Exploring the local countryside

It could be argued that Exploring the Local Countryside is the wrong name for this group as it might give the impression that we spend our time rushing about involving ourselves in something along the lines of orienteering, whereas nothing could be further from the truth.
The main reason for the group is to enjoy a walk but also, and most importantly, to look and listen
What we are exploring are the flowers, trees, birds and fungi around us. We are so lucky in this part of the world to have within easy reach habitats including heathland, grassland, chalk, downland, coniferous, deciduous and mixed woodland, each of which has its own particular fascination.

A walk at any time of year produces something to discuss: spring, of course, brings new growth, the first flowers, emerging insects and a rush of activity and song from the birds. In summer we are spoilt for choice, migrant birds have arrived, flowers and grasses are everywhere and trees are in full leaf. Autumn walks tend to become fungus forays and are the slowest walks of all as there are so many of these fascinating organisms to be found, to say nothing of their wonderful names such as “Wood Woollyfoot”, “Angel’s Bonnet”, “Scurfy Deceiver” and “The Flirt”. You might think that winter is a barren period, but there is still much to see. This is the time to really appreciate the shapes of trees and to talk about identifying them when there aren’t any leaves to help. Birds are more easily visible in the bare branches and it is now that the lichens and mosses that are so plentiful can be fully appreciated.
Add to all that discussions on how moles store worms, the old names of plants and their meanings and the uses of various fungi and lichens and you have a good idea of what we are exploring in the countryside – and we laugh a lot as well!“ Because we spend a lot of time looking at things, we never manage to walk long distances, probably about two or three miles, and people are warned in advance of any possible problems (stiles, mud, steep hills etc.) that might be encountered on a particular walk.

New members are always welcome, however, at the moment, the group is full and there is a waiting list, so it’s unlikely that any places will be available this season for “newcomers”.

Sara Shepley…..01483 427921..sara-shepley@milford-u3a.org.uk.


The Milford Poetry Group meets on the first Tuesday of the month at St John’s Church Hall, Milford from 2.00 to 4.00pm.

We learn about the life and works of a different poet each month, exploring their poetry and discussing the various influences on their style of writing. At the October meeting we brought together, various poems connected to the season of autumn and looked at the life of Keats and we discussed his renowned poem ‘Ode to Autumn’.
In November, the works of poet U.A. Fanthorpe was enjoyed by the members and in December we will be listening to recordings of John Betjeman and reading a selection of his poems. Some of the names for 2022 include Seamus Heaney, Stevie Smith, Philip Larkin and John Donne.
We are essentially a group of people who enjoy learning about poets and reading poetry. The group is open to anyone who likes to explore the diversity of the English language. We currently have ten members and we would very much welcome anyone new who is interested in words and verse, poets and their lives and works.

If you think you would enjoy joining our small literary group, we would be delighted to welcome you. For further information please contact Pauline, the group leader on 01483 810731.

Ginger Parkin

The Parkin Recipe


  • 200g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • I large egg
  • 4 tbsp. milk
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 85g black treacle
  • 85g light soft brown sugar
  • 85g light soft brown sugar
  • 100g medium oatmeal (not porridge oats)
  • 250g Self-raising flour
  • 1 tbsp. of ginger

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.    Butter a deep 22cm square cake tin and line with baking parchment.

Beat the egg and milk together with a fork.

Gently melt the syrup, treacle, sugar and butter in a large saucepan until the sugar has dissolved.    Remove from the heat.

Mix together the oatmeal, flour and ginger and stir into the syrup mixture making sure there are no bits of flour showing.    Add the egg and milk mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50 mins to 1 hr until the cake feels firm and a little crusty on top.    Cool in the tin before cutting into 16 squares.

Wrap the cake in more parchment and tin foil.

Keep for five days before eating if you can as it becomes softer and stickier the longer you leave it, up to two weeks.  Lisa Seeley

A Christmas Cracker!

Christmas Celebrations: A reminder of this group’s Special Festivities

Contact: Wayne Richardson on 01483 07765 or email: wayne-richardson@milford-u3a.org.uk

Kindertransport and Third Age Matters

Kindertransport: Conversations with Dame Esther Rantzen

On National Kindertransport Day (2 December), TAT will be hosting an event with Dame Esther Rantzen which feature u3a members with ties to the Kindertransport.

u3a guest speakers will include Kindertransport evacuees themselves, children of ‘the kinder’ and those who have grown up calling these rescued children their siblings.

This two part event is on Thursday 2nd December, 10:30-3pm

To be held on Zoom, the event is FREE and you can book a place here (scroll down the page) and/or you can download the article that will appear in the Third Age Matters magazine here. The latter link is because the publication of TAM will be delayed for reasons unspecified.

Ageing Research

Are you interested in how we can prevent or reduce illness in older adults, and improve independent living and quality of life?

The University of Surrey is carrying out research into this topic. As a part of this there will be a Zoom presentation on 9th December from 2-4pm. The talks will be followed by a question and answer session with the speakers.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP by email and they will then send joining instructions:
To Anjelika Galapon/ Anisa Akram

British Museum Courses

The British Museum and Camden Adult Learning are running a set of free 90 minute history webinars (on Zoom) this term. The courses are free and available for all adult learners across the UK. They do not require travel to the Museum and the talks cover different aspect of British, world and museum history. No prior knowledge needed with a chance to ask questions at the end of each talk.

The autumn term webinars are listed below. If you would like further information about each webinar or to enrol just follow this link

Close to Home: objects from London in the British Museum
1 Nov 2021, 11:00-12:30

Mummies and Maps: how to get to the ancient Egyptian afterlife
8 Nov 2021, 11:00-12:30

Collections and collectors at the British Museum
13 Dec 2021, 11.00-12.30

Gift giving at the British Museum
20 Dec 2021, 11.00-12.30

Book Group 4

October 2021 Amble

This month we explored the area between Witley, Wormley, and Brooks, starting from Church Lane, Witley end.  Again 15 people joined me on this walk. There was a bit of a hill but nothing too strenuous. We had some lovely views.  The path had been diverted around a new development in progress where an old farm had been.  There were lots of interesting fungi about which delayed us a bit. 

As can be seen from the map below there was a little bit of road walking but on a very quiet road. 

OS Route Map
OS Route Map – click to see the route on OS Maps

First Meeting – Digital Workshop

We had our first meeting on 24th September in the Burton Pavilion (pictured above) an excellent venue for us as it has broadband, wifi and a huge TV screen on the wall.

26 of our 47 members attended and were regaled with two presentations: What is inside a computer, tablet and phone; How the internet Works, both aimed at complete novices. Some of our planned topics didn’t go ahead because, unfortunately, the Pavilion’s broadband router had died the day before. As a result we are saving those for next month.

It quickly became clear that a hot topic for next month will be mobile phones, especially smartphones, what all the icons mean and how to manage and transfer photos.

We have had some feedback on the first meeting but I think this one sums it up: “Much enjoyed the Friday meeting. Learned a lot.” SR