Day 295 Mile 295: A Run Around the Horseblock. It is always interesting revisiting places where you grew up, not least because a lot of the things which you perceived as completely normal because they were just always there turn out to be quite unusual. In the case of the lanes around there I can completely understand the nomenclature of Stoney Lane and even take a guess at Pound Lane, but Horseblock Lane seems a bit of an odd one.
Horseblock is a road which to this day winds across open commonland, running at a forty five degree angle down the escarpment where either side of the road a pair of national speed limit signs stare out of between the limbs of the trees like the eyes of an arboreal giant squid. In the base of the valley the road hairpins a figure seven back upon itself, the bend forming the border between 2 counties to this day and then ventures back up the other side of the valley past the house that used to be owned by the aptly named Mr. Lane the farmer, and the one where the giant emu used to live (yes, I know, I had to check I didn’t imagine it!).
It turns out that during the 1640s and the English Civil War, Parliamentary soldiers were billeted in the area. Being roughly equidistant between 3 historic market towns those of Tring, Chesham and Berkhamseted the common provided a strategic base but also ample grazing for horses. Local folklore has it that far from simply being named after the box people may have stood to mount their steeds the road got its name from a particularly fierce encounter between the Parliamentarians and the Royalists, which became so desperate on both sides that even horses that had fallen in the skirmish were used to form a barricade across the road from which the name of the lane is derived.
Today there are no such obstacles and the air is nostalgically thick with the wood smoke of the first Sunday fires of the coming winter. It’s quite nice charging about the lanes, there is something magical about running (especially downhill) through the tunnel of trees and hedgerows that only very old lanes can achieve, winding pathways through the landscape which over the centuries have sunk ditches between backs into the hillside with use as the canopy grows to meet overhead.
I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.
Distance: 3766.8 meters recorded
(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
Thanks as ever for all the support!