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Google map of the walk

Day 25 31/01/06 Patmore Heath to Hare Street (5.4 miles each way)

Parked at Patmore Heath.

This was again a very pleasant shorter walk, through gently rolling countryside. Apart from the villages at the start and end of the walk, I only passed isolated farms and cottages. It was a cloudy day, but there were always a few patches of blue in the sky and by the end of the walk it was quite sunny.

From Patmore Heath, I followed a lane for a few hundred yards to the village of Gravesend and turned right along a narrow road. Beyond the last building, I turned left onto a bridleway on a farm track – as I descended it, I had to step aside to let a tractor with a harrow pass me, and then I met two horsewomen coming the other way. At the valley bottom, the path crossed over the river Ash (which was completely dry) and then ascended the opposite side of the valley with a wood to the left and a ploughed field on the right. Just past a large house on the left, I took another track on the right which followed a series of hedgerows through more ploughed fields to reach a road near Patients End farm. Although the path was muddy in places, this section of the walk was very enjoyable, with good clear paths and views over the undulating landscape of arable fields and woodland.

[1] View towards Hare Street from near Little Hormead church

 

The Hertfordshire Way followed the drive to the farm and then turned left along another clear farm track, soon running alongside another hedge. It then turned left and then right to follow two sides of a ploughed field, to reach an isolated house called Rotten Row. Here the guidebook warned that there might be slight changes to the route as the drive of the house was being repositioned – consequently the guide book didn’t help that much here, but I managed to find the route as there were some waymarks (would have helped if they’d actually pointed towards each other!). The path led diagonally across a field planted with cabbages (or something similar). The route had been cleared but was just loose soil, so my boots were quite muddy by the time I reached the far side – I noticed, however, that the soil was much finer than the heavy clay I’d come across in previous fields. After a short section just inside a wood, the path followed another hedgerow to a field corner, where it turned left to follow a long hedge in a huge stubble field, with good views over the lower lying land ahead. Where the hedge eventually turned right, the Hertfordshire Way continued on the same line straight ahead, descending to a farm track which it then followed to the right.

 

[2] Little Hormead church

 

After passing through a farmyard and along a hedge beside a farmhouse, I continued following hedgerow paths in a northerly direction for almost a mile [1] until I reached the church at Little Hormead [2], the only building of note I passed all day. According to the guide book, the church has a Norman doorway with an 800-year old door [3]. Having taken a quick look at this, I continued on a footpath heading downhill until I reached a long thin meadow, where I took a path to the right that lead to a lane. A few yards to the left along this brought me to another footpath which lead diagonally across another stubble field to the road at Hare Street. A hundred yards along the road brought me to the bus stop where I wanted to end today’s walk.

 

[3] Porch and 800-year old door (?), Little Hormead church

There was nowhere really suitable where I could stop and eat my lunch on this route, so I walked all the way back before having lunch at Patmore Heath about 1.50pm. It was very pleasant walk today – nothing out of the ordinary, but good paths through gently rolling countryside with plenty of attractive views over fields and woods.

Total Distance: 184.5 miles each way