I walked this stage of the Icknield Way Path expedition at the end of May 2014.
I arrived at Royston and picked up the Icknield Way east towards Great Chesterford, a hike of about twelve miles.
Leaving Royston took me over the Greenwich Meridian, a good place to check that one’s compass is actually working (mine was).
Half an hour later I was on the trail proper.
The countryside looked and felt exuberant in the early summer light.
After a couple of hours I discovered I had crossed the county border and was now in Essex. This came as something of a (pleasant) surprise as I was expecting to be in Hertfordshire.
I haven’t hiked in Essex at all but am keen to do so, it’s a large county just asking for exploration.
In the village of Chrishall I came across an old water pump.
and a rather spooky abandoned cottage. Looks like something out of the Blair Witch Project.
I ate my lunch beside the fine church at Elmdon.
The countryside was gently rolling and very inviting in the afternoon sun. I sat down for a break and watched fighter jets from the nearby Duxford air show as they looped-the-loop and pirouetted in the summer sky.
I did consider a short siesta but time was against me as I wanted to catch the hourly train at Great Chesterford.
The last half hour or so of the hike took me across fields…
…and through green corridors.
And then, suddenly, I was on a footbridge above a busy dual-carriage way and jogging the final 100 metres to Great Chesterford station where I could see my train pulling-in. Just on time!
Essex is a fine county indeed, one I’m looking forward to seeing more of. As for the Icknield Way, the next stage is a long one, 18 miles or so, perhaps this calls for a cheeky wild camp? We’ll see.