Nic Mortensen “Neurotrophic Ninjas”
Team Name ; the neurotrophic ninjas; a not so ninja-like group of retired professionals who recognize the benefits of GDNF.
Our Challenge has been to raise the level of awareness of Parkinson’s in two ways. Firstly in supporting the Participants Challenge by walking (or cycling), raising sponsorship and donations for Funding Neuro; and secondly, Our Team Challenge has been to develop and launch Face2FaceParkinson’s, an alternative charity, during a difficult time for all, and also support the reintroduction of neurotrophic factors as a treatment for Parkinson’s via the Participants Challenge.
Face2Face Parkinson’s CIC is a ‘not for profit’ community interest company which provides hands on practical advice and support to clients in and around Bristol. Good examples are completing benefit claims, providing awareness of the condition, signposting to additional support. See www.face2faceparkinsons.co.uk
We are aware of Parkinson’s; the team are all People Living With Parkinson’s either directly or indirectly and who try to remain active despite their limitations. A key element of our activity is Nordic Walking and we are using this experience in organising our walk.
The challenge is to walk (or cycle the equivalent of), elements of the Community Forest Pathway around Bristol. Each of us are planning to walk some of the various elements and to collectively contribute multiples of 100 miles. Some are planning to walk the whole pathway.
The walk will start at Ashton court on 1st September and finish at Ashton court on 14th September:
GDNF Challenge – Walkers. Outline of use of Community Forest Path (CFP)
Wednesday 1 September 2021. Opening day. Meet at car-park near Ashton Court Mansion at 10.30. Walk laps in morning and afternoon, using a short (about ½ mile) circuit or a longer 1-2 mile circuit. Shared picnic lunch – 12;30 ish. Some photo opportunities.
Thursday 2 September – Sunday 12 September. CFP walked in anti-clockwise direction starting from Ashton Court and finishing at Blaise Castle Estate in 8 sections of around 5 miles each with three rest days ( two Sundays ). For all sections, easier shorter alternatives are available so that walkers of all abilities can participate and experience many of the best bits of the CFP.
Monday 13 September. Blaise Castle Estate (main car park near playgrounds) to Clifton Downs Cafe (4 miles – no mud, gates or stiles and fairly flat). 10.30 am. Our guided route follows CFP but will miss out climb up to Blaise Castle. Shorter versions available, for example follow CFP from Sea Mills to Clifton Down Cafe (about a 2 mile walk, mainly on paved paths).
Tuesday 14 September. Grand final day. 10.30 am. Clifton Downs to Ashton Court (about 2 miles, all on paved paths). Our guided route will follow CFP, except will take direct route from Suspension Bridge to Ashton Court Estate along Bridge Road. This final section is wheelchair friendly and shorter versions available. Picnic lunch and celebrations for all in Ashton Court Estate – photo opportunities including when crossing the Suspension Bridge.
Walking the other sections of CFP.
The plan for those walking an entire section is to meet up each day at 10.30 at the start of the section, walk 2-3 miles together, take a break and have lunch and then walk remaining distance to finish together by 16.00. Where possible, challenges such as stiles, steep inclines, muddy and poorly maintained bits will be circumvented – sometimes by using the route of the Green Man Ultra (GMU) race. Dick and Jan Denton (with the help of Dick’s sister, Heather, and others) plan to walk all the sections and act as unofficial guides. Dick has walked the complete CFP this summer to assess the challenges of each section and to identify the easier shorter alternatives that might be linked to each section. Most of these shorter alternatives will be walked, at least in part, with the group walking the entire section.
Thursday 2 September. Ashton Court to Dundry (5.5 miles). The most difficult section but last half has great views! Some stiles, some possibly muddy bits and 180 metre climb – but not steep. Shorter versions: Join in start of this section for first mile or so and then return.
Friday 3 September. Dundry to Pensford (5 miles). Pretty, very rural and quiet section but at least 10 stiles, poorly maintained in one or two places and an uneven rocky but gentle descent to B3130 above Pensford. Most of the stiles can be eliminated by taking quietish lanes from Dundry to North Wick.
