This was an excellent opportunity to introduce our society to new students. There was a lot of interest in our walks and we have signed up 44 new members! Many thanks to Eduardo, Graham and Periklis for taking their time to represent our society at the fair; special thanks to Graham who attended Saturday’s event at a very short notice indeed.
If you like to join our walking society, you can still do so – see our Membership page for more information.
Photos courtesy of Shiroshana Tissera
02 October 2011 – Our walk on Sunday afternoon aimed to introduce new students to the joy of walking to Cranfield village using a public footpath. This route is about 2.5 km one way and is a perfect running route, provided it is not too windy as it is quite exposed. This walk turned out to be a record-breaking event as more than 50 students attended! Luckily, we were prepared. Our group of experienced walkers covered front, middle and the back, namely: Eduardo, Graham, Periklis, Shiwei, Simon and myself. Once arriving at Cranfield village, we popped to Co-op supermarket and then had a short break, relaxing on the edge of the field, before embarking on the return journey. It was a peaceful walk except that our very long procession, spread out in its full length, did not escape the attention of Cranfield airport security staff.
We were confronted by their marked vehicle, lights flashing, near the point where the path diverges. “We are going to a tea party,” I replied innocently to the security man’s question; what was this all about? Which was true, we were on the way to join a tea party at Mitchell Hall, organised by the Community Centre. Our activity looked apparently suspicious – I guess, they have not seen so many people before using this public footpath at once. It was then suggested to us to follow the path religiously, which would mean going over the stiles. I had to refuse this suggestion politely as with such a large group, it was much easier (and safer) to use another option – a nice wide path that follows the hedge round the corner. This section is regularly used by runners and thus makes the walk to Cranfield village stiles-free – however this is an unofficial section of the public footpath that is not marked on Ordnance Surveymaps. We were let off on this occasion to continue on our planned route back but advised to seek an official permission from the university to use this unofficial small stretch of path in the future. Oh, no, not again – wouldn’t even know who to ask. Probably not Transport Team as they don’t feel strongly about walking falling into their department. Anyway, we had a lovely walk and did manage to get back to the tea party well ahead of time.
In July this year we ran a mini series of special natural history walks. This was mainly thanks to Alan Nelson, staff member of School of Applied Sciences, who offered to do a number of early Thursday evening guided walks for us. Additionally, the Community Centre provided financial support in form of transport – individual taxis and a minibus, to be precise! Three of these special walks took place: to Caldecotte Lake; from Olney to Clifton Reynes; and around Emberton Country Park. The events proved to be extremely popular, with more than 20 students and staff attending the first two events and a smaller number attending the third (influenced by the bad weather on that day).
Alan has in-depth knowledge of fauna and flora; dragonflies in particular. Attending one of his guided walks allowed us to see nature in a very different light. Our faces lit up and we listened intently; whether Alan was describing a longbow – a medieval historical weapon made from yew wood, discussing diseases troubling horse-chestnut trees, keelhauling, various plants such as teasel or the fact that a cygnet could be eaten by fox.
Now that autumn season is approaching and colour of the trees is changing so beautifully, it would be perfect to have a tree talk. I approached in person the Farm Woodland Forum, whose secretary happens to be Cranfield University member of staff, whether they could do a special interest walk for us. However, they don’t think they can help us at present. So the hunt for a tree expert is still on!
If you are a tree expert or have any other natural history/botany expertise and would be happy to do either a lunchtime, short, guided walk or a longer weekend walk for our group, please contact us. Above all, you will be rewarded by knowing you have enriched life of many of our students.
Thursday 29 September – it was a lovely late afternoon and we supposed to be meeting at 5.30 in front of cafe bookshop. Arriving there couple of minutes early, I was certainly not expecting that. Wow, what a turnout! I counted just about 30 of us, going for a stroll across the fields towards North Crawley in glorious sunshine – students from various countries such as China, Malta, Egypt, Greece, Germany and USA – many especially from MSc course in Logistics Management. After tackling some unruly stiles, whizzing through couple of kissing gates, tasting some blackberries and taking a shortcut across a field, we stopped for some homemade ice cream and a cake at Angela’s farm shop at Lodge Farm to cool off, before heading back via stables and arriving at Cranfield University just as the dusk set in. Our walking party was quite spread out so I am sorry to those I have not said ‘good night’ to. Special thanks to Graham and Simon who coordinated the walk back and front.