Icknield Way Path

The Icknield Way Path or Icknield Way Trail is a long distance footpath in East Anglia, England. The ancient Icknield Way itself is unique among long-distance trails because it can claim to be ‘the oldest road in Britain’. It consists of prehistoric pathways, ancient when the Romans came; the route is dotted with archaeological remains. It survives today in splendid tracks and green lanes along the ‘chalk spine’ of southern England.

The Icknield Way Path runs for 110 miles (177 km) from the end of the Ridgeway at Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire, to the start of the Peddars Way at Knettishall Heath in Suffolk. The Icknield Way Association has aimed to find the most pleasant route for walking, as close as possible to the general line of the ancient Icknield Way.

The Path connects with: Angles Way, Bunyan Trail, Chiltern Way, Harcamlow Way, Hertfordshire Chain Walk, Hertfordshire Way, Peddars Way, Ridgeway, Stour Valley Path and Swan's Way.

The path was devised by the Icknield Way Association and supported by the Ramblers Association. It was part of a plan to achieve National Trail status for the whole length of the ancient trackways linking the South Coast and The Wash. The path was recognised by local authorities in 1992. The association was founded by Charles Thurstan Shaw, archaeologist and long-distance walker, in 1984, the same year he produced the first walker’s guide to the route.[2][3]

In 2004 the Icknield Way was further developed into a multi-use route so that most of the route is also available for horse riders and off-road cyclists providing a complete walking and riding link between the two National Trails. Crossing six counties, the Icknield Way Trail is a 170-mile (274 km) route linking the Peddars Way National Trail in Suffolk with the Ridgeway National Trail in Buckinghamshire, which in turn links with the Wessex Ridgeway. Wherever possible the Icknield Way Trail follows the walkers' route, the Icknield Way Path, but diverges at several locations to ensure the Icknield Way Trail follows bridleways, byways and where necessary roads. Walkers can pass over footpaths and therefore can access more direct and/or scenic routes.[4]

Commencing at Ivinghoe Beacon with places en route: Dagnall, Whipsnade Tree Cathedral, Dunstable Downs, Dunstable, Houghton Regis, Wingfield, Chalgrave, Toddington, M1 motorway, Upper Sundon, Streatley, Warden Hills, Galley and Warden Hills, Pirton, Ickleford, Letchworth, Baldock, Wallington, Sandon, Therfield, Royston, Heydon, Elmdon, Great Chesterford, Linton, Balsham, Burrough Green, Stetchworth, Cheveley, Ashley, Dalham, Gazeley, Tuddenham, Icklingham, Euston and finishing at Knettishall Heath Country Park.

Icknield Way Path
Ivinghoe Beacon
Ivinghoe Beacon is a trailhead
Length110 miles (177 km)[1]
LocationEastern England, United Kingdom
DesignationLong-distance footpaths in the United Kingdom
TrailheadsIvinghoe Beacon, Buckinghamshire
Knettishall Heath, Suffolk
UseHiking
Hiking details
SeasonAll year

References

  1. ^ Icknield Way Path
  2. ^ (31 March 2013). Professor Thurstan Shaw - Obituary. The Daily Telegraph.
  3. ^ CANTAB RAMBLER73 April 2013 - Thurstan Shaw, 1914 – 2013. cambridgeramblers.org
  4. ^ Icknield Way Trail.

External links

A505 road

The A505 is an A-class road in England. It follows part of the route of the Icknield Way and the corresponding Icknield Way Path and runs from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire to the A11, Cambridgeshire near Abington and Sawston. Being built in the East of England countryside, the majority of the road is flat, and some of the road is raised.

Dalham

Dalham is a village and civil parish in the Forest Heath district of Suffolk, England. It is 13 kilometres (8 mi) west of the town of Bury St Edmunds and, at the 2001 census, had a population of 191,. increasing to 210 at the 2011 Census.The Icknield Way Path passes through the village on its 110-mile journey from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Knettishall Heath in Suffolk. The Icknield Way Trail, a multi-user route for walkers, horse riders and off-road cyclists also passes through the village.

Galley and Warden Hills

Galley and Warden Hills is a 47 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Warden Hill, a suburb of Luton in Bedfordshire. The local planning authority is Central Bedfordshire Council, and it was notified in 1986 under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is also a Local Nature Reserve.The site is chalk grassland with areas of dense scrub, and it has many plants which are rare nationally and locally. It has a wide variety of wild flowers and more than twenty species of butterflies. Near the top of Galley Hill there are two Bronze Age barrows, one of which was used for public executions in the Middle Ages.The Icknield Way Path passes through the hills on its 110-mile course from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Knettishall Heath in Suffolk.

There is access from Warden Hill Road.

Gazeley

Gazeley is a village and civil parish in the Forest Heath district of Suffolk in eastern England and is part of the West Suffolk UK Parliament constituency. In 2005 it had a population of 740. A house converted from a windmill survives in the village. The surnames of Gazeley, Gazley and Gazlay derive from this source.

The name Gazeley means "Woodland clearing of a man called *Gǣgi".The Icknield Way Path passes through the village on its 110-mile journey from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Knettishall Heath in Suffolk. The Icknield Way Trail, a multi-user route for walkers, horse riders and off-road cyclists also passes through the village.

