Essex & Suffolk met at West Bergholt today for a farm walk alongside the River Colne valley and back up through the woods. There were 6 of us but John and Linda peeled off earlier, leaving Paul Ros, Jane and Christine to complete the 4 mile walk. Beautiful countryside but forgot to take a pic of that!
20 of us met on Friday night to enjoy a wonderful 3 course meal followed by coffee and mince pies. Very good to catch up with everyone and wish them all a Happy Christmas.
We had our Festive Treasure Hunt in the small town of St Columb Major.
This ancient town is steeped in history and is perfect for our festive game.
With the help of Dave and Valda we compiled a walk around the town and our members had to seek out 25 answers, some being multiple answers.
As tradition goes we had a splendid Sunday roast in the Ring O Bells pub before heading out into the town.
Several teams took part and gathered the answers, all with a Christmas/ festive link.
We then returned to the church hall which was having a Christmas fair and enjoyed tea and cake while we marked the answer sheets.
The winners were; 4 Candles with 29.5/32 2nd, 4 Calling Birds with 27.5/32 3rd, Rain Deer (it was chucking it down) 24.5/32 4th, The Red Berries 22.5/32.
All had a good time and it was a nice addition to our Christmas festivities.
Our Christmas activities here in stormy Cornwall have started!
A small group of artistic people joined Valda at Star Glazers in Falmouth for an evening of decorating Christmas baubles and other things. We enjoyed a glass of sparkling and mince pies as we created our mini masterpieces that will instantly go to the back of the tree.
The items appear dull but once glazed and fired will transform into colourful tree decorations that will become family heirlooms to come out of the attic once a year.
Look out for our festive treasure hunt and our clubs party reports.
We had the most marvellous afternoon today.
We were joined by 6 members of the North Cornwall group who are always very welcomed to join us.
We had a late lunch in Camelford and then trooped out to Rough Tor on Bodmin Moor.
It was a glorious sunny day with a cold biting wind from the east. We needed to be out on the moor before the November sun sank below the horizon to see one of nature's most spectacular sights. Starlings in their thousands returning to their roosting spots in the conifer woods.
We weren't disappointed, on cue they flew in in squadrons, snaking across the crisp blue sky. As they grouped together they then went into murmurations and danced across the winter sky before settling in the trees.
It was stunning, the whole scene was perfect and thoroughly enjoyed by the group. We were cold but extremely happy to witness this spectacle of nature.
Probably because it was Remembrance Sunday only a few members joined myself and Valda in a walk from our local golf club.
We again enjoyed a good Sunday roast before setting out on the four mile walk.
The trees in the area were glorious in their autumn colours as we strolled down quiet lanes and sheltered footpaths. Catching glimpses of the rolling countryside across newly sown wheat fields, the green shoots sprouting in the weak autumn sunshine.
We were lucky to see a large buzzard resting in a low stunted oak tree, being surprised by us it took off in a flurry of beating wings bursting through the leafless trees.
It was a simple walk but gave us plenty of pleasure.
Next week we are going to see the wonderful mumerations of thousands of starlings as they come into roost on Bodmin moor.
Derbyshire Country Link today met at Ilam Hall for a 5 mile walk in our wonderful green land. We enjoyed coffee to celebrate Meg arriving without having been travel sick, a great walk enjoyed by all, especially Daisey who found a smelly something to share.
Once over the bridge, which took some time taking in vibes of the river, tea and cake and Meg home without any incidents. Lovely day for us all.
Just one member was able to make it for the North Essex Annual Ploughing Match visit on a beautiful day in a stunning location. Both ultra modern and vintage tractors were there to show off their skills.
Other members will have been busy ploughing themselves as drilling could be seen under way all around on the drive over to the tiny village of Little Maplestead, who also had their Church Flower Festival on with beautiful displays.
The rain clouds parted and the wind eased a little to allow us a pleasant stroll around the Frogpool area. The pub, the Cornish Arms, provided us with an excellent roast dinner.
It was one of those walks that I was armed with an OS map but really I followed my nose going down footpaths that I hadn't trodden before. Yes it could end in tears but generally I get away with it.
