Iona is only away in Essex

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The majority of the trip to Little Walden was on dual carriageway from A1 to M11 and then across country to Safron Walden. The site is basically a field by some ponds and on a slope.
Luckily it is not very busy and we were offered a fairly level pitch which worked out well for us and we got nearly level straight away without using any ramps. The sun was out so we set up the gazebo and as forecast it started to rain soon after.
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After lunch we spent time in the gazebo looking out towards the pond, watching a heron stalking lunch in the reeds. The Stewards came back from shopping in Safron Walden. Mr Steward,Bill, called around for a chat and told us about the walks we could make from the site. He also told us that on Wednesday evenings in the Crown Pub in Little Walden there is a jazz night. The pub is about half a mile away and although England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 play Japan 🇯🇵 in the women’s World Cup I think we will go to the jazz night.
There were four or five fishing the pond and one of the younger men caught a good sized carp. The rain came back a bit heavier but we stuck it out in the gazebo for some time before retiring into Iona. Tea tonight is cold meats, cheese and salad.
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Day 2:
We left Iona and walked towards the Research Park, here we should have turned right but we followed the footpath signs through a wood. This eventually led us to the other side of the Reseach Park, by a very picturesque walk. We then followed the path to the main road and crossed into the village of Little Chesterford.
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There was not a lot to see but we found the Church and it was open so we got to see inside. There were a couple of ladies just checking the building and they asked us to switch the lights off and drop the latch on the door as we left. It was not the most impressive church but the roof and exposed ancient beams showed how old it was. All the pews had kneeling cushions with different designs both ornate and decorative. We signed the visitor book and left.
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The return home took a slight detour and we got to walk past the farm yard and the houses set above the camping field. One was painted bright pink which is more Suffolk than Essex but we are near the county border.
We had lunch back at Iona and then sat outside and read but at 4pm the heavens opened and a storm rolled in. It lasted a good half an hour and then very light rain continued.
Day 3:
Today our walk took us through the farm yard and out into the countryside. Along tracks and paths through woods and fields of corn. I managed to head butt a tree while avoiding stinging nettles on the path. The footpath then diverted us across a wheat field and then the next section was across another field that had just been mowed.
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This lead to a farm yard and some very pretty houses, we continued through the yard and followed a road but somehow we missed the footpath and eventually came to a busy B road. After a check of the map we retraced our steps to the farm yard and found the footpath signs.
The path took us to just outside the village of Little Walden. We walked into the village and saw a memorial to USAF servicemen from both wars. The village sign was also quite unique.
All this excitement brought on a thirst so we retired to The Crown Inn for some refreshment. The pub was quiet and we ordered a pint and a mixed berry cider for Sue. As lunchtime approached the pub got busy with an influx of people from the Research Park. Once they were served and their food ordered more local people arrived for lunch. I had another pint of a different beer, it seemed rude not to.
We left the busy pub and walked the half mile back to the campsite. Unfortunately by now the sun had been covered with clouds and it did look as if the rain would be back but it stayed away. We spent the afternoon in the Quest reading before it was time to get the Cadac bbq out and cooking tea.
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After tea I went for a walk around the larger lake and got chatting to some fishermen. I didn’t realise there were so many options. While talking to the ‘dad’ his son helped by an another young man, was pulling out carp from just beside the bank.
As I walked back I spoke to the steward and was invited to a get together in the tent. I got back to Iona and was told off by Sue for not letting her know that I was going for a walk. I told her about the get together but she was already in her PJs so I took a beer and a stool and joined a few other campers.
I was welcomed but after about an hour of chat they started talking Club business so I thanked them for the hospitality and I made my excuses to leave. By the time I got home the football had finished, USA women beat Sweden. I joined Sue watching some Ambulance programme. Sue went to bed after the programme, I watched the news and went to bed without switching anything off. Another first, still no harm done.
Day 4:
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Sunshine ☀️. The whole day has been spent by the van reading and watching the wildlife. Our neighbour, Dave, was fishing and he caught quite a few carp with one hilling the 10.5lb mark.
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BBQ tonight, burgers and sausages if we can manage them. We normally stop after the burger.
Trip 9: 192 miles, 29.6 mpg, 41 mph, 4hr 34m.

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