Where do we usually meet and what are the times?
Please note that the ‘usual’ meeting point is noted below as the M40, Junction 6 layby, signposted Watlington/Princes Risborough in Oxfordshire. However, this can change, so look at each particular walk for details. For most walks, the meeting point below applies. The ‘usual’ meeting time is 10am but check the programme for minor variations to this time. If in doubt, message me.
What is the meeting point?
If travelling Northbound: Get off the M40 at Junction 6, signposted Watlington/Princes Risborough. As soon as you exit the slip road, you’ll come to a T-junction. Turn immediate left (towards Watlington) and park in the free lay-by area where you’ll see several cars near a bus-stop. I’m usually standing there with my husband, around 10 minutes before the start time.
If travelling Southbound: Get off the M40 at Junction 6, signposted Watlington/Princes Risborough. As soon as you exit the slip road, you’ll come to a T-junction. Turn right (towards Watlington). Drive approximately 300m (you’ll drive under the motorway bridge) and you’ll see the lay-by for parking.
Some people have asked me for a postcode before, and this may also be useful: OX495TJ (near the Lewknor bus-stop). Most people have found the meet-up point without any issues.
Do I need to book onto the walks?
There is usually no need to book formally, but I always request that you message me in advance so that I have a rough idea of numbers. We hope to have a website developed one day (funding, expertise and time permitting) which should make booking easier as Dadima’s walks grow and develop. Note: The early morning birdsong walk in May must be booked beforehand as there are limited spaces.
What is the distance and intensity level?
We walk approximately 10-12km on average, for most walks. The pace is moderate and enough speed for us to hold a good conversation. Where walks are shorter, more intense, or hillier, I try to state this in the description to help guide your decision. It is not a powerwalk, or a walk where we count calories (unless you want to for personal reasons). If you’re looking for an intense training regime, this is probably not for you. I will try and plan in some longer walks (e.g. see Feb 27th). Dadima’s is very much about connecting with people and nature, developing a love for the great outdoors. If you’re unsure of your physical health to engage, please consult your GP beforehand for medical advice.
How much does it cost?
FREE! Unlike some commercial guided walks/hikes, Dadima’s walks are absolutely free of charge, as Dadima’s is run as a non-profit social enterprise. We believe that these walks can make a huge difference to mental wellbeing and health more broadly, and nature should be free for all to enjoy. Philosophically, we could not charge for something that we see as part of is part of our service to the community.
Who can come?
If you feel you are able to participate in a fairly rugged countryside walk, come along. As already stated, we’ve had all ages attend –from two up to 83 years old. These walks are open to all groups as Mother Nature doesn’t discriminate or see faith, colour, race, sexuality, gender and other differences. We expect kindness and mutual respect at all times, and so far thankfully this has been evident on all of our walks. We want people to feel safe and comfortable, in the non-judgemental and kind space of nature.
As a South Asian woman, I recognise that my position and community connections have largely attracted people from this community, for a range of reasons. Research findings show that people of colour are less likely to engage in countryside spaces, and I’m trying to change the narrative of this. We also recognise the need to do more on exploring issues related to inclusion and barriers which prevent access for people with physical needs, and there are groups addressing this – see the work of Chiltern Rangers for example. This is an area that we are working on at the Chilterns, with experts.
Do you have any tips on what I should wear or bring?
We are conscious of not dictating what you wear, and of course wear what you feel safe, comfortable and happy in. The walking/hiking industry is huge business, and some items are incredibly expensive (expensive is not always the best!). I tend to look in sales and avoid heavily branded items; always open to pre-loved/second-hand gear too. There are no rules at Dadima’s and the suggestions below are intended as a guide:
- Walking shoes/boots: I often share pictures of walking shoes on my Instagram social media page @educatinggeetachilterns so do have a browse. In muddy/rainy weather, trainers are often drenched to the socks, so be mindful of this. It can feel overwhelming trying to find the perfect pair of walking boots as there really is so much choice. They need to support your feet and ankles well, feel comfy and fit well so that your feet are blister-free. Check that they are waterproof with British weather the way it is! I have tended to go a shoe size up for my boots- this guide is quite useful for boot fitting and socks: How to fit walking boots
- Comfortable clothes that you can walk in flexibly. I tend to wear stretch jeans or thick leggings and prefer a layered approach. If you layer up and get hot, you can remove items to your rucksack, as needed.
- Socks are so important, as I’ve found when I had blisters a few times. I tend to but mine in the sale, and a useful blog here: How to Choose Walking Socks
- Waterproofs/cap/hat -depending on weather. In rain, the waterproof trousers are handy, and these are not expensive.
- Water bottle and a small snack, if needed.
- Money for a drink/snack, as we sometimes include a coffee shop/pub.
- Small rucksack (keep it light and to the essentials).
- I always carry plasters and some basic first-aid kit kits, but feel free to bring your own.
- Mobile phone
What if it is too cold or wet – will you still carry on?
Unless really heavy rain or bad weather like a storm is predicted, we’ll always try to go ahead. As the saying goes: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”. The cold and some light rain never puts us off, as once you start walking, you tend to forget the weather. Check our social media pages on the morning of the walk if we have decided to cancel.