COME rain or shine a group of intrepid walkers from Abingdon have been exploring the Oxfordshire countryside for almost three decades and will this month celebrate their 300th walk.

The Bold Walking Group will mark the milestone by recreating the first walk members took in September 1990, including a well-earned pub lunch.

Derek and Christine Bold, who the club is named after, led a small group of friends from All Saints Methodist Church around Nuffield and Hailey before stopping at the King William IV pub.

It went so well that the next month they led a similar walk around Christmas Common.

Word soon got around and walkers from other Abingdon churches joined so that, by the end of 1991, there were typically 15 – 20 walkers attending each month.

The couple stopped regularly walking with the group in 2006 but kept in touch with members.

Mr Bold, who is now 87-year-old, said: "I am surprised, but very pleased, that the club is still going. From a group of eight walkers all that time ago to now is quite special."

His wife passed away last year but he will be guest of honour at the lunch, which will take place on November 29.

Roger Cox, who has been leading the group with his wife Sue since 2014, said there was a loyal following for the club, adding: "Most of the people have been walking with the group for more than 10 years and about a half dozen for 20, which is quite a feat.

"We're the newcomers because we've only been with the group for seven."

The 67-year-old said it was a combination of challenging but achievable walks, beautiful countryside on the group's doorstep and the pub lunches each month when members new and old could catch up that ensured a winning formula.

He added: "I can see us lasting for at least another 300."