Saturday 4 September. Pensford to Keynsham (5 miles). Easy and beautiful stretch. CFP follows same route as Two Rivers Way. We will follow the slightly different and even easier route of the GMU along lanes from Woollard to Compton Dando. Lunch break at Compton Dando and perhaps a visit to the Compton Inn. The walks either before lunch from Pensford to Compton Dando or after lunch from Compton Dando to Keysham are suitable as shorter alternatives.
Sunday 5 September. CFP rest day
Monday 6 September. Keynsham to Warmley (4 miles). Some interesting glimpses of transport systems through the centuries but this section is not as pretty as the previous sections. A couple of difficult gate-like stiles and a muddy stretch on CFP can be easily by-passed by taking the Dramway path up to junction of A4175 with A431 and walking about ½ mile NW along A431 to well-hidden but signed turning to a footpath on the right, just as the A431 bears west. Much of the rest of this section is on a busy cycle path (Bristol and Bath Railway Path) to Warmley. Those walking the entire section may stop for refreshments at Willsbridge Mill Cafe at lunch time. Those wanting an alternative short walk could join them for lunch and walk with them for the first ½ mile or so after lunch to the cycle path (Bristol and Bath Railway Path) before returning to the Cafe via this cycle path for perhaps another cup of their fine tea or coffee. Another alternative is to walk the first mile or so of this section from its start in Keynsham as far as the River Avon (and then return to Keynsham), getting some insight into the complex array of transport systems just north of Keynsham.
Tuesday 7 September. Warmley to Kendleshire (6 miles). Mixed section involving some beautiful meadows and views to the south in first half and crossing two golf courses at the end of the walk. Significant challenges include its length, three difficult stiles that cannot be easily by-passed (on stretch leading up to the B4465), parts that are poorly maintained and some inadequate way-marking (including approach to disused Brandy Bottom Colliery and across both the golf courses). Easier, shorter alternative: walk first mile of the section through Warmley Forest Park to Goose Green with the group doing the entire walk and then return to Warmley via Bristol and Bath Railway Path (refreshments at the Warmley Waiting Room Cafe attached to the Railway Path).
Wednesday 8 September. Kendleshire to Bradley Stoke (5 miles). This section includes an attractive but potentially muddy stretch shared with the Frome Valley Walkway, often noise from either or both the M4 and M32 and lots of Bradley Stoke (easily the most difficult route-finding challenge of the CFP!) Our route follows the modifications to the CFP used by the GMU as these skip the climb up to Bury Hill Fort and by-pass poorly maintained, muddy sections and a couple of stiles between Hambrook and Stoke Gifford. One shorter alternative is to park near the White Horse on the B4058 and to explore the Frome River to the east (as far as Dansom’s Bridge, about ¾ mile) and/or to the south (as far as the Oldbury Court Estate, about 1 mile) – note these stretches can be muddy. Another easy, short alternative is to park in Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre and walk back along the CFP (starting at about 15.00hr) to meet those walking the whole section and lead them safely back to the Leisure Centre!.
Thursday 9 September. CFP rest day.
Friday 10 September. Bradley Stoke to Easter Compton (4 miles). Fairly easy section. First part through Patchway to bridge over M5 is mostly paved then the route is in attractive open countryside but paths can be muddy. Short steep sections are encountered when crossing over M5 by bridge. A shorter alternative to this section is an easy 1-2 mile circular walk based on Easter Compton guided by Dick’s sister who lives close by.
Saturday 11 September. Easter Compton to Blaise Castle Estate (4 miles). This easy section crosses more open countryside with good views including across the Severn to Wales. There are no stiles, gentle hilly stretches and limited noise from nearby M5 (as it is in a cutting). An alternative shorter version is to walk the first mile or so with those doing the whole section (perhaps as far as Spaniorum Hill for the views) and then return to Easter Compton visiting its church and possibly the Fox!
Sunday 12 September. CFP rest day.
- The rest days could easily be moved to other dates.
- All walkers linked to the GDNF challenge are very welcome to join in any of the sections or their shorter alternatives BUT all involved must take responsibility for their own safety. However, risks are minimised by walking in a group. Despite the variable signage on the CFP, way-finding should not be a problem! Dick has not only walked the route this summer but will be carrying a GPS loaded with the GMU route.
- It would be good if the walkers (and cyclists ?) could meet up not only on 1 and 14 September but on other days)
- Transport for the sections is likely to involve shared cars and use of buses tbd.
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