Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Free Zoo

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Thaxted crest – Thaxted Guildhall
We spent Thursday in Thaxted, Essex. The biggest small had to miss it due to education commitments, but we hit the ground for 11.1 km of Spring sunshine and beautiful surroundings. As always, I used View Ranger to record my track, and am making good progress on the #walk2017 challenge!
Use the hashtag #thewildsheep to share your walking/outdoor adventures. I’d love to see!
The route was our first from the Pathfinder Guides, Essex Walks book. The guide book compiled by Brian Conduit and revised by Deborah King, includes 28 walks in Essex. It gives large scale Ordnance Survey route maps and GPS references for all route waypoints. The book also tells you where is good to park, great pubs for refreshment afterwards, and places of interest en route. Daddy was gifted his copy as a birthday present, but if you want to grab a copy for yourself (other counties available), it can be found in most book retailers or online.
Thaxted Fire Engine 1835-1930
The picture above shows the garage where the Fire Engine is kept. At over 180years old, and built in the reign of William IV, the engine was lovingly restored over the course of nine months by Arthur and Barry Moore, a father and son team.
We began our circular route at the Parish Church, sat proudly in the center of the village, with John Webb’s Windmill in sight. It was a glorious day for getting out. We had slightly over-prepared clothing wise expecting a chill to the breeze and had to remove our scarves, gloves and jumpers!
We headed out of the village, and were soon walking through fields following deer and horse tracks, passing sheep and ticking off the wildlife on the smallest’s list for the day.
Ewes ready to pop
Before long we were looking for a suitable picnic spot to stop for our lunch. The track opened out into a field with a wider then average footpath. Stood in the centre of the field was a herd of deer. It was a perfect spot to stop!
We tried our hardest to be as quiet as possible to avoid startling them, and with them being upwind we stood a good chance. However they still moved on at the sound of my camera shutter, but not before I managed to snap a quick one!
We took out our lunch and flask, and looked up to see that the deer had been replaced with bouncing rabbits. Six or seven played in the sun whilst we refueled and convinced the smallest that she couldn’t take the stick she had found with her for the rest of the walk.There were two buzzards fighting over territorial space, giving us quite a display as they showed off their swooping skills.20170309_112149
When we had finished taking in the view, we set off for the second half of the route. Our next surprise wasn’t far down the track when we came across a stunning lake and a well positioned bench.
The smallest helped us hunt for one of the few geocache on our route, and we soon had it in hand. She kept guard of the map, and checked that we were on course!
We caught sight of a few Brimstone butterflies, dancing across the hedgerow. It is commonly believed that the word butterfly is a derived from “butter-coloured fly” which is attributed to the yellow of the male Brimstone Butterfly.
The next section of path presented us with several alpaca basking in the sun. The only animals left on the small’s list to find were now horses and cows!
Walking alongside an electric fence, we debated what the enclosure might be protecting. When we got to the front gate, it all clicked into place. The empty field would usually be home to free range poultry, who were for now being housed in the barns in accordance to Defra’s guidelines over avian flu.
Daddy did a fab job leading the walk without using GPS, keeping his mapping skills up to scratch!
We turned the final corner, and could see the steeple and windmill sails at the top of the hill. Singing “The Grand Old Duke”, we made our way to the top and paused to admire John Webb’s Windmill in Fishmarket Street. The smallest was desperate to take a closer look, so we will definitely return on one of the open dates (1400-1700 Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays from Easter to the end of September). At the top of the hill, to our right, was a field with several horses in, much to the smallest’s delight.
We picked up our milestone geocache, number 250 outside the Parish Church and stopped in a tea room on Town Street before heading home. The smallest didn’t manage to stay awake in the car to see the cows in the fields on the journey home!
John Webb’s Windmill – Thaxted
Distance: 11.1 km
Wildlife: Sheep, Deer, Rabbits, Alpaca, Several Brimstone Butterflies, Horses, 2 Buzzards…we could have added chicken to the list (does that still count?)
Geocache: 2
Significant Buildings of Interest: 3

Where have you been lately? Don’t forget to share your pics using #thewildsheep!
S xox

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