Dates for your Diary

Wednesday 18 July First Aid Course at the St. John Ambulance Centre, Church Road, Woodley, RG5 4QN. This is an evening course between 1800 to 2100 hours. To book a place please contact David Turner.
29 July
Our annual get together with the London Blind and partially sighted Rambling club. We need volunteers to pick up the walkers from Twyford Station and to assist on the walks from Waltham St. Lawrence. See full details in the programme and contact Ali Melabie if you can help.
4 August
The Earley Green Fair. This annual event is always enjoyable. Volunteers are required, to help us enthuse people about the joys of walking, on our Mid-Berks Rambler stall. So come along and enjoy all the fun of the fair with Chris & Rita. Fair opens at 1000 hours, on the Maiden Erlegh nature reserve, off Beech Lane, Earley.
12 August
Walking in the Bath area with the Bristol Ramblers. A coach will not now be provided for the trip, as the number of walkers did not make it viable. Please contact Paul Townson as soon as possible if you are coming, as in lieu of the coach, he will be arranging car sharing. We will be meeting the Bristol Ramblers, at the Newbridge Park and Ride, outside Bath (BA1 3NB) at 0915 hours (bring your bus pass). This Park and Ride is found to the west of bath off the A4.
20 October
Mid Berks AGM. See details in the walk programme.
21 October
Ramblers litter pick (details in the programme). Do come along and support our efforts to “clean up”.
17 November
Berks Area AGM. Hosted by Mid Berks – see details in the walk programme.
13 December
Christmas walk and lunch (details in the next programme). Mid Berks annual prelude to the festivities, so put this date in your diary.

Mid-Berks Newsletter
August to November 2018 - edited extracts

The Spring weather provided us with an additional challenge, all the rain turned many paths into a quagmire, but fortunately it did not dampen the enthusiasm of the intrepid walkers. Fortunately the spell of warm dry weather recently has improved the terrain.

Since the last programme some of us have had a most enjoyable stay in Whitby. There were two walks on offer, a medium and long one each day with lots of contrast of the coast or countryside. For those who preferred to sight-see there was plenty to do, all the pleasures of Whitby or a trip on the iconic North Yorkshire Moors Steam Train to Pickering via Goathland, the chosen film location for many popular programmes and films. A bus ride away was the bustling seaside town of Scarborough.

Wayfaring at Basildon Park.

The North Wessex Downs is an active partner of Wayfaring. Wayfaring is the second of three national (free to attend) events, at Basildon Park, a National Trust property, near Pangbourne, 18-21 July.

The Wayfaring event at Basildon Park is inspired by the chalk landscape and ancient routes of the Icknield Way, a Neolithic corridor of braided routes, that is thought to be the oldest in the country, running from the coast of North Norfolk to the Dorset coast. Basildon Park, where the North Wessex Downs meets the Chilterns, sits on the edge of the route as well as in the North Wessex Downs AONB.

As part of the Wayfaring project at Basildon Park, the North Wessex Downs are looking to connect with communities/groups that are particularly interested in walking and walking for health, and invite them to visit Basildon Park (for free) and the Wayfaring art installation and enjoy and experience the landscape within the North Wessex Downs.

There are two possibly opportunities we could offer Mid Berks Ramblers interested in exploring the Wayfaring project and Basildon Park:

  • Friday 20 July – visit and walk through the Basildon Park estate and visit the creation of the art installation. The art installation at Basildon Park is open from 10-4pm, however there are extra activities groups could take part in if we organise in advance:
    • 11am - a guided tour of the parklands (approx. 2 hours but there are plenty of places people can peel off if they wish)
    • Guided tour of the mansion
    • A welcome from the North Wessex Downs AONB explaining about the arts project and the notion of the Icknield way, which the project is inspired by and art installation.
  • Saturday evening 21 July – attend the main Wayfaring event. All are welcome and its free to attend, tickets just need to be reserved

I hope the above is of interest and I look forward to hearing from you or someone from Mid Berks Ramblers.

Wayfaring - 18-21 July

The grounds of Basildon Park, a National Trust Palladian-style country house in Lower Basildon near Reading, are the setting for Wayfaring, a free outdoor installation and performance created by artists Mandy Dike and Ben Rigby, who work together as And Now:

Wayfaring is an artistic journey of exploration, inspired by the landscape and ancient routes of the Icknield Way, a pre-Roman pathway running from north Norfolk to the Dorset coast. Basildon Park, where the North Wessex Downs meets the Chilterns, sits on the edge of the route.

Usually visitors pay to enter Basildon Park’s beautiful parklands - but on 18, 19 and 20 July between 10am to 5pm they can go in for free. Once in the park, they can journey through - and contribute to - an artwork being crafted from local and found materials by Mandy, Ben and their team and a group of local volunteers. Local school children will also be getting involved in the making of Wayfaring.

On the evening of Saturday 21 July from 7pm, fire, pyrotechnics, live music and performance will transform the installation in a rousing celebration. The audience will play an active part in Wayfaring - walking, looking, listening, maybe even singing.

Please do advise if any of your groups may be interested and I would be delighted to talk further.

