2022/2023 Events for Members


Saturday 28 March 2022 - Tour of P&A Wood in Great Easton

9.10am at the Uttlesford District Council car park in London Road to share lifts or 10.00am at P&A Wood, Great Easton, Dunmow CM6 2HD - On the B184 roughly half way between Thaxted and Great Dunmow

P&A Wood specialise in the sales, service, restorations and spare parts for the entire range of Rolls-Royce and Bentley motorcars from 1904 to the present day. The tour of their premises and workshops will finish at approximately 12noon, with time after that for those who would like to look round at their leisure.

Refreshments served on arrival. You may be requested to wear face masks. Whilst there is no charge for the tour, P&A Wood have pointed out that they support The Stroke Association and would welcome any voluntary donations made on the day.

Parking will be behind the older of the two showrooms with access through the archway.

With a maximum of 20 places you must book with Peter Riding at peter@riding.co.uk or 01799 502355

Wednesday 27 April 2022 - Visit to West Wood Nature Reserve

6.00pm at the Common Car Park to car share or 6.30pm at West Wood CB10 2SA off the B1051 between Thaxted and Great Sampford. Coming from the Thaxted direction after about 1.5 miles take the track on the left 60 yards after the Montesori School  and Spriggs Farm

This wonderful mixed deciduous woodland, with Ash, Hazel, Field Maple and more, is rich in plant and wildlife. Coppiced as far back as the Middle Ages, this woodland holds a number of important and beautiful species that thrive in the coppiced rides and glades. Join Warden Mike Rowley for a guided walk when we should see oxlips and orchids in flower. Wellington boots or stout footwear suggested.

With a maximum of 20 places you must book with Peter Riding at peter@riding.co.uk or 01799 50235

Saturday 14 May 2022 - Visit to the Gardens of Easton Lodge

1.45pm in the Uttlesford District Council car park in London Road or 2.30pm at Easton Lodge, Little Easton, Dunmow CM6 2BD

We will have exclusive use of the Gardens when we visit them on Saturday 14th May. The organisers have provided the following introductory information about our visit.

"The Gardens of Easton Lodge are an idyllic (Historic England Grade II) listed haven which although abandoned for many years, have now been partially restored to its former glory by a team of dedicated volunteers.  Daisy, the Countess of Warwick, commissioned Harold Peto to design these Gardens in 1902.

Peto’s designs for the Countess of Warwick included formal lawns, a sunken Italian garden, a yew walk, a treehouse, a glade and a Japanese garden. Today, they continue to form the outline of the Gardens, which the Trust (a registered Charity) is restoring as funds allow. The Gardens are open to the public at certain times of the year and are also open at other dates for group visits.  More information can be found on their website:  www.eastonlodge.co.uk

The charge for the day is £8. 50 per person to include: Tea or coffee; slice of homemade cake; a guided tour which includes the history of the Gardens and the owner, the Countess of Warwick; and entrance to the Gardens.  The charge will also include a folded Garden Guide for each visitor, which incorporates a map and brief historical notes. Overall, the visit to be about

2 to 2.5 hours which includes time to look at the historical photographs and memorabilia in the archive room (subject to any Covid guidelines in force at the time).”

The Gardens are west of Little Easton village and are signed up Manor Road. Keep going straight on Manor Road, don’t turn right past the church and you will come to woodland on your right where the gardens are located.

If you fancy a snack lunch before your visit, The Stag pub in Little Easton is opposite the Manor Road turn.

Numbers will be limited to 20 so please book in advance with Chris Knight at chrisjk@ntlworld.com or 01799 500502

Monday 20 June - Visit to Cambridge Central Mosque

1.00pm at the Common Car Park, Saffron Walden to share lifts or 1.50pm at the Central Mosque, 309-313 Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 3DF (Near the junction with Brooks Road A1134)     Car Parking is under the Mosque

Cambridge Central Mosque is Europe’s first eco-friendly mosque and the first purpose-built mosque within the city of Cambridge. It was opened in 2019 with a construction cost of £23 million. In 2021 the mosque was named Client of the Year by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Our guided tour takes us from the hustle and bustle of Mill Road on a transformative voyage, starting with the gardens with their trees, flower beds and fountain. The tour passes through the portico and atrium then, via the ablution areas, to the grand prayer hall.

The defining feature of the mosque is its timber structure. The columns, or ‘trees’, reach up to support the roof in an interlaced octagonal lattice vault structure evocative of English gothic fan vaulting.

The tour explores the evolution of this eco-friendly project with an appreciation of the concepts behind the craftsmanship. The mosque has a low carbon footprint. It is well-insulated and naturally ventilated and uses LED bulbs, photovoltaic cells on the roof and heat pumps in the basement. Grey water and rainwater are harvested to flush WCs and irrigate the grounds.

With a maximum of 25 places you must book with Peter Riding at peter@riding.co.uk or 01799 502355

Wednesday 12 October - Visit to the Gibson Collection at the Saffron Walden Town Library

Meet at 2.15 pm outside the Public Library, Market Place, Saffron Walden for a start at 2.30pm.

For Members of the Initiative this is an opportunity to have a conducted tour of the Gibson Collection in the Saffron Walden Town Library. The collection will be closed to other visitors that afternoon. We shall be provided with a short presentation on the history of the collection, and many of the items will be on display for us to look through.

The Library contains more than 25,000 volumes, and is a major resource for the study of the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Treasures include medieval illustrated manuscripts and books on birds, botany and travel with wonderful illustrations.

There will be no fee for this event. Participants may wish to enjoy a cup of coffee and cake at one of the central coffee bars after the event.

Numbers will be limited to 20 so please book in advance with David Pearl on dpearl564@gmail.com or by phone 01799 500952 or 07910 987465

Tuesday 8 November - Visit to St Mary's Church Bell Ringers

6.30pm start - ends at around 8.00pm

A chance to find out more about the history of the bells and what takes place when they are rung. The first known peal on the bells was in 1753 and in 1914 two years of fund-raising by the Saffron Walden Society of Change Ringers resulted in the bells being augmented from 8 to 12. 

You should be able to see the practice simulator, have a go at ringing and see the bells being rung via a web cam.  

At around 7.30pm the weekly practice will start and you will be able to stay and listen to it for as long as you wish.

Please note that there are 52 fairly steep stone steps to reach the ringing room.

See also www.saffronwaldenbells.org.uk 

As numbers will be limited to 12, please book in advance with Peter Riding on 01799 502355 or at peter@riding.co.uk