We said goodbye to Dot and Gordon this morning which was very sad. We have had a great few days with them and hopefully we will catch up with them somewhere next year.
Down through Stanstead Abbotts where we still didn’t stop!
We went back down the Lee Navigation and turned left just before Feilde’s Weir Lock onto the Stort Navigation. The locks become smaller on the Stort – wider than a narrow lock but not wide enough for two boats side by side. I say that as the first lock we came to had two boats in it but one behind the other!
The river isn’t as wide as the Lee and so far has been lovely. It’s quite windy with lovely trees – I hope it continues to the top :-)
Behind Brick Lock is the very large Roydon Marina. I have seen it advertised in magazines but hadn’t realised how big it is. The cottage at the lock as a very interesting plaque on the wall. A little research shows it was built in the 18th century by Sir George Duckett. His coat of arms does not include a hand so I wonder what it’s there?
We met “tobacco man” again at Roydon Lock. The other day he said that Gordon was very good as he didn’t smoke this time he seemed a bit fed up that Richard didn’t smoke and said that it have never done him any harm!
Yesterday Richard had been talking to a lady at Ware Lock who told him that mooring at Hunsdon Meads was nice so when we got there we found a good spot where we could get both the front AND back of the boat into the side and moored up for the day. I spent the afternoon catching up on emails which seemed to have mounted up and listening to the trains going by – there must be two crossings as each time they go by they hoot twice!
Hunsdown Mead is a 68 acre flood meadow and is one of the finest surviving areas of unimproved grassland in Eastern England and provides a superb display of flowering plants. For over 600 years Hunsdon Mead has been managed on the ancient Lammas system under which it is grazed by cattle or sheep after a July hay cut. It is this which accounts for its abundance of wildlife. The Mead provides a superb display of flowering plants. In April and May it is yellow with cowslips and marsh marigolds. As May gives way to June colours change continually, as plants such as yellow rattle, ragged robin, lady's smock, meadowsweet, bugle and many others flower in profusion. There are small colonies of green-winged orchid and adder's-tongue fern. Quaking grass and several uncommon sedge species are also present. All the typical butterflies of hay meadow occur and the day-flying small yellow underwing moth is also established. Mayflies and dragonflies are much in evidence. During the winter, when the Mead floods, large flocks of lapwing and golden plover come to feed along with other winter migrants.