We took the Hazelend Road out of Stortford heading in the direction of Manuden. As a group we’d done this several times this year and there’s a lovely lane that runs from Manuden to Rickling Green. Along this lane were fields of vibrant blue linseed plants and now the fields look very dry and lifeless.
We passed under a BIG blue road, which Richard informed me was the M11, and on the other side we were back into quaint Essex winding lanes, passing through a duck infested Henham and making a lovely climb up to Debden Green just to wiz back down through Thaxted to end up at Monk Street.
The homeward journey was a mix of backtracking (keeping off hilly roads in the heat) and some new roads with a village that had a manned level crossing, none of this high tech automated stuff for this sleepy Essex village. Then I wanted to skirt Stanstead Mountfitchet and failed as we found ourselves emerging onto the high street. We soon navigated back to my route and made quick work of Hazelend and Upwick Green, to end up on the Little Hadham road (just below the wonderfully named Clapgate).
We enjoyed a great ginger beer in Hopleys, and then made short work of going home: Babb’s Green, Ware and the river path to Hertford was our chosen route. 64 miles of fun and a great day out.