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On Sunday 22nd March 16 members enjoyed a 10 mile walk in the local area. Passing through the Abbey Grounds, the route followed the Stratton Brook valley to Daglingworth and climbed beyond Itlay to the huge Daglingworth Quarry and information board provided by Hanson there. Descending past Oysterwell House, Bagendon church was reached for the lunch stop. The route then followed the road to Perrotts Brook before joining the track back down the Churn Valley through Baunton to the town centre. A freshly dug badger's set was seen showing that the creatures are still active. The warm sunshine was particularly welcome as the walk was a recent re-run of one spoilt by torrential rain.
On Sunday 15th March, 20 members and 3 guests set off on a 5 mile walk from the Cotswold Farm Park.The group made their way through Bemborough Farm, which is regularly featured on the TV programme Countryfile. They then took the lane to Kineton passing over the River Windrush by means of an old clapper bridge before going back onto footpaths to reach Castlett Farm for a coffee stop and chance to admire the landscaped lake. After this stop they continued on footpaths and lanes to Guiting Power and Barton before crossing the River Windrush again. Shortly after this the group took a farm track uphill until they reached the Cotswold Farm Park's Wildlife Walk. The route of the Wildlife Walk descended in to Gorse Valley before ascending North Hill and back to the farm park.
On Thursday 12th March seventeen members of the group took the bus from Torquay to Churston and then walked 5½ miles to Brixham. From Churston Station the group followed the Greenway Walk, named after the summer home of Agatha Christie. They then followed the Greenway Walk until they picked up the John Musgrove Heritage Trail and followed this through Churston Ferrers and past Churston Cove into Brixham in time for lunch. On returning to Torquay by bus the group were treated to a complimentary cheese and cider tasting in the hotel just to keep their strength up until dinner.
On Tuesday 10th March seventeen members took the bus from Torquay to Brixham and then walked the 9 miles back to their hotel in Torquay along the SW Coastal Path. From the Brixham town centre they made their way to the harbour to pick up the coastal path. Very soon they were ascending and descending steep slopes and numerous steps as they made their way past Churston Cove and Elberry Cove before reaching Broadsands.
After a short spell on the flat they again climbed steps to the top of the cliffs. The group then walked up and down alongside the railway line to Goodrington Sands and a lunch stop (thanks to the owner of the unopened café for use of his chairs for the lunch stop). After this the walking got easier as they made their way around Roundham Head and along Paignton Sands at the end of which the group stopped for a well earned ice cream. The final part of the walk followed the main coastal road back to Torquay and the hotel, just in time to relax and enjoy a full Devonshire Cream Tea with the compliments of the hotel.
Between Monday 9th and Friday 13th March 22 members and guests spent an enjoyable 4 night break at the Toorak Hotel in Torquay. As the hotel is part of the TLH Leisure Resort there was plenty going on every day and night to keep us entertained in the various games areas and loungesor relaxing in the Aztec Falls swimming pools, Jacuzzi, steam room or sauna.
On Tuesday 10th March 17 of us went on a 9 mile walk from Brixham back to the hotel along the SW Coastal Path, for full details see the walks report. After the walk we were treated to a complimentary Devonshire Cream Tea in the hotel. Wednesday 11th March was a free day and provided the opportunity to explore Torquay and surrounding places like Totnes, Babbacombe & Cockington; and make use of the complimentary ticket to nearby Torre Abbey. On Thursday 12th March 17 of us set off again to walk 6 miles from Churston to Brixham, for full details see walks report. On returning to the hotel we were again treated to a complimentary cheese and cider tasting in the hotel. After dinner some of our members formed teams and entered a quiz. A team consisting of Shirley, Linda, Halina, Nikki, Eve and David and named "Ziggy Neal does Torquay" (don't ask about the name!) won and enjoyed a bottle of champagne.
The three course dinners each evening were very enjoyable and it is safe to say most of us returned home a few pounds heavier than when we had left! To make the "Taste of the West Country" extend a bit further several of the group dropped into Brixham on their return journey to purchase fresh fish to enjoy at home.
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