Date = 13th August 2018
Run Number = 1809
Venue = The White Horse
Location = Hertingfordbury
Hare/s = Spotted Dick and Custard
Beer = Adnams Broadside; Courage Directors; Greede King Abbott
Runners = 17
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 0
Newies = 0
Après = 1
Hounds = 3
Total = 21
Membership = Running around a stately Run!
Shock! Horror! There was no RA at this week’s Trail, nor was the Beer Master and Keeper of the Book! Some couldn’t believe this – so this week’s ‘Penny Dreadful’ is based on a few lines of a short ‘fag-packet’ report by Fliptop and elaborated on by ‘The Eye in the Sky’ who went around a couple of days later!
The venue had been changed (not quiet) at the last minute, due to an incident happening next to another nearby Pub that had bene chosen, for a peaceful night this was changed to the White Horse!
Before the trail started much excitement and shopping as Tent Packer had brought along the new Herts “Toucan” T-shirts and other hash accoutrements for purchase.
The GM struggled to get the run on the way due to much chatting in the circle but the Hares were eventually introduced. [We’re going to have to come down hard on all this malarkey! – Ed] Spotted Dick and Custard didn’t have a lot to say except be careful on busy roads [A Red Herring! – Ed] and that there were short cuts (hoorah!)
The provided sort cuts for the knitting circle, of Paxo, Lobby Lobster, Debs and Nigel which would help to keep the pack together as well as being aided by a couple of Held Checks.
The Pack swiftly located the trail, (aided by Ketchup who had “accidently seen the dust” that afternoon whilst he was out and about etc.) Out of the hotel and turn left to a check that looked as if the trail went through a house’s front drive ..... which it did, on what is known as the “Mary Purver Footpath”.
This ran westward out between the apple orchards behind the hedge to the west and the horse paddocks with their new wooden coral fencing to the right, the footpath became a wide track, which in turn became a concrete track that runs alongside the River Mimram (one of the last genuine chalk streams in the UK, 95% of the world’s 180 are in the UK) to pass under the high, wide concrete bridge of the A414 by-pass.
The Trail continued along the main one straight out to the bird hides in amongst the reed beds but as this turned to look over toward the ridge with Chesher’s Planation at its end by the car park, which is allegedly a ‘Dogging spot’. It was up here that a Bar CHK was found, so the Keenies had to turn back and search the other two options.
The Trail would be picked up on the path that swung around below wooded Chisel Shelf with Osprey Lake to the north this. Moving further westward, the Trail would pass below the Osier Beds [Osier beds were where willows were coppiced to provide the cane like branches for furniture and fencing! – Ed]
Passing by Kings Lake the Hash were heading out to the furthest westward on this estate a Trail had been so far, there were opportunities for CHKs by the paths running between each of the three main lakes to try and throw off the Keenies as the Trail arced around to the north at the western end of the Broadwater area of the estate, this was heading out further than the last time the Hash ran these parts.
The FRBs would cross over the Mimram and then to run up from to from Broadwater on a track to the northern end of Garden Wood, the narrower footpath ran almost a full circle so the Pack could visit the largest maiden (not pollarded) oak in the country, with a girth of 7.6 metres [Steady there Pebbledash! – Ed]. An ideal picture stop, which wasn’t paid a visit on Mark E Mark’s Trail set in the Park.
It is believed to have been planted by Queen Elizabeth I. Acorns from the tree have been used as seedlings for notable oaks in other parts of the country, such as the Prince Consort Oak in the Forest of Dean. Winston Churchill planted a sapling from the tree in the park and the tree can still be seen in the grounds.
On again and the Hash were now led around to the Orangery. This skeletal like stone structure is one of the last remaining part of Panshanger House that has recently began to have restoration work carried out. To see its ornate carved frieze along the top is worth the visit out to this end of the estate, as well as another picture stop.
Earl Cowper, who later became Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, acquired the Cole Green estate circa 1700. The 5th Earl Cowper commissioned Samuel Wyatt and then William Atkinson to design a new house in a slightly different location in Regency-Gothic style; construction work started on site in 1806.