It was a two hour circular walk and we finished with tea and cake at a local cafe. Nothing too strenuous but a nice bit of exercise for all.
Ayrshire and Cumbria Countrylink enjoyed a joint visit to Galloway Country Fair. Members pictured here at Buccleuch and Queensberry Hotel Thornhill for dinner after a day at the fair.
We had a very pleasant weekend enjoying several Country Link events.
On Friday evening we attended an open air theatre at Trebah gardens. It was the Hounds of the Baskerville. A Sherlock Holmes who dun it.
A small group of actors, 4, acted out the story with great timing and fun.
A member had a birthday party which combined the last night of the proms on Saturday evening.
Sunday we visited Lanlivery Classic rally. We had lovely weather and several members strolled round the show ground enjoying all the sights and displays. My highlight being able to steer a traction engine around the show ground, that was a first for me.
We also earlier in the week had a planning meeting and are putting together another 3 months up too and beyond Christmas of exciting events including a Christmas treasure hunt around a local town. The twelve days of Christmas being the theme.
Our Christmas party is already planned and members are booking their places.
Plenty to do and fun to be had!!!
We are still very busy with club events. We do try and do different things in different parts of our county.
This time Valda arranged a visit to the Cornwall at War Museum perched on the edge of Davidstow moor which links onto the bigger and better known Bodmin moor.
It is the site of a 2nd World War airfield where maritime bombers protected the Atlantic approaches and also attacked the submarine installations along the coast of the Bay of Biscay.
The owners of the museum have collected a huge collection of war memorabilia.
We enjoyed a pasty lunch and tea and cake after our tour.
We also had the pleasure of 5 members from the North Cornwall group joining us.
Thanks to Valda for her organising skills.
Today we became very sporty and had our annual golf tournament.
The weather was against us with strong winds and driving rain but the brave competitors donned our wet weather gear and took to the course.
A 18 hole crazy golf course at Falmouth.
The wind blew a lot of debris on the course and this diverted our balls all over the place and caused some over par scores. Enough of the excuses we were poor but the better ones of us Roy and Linda posted the lowest scores and were declared the winners.
We then enjoyed some tea and cake.
Our club program is always varied and our members can participate in any of the events.
Next week the North Cornwall group is joining us on a visit to the Cornwall at War Museum based at Davidstow a 2nd WW airfield near Camelford.
Photos and report will follow next week.
I had arranged a nice lunch when 19 people enjoyed a very nice Sunday roast at the Punchbowl and Ladle pub.
11 members followed me on a smashing walk after lunch down to a nearby creek and across a few fields. The reward being excellent views across this beautiful countryside.
The tea stop at Linden Hay was charming and we had a delicious tea. An extra 3 members arrived just for the tea.
What was slightly different was a couple of the North Cornwall group joined us, which was really nice. They are also teaming up with us with other members of their group in a few weeks time to visit a museum near Camelford in North Cornwall. This inter-group sharing provides more opportunities to enjoy different events.
It was another successful event for our group and a lot of our recent members attended.
This weekend our village held its popular annual scarecrow competition.
The theme was "summertime". Martin created an amazing farm-based scene with a sleeping scarecrow letting crows in the cornfield, and an angry farmer on a tractor sacking him!
Lots of time, effort, paint and cardboard went into making the scene - which was voted second overall of 41 entries.
Several Country Linkers had a picnic in our garden and enjoyed strolling round the village, solving clues and voting for their favourite scarecrow.
Putting our banner and pop up sign to good use promoting Country Link at our annual scarecrow competition. Several hundred people will see the signs over two days.
We are very fortunate in Cornwall to have innovative and talented theatre groups who put on brilliant shows and plays.
A small group of us went to Bodmin on Saturday evening and had a deeply moving experience taking part in The Trench.
We were recruited and sent by steam train to the front as part of the Cornwall Light Infantry.
We were taking the parts of actual men who went to the front. Some survived to tell the stories but the majority died.
It was an extremely well put together piece of theatre made even more moving that we were actual soldiers who put down their lives for our freedom that we enjoy today.
