Walking near Watton

October 2020

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Watton-at-Stone Circular

Despite heavy overnight rain, with the possibility of more to come, it was a cheerful group from the Longer Walks Group that set off from the Hertfordshire village of Watton at Stone. After crossing the High Street, we followed Mill Lane to cross the River Beane (on its way to join the River Lea at Hertford) before climbing steadily to reach the strangely deserted Watton by-pass. Once safely across the main road. we continued uphill before setting off along farm tracks, through meadows and over a number of stiles to Cutting Hill Farm. From here our route followed a sunken lane through woodland before emerging onto a broad track that undulated across farmland. We soon emerged on the edge of the small village of Green End, where the local cricket pavilion provided the perfect spot for a socially distanced lunch break. Not only did this structure provide benches, but also shelter as we somewhat fortuitously avoided the only heavy shower of the day. After lunch our route took us to Haultwick, a mile or so to the north. From here, we climbed the Old Bourne valley (the river sadly a trickle due to groundwater extraction) to reach today’s high point of 126 metres We now turned south to pass through the twin villages of Hebing End and Burns Green, after which there was a steady descent back into the Beane valley. Crossing the Watton bypass for the second time was a little more fraught due to much increased levels of traffic, but once on the other side, we were rewarded with a visit to a fairy dell installed by children from the local primary school. Whether this magical place was a nod in the direction of Rupert Grint (aka Ron Weasley) who grew up in the village remains uncertain. However it made a good talking point as we re-crossed the Beane to reach the end of the walk.