Walking from Ware to Hertford, and lunch at the Old Barge
And Morris Dancing to boot!
By Richard Brockbank
We parked just off the A10, north of Ware, a short way up the road towards Stevenage. It was only March, but the sunshine was blazing, and it was set to become a very pleasant day. The walk took us across an old landfill site, now grown over with grass, bushes and thistles, and grazed by a small flock of sheep. Men in ultralights (or were they women in microlights?) sailed above us, in the blue skies. We walked past an industrial building – we thought possibly some sort of gas works – and on into a wooded, sun-dappled area. Traversing some open land near a monastery, we then came upon a farmer’s field with a large young bullock, and no hiding places. Deciding we believed in the supremacy of man over all the animals, we strode through, unharmed by the bullocks. This walk also took us through an unexpected arboretum, with an extremely tall conifer, of which the species I am not sure, among other trees.
After a final ramble through the meadows between the River Beane and the River Lea at Hertford, we came up the tow path towards the Old Barge pub on Folly Island. Strange sounds and laughter could be heard coming from the general direction of the pub. Rounding the corner we came upon the distinctively-costumed Wicket Brood Morris Dancing side with their band, all wearing purple, green and black, entertaining the eating and drinking public and pub staff with their colourful display and music. The music was played on some fascinating instruments, including a bass horn from the early 19th Century. We consumed our avocado and bacon, bacon and stilton and sausage and onion and sandwiches with side salads and pints of Norfolk Wherry and enjoyed the jolly atmosphere created by the dancers and the band – a splendid half-way stop before walking back to the car.
The photos on this page and many others I have taken can be seen on Flickr, here.