Best and thanks,

Harriet Rochester
for the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
logo logo

Step into the unknown. Wayfaring is a journey of exploration inspired by the chalk landscape and ancient routes of the Icknield Way.
Find out more at

Holiday info

Autumn holiday 2018

Monday 10th September 2018

holidayThe group is off to Monmouth for four nights. We will be staying at the Riverside Hotel, Cinderhill Street, Monmouth, NP25 5EY.

If you wish to join us contact Maggie to check late availability. The cost is £278 per person for a shared room on dinner, bed and breakfast basis with packed lunches. We have reserved a small number of single rooms at a cost of £328. I will be asking for the balance from those who have booked at the end of July.

Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the Riverside Hotel is located only a short distance from the spectacular Symonds Yat and many attractions of The Wye Valley and Vale of Usk.
Monmouth is well located on the A40. To get to the hotel you should exit the A40 at the Trellech and Rockfield junction.
If you are approaching from the south, you will go through a tunnel and come off immediately afterwards at the Trellech and Rockfield junction. Follow the sliproad to a mini roundabout, go straight ahead and through the traffic lights; the Riverside Hotel is almost immediately on your left

Spring holiday 2019

Monday 8th April 2019

We are still taking bookings for the Spring holiday at HF Hotel at Abingworth. We have booked a four night stay from Monday 8th April, 2019. It will be the famous packed lunches with bed, breakfast and evening meal thrown in. The cost is £369.00 per person. There are still some single rooms left (no extra cost) and plenty of twins/doubles.
If you wish to join us contact Maggie to check availability. The deposit of £75 pp is due, and I will ask for the balance in February.

The youngest of Britain’s 15 National Parks, the South Downs National Park combines a bio-diverse landscape with bustling towns and cities. We will include some of the 160km South Downs Way. The quaint town of Arundel with its imposing castle is about 20 minutes’ drive away. Closer to home are Uppark House with its ornate rooms and gardens and 17th century Petworth House with extensive grounds landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown and collection of works by the artist JMW Turner, whose studio was based in the Grand Library for many years. And just 10 minutes’ drive away is the large deer park of Elizabethan Parham House.


Most gadgets these days work on electricity and the portable ones use batteries. All batteries use a chemical process to produce electricity. In this article I refer to powering things like mobile phones, cameras, GPS units with colour screens (‘medium drain’), not anything motorised which are ‘high drain’. Running the zoom on a camera in and out doesn’t count as motorised!

Single-use replaceable (or disposable) batteries

The ordinary ones, like AA or AAA, can be ‘long life’, ‘alkaline’ or ‘lithium’ and vary in power delivery as well as price. Not surprisingly the most expensive ones (lithium) also have the longest life – at least 6 hours more than ‘long life’ and at least 2hrs more than ‘Alkaline’ batteries like Duracells. These lithium batteries (which are alkaline batteries with a little lithium) also produce a slightly higher voltage than ordinary batteries so some gadgets have to be adjusted (easily in ‘Settings’). Which? Says the best Lithium batteries are Energizer. After lithium batteries the next best are ‘Alkaline’ batteries like Duracells, but the alkaline batteries from Aldi, or Energizer are very good according to Which? Not all batteries have the same life as they may be cheap because they have less of the necessary chemicals. But the cheapest are not necessarily the worst and vice-versa.

Rechargeable AA or AAA

The rechargeable ones that can replace single-use batteries like AA or AAA come in two main types. They provide a very similar voltage (1.4v) to the ones they replace, can be recharged many times before they become useless and so have a much lower impact on the environment and your bank balance than single-use batteries. Which? Says the best ones are Panasonic, Duracell, Energizer, or Varta. However they last several hours less than the best single-use ones. The cheapest was NiCad (referring to the chemicals used) but this doesn’t hold a charge well when unused and they have been illegal to sell since 2006. Better ones are NiMH (nickel-metalhydride). The power rating is in milli Amp hours (mAh) which is a this doesn’t hold a charge well when unused and they have been measure of the electricl capacity so the best ones have the highest number like 2500mAh or 2700mAh and last the longest. Beware the commonly sold ones rated at 700-2000mAh. They are cheaper and batteries or packaging always give the power rating but mostly in very small letters! Another issue is that rechargeable batteries don’t hold their charge well when unused, but the best as listed above hold charge well.

Rechargeable Camera or mobile phone batteries

These are mostly Lithium Ion (Li-ion) and have a voltage of 5 or 6v. It is possible to buy replacement spare ones – but the latest mobile phones cannot take replaceable batteries - or a portable battery pack with USB out port (a lead between this and your gadget is necessary). It is possible to buy a camera battery recharger with a mini or micro USB input so it can use your portable battery pack.

Tablets (‘pads) and Laptop PCs

These now don’t usually have batteries you can get at so need mains or car electricity. It is rare to get a portable battery pack with enough power or the right voltage to recharge these big gadgets on the move.


Although it is possible to buy solar-powered rechargers, our GB climate is too variable. But for sunny countries they are worth considering. Some trickle charge a battery which can then be used to charge up a gadget, some provide power direct to the gadget.

Note for cyclists

It is possible to buy kit that can power or recharge batteries or gadgets as you cycle along.

This article is very abbreviated. Corrections or clarifications will be gratefully received.
Supplied by Ron Knowles

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