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!
15 minutes later I had left Baldock and was on the Way itself.
I headed off in a north-easterly direction.
It was a joy to be out amongst these gently rolling hills.
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.
I liked this old barn and haystack, like something out of a Just William story.
Though on the other side of the barn I found this warning, so maybe not such a good place for a cheeky wild camp.
I reached the village of 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 –
I left Wallington and took a pretty lane back up to the chalk ridge.
The next village on the path was Sandon.
I sat by the duck pond for a while and basked in the gathering midday heat.
Back on the trail. I entered some woodland.
I took a break in Hawkins Wood which is managed by the Woodland Trust.
Leaving the wood I found a good spot for my lunch.
I brewed up a cup of tea and enjoyed a Cornish pasty.
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.
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.
I followed a track up and along the ridge of the hills for a few miles until the town of Royston appeared before me.
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
22 thoughts on “On the Icknield Way – Baldock to Royston”
Just wonderful. It is lovely rollings hills indeed. Nice open country. I look forward to your next adventure!
All the Best!
Hi Linda, glad you enjoyed the post, more hiking on the Icknield Way to follow soon : )
lovely writing and pictures. I have done bits of the way but would love to do the whole.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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 ; )
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
Yes, I was thinking of having a page where I’d list all the excellent ales I encounter on my walks…
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?
Hi David, glad you are enjoying the posts. Sussex is a lovely county though one I haven’t hiked in before, the South Downs Way looks enticing: http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/south-downs-way
Great photos and text, Martin. I really get the feeling of taking the walk with you.
All the best, Laurence
Glad you enjoyed the post Laurence : )
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.
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 : )
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.
Bluebell woods are a delight this time of the year : )
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!
Hi Baz, I’d love to walk the Yorkshire wolds, one day soon hopefully!
It looks like it was a really lovely walk with some great sceneries 🙂
I’m looking forward your post about the next stage of this walk.
It was a lovely walk, can’t wait to get out again for the next stage : )