Great Chesterford

Great Chesterford is a village and civil parish in the Uttlesford district of Essex, England. The village is 13 miles (20 km) north from Bishop's Stortford, 10 miles (16 km) south from Cambridge and about 25 miles (40 km) northwest from the city and Essex county town of Chelmsford.

The Icknield Way Path passes through the village on its 110-mile route between Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire and Knettishall Heath in Suffolk. The Icknield Way Trail, a route for walkers, horse riders and cyclists also passes through.

Hexton Chalk Pit

Hexton Chalk Pit is a 1.9 hectare nature reserve in Hexton in North Hertfordshire, managed by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust. It is grassland with steep slopes and many chalk-loving plants such as horseshoe vetch, yellow-wort, milkwort and rockrose. There are five species of orchid and a large colony of chalkhill blue butterflies. The site has extensive views over the countryside.The reserve is on the left of the road signposted "Lilley" from Hexton. There is also access by a footpath, signposted "circular walk", from Barton Hill Road, close to the Icknield Way Path.

Heydon, Cambridgeshire

Heydon is a village in the East of England region and the county Cambridgeshire in the United Kingdom. The area of the village is 862 hectares (2,130 acres). The parish of Heydon was transferred from Essex to Cambridgeshire in 1894. Heydon has the King William IV Pub as its only pub. The village also has the Wood Green Animal Shelter Small Animals Rescue Home. And on the edge of Heydon it has its own golf course, Heydon Grange Golf Club, consisting of an 18-hole and 9-hole golf course with driving range.

It is also situated on what is one of the highest places in Cambridgeshire, with nearby village Great Chishill being the very highest.

Holy Trinity church, in the centre of the village, was seriously damaged in a bombing raid in 1940. The south arcade was undamaged as was the chancel (which is from 1866) but the north aisle and the nave were entirely rebuilt. Holy Trinity is part of the parish of the Icknield Way together with the Chishills, Chrishall, Elmdon with Wenden Lofts and Strethall churches.

The Anglo-Saxon earthwork Bran Ditch rises in Heydon and runs to Fowlmere.

The Icknield Way Path passes through the village on its 110-mile journey from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Knettishall Heath in Suffolk. The Icknield Way Trail, a multi-user route for walkers, horse riders and off-road cyclists, also passes close to the village.

Icknield Way

The Icknield Way is an ancient trackway in southern and eastern England that goes from Norfolk to Wiltshire. It follows the chalk escarpment that includes the Berkshire Downs and Chiltern Hills.

Ivinghoe Hills

Ivinghoe Hills is a 210.4 hectare Site of Special Scientific Interest in Ivinghoe in Buckinghamshire, and part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is listed in A Nature Conservation Review. The Ridgeway long-distance footpath ends and the Icknield Way Path starts in the site on Ivinghoe Beacon. An Iron Age fort on Ivinghoe Beacon and a tumulus on Gallows Hill are Scheduled Monuments. The site is part of the National Trust's Ashridge Estate, apart from a small area which belongs to Buckinghamshire County Council.The site is biologically rich, and it has varied habitats including unimproved chalk grassland, which has some nationally rare species, semi-natural woodland and scrub. Some of the grassland is grazed by sheep and cattle. There are two areas of ancient woodland. An area of ploughed land on Gallows Hill has been retained within the SSSI because some of the weeds are nationally scarce.There is access from the National Trust car park off the B488 road.

Knettishall Heath

Knettishall Heath is a 91.7 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest west of Knettishall in Suffolk. A larger area of 176 hectares is the Knettishall Heath nature reserve, which is managed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

Lilley, Hertfordshire

Lilley is a small village and civil parish situated between Hitchin and Luton in Hertfordshire, England. Lilley stands on high ground: nearby Telegraph Hill is just over 600 feet above sea level.

The church, rebuilt in the 19th century, contains some original features and a fine Elizabethan heraldic memorial. Lilley lies within the parliamentary constituency of Hitchin and Harpenden. Until recently it had two public houses, the Silver Lion and the Lilley Arms. The recent closure and conversion of the Silver Lion leaves the Lilley Arms as the village's only pub. The low-lying land to the south of Lilley is called Lilley Bottom.

The Icknield Way Path passes the edge of the parish on its 110-mile course from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Knettishall Heath in Suffolk.

The village has a football team, although they presently do not play in Lilley due to lack of facilities. The village cricket club is one of the oldest in Hertfordshire, with fixtures dating back to the mid-1890s. The cricket club plays at the Geoff Banks-Smith Memorial Cricket Ground, between St Peter's Church and the village hall and are currently in North Herts League Division 2.

The church holds a flower festival every early May Bank Holiday weekend.

Pirton, Hertfordshire

Pirton is a small village and civil parish three miles north-west of Hitchin in Hertfordshire, England. The population of the civil parish as of the 2011 census is 1,274. The church, rebuilt in 1877, but with the remains of its 12th-century tower, is built within the bailey of a former castle, Toot Hill. Pirton Grange, which was remodelled in the 18th century, is in the north of the parish, and is a particularly interesting, moated Elizabethan house with a timber framed gatehouse. Hammonds Farm and Rectory Farm, with its tithe barn, are also Elizabethan.

