16. Jul, 2017

Dad's Army Around Hartford End

During WW2, a hardened line of field defences was built from the North of England south to the Thames and headed west to Bristol. The GHQ line was particularly important around Chelmsford as it was a major hub of industry then. There was Marconi for radio communications, Hoffman's for ball bearings and Crompton's for electrical generators. The defences would have been manned by the local Home Guard initially with regular troops being drafted in should the going have got tough!

In the six miles from Broomfield to Ford End, there were 69 pillboxes and 60 still survive. There are 13 pillboxes around Hartford End mostly along the Chelmer, which was used as the anti ditch and the County Council has mapped a circular trail around these. Infinison has published a series of puzzles generally called the Dad's Army series around the trail.

Made up of 16 caches, I had solved the series some time ago and decided to come out here today to see how my calculations stood up. 😎 With names like Captain Wainwaring, Turn Than Light Out and They Don't Like It Up'em, this seems like a fun series but knowing the CO, there's not going to be much fun! 😉 

I started off at The Compasses in Littney Green, formerly the Brewery Tap of the nearby defunct, Ridley's Hartford End Brewery which was built in 1842, closing in 2002. I was very apprehensive at the first cache as this was the test of my mathematical skills. If I can't find the cache, are all my other caches codsed up. Luckily I put my hand straight on the thing so the odds are that the other are ok too!

Nearby was the oddly named Thank Your Mother For The Rabbit so I set off for this trad before carrying on with the rest of the series. This was a quick find but the cache was well tucked away in the hedgerow. At the next cache, I had a quick find and set off on a circular walk. As I crossed the ford, I had another look for Ancient Byways : Littley Green. This is supposedly guarded by snakes. That's just poetic license for thick ivy vines but this time I have a very quick find.

Moving on, I found three more of the series but failed on two. However other cachers had also failed at these recently so not too much worry. Finishing off back at the car, I drove off towards the old Brewery for the next part of today's journey.

Standing outside the Brewery site, which is now being converted into flats and other housing, I remembered a visit here in the late 70s with my local CAMRA branch. The mash tun and the sampling room brings back special memories. 🍺 I had a quick find of another one of the series caches here and moved onto the next one.

I parked next to a type 22 pillbox, which is shown in the photo, and walked on for two more finds and a fail before running out of time. I did chat to a old chap wearing a Ridley's shirt who was having a walk himself. He had the most glorious North Essex accent and said that he lived just over there. I'll bet that he hasn't been far from here all his life.

So eight puzzles found this morning as well as two trads bringing the total for the day to 10 and my total up to 5532. I look forward to seeing how my other stats shape up.😀