A Hike around Hutton and Herongate (pay attention, don’t lose the Fred)

Shenfield Station, the end of the line (well TfL Rail anyway) was the meeting place for today’s walk. Amina, Cathy, Fred, Ken and I all met up on the train, and were then joined by Paul at Shenfield, as he was on the next train. We headed off up Mount Avenue and saw a car driving along the pavement to us, which was Peter and Annick, who had been delayed in the Remembrance Day traffic.

shenfield trev 01116artWe had a mile or so to walk to the start point at Hutton All Saints Church, through the “Millionaire’s Row” of Hutton Mount. Part way along, we heard the loud roar of a Dakota DC-7 aircraft and two Spitfires which passed overhead (probably the ones which dropped 750,000 poppies at Dover).

We passed Hutton Hall and the church to begin the walk proper, following Church Lane before going over a muddy field. We then followed a track past farm buildings and an enormous stack of hay bales at Creasey's Farm. By now the sun was shining brightly bringing warmth and with lovely views over the Essex countryside.

shenfield trev 01118artWe continued along field edges to enter a very muddy path through a small wood. A sign post directed us to Heron Hall, via an easily missed (which we did first time) track, guarded by a splendidly gruesome witch, hopefully just a left over from Halloween. After a short spell (witches – spell, oh forget it!) we reached Heron Hall and continued to Herongate for a late lunch stop at the pub.

However, on reaching the Green Man pub we realised there was no sign of Fred. We had lost him. After getting my lager, I joined the search party (I’ve got my priorities!). By now, he was probably wandering all alone in a muddy field. No sign of him on my search, but we had contacted him and he had missed the turn at the reservoir, and returned to re-join us, mini adventure over.

Time was drawing on, so after lunch we took a detour through Ingrave and more fields and farmland to rejoin the main road before turning off to Brentwood station through a woodland walk, arriving at the station as dusk was setting in. The total distance (including the missed turn and searching for strays) was about 9 miles. The weather had been very good, warm autumnal sunshine, we all made it back safely (even Fred), and I think we all enjoyed it, even with the mud.

Trev (pathfinder) Eley, 15th November 2019