Hello – I’m Michael Hatch, and I led our second Taster Walk yesterday from the Ramblers Worldwide offices in Lemsford.
It was a perfect spring day. Blue sky, warm, bluebells in the woods, the trees freshly leafy, rabbits dancing the hornpipe, as we made our way across the Brocket Estate and followed the River Lea to Wheathampstead. After lunch in the Cross Keys pub in Gustard Wood we returned via Ayot St Lawrence and the Ayot Greenway to Lemsford and a cup of tea in the Ramblers Worldwide Gardens.
The walk had all that is best in home counties England – open views, woodland, hedgerows, pretty cottages and plenty of gossip and scandal. Take Gustard Wood… a line of houses and cottages on an unmade track overlooking the very picturesque Mid-Herts golf course. Yet it was here that John Knight, associate of Ronnie and Reggie Kray, had his splendid gangster mansion. And then there’s the Brocket Estate where Charles Lord Brocket buried his Ferraris in the early 1990s as part of an elaborate insurance fraud. And let’s not forget Lord Palmerston who died here on the billiard table in the arms of a chamber maid at the age of 82.
Maybe the best thing, however, was the immediate bonding between a group of people who didn’t know one another. Walking at an easy pace we all had time to chat about holidays in the Lake District, late frost on first early potatoes, the decline of the English newspaper… It felt just like being on one of our holidays!