The autumn colours didn’t disappoint us, and as we passed through the avenue of trees on the Warren Golf Course and later through Thrift Wood, the multi-coloured leaves drifted down on us. We had met at The Bell, Woodham Walter on a fresh and slightly misty morning but very quickly the sun broke through, the mist cleared and we enjoyed the October warmth.
Well-marked footpaths guided us over the golf course and on to a bridleway that led to Thrift Wood. During the past few walks there have been many stiles and I was pleased to have found a route that had none; however one member, who was walking happily in the lead, when confronted by a 5-bar gate saw the stile beside it and with much difficulty climbed the two steps, fought through the vegetation that had spread over it and had to be given a helping hand – it caused some hilarity when we opened the gate and everyone else walked through. Somewhat distracted by all this chatter and laughter we took a slightly more circuitous route through Thrift Wood than was necessary!
The paths meandered over fields and some even passed through private gardens. The remains of Woodham Walter Hall are marked on the map but appeared to be overgrown with dense vegetation. On higher ground we had views over the farmland and surrounding countryside and again we admired the autumn colours. After walking along a short stretch of road and passing The Cats, a tiny cottage pub with giant cat figures in the grounds and a smaller one on the roof, we took a delightful path through our last patch of woodland to complete our circuit and arrive back at The Bell. Lunch was a cheerful affair and surprising stories were related, accompanied by the pub’s choice of sixties songs that were enjoyed by all but sadly reflected our ages – on the bright side at least we could remember them!
8 kms/5 miles