Flanders Green

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Flanders Green is another of those not marked on Google Maps (though it is on the Ordnance Survey and footpath signs). Click on the link and it’s just south of the area marked as Brook Green, outside Cottered.

Part of it was turned over to sweet corn cultivation when we walked through. But the other half was hay meadow with wildflowers and patches of reeds. On the village side of the green, a couple of thatched cottages identify themselves being of Flanders Green.

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Footpaths head southwest to Back Lane, the old Roman road that I’ve mentioned before as we used it to walk from Moor Green to Cherry Green and its neighbours. At the Hare Street end you can take a short diversion to the restored Cromer post mill. On our way back to Cottered, a young fox gave us a display of hunting for voles in a hedgerow.

Wandon Green

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Wandon Green isn’t marked on Google Maps but click on the link and it comprises Wandon Green cottages where you see the pin for architectural consultants Louis de Soissons, whose founder was commissioned to design Welwyn Garden City, plus a farm (below) close to the T-junction just to the north.

It’s a mile to the south of Breachwood Green (see a previous post) and is in the same parish – King’s Walden. The photo below looks towards the farm on one of the footpaths from Breachwood Green. Out of shot to the right and a couple of miles away is Luton airport.

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Tea Green

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Tea Green lies between Mangrove Green and Breachwood Green. It’s inside Hertfordshire but only just. The pub must attract people from outside of the hamlet to survive – or the few locals have a healthy thirst.

Tea Green has a bus stop and a water tower and not a lot more. Nothing wrong with that.

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With the airport all but shut by the corona virus, vapour trails seemed worthy of record though these planes were so high they clearly originated far from Luton.

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This attractive window and a stable door with a horseshoe for good luck were in the front wall of an outbuilding on Stony Lane.

Breachwood Green

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The shot above shows flints gathered from the adjacent field outside Breachwood Green. The abundance of flint in the land above and to the east of the Lilley Bottom valley indicates a variation in the geology and soil compared to the area to the west. And that shows in the local flora. Foxgloves are abundant.

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In ‘normal’ times, planes loom over the village on their way in or out of Luton Airport, which lurks just a mile or two away across the field. Breachwood Green is one of the villages endangered by airport expansion plans.

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The village migrated a mile or so from its original site, so the location of the original green isn’t obvious. A little to the north of the current village with its primary school, chapel and just the one pub is the early 20th century collection of houses known as The Heath, and just down a track from there is an old tower mill, now converted into a house. It looks over the bottom and the skies around it are filled with buzzards and kites on a good day.

Hitchin comedian Paul B Edwards put Breachwood Green on the metaphorical map with a song. Judge its virtues or otherwise for yourself.

When we walked by, Bailey’s Farm had some topical messages and some fowl you don’t see in every farmyard.

Joined at the hip to Breachwood Green is Colemans Green (not to be confused with Coleman Green, the subject of a previous post). The green is surrounded by footpaths and the few farm houses and cottages lie along a winding lane with much holly in the hedge.

Mill Green

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The working mill at Mill Green draws its water from the River Lea just before it flows into the lake in the great park at Hatfield House. The site is noted for its mill in the Domesday Book and the present building dates from the 17th century. We arrived in late July and it still wasn’t open for visitors as the guides and the council wrestled with how to keep people distanced in the cramped space within. Even if we couldn’t go in, we bought some wholemeal flour.

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Charming. Yes, if you stay closely focussed on the mill and switch off your ears. As the map hyperlink shows, poor old Mill Green is separated from Hatfield House park by the screaming A414 by to the south. Though there was just room enough for someone to nail up a warning of guard dogs preventing fishing on the 10 yard stretch of water. To the north is the A1000 into Welwyn.

A couple of sizeable old cottages remain and there are a few dreary 20th century builds. But the atmosphere away from the mill museum is of dereliction – fumes, traffic noise, disused telephone box, and a pub that’s unlikely ever to open again.

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Whempstead Green

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Whempstead Green is a couple of miles down the road from Burn’s Green (see a previous post), though we took a circuitous route that started off down a hollow way behind the pub at Burn’s Green and then carried on across open fields with poppies in their few days of perfection. (Open the hyperlinked map and the Whempstead Green is where Whempstead Road meets Mill Lane.)

I couldn’t find a photo at the green itself although a converted chapel – one of only four or five houses there – is attractive enough. But the walk had taken us through Chapel Farm on the far side of the green with some interesting shapes, structures, and light effects in the yard.

The only local we came across was friendly enough. Luckily the Jack Russell was on a lead.

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Nobland Green

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For the return journey from Wareside to Hitchin we took the ‘pretty route’ so we could say we’d been through the location marked on the map as Cold Christmas. The name is reputed to come from a macabre local legend. The road took us through Nobland Green where a farm stands on the corner of a hard turn, and on to one of Hertfordshire’s several Rush Greens where there is some woodland, whether remnants of woods the green was cut from or not I don’t know. There’s nothing else there but the familiar Y shape where three roads meet, with the old green having lain in two of its arms.

Babbs Green

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Babbs Green and the adjacent Newhall Green are the northern hamlets in the cluster that make up Wareside. Some early 20th century housing joined the few old cottages like the one above and Appleton Farm.

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More recently these were joined by newer houses that overlook the allotments we passed on our way along the footpath from Reeves Green.

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I may be doing Newhall Green an injustice but I couldn’t spot much there apart from the grand old moated house at New Hall Farm.

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Reeves Green

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Reeves Green is the second of the batch in Wareside parish that we nosed around. It’s not marked on the map but look for the school logo to the left of the White Horse and that’s it. The primary school is from the pages of a children’s novel of rustic adventure. It sits next to the Y formation of lanes that framed the green, now reduced to a little plot of grass with shading trees. Footpaths lead off to Wareside village and Babbs Green.

It was all too twee for my mood, so the pictures I kept from Reeves Green came from the dilapidated outbuildings of a nearby farmhouse under renovation.

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The textures and intricate shapes found in the detail of ruin can be beautiful, the tracery of fracture in the broken glass in the top picture and the charred wood above, which reminds me of rough-woven wool.

In the picture below, the framework is sculptural against the sky.

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Across the Great Divide

Helham Green

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We travelled to the other side of the world to find Helham Green and its neighbours. They are in Wareside parish, just east of the Greenwich Meridian. Wareside village is a two-pub hub for the surrounding hamlets but the local primary school is in Reeves Green and the church is nearer to Babbs Green. Wareside district is famous for its treacle mines!

Helham Green isn’t marked on Google Maps but the link above goes to the satellite view and the green is at the apex of Scholar’s Hill. Jess the Jack Russell and I got there along a wooded path from Babbs Green that crossed the course – sadly dry – of the Nimney Bourne and climbed gently for a few hundred yards into the hamlet. On the way we found another photogenic fungus.

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Helham Green has a secluded feel. It’s a collection of larger cottages – and we thank the owner of one for the free marrow – a whitewashed terrace with a terrier that’s a better host than mine, and a run of brick houses.

The old village pump is not the familiar variety with a pump lever but an elegant cast iron apparatus with a wheel to turn to lift the water.

The Ordnance Survey marks a disused pit just outside the hamlet – former treacle mine?

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