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Annual Birthday Walk 2024 and Fellowship AGM

Edward Thomas was born in Lambeth on 3rd March 1878 and served, and died, in the First World War. He was a literary critic and country writer who came late to writing poetry, now being one of the War Poets commemorated in Westminster Abbey.

Thomas was encouraged by American poet Robert Frost, after they met in 1913, to write poetry and verse. He and Helen had moved to Steep, just outside Petersfield, in 1906 where they lived in three different houses around the village. Edward drew inspiration to write his poems from the beautiful Hampshire countryside which surrounds Steep.

The Birthday Walk, held annually in March on the Sunday closest to Edward Thomas’s Birthday, retraces his life and shares collected poems and prose of his work.

All participants in the Birthday Walk, or other Walks organised by the Fellowship, are advised to read the Fellowship’s latest Health and Safety procedure and risk assessment which can be found here.

The 2024 Birthday Walk will take place on 3 March 2024

Edward Thomas Memorial Stone, Shoulder of Mutton Hill, Steep, Hampshire
Image Credit and copyright: Matt Cook

As in previous years, there will be two walks during the day, and you are welcome to join either or both walks, whether or not you are a member of the Fellowship.

This year we are asking for participants to register in advance please, with emergency contact details, for health and safety reasons. You may do so by following this link.

The walks will be led by Mike Cope and will start in the car park of Bedales School, Church Road, Steep, GU32 2DG. Parking and toilets will be available throughout the day.

Those coming on the morning walk should meet in the car park at 10:15 am for a safety briefing.

The morning walk (a fairly strenuous 4 ½ miles) will start at 10:30 am prompt and will include a visit to The Bee House (Edward Thomas’s former hill-top study) and the memorial stone on the Shoulder of Mutton Hill.

The afternoon walk will start at 2:30pm from the car park of Bedales School and will be a more leisurely stroll of  around 2 ½ miles; it will include a visit to 2 Yew Tree Cottages – the Thomas’s’ final home in Steep.

Members of the fellowship will read appropriate poems and prose during the walk.
There will also be opportunity for participants to volunteer for a reading.
This year, the theme will be: ‘George Sturt and his influence on Edward Thomas’.

Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear (walking boots or wellingtons) for both walks.
We would also strongly advise walkers to read the Health and Safety procedure here.

All those participating in the walks do so at their own risk.

This year our lunch stop will be the Reading Room, Bedales School (1:30 pm). Please bring
your own packed lunch and a drink.

We shall end the day at Steep Church around 3:30 pm, where tea will be available at a modest cost. This will be followed (at 4 pm) by the Fellowship’s short AGM. We should be ready to depart by 5 pm.

For full details of both Walks and to see maps please follow this link. Please print your own copies as there will not be any available on the day.

For health and safety reasons we are asking that walkers register in advance please, following this link to the Walk and AGM page with Ticket Tailor.

If you are planning to attend the AGM as well (or just the AGM) please will you use the same link above to register – this will greatly assist the tea and cake makers to reduce wastage.

If you are a member and would like to receive information and updates by email it is a requirement of current Data Protection legislation that you agree to do so. There is a link to the consent form here.
Thank you for your continued support of the Fellowship.