Believe it or not there's a place a little further along this road called Duckpuddle Bush. It's nowhere near as quaint and picturesque as the name suggests but it sticks in my mind. Be that as it may, this by-road makes a good place to start a circular walk on the chalk hills south of Royston, just a few miles from home. I had my brother Les for company on this walk.
Our route commenced through woodland but emerged from time to time onto the Royston Golf Course where the Ladies' Autumn Meeting was taking place. It's a very undulating course and they probably did more strenuous walking than we did - and pulling a golf trolley as well. As you can see they have some grand views too out across the flat fields of Cambridgeshire, even though these are not particularly high hills.
Little glimpses of bright red beckoned through the trees and tempted the keen photographer away from the footpath to trespass along the field edge.
We then turned sharply south along the track to Therfield, leading through rolling arable fields. In spring these wide acres are home to dozens of hares, chasing and boxing as a prelude to breeding. They're probably here now but they're lying low and you'd be lucky to see them.
Les striding purposefully along the track. He looks like he's keen to get somewhere....
Ah, the Fox and Duck pub at Therfield. I can't treat you to a drink but you can see a photo of me enjoying one, a pint of Greene King IPA, and very pleasant it was too. Cheers, brother!
Walking Tips from John, Number 1 : When having a break in the walk, particularly one involving the consumption of alcohol, make sure that the next section is gently downhill.
So here we are descending gently along a sunken lane leading from Therfield down to an area known as The Thrift.
These wide chalky fields make simple sweeping patterns. You can soon have too much of this country but on this walk there's just enough to maintain interest. Last time I saw a herd of Fallow Deer up here and the time before that I had a close encounter with a Stoat a little earlier in the walk.
Today though the deer were kept away by a rather noisy tractor working the fields. You wouldn't expect to see much wildlife.....hang on, what's that?
Suddenly the sky was full of Red Kites. These impressive, agile flyers were almost extinct in this country till a few years ago but now I see them almost every time I go out for a walk in Hertfordshire. A few miles away, where I live, they are only seen occasionally.
There are lots of rose hips on the hedgerows at the moment, though the winter thrushes, Fieldfares and Redwings, will be here soon and will make short work of them.
A rather tedious mile or so along a racehorse gallop leads to a short, sharp climb up into a beechwood nature reserve known as Fox Covert where a short stroll among the trees completed our circular walk.