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Surrey Ramblers' John Nathan on his perfect Surrey weekend

PUBLISHED: 18:20 16 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:54 20 February 2013

Surrey Ramblers' John Nathan on his perfect Surrey weekend

Surrey Ramblers' John Nathan on his perfect Surrey weekend

Chairman of the Surrey Ramblers, Limpsfield's John Nathan is also an associate of the Royal Photographic Society. Since retiring as a GP, weekends provide the perfect opportunity to escape to the Surrey countryside and enjoy both of his hobbies

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2011

Chairman of the Surrey Ramblers, Limpsfield resident John Nathan is also an associate of the Royal Photographic Society and vice chairman of Tandridge Photographic Society. Since retiring as a GP, weekends provide the perfect opportunity to escape to the Surrey countryside and enjoy both of his hobbies

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As a former GP in Surrey for nearly 30 years, what I did in my spare time was determined totally by medical duty, so my weekends have changed dramatically since I retired. I have always been keen on exercise rowing when I was a student; running, including several marathons, in my forties but now I go walking most weekends with Ramblers groups in the county.

My wife and I, who live in Limpsfield, are members of the East Surrey Ramblers, and ours is a wonderful county for walking: very rural in the south, yet with more urban walks, such as the London loop, further north.

Walking is very good for your health, and I have been advocating it for many years. Regular walking helps prevent heart and lung disease, and reduces the chances of cancers.

Escape to the country
Some people think that going to the countryside is driving to a car park, drinking from a Thermos, and driving home. But the countryside, and we have some beautiful countryside in Surrey, is full of sights, sounds and smells the sights of bluebells in spring, the red of poppies in mid-summer and the golds of autumn; the smells of cows and sheep, and wild flowers; and the sounds of birds, and of farmers and their tractors. It is very interesting talking to farmers; finding out about their lives, so different from people who are desk-bound.

I was fortunate to be elected chairman of the Ramblers East Surrey Group and held this post for seven years until, in the last six months, I was elected as Surrey area chairman, which means that I can pursue the interests of ramblers at a higher level.

The Ramblers Association is now more relevant than ever, but the gains we have made in our 75 years will gradually be lost if we do not support this organisation. Thanks to years of campaigning by the Ramblers, we have waymark posts on paths, footpaths on maps and long distance paths. And now that councils are strapped for cash, the Ramblers are doing footpath inspections and voluntary work on paths, without which some would become impassable for instance, the Ramblers have recently re-waymarked the Greensand Way.

I am a strong supporter of the Ramblers, and I invite you to come with us, and hopefully join a Surrey Ramblers group. Walks are free after you have joined, and available all over the county; have a look at our website (see below).

My other great interest is photography and this goes well with walking. I usually take a camera with me and some of my pictures have appeared on the Greensand Way route, which is on the Surrey County Council website.

I have been a member of the Royal Photographic Society for some 20 years, and have recently become an associate. I have also been a member of Tandridge Photographic Society for seven years, and am currently vice chairman. I travel a lot, always with a camera, and have been fortunate to see a lot of the world.

So, retirement is very full for me, and with children and grandchildren, there is never a dull moment at the weekend.

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