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Hertfordshire Walk
Furneux Pelham Circular

County/Area - Hertfordshire

Author - Donald Morton

Length - 7.0 miles / 11.4 km

Ascent - 400 feet / 121 metres

Time - 3 hours 50 minutes

Grade - easy/mod

Start - OS grid reference TL432279
Lat 51.931197 // Long 0.081375
Postcode SG9 0LH (approx. location only)

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Furneux Pelham Circular Photo from the walk - Furneux Pelham Circular Photo from the walk - Furneux Pelham Circular Photo from the walk - Furneux Pelham Circular Photo from the walk - Furneux Pelham Circular Photo from the walk - Furneux Pelham Circular
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Furneux (pronounced Furnix) Pelham is a small village some 4 1/2 miles ESE of Buntingford on the A10. The walk as described starts at the church (Grid Ref TL 432279): it is possible to park outside in the road.

Before starting off take a moment to admire the church with its slender tower topped by a "Hertfordshire spike"; the unusual room over the porch, originally used to house the chest containing the parish records and as a parish office; and the motto round the clock "Time Flies Mind Your Business".

With this in mind, set off down the footpath outside the church grounds and to the left, when facing the church, signed Great Hormead Park 1 1/2. Go past the W end of the church, through a metal kissing gate and across a field. Ignore a kissing gate on the right, but go through the second and over a bridge to follow a narrow path along the inner edge of woods. Dogleg left and right to cross a track and continue straight on. When you emerge from the woods go straight on over field: aim for what appears to be a wide gap between two groups of trees but the left hand one turns out to be a quite close clump of bushes. Pass to the right of these bushes (waymark) and continue straight on over field now aiming to the left of a group of trees ahead. (Do not be diverted by a waymark post over to the right). Go into the next field of very rough pasture, and follow a mown grass track still straight on past some ruined brick buildings on the right.

The track winds across this area with some side tracks: ignore these and keep on the smoothest grass until passing a hedge on the right with some hollows behind probably with water, look for the smooth path to branch left to a waymark in front of trees. Go through the gap here and continue along field edge - hedge left - to woods (Great Hormead Park). Turn right along the wood edge, and look left in around 100 - 150yds for a distinct gap (no waymark) and a clear path through the woods. Follow this winding path for about 250 yards and find a clear path to the right - no waymark (it is clear enough once found but somehow not all that obvious as you approach).

Follow this path (which has muddy parts even in, a wet, summer) as it winds through ancient coppiced woodland to emerge in a field. Go straight on along a field edge - hedge right. This eventually plunges into an obvious old green lane which you follow past a house on the left, where it becomes a gravel track, to come soon to a crossing of tracks. Here turn left through a wide hedge gap and go down the field edge - hedge right. Follow the field edge left and then at first hedge gap turn right down field edge - hedge left - then straight on down another field edge now with hedge on right to emerge onto road.

Turn right and walk through the small village of Little Hormead, a mixture of thatched cottages and more modern buildings, and on until the church comes into view ahead, then look for a footpath to the left bending back on your previous direction. This is the next part of the walk, along a stretch of the Hertfordshire Way. (Before setting of down this track a short detour to the 11th Century church ahead is worthwhile. Inside is a lovely simple place which retains the feeling of sanctity which can sometimes be found where worship and holy rituals have gone on over the centuries; outside is a peaceful churchyard where generations lie side by side. There is even a seat where one may rest and perhaps take refreshment.)

Returning to the Hertfordshire Way follow it down the field edge - hedge left - ignoring two paths coming in from left, and after going over a bridge over a deep ditch, turn right to walk down the field -hedge on left. Watch out for a hedge gap and a waymark (in summer concealed by nettles) and here turn left (through the nettles). Go over a field aiming for the left end of a farm house ahead. Pass the farmhouse and when confronted by a modern farm building dogleg left and right before silos onto a gravel track. Follow this until it bends with a pronounced angle. The path turns left here across a wide field. When crops are growing the path is clear; if it has been ploughed and not restored it would be more difficult. There are some trees on the horizon and the objective is the right hand clump but these disappear as you walk up the hill. However, as you crest the brow the whole hedge comes into view: the objective is the right hand end. When you reach this continue straight on down the field edge - hedge on left.

At the end of this enormous field go through a field gap and turn right down a field edge - hedge right. Where the hedge ends go straight on over the arable field aiming for the right hand end of the woods ahead to arrive at the mouth of a green lane down the inside edge of the woods. At a fork go left and across a field aiming for the large cream house ahead (Rotten Row). This comes to a drive. Turn right and follow the drive round the house. Once past the house, turn left down a path with a ha-ha and house garden on left and a fence on right. This curves left round a pond and then right to emerge in a field.

Follow the field edge - hedge on right - and at the end of the field turn left to the corner of a wood. Go straight on and turn right at a waymark. Go down the field edge - hedge on left. Where the field edge curves right turn left through a hedge gap (waymark) and up the field edge - hedge on left. Dog leg left and right through a hedge gap to go straight on -hedge on right. When you come to a large red brick house you have arrived at Patient End. Turn right in front of the house to follow the gravel drive out to the road. Turn left to follow the road to a junction with a large white thatched cottage (Pheasant Cottage). Turn left here and continue back to Furneux Pelham church. As you approach the church on your left, The Brewery Tap is about 1/2 mile further on for refreshment.

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