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Tonbridge & Malling Ramblers

Tonbridge and Malling Ramblers


People join the ramblers for so many reasons:  the love of the countryside, to get fit, to make new friends or, in my case,  moving to a new area and wanting to get my bearings. I didn't realise that joining The Tonbridge and Malling Rambling Group would change my life.


When I retired a few years ago, I volunteered to become Social Secretary for our group. I wanted to give something back to all the members who'd been so welcoming and become my friends.


My job is to arrange a social event each month, two walking trips - one in April and the other in October and to arrange our Christmas lunch, which also combines our AGM. I'm convinced that these social occasions are a crucial part of any group or club and help to create the friendly atmosphere that we're so proud of.  Our rambles are all the more fun when shared with friends.


We have pub nights, darts matches and meals out. We've seen various shows and been to pantos around Christmas time. Last month we had a talk about the kind of birds we may see on our rambles. I like to throw in some unusual events to keep everyone interested too - we've sailed along the Medway on a lovely warm summer evening, and had  a couple of trips on a paddle steamer from Chatham Dockyard - when the weather, unfortunately, wasn't so kind. We've got a coach trip coming up this year to the Wealdland and Country open air museum near Chichester.  And, I've even lead a couple of ghost walks on Halloween.


Our walking trips are usually four nights away, staying in hotels on a half board basis.  We're so lucky to live in a country with such varied areas to walk in, with a wonderful network of well maintained footpaths.


Last April we went to Louth in the Lincolnshire Wolds. I think some of our members were surprised at the rolling countryside there. That part of Lincolnshire is certainly not as flat as you'd imagine. One of our members has family living there and they were able to help us by leading the walks. We loved the rambler's church at Walesby with its stained glass window depicting ramblers and cyclists, which was donated by the local rambling group in 1951.


Next October we're off to Dartmoor in Devon - we went there last year and so enjoyed the trip and all the wonderful and varied walks in the area that we've decided to repeat the experience. Highlights last year were the walk over Sheeps Tor from Meavy. And the walk from Fingle bridge, climbing up to the Teign Gorge rim, past Castle Drogo, returning for lunch at Fingle Bridge Inn before we drove home.


One of our members is a brilliant photographer and posts his photo diaries of these trips on our website.


June Hammond (Social Secretary for Tonbridge and Malling Ramblers) Sep 2014

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