A note from the Hundred Parishes

We continue to add new circular walk routes to the Society’s website – there are now 24. I would like to repeat the encouragement for you to go and try one if you can get out. These new walks go from a place where it is usually convenient to park and they range in distance from 1 mile to 10 miles. The routes have been chosen for the quality of scenery or heritage, or both, and the route descriptions seek to add to your knowledge of the places you pass.

Each route description can easily be downloaded from the Other Walks section of www.hundredparishes.org.uk – and then printed. We try to make the route description as easy as possible to follow. Three members have kindly volunteered to check the descriptions and in this way we hope to minimize the chance of anyone getting lost.  If you would like to join the testing panel, I would be pleased to hear from you. In any case, we welcome feedback and comment from anyone.

Shorter walks tend to focus on a single interesting town or village, for example Bartlow, Clavering, Hildersham, Much Hadham, Sawbridgeworth, Stebbing or Thaxted. Some routes combine town and countryside, for example from Buntingford, Saffron Walden or Standon. Others are mainly countryside routes, such as those starting from Broxted, Henham, Little Hadham, Matching or Wareside.

Some routes range over two or more parishes, for example 7 miles between Pleshey and Great Waltham or 8 miles between Albury, Braughing and Furneux Pelham. Two different routes run between Finchingfield and Great Bardfield. An 8-miler starting from Chrishall passes through four parishes and offers extensive views from upland paths in the Essex / Cambridgeshire border area.

These are just some examples to give you a flavour and to whet your appetite. If your favourite place isn’t mentioned, we are regularly adding new walks. Even if you think you know your local area, I assure you that, not far away, there is more to be found and enjoyed!

When we first launched the Hundred Parishes Society and its website in 2014, the website had 20 walks from railway stations. The Coronavirus pandemic has spurred us to expand the selection of routes so that it is not necessary to use a train. Some of the Station Walks are still OK as they start and finish at the same place. We regard the provision of these opportunities for people to explore the Hundred Parishes on foot as a major contribution towards achieving our first two charitable objectives. The formal text of the Society’s objectives, approved by the Charity Commission, reads as follows:
(a)  To advance the education of the public in the character and history of the geographic area comprising The Hundred Parishes.(b)  To promote for the benefit of the inhabitants of the geographic area comprising The Hundred Parishes and the surrounding areas the provision of information and facilities for recreation or other leisure time occupation in the interests of social welfare and with the object of improving the quality of life of the said inhabitants.(c)  To promote for the benefit of the public the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment of The Hundred Parishes, especially its features of historic, architectural and wildlife interest.

It is useful to remind ourselves from time to time what the Society is about. I think we focus quite consistently on (a) and (b).  (c) is not so easy to do directly, but I hope that a consequence of our actions under (a) and (b) is to raise awareness and appreciation in a way that will encourage more people to get involved in conservation, protection and improvement. Stay alert, stay safe! Ken McDonald, Secretary.