It first appeared in official records in the Domesday Book in 1086AD within the hundred of Hitchin. Pirton was then known as Peritone (meaning 'Homestead of Pears')The Icknield Way Path passes through the village on its 110-mile journey from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Knettishall Heath in Suffolk. The Icknield Way Trail, a multi-user route for walkers, horse riders and off-road cyclists also passes through the village.

There are two churches in Pirton - one Protestant, one Methodist. There is a village school which teaches children from reception to Year 6. Many students continue on at Hitchin Priory. Pirton as a village is in the shape of an isosceles triangle. There are two local pubs - the Motte and Bayley and the Fox. They are on opposite sides of Pirton. Pirton boasts both football and cricket clubs.

Sandon, Hertfordshire

Sandon is a village and civil parish in the North Hertfordshire district, in the county of Hertfordshire, England. Sandon is located near the towns of Baldock and Buntingford. The parish also includes the hamlets of Green End and Roe Green, and Blagrove Common, a nature reserve. At the 2011 Census the population of the civil parish was 495. Sandon has a church called All Saints Church. Sandon has 47 listed buildings, including one of Britain’s estimated 200 medieval barns, the construction of which has been dendrochronologically dated to 1266-68.The Icknield Way Path passes through the village on its 110-mile journey from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Knettishall Heath in Suffolk. The Icknield Way Trail, a multi-user route for walkers, horse riders and off-road cyclists also passes through the village.

Strethall

Strethall is a village and a civil parish in the Uttlesford District, in the English county of Essex, near the town of Saffron Walden.

Having suffered no casualties in World War I it is known as one of the thankful villages.

The Icknield Way Path passes through the village on its 110 mile route between Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire and Knettishall Heath in Suffolk. The A route for walkers, horse riders and off-road cyclists also passes through the village.

Swan's Way (footpath)

Swan's Way is a long distance bridle route and footpath in Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, England. It runs 65 miles (105 km) from Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire to Goring-On-Thames, Oxfordshire. Although designed for horseriders by riders, it is a multi-use trail also available to walkers and cyclists.

For walkers the path links with the Ridgeway National Trail, the western end of the Icknield Way Path, the Ouse Valley Way and the Three Shires Way.

Telegraph Hill, Hertfordshire

Telegraph Hill is a nature reserve near Lilley in north Hertfordshire. Between 1796 and 1814 it was a telegraph station, one of the links in the chain between Great Yarmouth and London during the Napoleanic wars. It is in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and close to Deacon Hill SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). According to the Chilterns AONB the hill is owned by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust; a notice on the site says that it is managed by the trust, but it is not listed on the trust's web site as one of its reserves.

The site is a mixture of chalk grassland and scrub, with ancient beech trees. Wild flowers include rock rose, salad burnet and common spotted orchid.Day three of the Icknield Way Path between Streatley and Ickleford goes through the site.

Wallington, Hertfordshire

Wallington is a small village and civil parish in the North Hertfordshire district, in the county of Hertfordshire, England, near the town of Baldock. The population of the civil parish at the 2011 Census was 150. Nearby villages include Rushden and Sandon. It shares a parish council with Rushden.

The Church of St Mary is a Grade II Listed Building lying at the southern end of the village. The nave, west tower and windows date from the mid-15th Century. The chancel was rebuilt in 1864.The Icknield Way Path passes through the village on its 110-mile journey from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Knettishall Heath in Suffolk.

Weston Hills, Baldock

Weston Hills is a 17 hectare Local Nature Reserve in Baldock in North Hertfordshire. It is owned by Hertfordshire County Council and North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) and managed by NHDC.The site has grassland, woodland and mixed scrub. Six hectares is chalk grassland, and this is its most important ecological feature and one of the best examples in Hertfordshire; plants are very diverse because the harsh conditions do not allow vigorous species to become dominant. Plants include autumn gentian, clustered bellflower, harebell and six species of orchid. There are slowworms, common lizards and many species of butterfly. Some chalk quarries date back to the Roman period, and there are also ancient earthworks.There is access from Chiltern Road, ivel Way and Limekiln Lane, and from the Icknield Way Path.

Wingfield, Bedfordshire

Wingfield is a hamlet located in the Central Bedfordshire district of Bedfordshire, England.

The settlement is close to Tebworth and Chalgrave, with the nearest town being Houghton Regis.

Wingfield forms part of the Chalgrave civil parish, and is home to The Plough Inn public house.

The Icknield Way Path passes through the village on its 110-mile journey from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Knettishall Heath in Suffolk. The Icknield Way Trail, a multi-user route for walkers, horse riders and off-road cyclists also passes through the village.

Wingfield is part of the ward of 'Heath and Reach' which sends a Councillor to Central Bedfordshire Council. The ward includes the villages of Heath and Reach, Hockliffe, Eggington, Stanbridge, Tilsworth, Tebworth, and Wingrave. The ward was created in 2011 and has since been represented by Councillor Mark Versallion.

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