Herts Embraced 2.3: Open fields to Markyate

5:30 – Markyate.

What a change in the weather:  bright and sunny the whole afternoon.  This was all new territory for me since Ashridge and I had no knowledge of the landscape I was to cross.

This is a more open section, with few wood walks.  From Little Gaddesden the route passes over the fields to the village’s solitary church, alone in the fields.  From there the path dipped down into a valley at the head of the River Gade, a reminder of home.  Then after some road walking it climbs, following the Chiltern Way and Icknield Way Path.  Where the two separate, I followed the Icknield Way route to the edge of Studham.

From Studham, the path delightfully runs exactly on the boundary of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire for some miles, all the way into the centre of Markyate.

Twenty-five miles on Wednesday (Day 1) (plus a mile or two for diversions off the route).  Fifteen miles today (plus two miles for missing a junction and retracing my steps at one point!)

One question I have been asking myself is whether it would be possible to do the route on a bicycle.  One Day 1 the answer was “No” – the first sections are broad and cyclable down to the Chess, and the first bridleways up form it, but then there are too many narrow and overgrown paths and one by Cholesbury has a notice signed off by both councils (it being a boundary path) warning of hefty fines for cycling.  Of today’s sections I would say “yes”, mostly.  The first parts are road and towpaths, with bridleways after that, and more open spaces.  However it is not all cyclable.  The route remains a walking route.

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