Sutton and Wandle Valley Ramblers

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The Gordon Shelford Trail

In February we will be starting a new long distance Trail of walks called the Gordon Shelford Trail. Clearly Gordon Shelford himself needs no introduction, but here are some details about the trail.

 The trail will have seven legs, ranging from 6.5 miles to 11.5 miles in length. Walks will all be on a Friday. We start in February, with the subsequent walks being in March, April, then 2 walks in May, followed by a short break, and the final 2 walks will be in August and September. The trail is designed to avoid the need to use country buses, and each leg will start and finish at a railway station.

 Chris C and Phil will be taking it in turns to lead each walk.

 We will be starting out in the outer suburbs of North London. and crossing over the M25 and the Lee Valley and into Essex. From there we progress northwards crisscrossing the Hertfordshire and Essex border, and following bits of the Harcamlow Way trail and the Hertfordshire Way trail. We pass through the attractive town of Safron Walden, and finally cross over into Cambridgeshire, where we will parallel the river Granta. The route passes through mostly open rolling country, with little woodland and big open skies, which we hope will be blue in colour.

The route opens up new territory for our walking group, and will contain many features of historic and landscape interest.   

A little faction about the trail ......  

This trail is named after the well known and much loved headmaster of Stoke Brunswick School which took pupils to the age of 13 - Gordon Shelford (born 1st April 1905 just before noon). He was headmaster between 1958 and 1965 (he is not to be confused with the Reverend Gordon Shelford first vicar of St Andrew’s Church Frimley Green!). It is a little known fact that Winston Churchill attended the school between 1883 and 1885. The school was located just south of East Grinstead (Grid Reference TQ 42136 37466).

Gordon wanted a challenge for his pupils that would give them an edge in their applications for Eton and Harrow. To this end he designed a walking trail that they would complete in their penultimate year at the school to gain a certificate which demonstrated their adventuring spirit (a little like the Duke of Edinburgh's award that started around the same time). He wanted the trail to run roughly from London to to his alma mater of Cambridge. He hit on the idea of making the start and end points relate to his name - the start was Gordon Hill and the end was at Great Shelford in Cambridgeshire. We will be following in the steps of those intrepid 11 year olds for this trail.

We will be walking the first section on Friday 22nd February 2019. The section will be from Gordon Hill to Cheshunt. We look forward to seeing you then.

Footnote: You will find reference to Gordon in this article


Friday, January 18, 2019