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04 May: Hatfield to Tawney Common

posted 6 May 2014, 03:01 by South Herts   [ updated 8 Jan 2017, 22:35 ]
Early May Bank Holiday weekend and a dozen adventure-seekers are expecting a varied ride with some new off-road bits thrown in for good measure.  Well, those who read the e-newsletter knew what to expect but it was a bit of a surprise to those who hadn’t!  

So with the recent drier weather we took our first trip right through to Hertford along the Cole Green Way.  Virtually deserted at that time of the morning, it made for a tranquil, leafy route and downhill too.  A quick wiggle through the historic centre of Hertford took us onto the river route to Ware past some fascinating activities at the canoe club and then several well-attended Sunday League soccer matches.  Crossing the main road in Ware we descended a rather scary slope (heading straight for the water) to join the towpath to Stanstead Abbotts.
group approaches barrier
Entering The Cole Green Way
rear view of group cycling on disused railway
Cole Green Way
group on slope
Entering Hertford
kayakers on grass in boats
Kayakers getting ready for the next drought

No objections so far, so I risked unfamiliar territory by taking Netherfield Lane towards Rye Meads, avoiding the busy hill on the main road.  A few water-filled potholes to weave around, then we were under the A414 and onto a short path, emerging onto Rye Road to relieved cries of ‘Oh! I know where I am now!’

We were soon relaxing in the quiet surroundings of the Waterside Café at Roydon Marina, which had a good bakery selection this time.  30 minutes later it was off to explore another bit of unfamiliar territory through the back alleys of Harlow, but we found our way out OK and along Rye Hill Road to Thornwood, around the back of North Weald airfield and into Epping Forest.  A few nice hills took us to the isolated Moletrap pub, where the queue was long, but our meals arrived quickly.  Mike R sampled the Dark Star Espresso flavoured beer, not everyone’s cup of tea perhaps, but good for sobering up fast?

It’s not easy finding a route the right length from there to Upshire, so after scaling Sixteen String Jack Hill (named after one of the first criminal celebrities, whose breeches were better decorated than ours) we diverted to High Beech, which was packed with lazy types trying to find a parking space.  Fortunately, they didn’t stray far from the ice-cream van and we found our way to a quiet short cut along the old road to Upshire, where Tracey was waiting for us.  The fare was up to its usual high standards, with savoury choices as well as the usual cakes on offer. 
barrier on towpath
Barrier at Stanstead Abbotts
barrier on path
Judy loves these scenic routes
cyclist near wild flowers
Wild flowers in Rye Meads
canal boats in marina
Roydon Marina
cyclists at marina
Leaving the Waterside Cafe
three cyclists riding
Nearing the pub in Tawney Common

cycling in forest
The old road in Epping Forest
The route back to Hatfield was intended to use the new cyclists’ bridge at Cadmore Lane, but went further north instead, which made it slightly longer than planned at 62 miles for the whole day.  

Jon 04/05/2014