This emersive theatre pulled us in and we were time travelled back to those horrendous times of the 1914 war and the trench warfare.
Hopefully never to be repeated.
A wonderful and moving experience thoroughly enjoyed by our group.
Here in Cornwall we usually try to do something to enjoy the evening of the longest day. So this year we took picnics to Trelissick (a beautiful spot), tried to fly a kite, walked to the sea and back through the Bodgers wood, before heading down the pub. It was a lovely evening and great weather!
Here in sunny Cornwall we like to do different things!!
A few months ago we planned a swimming trip to Penzance's lovely lido for today. So fingers crossed for fine weather, it's wasn't brilliant but it was okay.
We had a super fun event shared with our nice members. The water in the pool is sea water and not heated but Penzance is blessed with fine warm weather and the water was 17.5 degrees, so chilly when getting in!!!
We had a long extended lunch and the 18 members who attended had a thoroughly good afternoon. Many suggesting that we should do it again soon.
This weekend saw some of the Cornwall Country Link at Scorrier on Saturday for the Great Estate Festival with a variety of entertainment available.
On Sunday a group enjoyed a good lunch and a walk on Carn Brea.
We rendezvous at the gardens, once found - via a very small sign - enjoyed a coffee and a chat, before starting our stroll around the labyrinth of paths and banks, to see the newts and frogs in the pond and the woodland area. We soon lost each other.
David met an un expected resident of the garden. He did make tea!
Su and I played naught and crosses on our travels .Once tea time came round we were drawn by tea pot, for tea and cake, for further chat about the vast colours and varieties in the gardens.
Love colours great company giving a wonderful afternoon.
At the end of April Staffordshire Country Link hosted a meal and disco for members and friends from around the country, a raffle in aid of the local Air Ambulance made £190 with many prizes donated by local businesses. An excellent meal was provided in Finneys restaurant at Amerton Farm by Totally Delicious. We were also lucky enough to arrange for Gavin from Shire Standard to come along and take some photographs for his newspaper. The Balloons provided by the Air Ambulance created a diversion late in the evening after everyone had loosened up dancing the night away.
Earlier in the month we had enjoyed a not too onerous and beautiful walk in Dimmingsdale where the trees were just beginning to come into leaf. Although the weather was dull we all managed to eat a lovely Sunday lunch outside at the Ramblers Retreat without being rained on. Isla, the westie, particularly had a good time trying to decide who she should be following in the ‘hope' of receiving a treat.
A new departure for Staffordshire Country Link will see us meet up on the first Wednesday of every month at The Blythe for a meal, drink and a chat in addition to other items on the programme. This is to ensure that all members have knowledge of where at least one meeting takes place per month. New friends and members are always welcome.
Kate Greaves - 2018
We were blessed with a clear blue sky and bright sunshine as we took our regular Sunday walk.
As usual we had a good lunch at the Goonhavern garden centre and then had a nice walk in the surrounding area which is just inland from Perranporth.
Two new members joined us and they experienced a good friendly group totalling 21 members.
Naturally we returned to the cafe and topped up the fuel tank with tea and cake.
A small but enthusiastic group of members fought the urge to have a Sunday morning lay in and joined myself and Valda for an early morning nature walk.
At 8.30 we met at Tehidy Country Park near Redruth and had a very pleasant stroll in the area spotting the birds and wild life. We saw water fowl, woodland birds like the Great Tit and the friendly Robin. We also was able to study at close proximity a delightful Wood mouse.
We finished the walk with a breakfast in the parks cafe.
Easter weekend, on the Saturday we went walking! That's not normal for us! There was a very good reason, I had found the most marvellous tea room serving the biggest portions of cake known to man but they don't open Sundays so the walk had to be a Saturday.
We had a very pleasant 4 mile walk beforehand which was necessary and then we were able to tuck into the tea and cake without the guilty complex.
11 happy members of Cornwall Country Link thoroughly enjoyed today's outing.
p.s. the tea room is part of Cornwall Country Supplies which is based on a local farm and is a perfect example of farm diversification and is very much in keeping with Country Link.
