Long Walk: 7th September led by David & Jenny Brown
For this long walk we ventured a little further afield into Hertfordshire to start at the picturesque riverside village of Wheathampstead. Again, during this very pleasant late summer, we enjoyed warm weather and light cloud with a temperature reaching 24 C.
Our route was fairly level but through varied countryside using parts of The Lea Valley Way and the Hertfordshire Way. The first few miles followed the River Lea and then over the golf course to Brocket Hall, which is set in a ‘Capability Brown’ style parkland. The current house was built in 1760 and is a former home of the British Prime Minister Lord Melbourne and the infamous Lord Brocket. Here the River Lea runs into a large lake and then exits over an impressive waterfall set under a ‘signature’ feature, Palladian bridge.
We had a refreshment pause at the bridge, before walking up to Ayot Green and then down to the Ayot Greenway. This is a pleasant tree lined path which follows the former Welwyn Garden City to Dunstable railway which closed in the 1950s. In 2000, the Greenway was used by Steven Spielberg in the filming of ‘Band of Brothers’, the TV mini-series.)
After a mile we turned off the Greenway and walked up a bridle path to Ayot St Lawrence, a small ancient hamlet where the National Trust ‘Shaw’s Corner’ is located. George Bernard Shaw lived here for 43 years until his death in the 1950s. Here we stopped at the 17 C timbered Brocket Arms Inn and enjoyed our lunch, sitting outside in the garden with, the added interest of the menagerie of budgerigars, Belgian Rabbits and rare breed hens.
Following lunch we had a gentle stroll along bridle paths and woodland glades back to Wheathampstead which we reached at 3 pm.
.Strollers Walk : September 12th led by Janet Griffin
A gentle walk from Shardeloes, Amersham via Mop End. It was a bright sunny morning but only 7 people came on this walk. This is usually a good walk for blackberrying but this year it is not a good year and we did not find many in the hedgerows.
Medium Walk – September 16th led by Pat Fowler
Walk cancelled due to extreme wet weather – first time eve.r
Main Walk – September 26th led by Jacqui Kennedy
We met in the lay-by the Goat Centre and set off on the footpath by Whitethorn Farm. It was a dry morning and all the fields, including the beans had been harvested, to my relief. We continued straight ahead, over a couple of fields, and through a private garden to North Lee Lane. Crossing the road, we continued in the same direction, heading towards the railway line. At the tunnel entrance, we turned left, over a pasture, and along the edge of two or three fields, turning right across the last one to the hedge on the far side. We continued in a southerly direction until we reached the main A4010. Crossing the road, we headed off towards Ellesborough Church, the tower of which was visible above the trees. On reaching The Springs Farm, we crossed over the bridge with an ornamental lake on one side. A few yards further on, we turned left onto the Aylesbury Ring, and continued along this path to Butler’s Cross, and over Chalkshire Road. After about 1/2 mile, we turned left, passed Springfield Farm and on towards Burnham Farm. We passed behind the Chiltern Brewery and managed to resist the temptation to stop for a swift half!!
We continued northwards, over Nash Lee Road and headed towards Mill House Farm. The path took us passed the site of the old Stoke Mandeville Church, now just a pile of rubble with several gravestones still evident. Sadly, HS2 is due to go right through this site, destroying yet another piece of local history. We joined the lane by Mill House to the main road which we crossed, and entered the top end of the lay-by. Despite having been assured it would be open, the “Bistro” was firmed closed, so nine of us headed off to the George & Dragon for lunch. It had been a good walk, the weather kept dry and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.