Following the death of the 7th Earl Cowper in 1905, the estate was inherited by Ethel Grenfell, Baroness Desborough and, after she died in 1952 with no heir the estate was sold in lots by auction the following year, but there was no interest in the house itself and it was demolished between 1953 and 1954. The Stable Block remains and is now the Tarmac trading offices.
Off the Pack went again, now being led in to Garden Wood where it was plain to see that some of the established trees had bird boxes that are set fairly low down the trunk. The route came around by where the former Panshanger house once stood then on to a wide gravel path of a drive to encounter a carved tree trunk by the crossroads, this carving made by estate workers being in the shape of a phoenix, painted with flames to enhance the identity of the mythical bird.
One of the uncapped gravel drives that criss-cross the estate, headed northward from the crossroads to lead out to the gate house on the B1000. For the Keenies the Trail would now head northward, through a gap in the hedgerow, on a path parallel to the driveway. The Hash were now taking to the route the Local Park Run uses, but in reverse, the temporary blue arrows on white placards, indicated the Trail’s route around to the east, running behind the tree line separating the way for the B1000.
This was a long trot for the Keenies, while the SCBs could be taken along another permissive path to find the spine like track running along the top of the ridge leading in to Lady Hughes’s wood. For the likes of Fliptop, with Teddy, Milf, Tent Packer, Mark E Mark, Ketchup, Ben and Zing-a-long-a-max they run along the southern edge of Evergreen Wood, this would eventually find a CHK at a point where a southbound path left the easterly track.
The Trail was ran on to a Held CHK on a track through the harvested gold crop fields, another photo stop before taking to heading away from the Short Cut for Lobby Lobster, Debs & Nigel, after which the FRBs ran back over into Lady Hughes’s Wood, to complete the trot out.
On the way back the Pack encountered a group of Twitchers of whom Zing-a-long ask if they were looking out for a Hobby (the bird that is, not a new past time lol). Unlike the earlier Phoenix, the Hobby is not a mythical bird but a small falcon a not so mythical bird that could be seen around these parts is the Hobby, a rare bird that mainly feast on the likes of Dragonflies and there are a pair nesting somewhere in the woods.
[Weird Fact: The Latin name for the Hobby is Falco Subbuteo, which was used by Peter Adolph (1916–1994), who after demobbed from the Royal Air Force after the end of World War II, searched for a new business opportunity he turned his attention to creating a new table-top football game, but was turned down for the patent name of ‘Hobby’ so he went for a shortened version of the birds Latin name and the rest, as they say, is History! – Ed] They have ‘Hobby Watch’ guide tours on the estate during the summer.
The Pack all met up in Lady Hughes’s Wood, the likes of Ketchup, Mark E Mark, Fliptop, Tent Packer, TBT OBE Milf & Spotted Dick had a photo opportunity with the lakes in the background, this was the last stop looking out over the designed landscaped estate grounds, based upon Humphrey Repton’s design it was completed in 1799 [He was second only to Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in estate landscape gardening! - Ed]. It is still amazing that the views are just as good as they were intended to be. So good in fact was the Trail that Milf and Kylie went and cycled around the park a day later.
And so the Trail worked its way along through this wood, then just before reaching Chesher’s Planation, it tuned southward to drop down in to the grassy valley on the Dragonfly Trail and pick up the On Inn just before reaching the Bar CHK on the west side of the A414 by-pass!!
Most of the Pack made it back in just over the hour.
Down Downs: Hares – Spotted Dick and Custard for an excellent trail - Ewok - 500 runs walking stick (yes Haberdasher had one ready) MILF x2 - Talking in the circle whilst the GM was trying to start the run and at a check asking civilians if there was dust on the path were they just came from Charlotte - Bubbled by Paxo for littering (a receipt from the Hilton in Watford) but I couldn’t find what I’d done with the evidence!! Paxo – As above for dobbing Charlotte in. (NB – I have still got the Hash Shit Shirt)
Thankfully it has rained since the Trail and this time, unlike Mark E Mark’s Trail, the Park authority didn’t email to ask if we could warn them of the Hash going around!