20 Nov 2022: Sawbridgeworth circular

Event led by John G.
Attendance: 6 men.
Distance: 8.89 miles (14.3 km).
Time: start 10:41, end 14:30, lunch 26 minutes.
Speed: moving arithmetic average 2.62 mph (4.23 kph).
Terrain: pavement, track, field, field edge using highways, byways, bridleways and footpaths. Off-road terrain mainly clay mud, wet, thick in some places, with puddles from poor soil drainage.
Elevation: low 38m, high 79m, start 59m.
Weather: mainly clear skies, some occasional cloud, 11°C, 12mph north-westerly wind, brisk-cool.
Number of sewage works: 0.
Number of churches: 0.
Number of golf courses: 0.


This was a circular walk of ~9 miles SW to Eastwick via the River Stort Navigation, N to Gilston Park, NE to High Wych then E to Sawbridgeworth. Along the navigable river, the route cross the border between Essex and Herts numerous times.

The route started at the well-maintained Pishiobury Park, a grade II* registered historic parkland, followed the River Stort for a short distance, then the River Stort Navigation towpath for ~4km. Leaving the waterway, the route ventured through quiet, rural East Herts, ascending in elevation throughout, until the final leg of the route back to the start point.

The weather provided clear, bright autumnal lighting throughout. This made the views from the elevated points over the Stort Valley and over Harlow particularly good.

Underfoot, the off-road ground was generally damp and soft, reflecting the week of rain prior to this walk. Patches of the route suffer from poor drainage (being clay) and were typically along the waterway.

There was no optional pub stop and none of the members wanted a pub stop. The nearest candidate pub close to the end point was the Hand & Crown, Sawbridgeworth.

All of the pictures for this walk are in the link “more pics” below.

Words by Martin Thornhill. Pictures by Peter O’Connor.

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