There was bracken as high as an elephant’s eye today on the walk. Nettles and brambles were almost as tall. Horse flies had yet to make an appearance.
We (eight) met at the car park in Stansted Forest by the Monarch’s Way and set off east along the MW. At the edge of Stansted Forest we turned north on a bridleway and reached the north side of the forest. Here we turned west on a footpath and then north on another footpath to cross the road at Forestside. We continued on the footpath to a byway, turned left (west) on this, then turned right on a footpath that led to South Holt Farm, turned left past the farm and then right on the footpath that went through a field and then a wood towards Old Idsworth Garden. By the remains of what we presumed was the ice house we stopped for coffee.
After our break we turned NE on a footpath that went along the edge of a meadow with daisies, yellow rattle and orchids, and then turned right, near a minor road, on the footpath that went uphill through a wood. At the top of the hill we turned left on a bridleway in Robin Wood and then turned SE on a footpath that went past Hill Barn, down Drift Road Plantation before turning NE over West Hanger and continuing to Compton, our stop for lunch.
The morning section of the walk was 6.5 miles. The afternoon section was 5.5 miles. After lunch we retraced our steps to Bottom Copse and continued on the footpath to West Marden. Here we crossed the road, climbed over a wobbly stile and headed up a slight slope through a small wood to Westmarden Copse and Lodge Farm. Continuing on the bridleway through Wythy Piece we came to a footpath near Rosamund’s Hill that led SE towards Lumley Seat and over a field to the Monarch’s Way. Here we continued on another footpath SW across fields to Park Lane, turned right on this and then turned right on the next footpath. This took us near the garden centre of Stansted Park and joined a bridleway that led past the west side of Stansted House. Reaching the Monarch’s Way again we turned left (west) and headed back to the car park.
Map: OS X 120