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24 May: Hertford to Puckeridge

posted 28 May 2015, 13:04 by South Herts   [ updated 13 Aug 2015, 02:51 ]
Our ride this week, for a change, started from the war memorial in Hertford and we were pleased to welcome new riders Paul and Miles from north London to the group. They were in training for a 100-mile charity ride and our regular Sunday rides fitted the bill. A brisk climb out of the town to Bengeo soon took us through Stoney Hills and then, via that nasty bit of the A602, along past Dane End to Haultwick (locally Artik). We noticed that the Rest and Welcome - where the landlord was recently found dead - has now been sold off by McMullens. Will it re-open as a pub or as some up market country villa? 

Having a breather in  Hall's Green
Shaking off gloomy imaginings we continued through the quiet lanes to Ardeley and Weston and then down the big hill and into Baldock. Our planned cafe stop was overflowing, so we went to sandwich bar along the road that had just about room to accommodate the ten of us. Some then peeled off for home here, but the rest of us were soon heading through the very open country along the lane to Wallington. We didn't linger at George Orwell's cottage and shop, where he wrote several of his best known books (Manor Farm in the village was also the model for Animal Farm) but continued to Sandon and then down a quiet lane to cross the A10 to Buntingford. 

Then by way of Nasty we were at our lunch stop in Puckeridge. The pub, despite having checked a couple of days ago, turned out not to be doing our kind of bar meals after all, but there's plenty of choice in the villages round there, so again we went to another pub just down the road.  Here some went for the fish and chips, but were a bit miffed when they found the price didn’t actually include any chips. 

From there our planned afternoon stop was to have been home-made cakes in the church in Great Amwell, but as they had not got their summer opening for teas going yet (and the forecast rain was starting) we went to Ware instead by way of Barwick Ford. It had been a very nice ride of less than 50 miles, but the first one I can remember where we did not go to a single one of the advertised stops.

Richard 24/05/2015