Saturday 2 March 2019: Watton at Stone (Herts.)

The weather forecast was not as good as last week’s so ‘only’ 21 Polyramblers turned up for this walk in Hertfordshire. It stayed dry all day and, when it came out, the sun was quite warm.  We started the walk in Watton at Stone.  I was asked about the name of the village and Wikipedia says that the origin of ‘Watton’ is uncertain; the suffix ‘at Stone’ is thought to be referring to the Roman road (anciently described as a Stone Street) that ran from Verulamium (St Albans).  We crossed the river Beane and followed the Hertfordshire Chain Walk, (a long distance footpath) crossing the busy A602 and walking along a country lane before reaching a farm track where we passed a trig point for one of the Hertfordshire summits (118m).  We continued along fields – mainly planted with broad beans – following the edge of woodlands, a valley and meadows before arriving in Benington.  Most of the group had lunch at The Bell where we received a warm welcome and some of us tried dishes from Trinidad, the country of origin of the pub owners.  It was a lovely lunch break after having approached another pub earlier in the week who told me in no uncertain terms that they did not deal with walking groups!  Pam and Maggie went to Benington Lordship Gardens to see the snowdrops but, because of the warm weather, they were past their best (the snowdrops, not Pam and Maggie!).  We stopped for a short visit of the lovely St Peter’s church and continued along  farm tracks, arable fields and meadows before crossing the A602 again.  We reached Watton at Stone and the station where we did not have long to wait for the train back to London.