The temperature was already in the early 20s as we set out from Royston on Easter Saturday on the next leg of our Hertfordshire Way 60th Birthday Pilgrimage. We began at the Royse Stone, standing at the crossing point of the Icknield Way and Ermine Street and soon left the bustling town centre and found ourselves on Therfield Heath.
Royston Fire Station had a display reminding us to check our smoke alarms and the first of many displays of – chickens, ducks, rabbits, daffodils and eggs which we passed on our way. This was, also, however, a walk which reminded us of the traditional Easter Story as church followed church followed church.
Unfortunately, we made a navigation mistake very early on. Missing the instructions in the guidebook which clearly stated “do not pass through the ramblers gate”, deep in conversation we passed straight through the ramblers gate. This meant that we missed the long and round barrows, The Jubilee Stone and Pasque flowers on Church Hill. We also cut about two miles off our projected 11 mile walk and missed the “active firing range”, which had concerned us somewhat.
The early mistake meant that we arrived at the Fox and Duck pub in the pretty village of Therfield Green in good time and were able to savour every drop of our very expensive soft drinks. The pub was beautifully set facing the village green and with the name “Fox” always close to my heart I took several photographs of memorabilia in the pub.
A beautiful old Ford Car arrived outside the pub and many people were enjoying food and refreshments on this perfect day.
Unlike some of our Hertfordshire Way walks we didn’t really discuss Brexit – we had rather run out of things to say. A more telling reminder of how to spend our days was, however, seen on a memorial bench.
We passed through Therfield Green’s churchyard and enjoyed the feeling of the sun warming up our skin as we traipsed along footpaths and fields to quite quickly arrive at Kelshall Street.
The Millennium obelisk on a tiny village green told us of a medieval wooden screen in St Faith’s Church.
We took the time to explore the church which was already prepared for the Easter celebrations on the coming day.
This appears to be “horse” country. Several large houses which we passed had stable blocks and training areas and I had no difficulty in obtaining my equine photograph this time for the blog.
As always we found so much to chat about – how many miles could we continue to talk for I wonder? Whether we could climb one of the harder routes up Snowdon, in June, conquering fear of heights; an amazing long-distance walking challenge in London which A had recently completed; climate change; potty training; ancestry; health niggles and blessings.
Another slight detour was taken when marker posts were missing in a field and we had to take a lane towards Sandon. On the way we spied a mandarin duck and delighted in tree after tree heavy with blossom.
And then, out of the blue, as we were passing up a narrow footpath walking towards Sandon Churchyard our breath was taken away.We had been discussing the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and how someone had seen the cross amidst all the wreckage and before us on this Easter Saturday we felt we saw a similar sight.
We lingered in this churchyard, ate our lunch and didn’t really want to leave. The warm Spring promise, without the sun being overbearing, the birdsong, a red kite overhead (we have rarely walked without sight of one) – and gratitude for another churchyard bench made this a day that I, for one, will not ever forget.
Eventually, however, we drew ourselves away, passed close to Redhill and after bordering a field full of yellow rapeseed found ourselves in “Fanny and B………… land”
Some of A’s ancestors had come from Wallington and we mused on the how they may have walked these very fields and footpaths.
A slight detour because of some over-friendly cows was taken on reaching the outskirts of the village where we headed straight to yet another church. This one had medieval graffiti in the porch, George Orwell associations and an interesting story about the “One Pram village”.
This Church was still bare inside, no doubt stripped for Good Friday but soon to be prepared for the Easter Day celebrations in the morning. I wonder whether Fanny and B………… had attended all those years ago.
And yes, there he was again……………………..
What a special man!
11 mile walk; we did about 9; spectacular.
OS 209, 193, 194. One pub in Therfield.