After a busy weekend with brisk Bank Holiday Monday trade the landlord and staff at The Anchor, Danbury were waiting for us, pen poised and ready to take our lunch orders prior to our walk. The pub looked glorious in the bright sunshine with its containers and hanging baskets full of brilliantly colourful plants. The sixteen of us were prepared with hats, water, wet flannels and change of shirts as this was forecast to be a very hot day with a high of 33 degrees in Danbury by mid-afternoon. We were to finish our walk two hours before this with a cooler 5 degrees below that. Four walkers were going to do a shortened walk. Needless to say there were some members who chose not to walk in this heat and others who couldn’t make it this month so I was pleased with the turnout as last month, with equally high temperatures, the walk was abandoned and the pub had lost our trade that day and it is our first visit there.
We made our way from the pub via quiet roads through Twitty Fee to a wood named Poors’ Piece on the map. A wide track takes us through this spaciously planted wood where small balsam grows plentifully and still retains some of its tiny yellow flowers. Branching off on a meandering, smaller track where earth balls flourished, we weaved our way through various other woods including the delightfully named Pheasanthouse Wood. At one point we crossed on a wooden boardwalk what would otherwise have been a wet patch. We walked a stretch where giant ant mounds stood at frequent intervals and watched the ants as they scurried to and ‘fro. The Exmoor ponies had been brought in to graze the Essex Wildlife Trust section of the Woodham Walter Common but the notices asked that visitors refrain from feeding or patting the wild ponies so we had our picture taken with them instead.
Before the halfway point the four, who wanted a shorter walk, left us. They were confident they wouldn’t get lost because at every turn we had made directional arrows, pointers had been placed and landmarks pointed out (and hopefully remembered). With a compass set that would take them to the exit of the wood, they couldn’t fail to find their way back – and thankfully they didn’t; having taken advantage of frequent rests they arrived back only 10 minutes before us.
Leaving the Common and walking up Common Lane with the Bunsay Downs Golf Course to the left and right, we joined a quiet road and passed the golf clubhouse. Just past there a track leads to a pumping station and a footpath beside it drops down into a dip which, judging by the quantity of water mint growing there, could be quite damp at times. Brambles laden with sweet blackberries grew in abundance and straggly branches were beaten back with a stick but low growing stinging nettles remained an aggravation. But it was a short stretch and we were soon on the Warren Golf Course and far outnumbered the golfers that were visible to us. We gave way to three golfers who were teeing off and crossed uneventfully.
Walking two sides of a large grass field was refreshing as for the first time this walk we gained a breeze. Then we went through immature woodland of mixed trees, via Twitty Fee and back to the pub.
We were very hot, red-faced and tired and cold drinks were much appreciated, as was the food that was served promptly.
5 miles/8 kms