New Year Day
We gathered on the morning of New Year Day at the home of Mark S. at Stanstead Abbots in Hertfordshire and from there we walked to Ware and back with a lunch stop at the Sarasens Head PH alongside the River Lee in the centre of Ware. Our outward path was on paths through the farmland to the east of the River Lee and our return was to the west of the Lee through woods near Amwell and then along the New River back into Stanstead Abbots.
Village sign at Great Amwell
HSC members in the woods near Great Amwell
It seems that the river Lee is deeper than you might think - the picture below is from an information board in the centre of Ware showing ladies enjoying a punting outing on the river, after deep dredging to improve flood relief the punt pole presumably would not reach the river bed. The little houses overlooking the river date from Victorian times.
From an information board in Ware
The New River which we followed back into Stanstead Abbots is an artificial channel built in the first years of the 17th centuary to supply fresh water to London from springs at Chadwell and Amwell. We paused to admire the Amwell Marsh Pumping Station which is one of several pumping stations that were built during the 19th centuary to supplement the original water sources by pumping from deep bore holes into the New River which still provides part of London's water. This following information about Amwell Pumping Station is copied from the Historic Environment Record (HER) maintained by the local council:
'Built in 1883 by Frederick Hitch of Ware'....... 'Part demolished 1964/5' .... 'Remains in use by Thames Water' ..... 'It was a steam plant with two single-cylinder inverted vertical steam engines, by Richard Moreland & Son, which drove four pumps through bell cranks. They were replaced by electrically driven pumps and the chimney demolished. The 392-foot deep well yields 3.5 mgd (million gallons per day?) delivered into the New River'
Amwell Marsh Pumping Station
Once back at Mark's house we held the Annual General Meeting of our little sailing and walking club. At this AGM our Treasurer reported that the club made a surplus of income over expenditure which was welcome news since the club has been running at a loss for the past few years. We also agreed a couple of minor changes to our club constitution, giving greater flexibility over selecting a date for our AGM and also no longer requiring our Treasurer and Secretary to stand down after serving for three years from election. The main reason for the later change is that the security arrangements now required by banks make it unduly complicated to change Treasurer every three years. To avoid stagnation within the committee we will continue to rotate the position of Chairman and (writing as the current Secretary) I think it would be no bad thing to continue to have a change of Secretary from time to time even though this is not longer mandatory.