskirts of Truro..We then had a energetic walk of 4.5 miles in the surrounding countryside. The walk took us down quiet country lanes, across fields, through woods and around the relics of our mining history. We finished our afternoon at Callestick Farm where they make Cornish ice cream and treated ourselves to their lovely cones.

The ladies modelling their new 30 years anniversary shirts. Looking splendid.

A day out in Cromford

Derbyshire country link have just return from a trip to Cromford, once all gathered after being delayed by caravans, tractors and road works we were of for walk to Middleton top.

This took us along the canal up a steep hill, where we meet a man for the third time training for iron man, well done him. Then the Steeple Grange Light Railway caught my eye as was flat and looked a stead mode of transport for Amber and the explorers, once aboard we were off, in fact on 2 train trip, lovely little interlude.

image001.jpgThe views were admired and lunch was taken to re-charge the batteries as another hill was on the horizon, we decided to have tea and cake at the next stop to give us something to look forward to.

We reached the summit and tea and cake was enjoyed, plus an ice cream or two, the descent was next.

This took us on foot path and a quarry path down into Cromford village, and we walked to the canal wharf, for David to buy some cheese. Once back at the truck more tea and more cake, yes ‘Cornwall we can do it too' Amber had a sleep all the way home thinking about her educational day in Cromford.

Thank you to Phil our leader up and down dale.

Derbyshire hosting the PR tent at Tutbury farmers Market a lovely day on the High street promoting Country link.

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A quiet moment to reflect on the day.

Cornwall's new member shines

image001.jpgElaine took the brave step and hosted her first club event and chose a venue known well and would guarantee a successful evening, a popular restaurant near to her home on the outskirts of Falmouth. A good number of Country Linkers supported this event. Thank you, Elaine.

Lovely evening.

Cornwall Annual Golfing Championships

Not on the same par as the Open but a select few gathered today at Falmouth's notoriously tricky Pitch and Putt course. A very difficult cross wind must have been the cucumber! Caused a few missed shots but we all eventually got round the course.


After toting up the scores our winners came in with very credible scores of 40 and 47.


The presentations consisted of very expensive trophies and nearly melted chocolate bars.

Tea and cake was once more enjoyed by everyone!

Derbyshire takes to the water

The evening started out from Mercia Marina at Willington on the Stenson Belle, crewed by Steve. Once the engine werewarmed we were off to the open water of the canal.


The narrow boat was larger than the average, great, as we made good use of the space with a table to put our food and drinks on.

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Technology lesson! Neil, Andy and Phil

The route took us to the Stenson lock where we turned round, enjoying the wild life of the swans and signets, and the colourful yellow flags.

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Jane, Phil and Andy

We all returned dry after a lovely evening.

Walk with Cornwall have a theme

Once again we have had a lovely walk in bright sunny weather in Lostwithiel. We had a good lunch in the Globe Inn and then had a leisurely stroll along the banks of the Fowey River.

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We spotted and had a very good view of an Otter in the river, a first for most of us, very exciting.

We then continued our walk up to Restormel Castle built by the Normans Originally and then updated by the Tudors.

The views from this advantage point were excellent. The walk continued over the hill and then dropped down through woods and back into town.

A tea and cake was had in the community hall, it be rude not too!

Another great walk enjoyed by our members.

And the theme is, Walk and cream tea, it's a winner every time.

East Midland area bike ride

Took place on Sunday, starting from Shipley Country Park near Heanor following the Nutbrook Trail, which runs from Heanor to long Eaton, a distance of 10 miles.

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This bike ride has been list in the top 10 in the Weekend Telegraph, so we are doing the right thing!

Once the tracks came to the end we joined the canal path to take us to Trent lock for lunch.


Once our batteries re charged we were off on our return trip for a cuppa and a piece of David's birthday cake.22 miles completed, well done all.


Thank you to Andy for arranging the day.

National Farm Sunday

Cornwall country link has had a lovely trip to a National Trust farm today .The farm is the most southerly farm in the country. It was participating in National Farm Sunday and was open to the public with a large number of visitors.

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Tregullas Farm on the Lizard is a family farm rearing lamb and beef on the cliffs of the Lizard.

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We also walked out onto the cliffs and had some wonderful views and spotted our famous Choughs that have constant baby sitters to protect them from egg collectors.

A very good afternoon out for our members.

Evening walks with Derbyshire Country link

In May we met at the Market Place in Ashbourne at 6.30pm, once parked and booted we were off with our intrepid leaders Elaine and Jane. The walk took us on the Tissington trail and wonderful views of Thorpe cloud, after 4 miles up and down dale in glorious sunshine we returned for fish and chips.

In June our evening walk took us to the Cock Inn at Hanbury where we met to walk a circular route. Leaving the car park for Browns Wood via public footpaths to the new memorial which is at the entrance to British Gypsum Mine at Fauld.

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Once gathered together we were off to look at the crater and the views around, spending some time at the crater side and the original memorial,we returned for a glass and a bar snack at the Cock Inn, Hanbury.

Cornwall Country link

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Sunday's wouldn't be Sunday's if we didn't have a walk with a lunch before and a proper cream tea afterwards.

Today's walk was from Lanivet a small village on the outskirts of Bodmin. We were able to follow the Saints Way footpath into a beautiful sheltered valley full of bluebells and wild garlic.

The trees were coming out in leaf and a babbling brook running briskly down its course.

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If you go down you have to come up! It was a steady climb but the views were worth the effort.

At the end of this 5 miler their was a cream tea in an ancient priory associated with the Saints Way footpath. Lovely!

Breath Taking winds

Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire country link have just completed their annual bike ride around the 16 miles of Rutland water.

On arrival after a DIY coffee from the truck, once dressed to ride, including gloves, hat extra layer we were off.


Cate has arrived!


Ken and Cate, standing as markers for where we need to go.

On some of the route it was quicker to walk than ride, we all regrouped at the Horse and Jockey for Lunch, where Pat and Dave joined us. Before bracing the wind to finish the 8 miles home.


The dam was real fun as the wind were so strong and blow us off the track and down a bank, Phil decide he was much better walking ,and soon caught us up to endure the sand storm across the car park.


We all completed the bike ride and enjoyed a cuppa before returning home.

Thank you to all, in theses testing conditions and early in the bike riding season.

30 years of Country link


We have just returned from celebrating 30 years of country link founded in 1985, by The Young Farmers Federation to offer continued membership the those member reaching that magic age of 26.

The country link members photographed are some thoses very first members who have had continued membership with country link; many have held office at club level and now are on the national committee.

Thank you to you all.

Charles Humby, Henri Isgar, James Vaughan, Jerry White, Lesley Sheaf, Martin Clarke, Nigel Swain, Peter Hurt, Phil Charles, Robyn Heath, Sue Hague, Barry Knapton, Andrew Moffat, Jane Sychelmore and Jessie Farrquahar

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