Some leaders research their routes carefully, even riding them first before leading a group. I prefer a more adventurous approach and like to explore routes seen on the map and Streetview that I haven't done before. The first was a track through Balls Park just south of Hertford. Carol knew this one, so led us through this gated area on a quiet bridleway, emerging near the top of the hill approaching Hertford Heath.
My second diversion was through the grounds of the grand Haileybury School, with its classical buildings designed by William Wilkins (who also designed the National Gallery). This school is where Clement Attlee and Field Marshal Allenby were educated.
After an excellent break at the Village Cafe in Stanstead Abbotts, we carried on through Hunsdon, Widford and Wareside until we reached Baker's End. Here the third bit of exploration began, although as no-one had tried it before, half decided to stick to the longer lanes routes. Four of us turned left instead onto a direct, bridleway route to Cold Christmas. It started as tarmac, then after a pond, the surface was well compacted stone until we emerged on the lane to Thundridge slightly ahead of the others.
|Baker's End to Cold Christmas bridleway|
Lunch at Wadesmill went very well, despite 6 kitchen staff having just walked out for some unknown reason. We made good use of the time by sorting out ride leaders for the rides list. Then we decided to return via Ware to avoid roadworks on the A602 and we all got as far as Hertford before individuals started to peel off for home. It was a shortish ride and we all got back well before dark.