Happy Easter, Martin
Met 10am at Maria's, Meg unable to travel. 7 people, 5 dogs and we were off, destination The Cock at Hanbury. 3 miles for Meg with her 4 little legs, too busy to be worrying about that, new friends to be made, new things to see and do.
We reached our destination, once coffee was ordered, Meg took to David's lap for a nap and secured her lift home with Pat.
After coffee we were off on our return trip back to Tutbury on the local footpaths clashing with the 500 cows coming in for milking. All good fun.
Once home tea and cake.
Lovely day for all.
The weather was stunningly beautiful for our walk at Boscastle.
The group had their traditional Sunday lunch at the Cobweb Inn.
The main walk was following the river up the Valency valley to St Juliets Church. Knowing it was a tricky path and slippery some of the group stayed in Boscastle and explored this lovely North Cornwall fishing village.
The rest of the group took to the path and had a glorious walk up through this deep river valley.
On the return we branched off the path to visit a second church, Minister church, nestled in a bowl completely out of view of everyone.
To return to Boscastle we only needed to leap across stepping stones over the river. Simple!!!
Tasty crumble back at the Cobweb completed the walk.
Peter's annual dinner and dance was held at the Ramsdale Golf Club, Nottingham. Arrived in good time and ordered taxi for 10 to the venue. Great food and company. Caught on the news and danced the night away with friends from near and far.
The following morning, after our overnight stay at the Premier Inn and breakfast at Ramsdale, 12 of us set off on a 4 mile walk around the area and returned for a light lunch.
Lovely 24 hours away.
Saturday night back with home crowd, down in Tutbury at Tutbury Club.
Cornwall Country Link have had a couple of weekday nights out this week.
Monday found us at the Star and Garter in Falmouth where we enjoyed food from the "Dirty Mondays" menu, drinks, conversation and live music.
On Wednesday night a small group of intrepid revellers were in Truro for another delicious meal and then watched Truro's "City of Lights" parade which had been postponed from November due to bad weather. Lots of local schools make delightful lanterns from paper and bamboo and parade through the streets accompanied by pipes and drums.
Today Cornwall Country Link enjoyed a lovely Sunday lunch with a view of Falmouth harbour followed by an afternoon creating masterpieces on pottery.
We will collect our works of art in a few days. We have some talented people!!
It was a very enjoyable time.
Click here to read Tom's report from our Autumn 2017 weekend
Click here to read Host Warickshire Country links report from our Autumn 2017 weekend
As you can see from our dramatic photos we braved the very strong winds that certainly blew the cobwebs away.
The scenery was exhilarating and our small group thoroughly enjoyed the lunch and walk on this first day of 2018.
We have many more events planned for the forthcoming year.
Staffordshire Country Link thought it was about time we provided an update of our events during the past year. Winning the cup for the most new members was a pleasant surprise. Although not competitive it was good for Staffordshire to receive recognition for all our efforts as we are always keen to encourage new members.
We have a 3 programme planning meetings each year. Members are encouraged to attend and/or organise and/or suggest/request events. The Staffordshire Country Link Programmes is members led with 3-4 events per month. Each month tends to feature a walk, at least one meal (and most events include the option for eating!) and an item of "culture". Meals are the most popular events. Some events are arranged with neighbouring Cheshire Country Link. Members are empowered and encouraged to arrange events and to participate. Optional background support when arranging an event is available and those who do arrange events do a great job, admit the confidence boost is amazing and go on to arrange more! Obviously members are encouraged to attend events however there is no pressure to do so recognising other commitments and unexpected life changes, and in addition not every event appeals to everyone. Our aim is to be an informal, friendly and caring social group with plenty of laughter and banter. If we don't see or have any contact from a member for a while, one of the group will make contact to check they are ok. Many Staffordshire members also attend other clubs' events, and the National Weekends away resulting in an amazing network of friends and experiences around the country. Some of you may have met members Tony, Ian and Phil affectionately known as" The Three Musketeers", their social appetites and travel distances know no bounds!
