History of Lee Valley Friends

Founded in 2002 and specialising in Short Walks, this group flourishes and now boasts a membership of over one hundred members. It could be said ‘from small acorns, great oaks grow’.

The initiative for setting up this walking group came from two members of the Ramblers Association, Maureen and Brian Taylor, who were finding the length of the walks just too much for them.

Maureen saw an article in the Rambler magazine (now ‘Walk’) that permission had been given to start up ‘Friends’ groups countrywide. Excited by this, she contacted an old friend, Ann Skinner, who had successfully set up a group of her own.

Maureen was delighted to be told by Ann she would mentor and guide her through the process of setting up of a ‘Friends’ group in Chingford.


The original founders of Lea Valley Friends

The founders of Lea Valley Friends - Brian, Maureen, Pat, Margaret and Reg

Inaugural Walk

The suggestion, that the group should be called Lea Valley Friends, came from Ann, as always, ever helpful.

The formative years were difficult and very trying. Most work fell to Maureen and Brian. Not only the administration, but leading the walks each weekend. Ann, once again, stepped in to help by offering to set up a Map Reading and Leaders course. Members were eager to attend, and equipped with this knowledge, could successfully lead walks of their own thus reducing the pressure on Maureen and Brian.

Lea Valley Friends has since gone from strength to strength. Our walks are so varied- countryside, villages, towpaths and canal walks all feature in our programme, but most popular of all, the London walks. We also have a pictorial history of our walks which can be followed on Facebook to enable those not able to walk that weekend to stay in touch. Of course, no group would be complete without a social side.  Over the years, our  Social  Secretaries  have worked very hard organising  short holidays, in the late spring/early summer, when we enjoy walks in new, attractive surroundings; bi-monthly mid- week lunches and outings to places of interest. Each year is rounded off with a Christmas Lunch, and of course, the famous Boxing Day Walk with crackers, jokes and lots of laughter. We have always looked forward to new challenges, and in the coming years hopefully, will continue to do so.

Good friends Reg and Margaret Brown, Pat Lee and John Payne, backed Maureen fully, thinking it was an excellent idea. In January 2002, a meeting was held at the YMCA in Walthamstow, chaired by Norman Skinner, Ann’s husband, and it was agreed that the group should promote short, easy walks. A further meeting would be held the following month.

At the next meeting in February, 2002, a steering committee was set up.  Reg  Brown was appointed Chairman, Maureen Walks Programme Secretary, Margaret Brown Group Secretary along with advertising and Pat Lee Treasurer. Brian, after some persuasion, became Membership Secretary.




Inaugural Walk


Saturday, 16th February 2002


Walk from Chingford Station to the Owl Pub for coffee


51 people attended!

Essex CountrysideFrozen Connaught WaterDucks

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