Thursday, 9 April 2015

The WI Walks by Louise Checkley

Hello Ladies of the WI,

I have been a member of N1 WI in Islington for 4 years, and I am very excited to be part of our upcoming centenary. To help mark 100 years of inspiring women we are walking the Thames Path, and we want you to join us for fun, new friends and a chance to give those walking boots a work out!

Over 184 miles from the river's source in Kemble, Gloucestershire, the Thames Path takes in the ancient city of Oxford and beautiful Berkshire countryside, before passing historic Windsor, Runnymede and Hampton Court then threading through iconic London; Westminster, Tower Bridge and Greenwich, to the finish at the Thames Barrier.

Alongside my friend and walker Anna from Stoke Newington WI we have timed our walk to be in line with the final Centenary Baton handover between Middlesex & Surrey federations. We already have confirmation that several members who live near route will be joining us and we would love for more members to join us for a day, a morning or an afternoon. The itinerary of the walk in May is at the bottom of the post.

At approximately 23 miles per day, it will be tough at times and there will be blisters, but it will be great fun and we are fundraising for our WI centenary. This includes purchasing a bench for our local community in Islington and making donations to our chosen charities: Shelter From The Storm and Refugee Womens Association, local charities in Islington & Hackney.

As we only have a month left until the main event we are putting in the training hours. You are more than welcome to join us on any of the training walks, listed below.

We have been organising these training walks on most weekends since January. The first walk of the year was with Walk London, who organise walks throughout the capital. We walked the 6 miles from Tower Bridge to Greenwich, covering parts of the Thames Path to help us get into the swing of things.

As I live south of the river I have planned walks close to my front door. The Green Chain Walk finishes at the top of my road and the Capital Ring is also close by. By the 12th May I will have completed the whole of the Capital Ring just from training for our main walk, an achievement in itself!  We have also completed a couple of waterway walks; The River Lee and the Regents Canal.

Anna has been feeding us with her homemade soups and baked goods, including bread from her baking course at Denman. I have been providing a much needed source of energy myself...Jelly Babies!

Last weekend North West London WI's walking group invited us on one of their walks - The River Chess, and while the sun didn't have his hat on, we were smiling all the way. It was great to walk with members from other WI's but it fills me with anticipation for the main walk.

If you are close to the Thames in May, please come and join us - whether it’s just to stop for a cup of tea or for the whole day, we would love to meet you. We'll be decked out in hiking gear and our WI sashes, so we won't be hard to spot!

Thank you and see you on The Thames Path!

Louise x


Tuesday 12th May-
Start: Kemble Train Station 9am
Lunch: Cricklade- The Red Lion 1pm
Finish: Lechlade Ha'Penny Bridge 6pm

Wednesday 13th May-
Start: Lechlade Ha'Penny Bridge 8am
Lunch: The Trout Inn @ Tadpole Bridge 12:30pm
Finish: The Ferryman Inn Bablock Hythe 6pm

Thursday 14th May-
Start: The Ferryman Inn Bablock Hythe 8am
Lunch: A picnic at Port Meadow Oxford 12:30pm
Finish: Cluham Lock 6pm

Friday 15th May-
Start: Cluham Lock 8am
Lunch: The Boat House or a Picnic on the recreation ground Wallingford 12:30pm
Finish: Mapledurham Lock- Purley on Thames 6pm

Saturday 16th May-
Start: Mapledurham Lock- Purley on Thames 8am
Lunch: A picnic in The Meadows @ Henley on Thames 12:30pm
PM: Walk through Runnymede- 800yrs of The Magna Carter
Finish: All Saints Church in Marlow 6pm

Sunday 17th May-
Start: All Saints Church in Marlow 8am
Lunch: A picnic in Alexandra Park Windsor 12:30pm
Finish: The Urban Hanlon Broughton Memorial Egham 6pm

Monday 18th May aka BATON DAY!
Start: The Urban Hanlon Broughton Memorial Egham 8:30am
Pick up the WI Centenary Baton at Staines Bridge 9am
Lunch: 12pm picnic at Walton Bridge were we will meet with Middlesex Federation and other WI members to cheer the baton on from Middlesex to Surrey Federation
Finish: Kew Bridge train station 6pm

Tuesday 19th May-
Start: Kew Bridge train station 8am
Lunch: The Tate Britain Cafe 1pm


Saturday 11th April-
The Capital Ring
Start: Richmond Train Station 10am
Lunch: Picnic at Manor Court Green Hanwell 1pm
Finish: South Kenton Train Station 5pm
There is a pub at the end of the walk if you wish to have a well deserved drink
Total miles: 16

Saturday 25th April-
The London Marathon Route
Start: Blackheath Train Station 8am
Lunch: Picnic in The Tower of London Park 12:30pm
Finish: Buckingham Palace 5pm
Total miles: 26

Saturday 2nd May-
The Capital Ring
Start: South Kenton Train Station 10am
Lunch: Picnic on Hampstead Heath 1pm
Finish: Stoke Newington Train Station 5pm
There are numerous pubs in Stoke Newington so feel free to stay on for a few well deserved drinks
Total miles: 17


  1. Best of luck! I'd imagined you'd be taking a couple of weeks! Glad to know that the Denman course is still in use, Anna. When you've sorted out an online giving site, do let us know.

  2. Don't be too hasty. I have found out doing the Pennine Way. Looks like A good trek enjoy :) You want to give The LDWA a go they do 20+ mile walks with lots of food en-route and at the end, and they are cheap.