The Icknield Way Path

by martinxo on April 17, 2014

Icknield Way logoThe  Icknield Way Path runs 110 miles from  Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire, to  Knettishall Heath in Suffolk.

Rather confusingly, the path is also a section of the longer Icknield Way that is made up of four paths, stretching from the north Norfolk coast to Wiltshire, more on all that another time.

I had intended to walk the entire path over five or six days or so but it’s become evident that that is just not going to happen any time soon. So I’ve decided to walk it in stages, which is quite handy as much of the path is within easy reach of train stations.

So, ideally I’d start at the start and end at the end but this isn’t convenient just now so I’m starting in the middle and heading east.

  • First stage: Baldock to Royston (on Easter Saturday, hopefully!)
  • Second stage: Royston to Great Chesterford
  • Third stage: Great Chesterford to Dullingham
  • and onwards and upwards to Knettishall Heath

Here’s a map that I nicked from the Icknield Way Association website, I hope they don’t mind:

Icknield Way Path Route

Icknield Way Path route

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I had been looking forward to my first wild camp of the 2014.

I had hoped for a camp in January and February, fantasising about waking up in a silent-morning wood with frost, or better still, snow on the ground.  But alas we were denied a winter and instead were given an angry, wet Autumn that never quite seemed to end.

And then suddenly a break in the sodden season, a warm, dry spell develops in March and I take the opportunity offered.

Badger Wood (my name) lies between two medium-sized towns in Hertfordshire.

Entrance to badger wood

Entrance to badger wood

I arrived late in the afternoon and set-about looking for a suitable place to pitch-up.

The camp...

The camp…

I chose an spot on a flat piece of ground near to the edge of the wood, I decide to set the shelter (half  of a Polish army lavvu tippi) facing the east so I could catch the sun rising in the morning.

Spot the camp!

Spot the camp!

I walked back to the public footpath that cuts through the wood and looked back at my camp, it was almost impossible to see, which made me happy.

Camp sunset

Camp sunset

The sun began to set, I set up my IKEA hobo-stove and made a cuppa tea, followed by a dinner of chilli-con-carne mopped up with a baguette.

An hour or so later a rising moon had replaced the sun and the wood was bathed in a silver light.  I brewed up a hot-chocolate, laced with a generous helping of whisky, sat back and watched the moon and accompanying stars.

It felt good to be in the woods again.

I sat by the hobo-stove until about 10pm and then decided to call it a night.  I didn’t sleep that well, I  had underestimated how cold it would be and my ground mat wasn’t sufficient to keep me comfortable.  So I was pleased to finally hear the dawn chorus and watch the sun slowly rising over the crest of the wooded slope.

Early morning in Badger Wood

Early morning in Badger Wood

I set about making tea.

Morning tea

Morning tea

Followed by some breakfast.

Breakfast

Breakfast

And then another cuppa tea.

Another cuppa

Another cuppa

It was a beautiful morning in which to laze about in the woods, sipping tea and feeding the hobo stove.

With the sun climbing high in the sky I packed up my stuff and erased all trace of the camp.

Leave no trace...

Leave no trace…

I thanked the wood for keeping me safe.

Spring morning stream

Spring morning stream

Leaving the wood I crossed a sparkling stream, it felt good to be alive.

Here’s a short , very rough, video of the camp:

(with thanks to I.G.)

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