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This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Saturday, 6 July 2019

Saturday Walk - Sawbridgeworth to Bishop’s Stortfort via Henry Moore Foundation

Length: 23.7 km (14.7 mi) [shorter walk possible]
Ascent/Descent: 209/196m
Net Walking Time: 5 hours
Toughness: 5 out of 10

Take the 09.48 Cambridge train from Liverpool Street (Tottenham Hale 10.10), arrives Sawbridgeworth 10.36.
Return trains: xx.09, xx.26, xx.32, xx.39, xx.54 and xx.58. Buy a Bishop’s Stortfort Return.

After passing through the centre of Sawbridgeworth, much of which is a conservation area, this East Hertfordshire walk leads mainly through open countryside, either along tracks, green lanes or quiet country roads, providing extensive views across the gently rolling countryside of fields, woods and waterways. The most attractive parts are then a scenic stretch of the Ash Valley around lunch in Much Hadham, one of Britain’s longest villages, and the long peaceful ending along the Stort Navigation past a couple of Nature Reserves. The pretty town centre of Bishop’s Stortford with its many tea options can be explored on an optional extension. The Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green is passed in the morning. The walk features a substantially shorter version to enable an extended visit of the Henry Moore Sculpture Park, Studios and House. This version cuts out some of the most attractive parts of the walk, though.       

Walk options:
You can cut the walk short by taking a bus  (runs Mon-Sat about every two hours) from the recommended lunch pub to either Bishop’s Stortford or St. Margaret’s (Hertford East line to Liverpool Street, run by the same train operating company).
Shortcuts: It is possible to shorten the walk in four ways:
·            Shortcut I cuts out 0.7 km (0.4 mi) at the start,      
·            Shortcut II cuts out 5.5 km (3.5 mi) and 84m ascent around lunch (and gives a rating of 3/10),
·            Shortcut III cuts out 1.0 km (0.6 mi) after lunch,    
·            Shortcut IV cuts out 0.5 km (0.3 mi) near the end.
Taking all shortcuts reduces the length of the walk to 16.1 km (10.0 mi), with a rating of 2/10.

Lunch: The Hoops Inn at the Henry Moore Sculpture Park in Perry Green, (7.5 km/4.7 mi), The Bull Inn or Hopleys Café  (open to 17.00) in Much Hadham (10.8 km/6.7 mi), or The Prince of Wales in Green Tye (13.0 km/8.0 mi, pub classics served to 14.00).
Tea: Plenty of options, check the pdf.

For walk directions, map, height profile and gpx/kml files  click here. t=swc.210

Stargazer is away...

3 comments:

Thomas G said...

The train was diverted via Stratford anyway today due to trackworks, which adds about 5 mins to the journey time, but then there was a faulty train blocking a track near Lea Bridge station (we passed it later) so we picked up additional 15 mins or so, meaning the outbound journey took nearly an hour. 8 got off that train and - apart from the club's esteemed backmarker - stayed together to Perry Green and The Hoops Inn, where 2 stopped for lunch (1/3 into the walk only), one of them being me. I only ever saw three of the group again, in Much Hadham on the extra loop to the outlying church. My lunch companion really only had a drink and sauntered on to the Henry Moore House & Gardens. The Hoops has had another change of management last October, and the menu is now less gastro, but more pub classics, although well-executed. And anyhow, the terrace takes some beating...
Walker number n=9 then turned up as I was about to leave, having missed the train. But as she was intending to see the sculptures as well, I moved on after a brief chat.
The weather was w=overcast-almost-all-the-time, and muggy as well.
Plenty of green lanes and the Hertfordshire standard amount of large cereal fields swaying in the breeze, some waterways (a lot of them bone dry though) and some pretty thatched and non-thatched houses. And more than ever before: planes on the approach to Stansted (all you Ryanair customers, that's your fault).
I hadn't walked this walk since I wrote it 5 years ago, and had forgotten how nice especially the post-lunch bit is (in my view anyway, others may find it boring): some woods, lots of green lanes, river side meadows, and the Stort Navigation bit especially enchanting, with loads of magnificent mature trees (Ash, Alder, Willow, Poplar) framing the navigation, some reedbeds, creeks and channels, a couple of wetlands nature reserves, butterflies aplenty, birdlife (I even saw a grey wagtail before one of the excellent info panels told me that that was what it is called). And hardly a soul in sight.

Mr M Tiger said...

A nice walk.
The back marker would like to point out that there are two footpaths leading out of the Square in Sawbridgeworth. There’s the one you’re meant to take (FP 32) at the right hand side and there’s the more obvious FP 21 at the left hand side. Guess which one the back marker took. (And he knows of another who made the same mistake). Perhaps the FP number could be given at the start of that stretch.
Shortcuts 2 and 3 work fine. The back marker was tempted to ‘check’ shortcut 4 as well, but others were watching.

Thomas G said...

Indeed, Mr. M Tiger, two paths. I noticed that myself yesterday, much to my horror. Sorry for leading the master of the shortcut (official and otherwise) on an unwanted extension... And thanks for checking the shortcut texts! Am just in the process of uploading the amended text.