Thursday, 16 October 2014

Pedalling Through October

I've been on my bicycle today. The weather has been mostly glorious and, unusually, there seemed to be a fair and reasonable division between uphills and downhills and although there weren't many backwinds there were no headwinds either.

And where have I been? Regular readers who enjoyed the exploits of the Twin Foxes will perhaps be pleased to hear that I've been exploring parts of their old stomping ground - the parts that haven't been built over.

I started out from the market town of Baldock, which is just a fifteen minute train ride from home. That's south into Hertfordshire where the countryside is just a little more up-and-down than Cambridgeshire. And so it proved to be as I pushed the pedals round heading to the village of Graveley. Daniel Defoe complained about the road when he passed this way, though it was the muddy state of the so-called highway that upset him.

I'll spare you the road and transport you immediately to Graveley with its lovely village pond.

And a fine old farmhouse. There was more to see too, but for now lets get a bit further along our way to Chesfield.

Chesfield is one of Hertfordshire's deserted villages. Well, nearly deserted; there's still a farm here, just behind the ruins of the old church.

Although Hertfordshire is a rather built-up county there are still plenty of roads like this and I stayed on them most of the day. And, for those from distant parts who enjoy the wackiness of English placename pronunciation, it's HART-f'd-sheer or, if you've been to a posh school, HAR-f'd-sheer.

Who says England is a crowded island? Plenty of space here. Though the countryside is only like this because of our strict planning laws which prevent urban sprawl. 

Into the village of Walkern with its ford in Church Lane. I decide against riding through and timidly took to the raised footway.

Walkern's quite a busy little village with pubs and shops as well as some attractive cottages and gardens. 

But, after buying my lunch in the village shop, I backtracked and headed towards Weston, though not until I'd eaten my meagre purchases sitting on the verge, just near the signpost you can see in the picture above.

That's Weston church tower poking its head above the trees. Lets have a quick look around the churchyard...

Off to the quaintly-named Clothall next. Yes, I know we seem to be in a terrible hurry today but do you really think I didn't investigate these places? Of course I did - and you'll hear a bit more about them in future posts. But for now lets just enjoy the scenery...

There were just a few autumn hues here and there; we haven't had the kind of cold snap that turns all the leaves at once.

You don't see many sheep around here; most of the farms are largely arable. I could have taken the main road from here, but of course I didn't.

That's a real minor road....moss growing down the middle!

Take care.


  1. I love a road with moss down the middle! I like to take the minor roads, they're so much more interesting! What a lovely whirlwind tour of these places - I'll look forward to seeing more of them in future posts.

  2. A wonderful introduction to the hidden beauties of Hertfordshire - I have to admit I didn't know any of these places and I'm looking forward to further instalments.

  3. A ride, drive or walk through the country never grows old - but that sheep looks like it is growing old. Maybe it's just the boney head.

  4. Love exploring the countryside with you. Although we were terrified for the cyclists when we were driving some of those narrow English roads this summer! Thanks for your recent comments on my blog. Put those rain clouds in the other day just for you.

  5. Another of your great tours. Beautiful photographs, as usual. I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to hearing more about some of the places along the way.

  6. This was a lovely post, the church yard with all it's yellow leaves was magical. Thank you for the advice on my last post too, I think you're right to suggest aiming for something I'm passionate about or at least working towards it. Lovely post! - Tasha xxx

  7. What an ideal bike ride…wow….wish I could have come along….next best thing ….your beautiful photos!

  8. I enjoyed the bicycle ride. That minor road would be my path of choice for sure. How many miles was that ride?

  9. What a lovely journey that was John, - I especially enjoyed the beautiful Gravely pond and reflections. Here we are having a damp and chilly day, but tomorrow promises sunshine and I am off with my camera and a dear DIL who is going to help me buy a new bed!

  10. What a beautiful ride with some fall colors, quiet roads, and pretty scenery.

  11. It's so beautiful there. Lovely rolling green hills and skies full of billowy clouds. What a grand day for a bike ride.

  12. Not too many places in the world look like this - grab series.

    I did not have to deal with Mr. Sheils or his accent directly - but I did go out in one of his boats!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  13. This is an area I've never visited and it looks lovely so I'm looking forward to learning more:)

  14. John, every one of these images is terrific. I always enjoy your story telling so much that it is tempting to overlook the photography.


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