Staffordshire is a diverse county bordered by The River Dove to the East and the town Uttoxeter with its racecourse; the Trent Valley and its flat farmland; the cities of Lichfield and Stoke on Trent, a variety of market towns, the White Peak area bordering the Peak District, The Roaches and hilly terrain of The Moorlands with the towns of Leek, Biddulph and Cheadle extending down to The Rock Houses (we visited a few years ago) located on a little leg of Staffordshire running to the south of Wolverhampton and bordering Worcestershire. An abundance of beautiful countryside, areas steeped in history including numerous castles e.g. at Stafford, Chartley and Tutbury; the pottery industry, the National Arboretum, Uttoxeter Racecourse, Alton Towers and the home of JCB. With a wide variety of places to eat to suit all tastes and pockets there is plenty of choice when programme planning. Stafford County Show in May is an annual event and it has become a Staffordshire Country Link tradition to meet at 3pm for tea in The Young Farmers Pavilion. A chance for some to relive their days in Young Farmers and of course an opportunity to recruit new members (the parents/relatives/friends of current Young Farmers!!) Other events this year have included visits to a Windmill and Vintage Tractor Show; a joint visit with Cheshire Country Link to The Salt Museum near Northwich in Cheshire,
Although the county of Staffordshire is land locked there is still plenty of water around and a "watery" theme has emerged on our walks this year. Rudyard Lake (joint meeting with Cheshire Country Link), Tittesworth Water, and Shugborough Estate and Pakland. The latter was one of our autumn walks along canal towpaths and rivers, crossing The Essex Bridge (the longest remaining packhorse bridge in England and reputedly built for Elizabeth 1 by The Earl of Essex so she could visit nearby Chartley Castle) and onto The Shugborough estate and parkland with its herd of Longhorn cattle (see photographs taken by Terry) now owned by The National Trust. It was the perfect autumn day sunny, bright and crisp with beautiful splashes of colour from the leaves on the trees and plenty more to crunch underfoot. Terry's reward as the nominated photographer was the sight of a kingfisher by the canal unfortunately too quick for his camera and missed by the rest of us who were too noisy engrossed in banter and laughter!
Occasionally our walks have been wet underfoot especially on the 3rd December. Although we took the very good advice to wear wellies, unfortunately Phil discovered his left welly had sprung a leak and it was at the walk's wettest spot! Phil organised a walk was from Stone "The Canal Town" calling in for refreshments at" Oatcakes and Milkshakes" recognising the dairy industry and Staffordshire's heritage. The watery theme continued however this time swimming instead of walking with a trip to "Waterworld "(joint with Cheshire Country Link) and a couple of entertaining stories! We managed a few non watery walks too including a revisit to Oakamoor close by Alton Towers. Oakmoor amongst other things is famous for The Chained Oak with its legend and curse. We walked along the disused railway line up into the hills in beautiful sunshine and returned for welcome refreshments at The Ramblers Retreat - also famous but this time for the selection of Staffordshire oatcakes and lemon meringue pie! From The Roaches we travelled up into "White Peak" and completed a circular walk from Wetton with magnificent views across The Manifold Valley and into Derbyshire. We have ventured into Derbyshire's Peak District on one occasion: to Monyash and the hidden limestone valley. We have walked on Cannock Chase a vast area, Country Link has visited many times before, this time passing the War Cemeteries and the Glacial Boulder (which to some was surprisingly small!). Our final walk of the year is just over a week after our Christmas Meal on December 22nd and offers a chance for escape and a catch up before 2018. Billed as "George's Festive Walk" - last year he managed to arrange bright winter sunshine and a herd of red deer! No pressure for this year George!!! We hope the weather will be kind to us although in the festive spirit, just the briefest of snow flurries would be acceptable!
Staffordshire Country Link would like to take the opportunity to send Very Best Wishes for the Festive Season and for 2018 to all our friends throughout Country Link. We look forward to meeting up in 2018 and if you're ever in the Staffordshire area please contact us if you would like to come along to one of our events, we'd love to see you and guarantee a friendly welcome!