This is a delighful walk through varied countryside with something to interest everyone: scenery, wild flowers, sculptures, country houses, woodlands and pubs.
Start: From the car park behind Much Hadham Village Hall. The hall is situated on the High Street in the middle of Much Hadham and the car park is accessed via a narrow lane off the High Street about 30 yards north of the hall.
OS map ref: TL428193. Click HERE for on-line map of start.
Distance: Approx. 4 miles. Allow 2 hours.
Surface: Field paths, tracks, lanes.
Obstacles: No stiles. Several kissing gates. Sticky in places after rain. Some steep slopes.
Please see map at the end of the walk description.
From the northeast corner of the car park cross the junction to the lane leading towards the brown gates where you turn right through the kissing gate and follow the footpath signposted to Stanstead Hill. Go over the river and along the pasture to another gate where you turn left along the driveway for 20 yards and then right through a gate to follow the grassy path up the hill.
Pause to admire the views back across the valley before passing through a gate to follow the left hand side of the field to another gate leading onto a narrow lane. Turn left and after 30 yards follow the waymarks to the right. The next 50 yards or so can be sticky and slippery after rain but you emerge to a field with open views where the path follows the lefthand hedge down to a road. Turn right at the red post box and after a few yards turn left onto a bridleway, over a bridge and up a field edge path with a wooded gully on your left.
At the top of the field the path takes a short left and right to carry on up a track between paddocks. Pink violets are blooming here in early April. At the road turn left and keep going to the Prince of Wales pub where you turn right along a byway signposted to Bucklers Hall Farm. When you reach the T junction turn right and follow the path straight ahead for half a mile or more with the ditch on your right. You will pass the farm and go round the pond where a patch of butterbur grows with flower heads in April and large leaves later on. Soon you will emerge onto Perry Green and if you need a break the Hoops pub is just round to the left. Our route goes straight across the green to the entrance to the Henry Moore Foundation. The footpath follows the gravelled road through the grounds where several of Henry Moore’s massive sculptures are in clear view. At a corner the path is signed to the right and through a metal gate.
Go through the gate and up the field to the next gate, up past the sheep pens and head across the open field. A short way across the field take the path to the right by the solitary skeletal oak tree and after 100 yards or so turn left at another oak tree to head across an open field towards a wood. At the wood follow the waymarked path to the left and right round the end of the wood and down the hill to turn right on to the good path at the bottom. This path takes you along the bottom of Sidehill Wood which will have one of the finest displays of bluebells in the area during late April and through May.
You will eventually come to a steep little drop onto a lane where you turn left and at the next corner take the footpath to Oudle Lane. At the far corner of the field you reach Hadham Ford. Here you have a choice of routes back to the village hall. The road to the right on the other side of the ford leads directly back to the car park. The footpath directly across the ford leads up to the High Street where you would turn right to the village hall. Alternatively you could double back along the road coming to the ford on your right for about forty yards and take the footpath on the left, and you could then follow this path through pastures back to the start.