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Boots and grey cells tested on quiz walk

A new footbridge along the route of the first PEAP walk.
Pausing at a local point of interest along the PEAP quiz walk
Image courtesy of Freddy O'Hare
Local resident, Freddy O’Hare, a member of the Parish Environmental Action Plan (PEAP) committee, helped organise a guided quiz walk through the parish last weekend.

The route had been planned and mapped out by the PEAP team. Colour brochures, including a map, directions and local historical and geological information, had previously been delivered to every home in North Mymms.

The brochure includes a local knowledge quiz, with questions related to points of interest along the circular walk. All the answers to the quiz questions are contained on this site.

Click here to see the front page of the brochure, or click here for the back page. Alternatively, you can click here to download the leaflet as a .pdf, although this file is large and will take time to download. Click here to read the detailed notes connected with this walk.

The following is Freddy O’Hare’s report on the event.

The muster

On Saturday the 5th November, at Brookmans Park Station on a bright but blustery morning, gathered a small but select band of residents responding to the Parish challenge to undertake a short walk and also exercise the little grey cells in tackling a quiz based on the historical background of the Parish.

The Walk had been arranged by the Parish Council in conjunction with the Countryside Management Services, to launch "PEAP" the Parish Environmental Action Plan, the object of which is to involve local residents in making suggestions and bringing about improvements to their locality.

Q1: Purpose Hawkshead sidings

Taking the footpath at the junction of Station road and Bradmore Lane, the path proceeds south along the green bank by the station to an opening in the fence where there is a good view of the sidings embankment. Here, in the early days of the railway, the offloading of coal and other goods, that would have incurred a London tax, took place. We then discussed how these goods might have otherwise been transported to the city bypassing such payment.

Q2 Dry Ray Brook

Following the path descending into a shallow valley to meet Wise’s lane at the kissing gate, the group skirted the edge of a field shared by a flock of contented sheep. Leaving the hum of urban life behind in this pastoral setting the changing colours of autumn could be quietly contemplated. Even after much rain it was noted that the Ray Brook was struggling to flow, the reason due to pockets of underlying chalk in the bed of the stream that allows the water to seep away into the substrata.

Q3: Purpose of the Buildings

Negotiating a complex of latch gates and over a foot bridge there was a good view of the modern buildings seen looking up towards Hawkskead. Here the parish is proud to have the University of London locate their field station and environmental studies department of the Royal Veterinary College. Students from the UK and across the world are given practical training in the vital techniques of good animal husbandry and health treatments.

Q4: A Royal Connection

The route passes through a new metal kissing gate to enter a woodland dell where the golden autumnal colours flicker in the dappled sunshine. Emerging from Brick Kiln Wood the path continues by an open field and is joined now by the sound of a flowing Ray Brook that is soon to merge with the greater Mimmshall Brook at Warrengate road. A highlight of parish history, mentioned in the Dorothy Coleville book "North Mymms Parish and People", was that during the 39-45war Abdale house (now a private property) was a communication centre used by the Polish air force. There is also an account that one Christmas a party of carol-singers invited into the house where carols were exchanged with the hosts, a figure was seen to be treated with much deference who later was identified to be King Peter of Yugoslavia.

Q5: Domestic Industry

Continuing a little way along the road at the junction of Abdale lane, the cottage of Mother Chuck was pointed out. A very enterprising lady in the mid 1850s set up a laundry using the water from the Mimmshall Brook and accumulated sufficient funds to build the series of cottages for the family at the south end of Holloways lane.

Q6: Water Feature

Continuing to the end of Warrengate road (A little too early to take advantage of the Maypole or the Woodman), the new footpath steps by the Swanlands bridge brought the party into shrub land an area of scientific interest to the east of Water End. Here our County Management Services guide, Heidi Hutton, had found the route flooded on her reconnoitre only two days previously. To-day only the swept carpet of grasses bent towards deep depressions in the land gave any clue as to its previous condition. Following downpours of rain in the district the surface water floods to Water End, on through North Mymms Park to the Colney’s and down to the river Thames. On the other hand the residual water that seeps away into the underlying chalk has been found by the introduction of dye to flow in the opposite direction to Hertford emerging at the river Lee.

Q7: Potterells Manor

Continuing through the wood, the party was treated to the sight of the Potterells lake weir in full spate sparkling in the sunshine. It is such a pity that the lake, a potential asset to the parish environment for recreational purposes had become choked with weed. Potterells lives only in the shape of the gate house much modified to accommodate the Medical Centre and the manor site now occupied by private dwellings whose roofing mimics the fancy shapes of the original manor stables. Overloaded due to its use as a furniture store during the Second World War which collapsed the upper floors its dereliction and demise was sealed when lead was stolen from the roof.

Q8: Last line of Defence

Emerging from the wood the path crosses an open field with a big sky affording panoramic views back to Brick Kiln wood and Water End. At Station Road it was an easy walk back to the start point but not before there was much rooting about in the Bradmore Lane road verge to reveal several large concrete cones. These were made and positioned at various road junctions forming an outer arc to the North and East of London as a last ditch defence from the expected invasion in the weeks following Dunkirk.

Report by Freddy O’Hare

Note

The walk was devised and designed by a team of local volunteers and the leaflet was produced thanks to an initiative led by the Countryside Management Service and the North Mymms Parish Council, in conjunction with North Mymms and District Green Belt Society, the Gobions Woodland Trust, the North Mymms Local History Society, the North Mymms Scouts, the Royal Veterinary College and this site.

The walk starts and finishes at Brookmans Park station via Water End and Welham Green. The leaflet includes a map, a dozen directions along the route, and eight points of interest with links to more information on this site.

Click here to see the front page of the brochure, or click here for the back page. Alternatively, you can click here to download the leaflet as a .pdf, although this file is large and will take time to download. Click here to read the detailed notes connected with this walk.

There are another ten walks on this site with maps, points of interest, and directions. Click here for the local walks index.

You can also discuss this issue and add your thoughts and suggestions about what could be done locally in a special thread on PEAPs in this site's forum. Alternatively, click here to join a disussion about local walks.

7 November 2005


Related News
North Mymms Quiz Walk - 31 October 2005
Local walk leaflet delivered to all parish homes - 18 August 2005
Environmental action plan proposal - 31 March 2004
Paths the priority of parish plan - 19 January 2004
North Mymms PEAP up and running - 25 September 2003
First meeting for environmental action team - 6 September 2003
Parish launches environmental action plan - 18 July 2003
Community action plan for the environment - 25 June 2003

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