An Oswestry social walking group are celebrating their twentieth anniversary this month.
Border Outdoor Dabblers or BODS for short, was founded in 1999 by Malcolm Andrew, providing scenic walks throughout Oswestry and the borderlands for anybody who wanted to join in.
Still going strong 20 years later, BODS arrange weekly walks, where around 8-12 walkers will meet to complete a pre-planned route. Walks start off easy in April on flatter terrain and slowly progress in difficulty as the evenings get longer to more hilly ground.
Organiser Anne-Marie Catling-Hughes took over the group after her father, who previously ran it died suddenly in 2015.
“My parents were both keen walkers and I didn’t have much choice. I started walking with BODS in 2011, my shifts at work meant I didn’t see my husband very often so instead of moping about it I started walking with BODS. My parents had been walking with them for many years before me and so I knew a few of the members.”
Walks take in some of the area’s best natural beauty spots.
“Some of the walks we do include Llanymynech Hill, Oswestry Racecourse, The Moelydd, Colemere, Sycarth, Llangollen, Llynclys Common and Rodney’s Pillar to name just a few. There are a total of 48 different walks over the course of our walking season.”
This is a social walking group, not a fitness group, so walks are at a leisurely pace, taking in local surroundings, flora and fauna, wildlife and admiring local history and architecture. Walks typically end in a local pub where the group can relax with a drink.
“Walks are at a leisurely pace, there is no rushing around, we take in the walk and enjoy it at a nice gentle speed.”
Walkers are able to choose which week they wish to walk and it attracts a wide variety of people of all ages and from all walks of life. Well-behaved dogs and children are always welcomed.
“We don’t have membership as such, we are a group of friends who come together every week for a walk. There are approximately 50 Bods in total some walk every week some less frequently.
“Newer members to the group love going to places they have never been before, quite often surprised how many beautiful walks we have on our doorstep. They are amazed how much they learn about the local area as well, some of the longer standing members have a wealth of knowledge about the area, its history, wildlife, flora and fauna. So, whilst having a lovely walk in the area they gain a lot of knowledge from the other members of the group and everyone loves the pint at the end of the walk!”
Walks are usually planned for a Tuesday and Thursday evening at 7pm with different meet up points depending on the planned route.
The first walk of the season is arranged for Nesscliffe Hill, meeting on Tuesday 2 April 6.30pm at Oak Car Park, grid reference 385 199. The walk is approximately two miles and will take around one hour to complete.