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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Sunday, 3 July 2016

Sunday Walk 2: Hitchin Circular

Hitchin Circular SWC walk 234
25.7, 21.3, 18.8 km (16, 14.5 or 13 miles)
Toughness, 7, 6 or 5/10
The full morning route leads to the Pegsdon Hills and Knocking Hoe, and a lunch stop with stunning views.  Afterwards the ancient Icknield Way leads to the pretty village of Pirton, with its remains of a motte-and- bailey and abandoned medieval village. Then through the fen woodland of Oughtonhead Common, and finally Hitchin’s old town, which still echos its medieval past.
The 16 mile walk is strenuous and sounds like one for the hardnuts but there’s still plenty to interest the rest of us. It's possible to miss out a few hills and whittle the length down to 14.5 or 13 miles thanks to two shortcuts. Last year, Mr Tiger himself managed the 14.5 mile version, no bother.
Trains
Get the 9:52 Cambridge train from Kings Cross (Finsbury Park 9:58) arriving Hitchin at 10:22.
Return at xx:58, xx:30 or on the slower xx:34. Get a return to Hitchin.
Lunch:
For the full walk, The Live and Let Live,  Pegsdon, (01582 881 739), is recommended. It is 13.7 km (8.5 miles) into the walk.
The pub recommended  for those taking shortcut 1 is the the Motte & Bailey (01462 712 730) in Pirton after 9 miles.
If these seem too far, there are earlier pubs in Great Offley, The Red Lion and The Green Man after 4.2 and 5.6 miles.
Tea
The Garden Gate Tea Room at Oughtonhead Farm (07969 621 223) is recommended, usually open till 16.00 in summer. A charming facility 3.8 km (2.4 miles) from the end of the main walk.
No shortage of places in Hitchin – see notes - The Half Moon, 57 Queen Street (01462 452 448), twice voted CAMRA’s Herts Pub of the Year, is specially recommended.
Walk Directions here
A shortcut around lunch reduces the length of the walk by 2.4 km. Another near the end reduces the length by 2.5 km. Taking either of these reduces the effort to 6/10, taking both makes it a 5/10.
T=swc.234

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Keen to do this walk, anyone else?

Thomas G said...

going

Anonymous said...

we will be joining at finsbury park. looking forward to it.

PeteB said...

n=16 on this walk with n=1 making an early start and doing the "Letchworth variation". The weather w=warm-with-sunny-periods-and-a-light-breeze.
This superb stile-free outing in the rolling, verdant Hertfordshire countryside provided all with a splendid day out. Just before lunch you have some spectacular hill-top views which provides ideal picnic opportunities before descending to the lunch-time pub the Live and let Live. The pub was not very full but some still had to wait awhile for food, The picnickers, keen to get to the fabled Garden Gate Tea Room, set off early and by maintaining a steady pace reached the tea-rooms in good time and were not disappointed. Tea in proper china cups (little fingers appropriately cocked)and cakes to die for were enjoyed by about 10 of us - some pub-lunchers arrived with a few minutes to spare. Definitely a highlight and not to be missed. Although quite a long walk the easy trails, lanes and tracks means you can keep up a good pace without feeling unduly stressed. Some of us did a small circuit of Hitchen - not covered in the gpx file before catching fast train back to London. A superb day out with most opting for the full walk. The 9.22 train may be a better bet and gives you more time to reach the tea-room.

Anonymous said...

Worth adding that this walk was dry underfoot, despite plenty of heavy rain in the last month. I put this down to the many fields of crops, drinking the ground dry. This was a good time of year to do this walk. The many fields might be dull in colder months and you'd miss the butterflies and wild orchids on Pegsdon Hill.