The turnout of 26 walkers beat our previous record set at the January meeting of 2017 by 5 and with so many waiting to place their food order at the White Elm Tea Room, Bicknacre our start was somewhat delayed; (maybe the time has come to close the group to new members?). Fortunately, this walk did not have any stiles, obstacles or other hazards to slow us and we were able to stick to our intended timing returning to the tearoom just 10 minutes after our predicted ETA of 12.30.
A short stretch along the road was quickly forgotten when we entered a delightful bridleway that ran below a canopy of trees. High up birds sang as though it was spring but with all the chatter I doubt anyone heard them but me. It was a surprise to the group when we suddenly turned off the bridleway and pushed our way through some undergrowth, a detour that avoided an extra kilometre of walking and which would have added 15-minutes to the walk.
At this point we joined the St Peter’s Way heading east and crossed fields of purple flowering Lucerne and cropped fields where the straw had been stacked six bales high resembling high rise buildings, Groups of young pheasants ran helter-skelter across our path trying to avoid us and seemed most reluctant to take flight – bags of food for game birds was an indication of what the future holds for them.
A fallen log at the halfway point was a suitable place to have a brief stop.
Nearing the end of the walk we climbed gently to Thrift Wood where we saw wood ants busy carrying vegetation at their large nests. Being a managed wood, parts had been felled and other parts coppiced. The final stage of the walk was back along the bridleway we had started on but with the sun in a slightly higher position the light made it look quite different, almost magical.
In the Tea Room we had been placed in the ‘quiet room’ – oh dear, I did feel sorry for those who weren’t part of our group.
Next Walk – Tuesday 25th September 10.00 Generals Arms, Little Baddow, CM3 4SE (note that 10.00 is the time I would like to start the walk so please arrive in good time to place food orders, the pub will open at 9.45).