Is it still possible to get from Saffron Walden to Downing Street? As I planned this post, it looked like a journey that might be taken in ones dreams, but dreams meet a harsh reality.
Saffron Walden is a pretty, eccentric little town in the north of Essex. Once a major centre for the trade in saffron crocuses, it is content today to be the modest market town of the area, which wears its old prosperity as a charm for visitors. It is a place I have returned to time after time. It is good for walking too.
In contrast, the aforementioned street in Westminster is in the centre of an overcrowded metropolis, and itself a seat of skulduggery and brutally self-serving men. Who would not prefer to wander up Church Street and down to the market square on a sunny June day? Why crave the cramped flat in London’s Downing Street, when there is Audley End to display how a house should be?
It is to Audley End that we first turn in fact, out from the town to the immediate green fields and to the great estate, granted to an Earl who owed his position to the ruthless politics of his own day. From there a route follows due south, borrowing one of the routes of the Harcamlow Way, an old friend.
But a full description can follow. Best to show the route for now: