Rambling groups step up to give visionary walks to blind visitors...

London Blind Walkers group, enjoying the local countryside, are assisted over a stile. SUS-160914-115714001
London Blind Walkers group, enjoying the local countryside, are assisted over a stile. SUS-160914-115714001

Blind and partially sighted walkers enjoyed a weekend of rambling around the local area’s stunning countryside and coastline assisted by local walking groups.

The visitors, part of the London Blind Walkers group, travelled down from the capitol by train and stayed in St Leonards last weekend.

Prior to the visit they asked local walking group the Rother Ramblers, if they would be willing to take them out on walks to sample the variety of coast and countryside in the area. Inga Chapman, Publicity Officer Rother Ramblers, says they were delighted to have the opportunity to help. “As well as planning and leading the walks, members also provided transport when necessary, to reach the starting points,” she said.

“Two walks had been planned; one of six miles along the seafront to Glyne Gap and another, a ten miler on Walland Marsh, the other side of Rye.

“Those that chose the shorter of the two walks strode out, with sunshine on their backs and a light breeze from the southwest wind, listening to the surf breaking on the shingle and enjoying the clean fresh air. During a picnic lunch on the beach they laughed at stories about gunner Spike Milligan who was stationed on Galley Hill during the Second World War.

“For the ten mile walk on Walland Marsh, guests were guided along river banks and flat terrain with a short climb over the dunes at Camber.

“On Sunday Battle Ramblers, took up the baton for a five mile walk, around Battle complete with historic anecdotes and details.

“The final walk on Monday was six and a half miles starting from Winchelsea Beach attracting 30 walkers. Rother Ramblers’ members, were joined by walkers from Bexhill Ramblers and the Pett Ladies walking group, all wanting to take a turn at guiding the visitors.

“The walk was very varied, following the seashore towards Rye Harbour then turning inland through the bird reserve and across farm land to Winchelsea Town. After a picnic lunch in the churchyard all were interested to find Spike Milligan’s headstone with its famous words in Gaelic. “They returned to the starting point by crossing Pett Levels where sheep and cattle grazed peacefully. A celebratory cup of tea and a piece of cake at Winchelsea Beach Café rounded off a very successful weekend.

“The London Blind Walkers returned to London on Tuesday, sunburned, windswept with aching limbs but with very happy memories thanks to the willing volunteers from Rother Ramblers and other local walking groups.” www.rotherramblers.org.uk