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22 May: Hertford to Mill Green

posted 24 May 2016, 23:58 by South Herts   [ updated 29 Jun 2016, 23:30 ]
With many of our regulars away in France, only four of us met at Hertford for our ride into sunny Essex.  I (Judy) was deputising as ride leader for Jon, who had a sick note.

We left Hertford on the scenic lane that leads through Goose Green to drop down into Hoddesdon.  One of the Hoddesdon town cafés had been taken over by mods, judging by the scooters outside. We then crossed the Lea into Essex over the newly renovated bridge at Dobb's Weir.  It's good to have this useful link finally open. 

We were soon skirting around the southern outposts of Harlow.  The others chose to follow my roundabout route (avoiding kerbs) which was just as well as, on the other side, we found that the direct path had been closed for works.  We made Harlow Garden Centre (actually located just outside Harlow) in good time.  I stopped briefly to chat to an elderly lady with a cycling T-shirt and cycling ear rings, who proved to be an Essex B Forty Plus member, though no longer riding.

Collection of stuffed owls
Owls at Harlow Garden Centre - Patton the Tawny Owl didn't look too well

From the garden centre we looped around through the Essex lanes, seeing lots of cyclists but few cars (except when crossing A or B roads).  Our sightings included three two wheeled recumbents, a tandem and Liam from Stort Valley Section.  We reached our destination, the Viper at Mill Green, to find other cyclists already ensconced there.  Richard and I both retreated to the dense wood opposite to eat sandwiches, but did not spot each other.

Doors with flowers at the pub 
Dense woodland

The Viper is surrounded by dense woodland

After just over an hour at the pub, we left.  The other group of cyclists were still eating and drinking.  When we approached our tea place, the countryside got hillier, as we went over the Toot Hill switch-back and climbed up to the Epping Road through Ivy Chimneys.

taking tea in churchyard
Tea at Upshire Church

Tea was at the ever popular Upshire church.  The cakes were superb, as ever, the only downside being the long queues to get served.  Enticed out by the prospect of home-made cakes, Jon joined us at tea.  We met another former cyclist there who used to ride with the Northern Section (of North London CTC) and found we had some friends in common.  He was intrigued to learn that you can still get diamond framed steel bikes built with lugs.

Judy 22/05/2016