Watton-at-Stone to Baldock – An early summer hike in Hertfordshire

One early summer’s morning, on the very last day of May, I took a train from Ely to the village of Watton-at-Stone with the intention of walking the 12 or so miles north to the market town of Baldock.  All of this within the county of Hertfordshire, just north of London.

I arrived at Watton just after 10am, it was still cloudy and overcast but the BBC weather page had promised sun later in the day.  I had bravely chosen to wear my shorts for the first time this year in the hope of catching some summer warmth.

I left Watton via the pretty River Beane, that’s someone’s garden lawn on the right hand side of the photo, lucky sods!

The River Beane at Watton-at-Stone
The River Beane at Watton-at-Stone

Very soon I was walking along the ridges of rolling Hertfordshire hills. By midday the clouds had cleared and the sun made a glorious appearance…

Summer in Hertfordshire
Summer in Hertfordshire

Yes, I know 0ilseed rape is a mono-crop and can be seen everywhere in the south of England but the yellow flowers are so brilliantly bright…

Summer in Hertfordshire
Summer in Hertfordshire

…and in the sun the fields and surrounding trees and hedgerows look stunning.

Summer in Hertfordshire
Summer in Hertfordshire

Just outside the village of Ardeley the path took me through a wood.

Woodland near Ardeley
Woodland near Ardeley

After Ardeley the path turns into a green corridor running between fields.  It was time for lunch, I made a cuppa tea and ate a Cornish pasty.

Lunch on the trail
Lunch on the trail

The corridor runs for a good six miles or so and took me almost all the way to Baldock.

Hertfordshire green corridor
A section of the green corridor near Weston, Hertfordshire.

Along the way I saw hawks and hares and some good looking spots for wild camping.

There aren’t many of these corridors left now and the good people of Hertfordshire are lucky to have this one.

Just before arriving at Baldock I realised I’d joined the Icknield Way (third marker on the post), a long-distance (well, 110 miles) walk I plan to do in the future.

Icknield Way marker
Icknield Way marker

I arrived in Baldock just after three and jumped on the train back home.  My first hike of the summer!

9 thoughts on “Watton-at-Stone to Baldock – An early summer hike in Hertfordshire

  1. Martin

    The predominant impression of your walk is of saturated greens. It’s almost Peak Green at this time of year. We even have it in the North! You could make a list of green hues and be able to find them all.

    Great post, epic pics, deep envy!

    1. Thanks for dropping by and your kind comments. Yes, so much lush greeness, the countryside is a riot of colour and growth and deep honey smells right now. Love it!

  2. Once again, Martin, a fine advert for the much underrated Hertfordhsire countryside and another trek along the paths I used to tread as a member of my school’s walking club in Stevenage, back in the good old days. I have fond memories of the River Beane and the pub in Ardeley.

    And, living in Letchworth, Baldock was our local drinking venue until we got older and drfited west to the hot-spots of Hitchin.

    It there exists a Hertforshire Tourist Board it should appoint you as its walking correspondent.

    Cheers

    1. Indeed Herts is much underrated but all the better for us more adventurous hikers who have the footpaths and lanes to ourselves. Thanks for you kind comments : )

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