We met at the car park in Thaxted on a cold but bright Saturday 13th April. The car park is not only free but has a public loo! Well done, the local council. Thaxted itself is a pleasant looking town, some elderly buildings still surviving.
Heading east, we left Thaxted and were soon in Walnut Tree Meadow. I must confess I didn’t spot a walnut tree. Turning south we headed for Bardfield End Green, past a pretty farm pond and a genuine Victorian post box, now no longer used. Bardfield End Green has a cricket pitch and we arrived soon after the ground had been prepared for the coming season. It looked very well cared for. South again through open fields towards Plummer Wood. This is a small wood which looks slightly neglected, in other words little or no human involvement and nature just gets on with life. It must be an insect and bird heaven. It was noticeable that the planes at Stansted were not flying overhead, although they had been a constant accompanying noise when the route was recce’d during the week. Perhaps Stansted changes its routes at the weekend.
On to Richmond’s Green and Sibley’s Green. There are big warning notices about disease control at Sibley’s Green but we could see no active steps being taken to control disease. Heading west we crossed the B184 and walked to the Farmhouse Inn at Monk Street where a pleasant meal and drink was consumed. The final leg now, following the River Chelmer north to Thaxted. Sheep were grazing in one of the fields we walked through and one lamb in particular ignored its mother’s bleats until we were very close. The windmill and church loomed up ahead as we approached but when we reached them the windmill was closed. We walked down a narrow lane past former almshouses to the church and then took a while to look inside it, once described by John Betjeman as one of the finest churches in England. Inevitably, there was an appeal for restoration money, £2m this time and we donated our small bit. It is a fine church with a very high spire. I think it was a spire. There was an lively discussion about the difference between a spire and a steeple. Then it was back to the car park and off home.
Brian U. 13th April 2019