A message from our group chair:

Welcome to our group website.

As the incoming group Chair I must first thank Andrea Deeley for her work over the past twelve years latterly as Chair, and secondly I must welcome the new members of the Committee - June Ayres who is taking over my role as Treasurer and Paul Byatt who is taking the role of Social Secretary.

Looking back over the year it has been one of downs and ups. Initially we were locked down and unable to provide any group walks but then, at the end of March, when we were allowed out, our Walks Co-ordinators very quickly got a programme together so that, in April, we were able to offer a very good selection of walks. For this, I am sure, we are all very grateful both to the co-ordinators and also to the walk leaders who were able to offer their walks so readily.

Once the walks were under way they continued right through and have been taken up by a good number of walkers both members and potential members.

We also managed to squeeze in a Tea Party in August as the first proper social event for a long time followed in November by an evening at Pizza Express. Both were organised by Helen Shephard and had a really good turnout. The Mince Walk was rather curtailed due to concerns over the omicron variant however we had a good local walk and then some really lovely mince pies and sausage rolls in the car park afterwards – but, sadly, no mulled wine. Thanks to all who contributed to this.

Another big event for us was the opening up of the footbridge over the bypass thanks to our Footpath Officer, Ted Herbert, who was assisted by Victoria Harvey, Andrew Selous MP and Central Beds Council. Until it was opened walkers had to run the gauntlet of the traffic on the bypass - a life threatening operation. A photo of the Mince Pie walkers crossing the bridge a few weeks ago is at the top of this page.

The Walks for Health scheme (soon to be rebranded as Wellbeing Walks) is now running once again in Leighton Buzzard. Three of us (Gill King, June Ayres and myself) took this on after it collapsed following the shutdown in March 2020. We now have three different walks on different days all with a regular core of walkers. In the New Year we hope to train some more leaders so as to provide some resilience to the organisation. Detailed information is available from the Health Walks page of this website.

Looking ahead the future appears to be uncertain in the short term, however, I am sure that this time the walks programme is going to be able to continue without interruption. Paul has begun to organise social events starting with a Quiz Night in January.

Also, in the New Year there will be a rebranding by the Ramblers Association. This won’t have any direct effect on any walks or social events but there will be a new banner for the programmes, circular emails and the web pages. This exercise is due to start in the middle of January.

May I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. I look forward to seeing many of you on the walks and the social events.

Julian Chritchlow

Group Chair

The Ramblers’ Association is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Company registration number:4458492. Registered Charity in England and Wales number:1093577. Registered office:2nd floor,Camelford House,87-90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TW.
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