6:30 – Ickleford; finish
What can I say about the Icknield Way? It is an ancient route, a prehistoric route, cut by millennia of feet and cart wheels into the chalk. It must change every generation as new feet and new wheels pass over it. Much has been tarmacked (the new stage will find that) but elsewhere is raw chalk. The Icknield Way Path follows some of the route and elsewhere wanders along in the general direction.
The afternoon was glorious walking weather; bright and sunny without excessive heat. From Lilley the route follows north through the village before darting off on a side-track to follow the waymarked “Bunyan Trail”, north to the Icknield Way path. Then the route follows the Icknield Way Path all the way to Ickleford. The first section joined is the genuine Icknield Way, as it climbs Telegraph Hill east of which the path forms the county border for a mile or two until just outside Pirton. The actual Icknield Way appears to run further south at this point but I followed the modern ‘Icknield Way Path’. Through Pirton, a pretty village, the route crosses the flat, open country to Ickleford, a little place at the north edge of Hitchin, to conclude on the village’s main road, which is the old Icknield Way. The Old George was a welcome rest stop and a fine hostelry (although not serving food on a Sunday evening, regrettably).
The next stage along the border will be north to Hertfordshire northernmost village and down to Royston, but I must not get ahead of myself.Please donate to the Stroke Association: click here.