Yesterday, Thursday, started with a lovely clear sky and was forecast to stay that way until at least late afternoon so we decided to go and have a look on the western edge of Essex. This is supposed to be a thatched rooves area and it certainly seemed to be.

We started off in Widdington because it had a 14th century barn. Unfortunately it was open only on Saturdays and Sundays so we were not able to look inside – another day perhaps.

Priors Hall Barn, 124 feet long x 30 feet wide x 33ft high, is one of the finest surviving medieval barns in eastern England, dendro dated to the mid-15th century, with a breathtaking aisled interior and crown post roof, the product of some 400 oaks and little altered.

The view across the countryside from the barn was really quite nice.

Widdington is an attractive village with a good number of ancient buildings which did give us some thatched rooves and just how cute is this?

It looks just like a little face peering over the hedge and its hair is the same colour as mine. Then there was the beautifully made village sign and yet more thatch.

St. Mary's Church is a small traditional Essex church dating back to the early twelfth century.

Leaving Widdington we headed for Arkesden which is even further west and only a few miles from the Hertfordshire border – this could be bandit country we're heading into.

This turned out to be a really picturesque village with quite a lot of thatch.

We particularly liked this timber-framed cottage with brick infill.

There were a number of other villages that we passed through which were also attractive and there are others about which we've heard nice things so perhaps we'll have to go up that way again.