I walked this stage of the Icknield Way Path expedition on Easter Monday 2014.

I hopped on the train at Ely, changed at Cambridge where I had a rather tasty bacon roll and a cuppa tea.  Then jumped on the train south.

I arrived in Baldock on a cool, misty morning.  The sign below greeted me outside the train station, a street name though, leading to a dead end, not where I wanted to go!

Not the Icknield Way
Not the Icknield Way

15 minutes later I had left Baldock and was on the Way itself.

On the Icknield Way
On the Icknield Way

I headed off in a north-easterly direction.

Icknield Way marker
Icknield Way marker

It was a joy to be out amongst these gently rolling hills.

On the path
Green fields…

The mist began to rise and the sun gave a hint of its arrival.

I passed fields of oil-seed rape, the blossoms give off a heavy, almost narcotic, odor that permeates the countryside.

Yellow fields

I liked this old barn and haystack, like something out of a Just William story.

Old barn
Old barn

Though on the other side of the barn I found this warning, so maybe not such a good place for a cheeky wild camp.

Sign warning of rat poison
Rat poison!

I reached the village of Wallington.

Wallington church
St Mary’s church, Wallington

I found a bench in the churchyard and stopped for a snack and some water.

It was here I realised I hadn’t packed my copy of The Icknield Way Path – A Walkers’ Guide and thus left Wallington  unaware that George Orwell had lived in the village from 1936 to 1940.  Damn, it would have been great to have taken a photo of his cottage.

Wallington churchyard
Wallington churchyard

I left Wallington and took a pretty lane back up to the chalk ridge.

Green path
Onwards!

The next village on the path was Sandon.

Sandon
Sandon

I sat by the duck pond for a while and basked in the gathering midday heat.

A duck on Sandon pond
A duck on Sandon pond

Back on the trail.  I entered some woodland.

Notley Lane signpost
Notley Lane signpost

I took a break in Hawkins Wood which is managed by the Woodland Trust.

Selfie in Hawkins Wood
Selfie in Hawkins Wood

Leaving the wood I found a good spot for my lunch.

Lunch break
Lunch break

I brewed up a cup of tea and enjoyed a Cornish pasty.

Lunch on the Icknield Way
Cornish pasty and tea on the Icknield Way

After lunch I set off without checking my maps.  I was supremely confident of heading in the right direction but after a while the discrepancy between the map and territory was too great to be ignored.  I pulled out my compass and found I was heading south instead of north-east!  How on earth did that happen?

I took a bearing and headed off again in the direction of the path, which once found, led me to the village of Therfield where I enjoyed an excellent pint of Mad Goose Pale Ale at the Fox & Duck pub.

A pint at the Fox & Duck, Therfield
A pint at the Fox & Duck, Therfield

I left Therfield feeling a little sleepy after the pint.  It was tempting to find a nice grassy spot for a nap but I didn’t really have time for that.

On the way to Royston
On the way to Royston

I followed a track up and along the ridge of the hills for a few miles until the town of Royston appeared before me.

Royston from Therfield Heath
Royston from Therfield Heath

This was my end point, I made my way into town and caught the train back home.

All-in-all a particularly lovely walk through classic rolling English countryside.  I’m really looking forward to the next stage of this hike.


Here’s a little video I shot

https://youtu.be/lwusDIqzoJs

22 thoughts on “On the Icknield Way – Baldock to Royston

  1. Just wonderful. It is lovely rollings hills indeed. Nice open country. I look forward to your next adventure!

    All the Best!

    Linda

    1. Pleased you enjoyed the post, I’m really looking forward to hiking more of the trail and would like to carry the walk on down the Ridgeway.

  2. Back in the good old days (i.e. 1980s) there used to a great little pub – The Plough – in Wallington. We – that is assorted members of North Herts teenage rock supergroup ‘Nöggin the Nög’ – used to frequent it on a regular basis; it felt like drinking in the publican’s sitting room.
    You do the criminally underrated landscape of North Herts a great service.

    1. Heh, I always enjoy your comments on my Herts hiking, a bit of local history is a good thing. Hertfordshire is a hugely underrated county.

  3. Really enjoyed that! I don’t get out walking so much at the moment but when baby is a bit older I plan to do some long distance paths with him. In the meantime it’s great reading other people’s adventures 🙂

    1. Hi Elizabeth, glad you enjoyed the post. Good idea to get your youngster out on the trails as early as possible, it becomes increasing harder to prise them off digital devices as they get older ; )

  4. Great pics , great exercise.. You could almost do a blog on
    Local,ales too . Quite agree re digital devices , addiction to which is a potential public health & psychological problem in the young . Your e.g on how to strike a balance should be promoted

  5. Really enjoying your posts…inspires me to get out there in the countryside more. I live in East Sussex, so there’s plenty to see. Do you have any favourite Sussex walks?

  6. Glad you found the pub in the end! Nice post, as always, and a celebration of the type of English countryside most people miss or ignore on their way to the honeypots and the mountains.

    1. Pleased you enjoyed the post. I love this type of English countryside, Hertfordshire is an entirely underrated county, wildness and beauty is available everywhere if one is prepared to look for it : )

  7. Martin,
    I am going to start a bucket list and walking in a bluebell wood will be the first thing on it! Perhaps I’ll have to head to England instead of France next time.
    Melinda

    1. Hi Martin, yes there is much to see in this country, a lifetime of long distance walks, but be careful they become addictive .Some friends and the wife and I are currently walking the icknield way as she live near the start,or finish depends which way your going!,knettishall Heath . We walked this section last weekend and had a lovely pint on the green at the fox and duck. We are planning the next stage next weekend.Its true the scenery is wonderful big views.we have walked a few long distance walks, and if you like this one , you would love the South Downs way , and also the lesser walked Yorkshire wolds way,enjoy!

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