26 November 2017

26 Nov 2017: Hatfield to Benington

We welcomed new rider John and set off around a familiar route to Hertford. Taking in the delights of Tyler’s Causeway, Cucumber Lane, Little Berkhamsted, Bayford, and Brickendon. One of the great and satisfying things about leading a ride is introducing folk to new countryside, so it was with a bit of pleasure that this aim was well and truly achieved. At Brickendon I took a light bridleway near the Celtic Harmony camp. This track wheedles its way over to Monks Green and then onto the Mangrove Green road that drops into Hertford.

Tea break was a rowdy and sociable affair, with Rose’s in full swing, and here we met Jon, Judy, Richard and Peter and we introduced new people plus gave a quick report on the state of ice-less roads. We lost two of our number, and gained a puncture. I guess doing the light off-road didn’t agree with Steve H’s front tyre, but the situation was resolved extremely quickly and efficiently.

Haultwick Library
We headed out towards Stoney Hills and over the busy A602 to Sacombe Park. Here Jon and Judy took the lower route to Dane End to avoid the nasty crossing and the gravelly track in the park, while we did the gravelly track and zipped down White Hill in style. We didn’t have to wait for long before our party reunited again, then we traversed a wiggly, undulating route that took in Haultwick, Wood Green, Ardeley and made its way down to Walkern. At Haultwick, we stopped to inspect a great bit of community spirit. An old telephone box had been turned into a lending library of sorts, with some rather recent books on display.

In Walkern it was my intention to go on to Clay End, but the road I needed to take was before a pub on the OS map. I got to the pub with no road in sight, but luckily one of our number came to the rescue and found the lane was right after the pub and very easy to miss. So off to Clay End we toddled. We also toddled straight on at a crossroads where we should’ve gone right, so we dipped down and came back on ourselves to take a bridleway to Benington.

The Bell is a wonderful Grade II 500 year old pub, with a very friendly team running it. It features a Trinidadian and Caribbean menu, plus some good old staples. Curries were chosen by some of our gourmets, and I have to say they smelt lovely and everyone enjoyed the food and the relaxed atmosphere of the establishment.

The Wednesday evening gang would love this pub.

All that was left to do now was go home and we did this via Bragbury End and Datchworth to finish a lovely day’s ride.
Neil 26/11/2017

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