Setting off from Baldock railway station and heading towards Wallington, just like George Orwell so many years ago, but following a different route. I head through the town and find the path leading up to the footbridge over the by-pass. Feeling good and enjoying the softly rolling hills of North Hertfordshire.
I crouch to photograph an odd, rather lanky, fungus. Then some tumbledown agricultural buildings. The path becomes a little unclear, heading straight across a field with no trod to follow.
The path drifts by the little church at Clothall, a very special place we visited a while ago. I'm almost tempted..... no, must press on. Crossing the road the weather and scenery changes briefly with black rooks perching in dead trees against a darkening sky. A prehistoric burial mound can just be made out among the grass and weeds.
Then through an ancient landscape of woods and fields, not exactly preserved for wildlife but rather for the shooting of pheasant and partridge. As far as the other birds and animals are concerned though everything's lovely! A flash of yellow as a Green Woodpecker dashes into the trees and a buzzard circles overhead as I enter Wallington by a back road.
Having poked about the village for a while I take field paths towards Redhill, Roe Green and Standon. I find some still-sweet blackberries in the hedgerow. The Devil is supposed to do something on them which makes them unpalatable at Michaelmas (September 29th). Obviously the old fellow didn't have enough to drink before leaving home.
Two Red Kites twisting in the air above the village of Standon, once they were never seen in this area but now they're common enough in Hertfordshire, though they only seldom venture the few miles across the county boundary to where I live. Their acrobatic flight never fails to lift the heart.
Although I started this walk with no fixed route in mind I seem to be more or less following part of the Icknield Way long-distance path, which is itself just a modern-day approximation of the old pre-historic trackway.
Into (and out of) Kelshall and on towards Therfield where, one day, I shall go and explore more fully.
In Therfield there's a neat little red-brick house nestling beside the churchyard that I've never noticed before and then a path I've not walked down either. (And also a pub which always looks so inviting!).
The last stretch is very familiar to me, across the hills to Royston. In springtime this is a place for mad March hares, but today it echoes to the relentless growl of tractors ploughing.
Start: Baldock, Hertfordshire 09:25
End: Royston, Hertfordshire 15.45
Distance walked: 13.5 miles (21.6 Km)
Notable birds: Buzzard, Red Kite, Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Yellowhammer, large flocks of Fieldfares, as well as Wood Pigeons and Rooks
Mammals: Muntjac Deer, Fallow Deer, melanistic Grey Sqirrels, rabbits.
Other people out enjoying a walk: 0 (it was a weekday).