Another fine day for rambling, thankfully slightly cooler than the previous days. Today’s party was made up of 7 scooter riders and 6 walkers.
From the Playing Field in the centre of Hunsdon village we followed the farm track leading to Fillets Farm. Continuing on this track we descended across arable land, giving us a delightful long view towards Widford Church, where we stopped for our coffee break, overlooking the River Ash valley. Widford Church boasts a Hertfordshire spike, which is a short spire, with its base concealed by a low parapet, rising from a square tower. From here we took a section of road until we reached Levenage Lane, a bridleway that took us on a winding track through woodland. We then followed field edges and farm tracks to the open landscape of the site of the former WW2 Hunsdon Airfield, now largely used as arable farmland, but also home to the Hunsdon Microlight Club. RAF Hunsdon became operational in 1941. It was particularly noted for its squadrons of de Havilland Mosquito fighter-bombers, and for being the base from which Operation Jericho (the Amiens Prison Raid) was launched in February 1944. Continuing along the side of Black Hut Wood we came to the microlight flying club, where we stopped for lunch. From here we paused at the memorial to the 126 air and ground crew who died while flying from or serving at the base – many from Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Taking the airfield roadway led us to Cockrobin Lane, a charming ancient green lane and bridleway, providing shade and shelter. From the bottom of Cockrobin Lane we moved along a farm track past Eastwick Hall Farm and into a planted wooded area, passing close to Hunsdon House (a former estate and hunting lodge of King Henry VIII, here Princess Mary spent much of her early life). We crossed a section of a filed planted with rape – although the path had been kept well cleared by the farmer, the weight of the ripening rapeseed meant that the plants were falling across the pathway – it was like going through a tropical forest! We came out at the Nine Ashes Fishing Pond and after a short section of road, we move onto the airfield again and returned by way of Drury Lane.
The day ended with tea and cakes at Mark and Bee’s house in Drury Lane.
Mark & Bee
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