Therfield straddles the pre-historic Icknield Way on high ground above a heath dotted with tumuli and delightful Ordnance Survey markings like Hopscotch and Duckpuddle Bush. But that’s all to the north and we started off heading south, looping back in a circular walk that took in five greens.
First up was Duck’s Green, which is now the name of wooded track.
We veered off the main path to go through Collins Green where it’s similarly difficult to identify the original green and there is no habitation but some big sky views across the plateau.
The lane from Collins Green to Chapel Green contains plenty of elm. That’s a sight that’s bitter sweet. The survivors of Dutch elm disease put up a fight but they rarely grow higher than a spindly 30 foot (though some on this walk challenged that). Then they die off and stand as diminutive skeletal reminders of the elegant monsters we lost.
I could see no chapel at Chapel Green, unless the whitewashed cottage with a bountiful kitchen garden has been repurposed.
We found another path to take us back towards Therfield and saw some of the fallow deer familiar to the high ground across Hertfordshire.
Washingditch Green demanded a visit just for the name. There’s little to see. The Ordnance Survey map marks a pond though we just found an isolated strip of damp ditch at the spot – once a washing ditch?
From there, it’s a couple of hundred yards to Hay Green, which is built around now, a perfectly decent place but not a lot to detain us on our walk across the fields to Therfield, apart from the rush hour chaos.