October 2018

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Hello everyone,

After a remarkably good summer, we are suddenly into a rather blustery autumn. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, 2018 is set to be a dazzling year for autumn leaves (if they haven’t all blown off in Storm Callum). This year’s cold spring followed by a very hot summer has apparently provided the perfect conditions for spectacular autumn leaf colour such as they get in New England. Lots of sunshine intensifies the colour pigments (carotenoids and flavonoids) that produce the autumn display. We hope you are able to get out and about and enjoy it on your walks.

Welcome to new members
We have some new members this month and would like to extend a very warm welcome to them. We hope you’ll enjoy many good walks with us. Membership numbers for this year are still quite low. We currently have 43 annual and 6 life members, making 49 in total. There’s plenty of room for more, so please continue to promote our club whenever you can and invite friends, family members, colleagues and acquaintances to sample our walks. We love to see new faces.

Autumn/winter walking programme
Along with this newsletter you will find the programme for the period November 2018 – January 2019. As always, this contains Sunday walks of between 8 and 12 miles, plus monthly Thursday walks with a pub lunch for those who now need something a bit shorter and slower. As always, many thanks to Katherine for organising the programme, and to all the leaders.

Some reminders of club policy
Please remember to check the programme each week for departure times, as they can vary. After the clocks change at the end of October, most of our Sunday walks will have a 9.00 am departure from The Triangle car park.

If you are a leader and wish to cancel or change your walk, please contact the Walks Organiser, who will send out an email to members and also post the amendment on the club website. In the event of a cancellation, the leader is still expected to be at the meeting point (The Triangle car park) at the designated time to inform anyone who has not seen the email and turns up expecting to walk.

If you are a walker and are unsure if a walk is going ahead (e.g. because of a poor weather forecast), please contact the leader of that walk using the contact details on the programme, not the Walks Organiser.

At the end of the day, the usual practice is for passengers to be dropped back at the meeting place (The Triangle car park) and for them to make their own way home from there. If you are a passenger and wish to be dropped elsewhere, please ask your driver. If they are passing close to where you live they may be able to drop you off at a convenient spot, but they are not expected to take you home.

Save the date: Annual General Meeting, 10th March 2019
The date for next year’s AGM is Sunday 10th March 2019. Please keep this date free and join us if you can at Padbrook Park in Cullompton. More details, including the speaker, lunch menu and booking slip, will be included in the next newsletter.

Walking is good for you, really good for you (contributed by Janet)
Walking is a man’s best medicine said Hippocrates, a physician in Greece 2400 years ago. Sir Liam Donaldson, England’s Chief Medical Officer in 2010 stated that if a medication existed which had a similar effect to physical activity like walking, it would be regarded as a wonder drug or a miracle cure. The therapeutic powers of putting one foot in front of the other have been discussed for millennia, and as a walker I am sure you have returned home from a walk feeling energised, inspired, happier and eager for the next walk.
But that feel good factor isn’t the only magic at work. Your heart – strolling just six miles a week at two miles an hour is said to be enough to offer some protection, though longer walks at a faster pace will help even more. Walking has been proven to reduce the three risk factors for heart attack and stroke – high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Your body – Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can even aid digestion… wow!
Your soul – Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, the happy hormones and as fitness improves your body becomes more able to cope with cortisol, the stress hormone which contributes to anxiety. The space and time a walk gives you can also make you feel calm. Studies show it reduces the overall risk of depression by up to 30%. Walking is also said to boost your creativity, problem solving, re-engage you with nature and provides those moments to just stop and stare. So you won’t be surprised to hear that in Devon there is a green prescription scheme being piloted by Dartmoor National Park Authority, whereby GPs encourage people to get out into Dartmoor, rather than dealing with medical conditions through drug interventions. A surgery in Okehampton is offering Walks in the Woods for the over 55s in conjunction with The Woodland Trust and National Trust.
As for me, I just love it, whether it’s a walk in the woods, along a river, over the moors or the undulations of the spectacular coast path. There is a treasure in each season, snowdrops bringing the promise of spring, the warmth of long summer days, the gold of autumn and digging out those gloves and hats for the crisp invigorating winter days. They are all great days for a walk, even the wet ones. If this has been enough to inspire you to get out there, that’s great. If you feel you would like some company, join us, we will be delighted to see you.

Ramblers Holidays
If you are booking a Ramblers Holiday, please consider nominating our club for a donation from The Walking Partnership. This scheme gives direct financial support to local walking clubs. Each time a club member books a UK, European or worldwide holiday with Ramblers Holidays, the club will receive a contribution. In order for us to receive this, you must nominate our group at the time of booking, so please look out for the Walking Partnership logo and web link when booking.

Would you like to contribute an article or item of news or advertise an event in a future newsletter? Please give any suggestions or contributions to Christabel or Janet.

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