Saturday 16th September 2023
I was going to stay local this morning instead of driving over to Kent. I wanted to have a go at the Peace Fields series of nine trads in North Stifford. I hadn't been down into the ancient Mardyke Valley for about a decade when I went looking for Ring-necked Parakeets. At the time, this was one of the few places in Essex that you could guarantee to see them.
I dropped down into the valley and headed for the search area of peace fields Green shield bug. I was wondering what I was going to find here. It was still a bit dark so I got my torch out and soon shone upon the lurid container.🥴 What was going to be the theme for this series, I wondered and once I'd reached the Blue black weevil, I'd cracked it.😀
I headed west up to Morpho butterfly and then backtracked east finding all sorts of exotic insects. I wondered where the CO had found them all. As I approached the last cache of the series, I could hear gun shots in the vicinity. At first, I thought that it was. farmer's gas gun but then I saw two white vans with open rear doors. I couldn't see anyone so they could have been shooting from the back of the vans. I didn't hang around and quickly found the last cache. I then took off at a rate of knots back along the valley to rejoin the footpath back to the village.
It was only 0800 so I set off for the next part of my caching plan. I parked up in the Sainsbury's car park on the fringe of Chafford Hundred and set off following another series of trads circling the old chalk quarries making up the Chafford Gorges. I spent another hour and a half visiting Warren Gorge and Lion Gorge. I was very surprised to discover from the notice board that there was a network of railways here to transport the chalk down to the waiting ships on the River Thames.🤔
I found another eight caches on the walk and only dipped out on one, old clockhouse lane.