Event led by Martin T
Attendance: 14 men
Distance: 6.64km (4.13 miles)
Time: start 11:15, end 13:04, lunch 2 hours
Terrain: pavement, road, field edge, field, footpath
Elevation: start 161m, high 164m, low 126m
Weather: cold, overcast, moderate wind, 6°C (with windchill 2°C)
This was an 4-mile circular walk from the Fox & Duck pub, Therfield, SE to Reed End, S to The Homestead, then N to Therfield.
This walk showed off the beauty of the bleak grey countryside of East Herts, punctuated by nice posh new houses and restored old houses.
The first half of the route was on hard-standing - pavement and road - with a small diversion to accommodate the group shot at the pond on Washingditch Green.
The pilot and final test of this walk found that the roads were quiet, almost without traffic. Not today. Because of a diversion in place at Therfield, one road had become a rural motorway. At one point, our group of 14 met four cars travelling in both directions, and we all had to stop to allow a pelton of 20 to pass through. We’ll plot a route on the M25 one day: it’ll probably be safer...
The second half of the route was mainly on field and field edge. This part of Hertfordshire has excellent topsoil, but one of its properties is the most astonishing stickiness when it becomes wet. We would have incurred a great deal of mud by sticking to the public rights of way, all of which went over fields under young crop. In turn, this meant that each of the 14 walkers would have likely caused greater collateral damage to the crops as half the field would have stuck to each pair of boots. So, where we could, we deviated from the public right to way to use field edges, and thus to preserve both boots and crops.
One field was unavoidable, as the public right of way passed through the middle of it, with no possibility of using the field edge. The property of the topsoil pounced. Each walker ended up with up to 2kg of mud on each boot. Great exercise for the hamstrings. It was like weight-training.
Our entry into Therfield was via its church, a church with a battlemented tower and scaffolding (presumably, it's enjoying some maintenance).
Thirteen of us stayed for lunch at the Fox & Duck, a Greene King pub. Prices ranged from £23 two-courses to £30 for three-courses. The food was of very good quality and of generous portions. A number of us succumbed to the game pie, which appeared to be mainly pigeon accompanied by either pheasant or partridge. Four of us further succumbed to dessert, followed by a delicious blend of guilt and the pain of overeating.
Photos by Peter O’Connor. Words by Martin Thornhill.