7 September 2014

07 Sep 2014: Hatfield to Allens Green

A happy bunch gathered in Hatfield ready to venture East into Essex.  It was a fair distance to Old Harlow so I avoided most of the hills by using a cunning route along the Cole Green Way to Hertford, where we followed the almost flat New River to Stansted Abbotts.  We weren't quite so happy when in Roydon a particularly thick bit of cloud decided to shed it's load on us, especially as the forecast hadn't mentioned rain and some (including me) were dressed for the warmer weather we've been spoiled with recently.  After not quite 20 miles we reached the Cross Keys Cafe, relocated from it's old site on the old A11 to the centre of Old Harlow.  The fare hadn't changed much though, with the Big Boy Breakfast being popular amongst the less active customers and we found plenty to refuel us too for the next stage.

group at start
Gathering in Hatfield
group at cafe
Outside the cafe in Old Harlow

You may be surprised that Harlow boasts some 60 sculptures by various artists and has earned the designation of 'Harlow Sculpture Town'.  We spotted one of these sculptures outside the Cross Keys Cafe, but you can discover more of these works by following this handy Sculpture map.

man and bike
Stuart arrives in Old Harlow to join our ride
'Kore A Little Girl' is by Betty Rea

We were served quickly at the cafe and had time for a 17 mile loop on some really quiet lanes around Matching Tye, High Laver and Matching Green.  Then we passed the strangely isolated Matching Church, well off the beaten track, and through Sheering and Sawbridgeworth to Allens Green.  

group in lane
At Little Laver
Craig and his shadow

A slight panic ensured after lunch, knowing that the Rose Cafe in Hertford shuts at 4 pm, but we made it just before they started upending the chairs on the tables.  

Jon 7/9/2014

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