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Podcast Ramblings

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  • The Trundle Sussex with Harriet Thomas
    The final listener's walk of the series is with Harriet Thomas who wrote to the programme to invite Clare to share her regular walk to The Trundle near Goodwood Racecourse in West Sussex. When lockdown struck and Harriet decamped from London to be near her elderly father she began walking regularly. Sadly her father passed away in Spring 2020 and Harriet kept up the walking as a way of processing her grief. She never returned to London and now immerses herself in the Sussex landscape on her daily rambles. They meet and start out from near the village of West Dean and do a 6 mile circular walk that takes them up to The Trundle an ancient hillfort that provides a spectacular view down into Chichester and beyond to Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Producer: Maggie Ayre
  • Halifax Hikers
    Clare goes to Halifax to walk with a group of Muslim men who came together to support each other to become mentally and physically fitter through walking in the countryside around Halifax. One of the things the group enjoys about their town is the ability to be out into beautiful countryside within ten minutes - albeit up some very steep hills! The group's leader is Zaheer Khalil. He is passionate about the benefits of fresh air and walking. He also believes walking is a way of connecting with other people outside of their immediate community. They are a group of professional men who started to find their lives becoming stressful, unhealthy and at times overwhelming. The walks have helped them come together to keep fit and also share problems. They are all passionate about their town and keen to give back to the community in many different ways. They are proud of Halifax's industrial heritage, the contributions made by their elders and their own place in its history. Their walk begins and ends at the town's magnificent centrepiece The Piece Hall. All together it's 6.2 miles and takes them from the town centre up Trooper Lane to Beacon Hill before they walk along the ridge and drop down into Shibden Valley through the grounds of Shibden Hall, former home of Anne Lister (Gentleman Jack). After a break at the Shibden Mill Inn nestled amongst the trees by a stream, another steep climb takes the group up Lee Lane to Ploughcroft, which offers another panorama of Halifax. There is then a gradual descent back towards the town centre, via Claremount and North Bridge, finishing off in the opulent Georgian splendour of the Piece Hall plaza for the guys' customary chai and samosas. Producer: Maggie Ayre
  • Epsom Downs & Langley Vale Wood
    Listener Jo Forrest got in touch inviting Clare to walk with her and a group of fellow walkers with T1 Diabetes who discovered the beautiful lush landscapes around Epsom Downs Racecourse during their lockdown walks. Jo, Chiara, Nicole and Denise are keen to share awareness of Type 1 Diabetes and how they manage it in their every day lives. Their walk takes them beyond the racecourse to Langley Vale Wood scene of Lord Kitchener's inspection of the troops in 1915. Wooden sculptures of the soldiers haunt the landscape and even on a Summer's day the stillness and solemness make for a poignant reminder of the Fallen. Producer: Maggie Ayre
  • Nightjar Impressions near the Hampshire Hangers
    A sunny hike, with added party tricks, in the pretty countryside around East Worldham. Led ably by members of Walk Alton, Clare discovers the beauty of this part of east Hampshire. Every episode in this series has been suggested by a Ramblings listener. Helen Dudley and Ian Fleming from Walk Alton wrote to the programme and invited Clare to discover more about this very active organisation and the national scheme to which it belongs, Walkers Are Welcome. For its small size, a population of around twenty thousand, Alton has a disproportionately large number of walking groups and two walking festivals, all run by committed volunteers. Today’s route is around 7 miles long and starts in the village of East Worldham, two miles east of Alton. They follow the map south, along part of the Hangers Way (hangers are very steep, wooded slopes) to Binswood, an ancient area of woodland managed by the Woodland Trust. Next they head to Shortheath Common, an important area of heathland, before looping back via another part of Binswood and returning to East Worldham via King John’s Hill. Joining them en route is Elinor Newman of the South Downs National Park who discusses a rare habitat known as 'quaking bog', and surprises everyone with her uncanny impressions of both nightjars and beetles. Scroll down on the Radio 4 Ramblings webpage to the 'related links' section for more info. Presenter: Clare Balding Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Karen Gregor
  • Dovedale with Caravan
    Clare walks with a listener known as Caravan, who spent six years living homeless in the Peak District, an area he knows well thanks to his love of outdoor pursuits. This series of Ramblings is being led by its listeners, people who have written to the programme with a story and a walk that they want to share. Caravan (not his real name) emailed to tell us about his experience of prolonged homelessness over thirty years ago. Central to his survival was the Peak District where he found both physical shelter, by way of railway stations, and also a feeling of sanctuary and anonymity during the most difficult years of his life. They recorded this walk just after the intense July heatwave which meant their planned Kinder Scout hike was inaccessible, closed due to the risk of wildfires. Instead they met in the village of Hartington and followed a route through Dovedale. Presenter: Clare Balding Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Karen Gregor

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