Hertfordshire, United Kingdom


- Via Ashwell Street, Wallington, Sandon & Therfield -


The joy of an off-road cycle on rare day of autumnal sunshine in Hertfordshire.

By the time middle October came around, Hertfordshire and indeed all of the UK finds itself well into the autumnal season with shorter days and colder, crisp nights, the leaves turning into exquisite colours of yellow, red and orange as they fall to the ground. Yet on Sunday 17th October we were treated to a day of relative sunshine. Clouds which had gathered from the west in the late morning had all but disappeared by early afternoon. I seized the moment and headed out for a cycle, some 50% of it being off-road, the remainder on country lanes. The route normally takes me two hours to complete however armed with my tiny Nikon Coolpix S10, I subsequently returned home only some four and a half hours later, losing myself in the world of rural England comprising old farmyards and ploughed fields, hedgerows, churches and other listed buildings, as well as the occasional village pub. I never imagined I would so much fun!

The route is as follows:

  • From Royston, a short journey down the A505, cross the railway line and head north down towards Litlington. Just before the town, head off cross-country along an old Roman Road grass track known as Ashwell Street past the caravan park.
  • Upon reaching Claybush Road, turn left and head up the hill and out of the town towards Bygrave along what now becomes Ashwell Road, eventually turning left and following the signs for Manor Farm along Church Lane past The Old Rectory, now the home of Stingray Media Solution Limited, a PR and marketing company.
  • Opposite The Old Rectory lies the church of St Margaret of Antioch. Continuing on, the road which merges into a dirt track down a slope, eventually reaching a railway tunnel followed by a tunnel under the A505 near the Baldock intersection. Thereafter, one picks up on a narrow, tarred, tree-lined lane eventually terminating at Bygrave Lodge Farm.
  • Cut through Bygrave Lodge Farm past the outbuildings and head along a severely rutted clay track up the hillside across farmland, eventually reaching Wallington Road after a few twists and turns, just outside the town that bears the same name.
  • Where Wallington Road engages The Street, just as one turns right to continue a short distance up the hillside, lies a beautiful thatched-roofed house. As The Street swings left again along a tree-lined road, where I have often encountered hikers, the road soon reaches a clearing, before winding its way down to a junction that (turning right) takes one either  to Rushden or (turning left) towards the A505 once more.
  • Taking the latter option for just a short distance on this road, after another right turn whereupon the road merges with Rushden Road leading all the way to Sandon, location of the beautiful All Saints Church.
  • Once again, in Sandon, it's another left and then a right, before following the signs to Kelshall past the war memorial and the town hall.
  • Finally the road reaches a junction as the Cambridgeshire countryside comes into view from the higher ground, where (left) down the hill leads to the A505 while (right) heads towards Therfield and ultimately back to Royston, though not before I visited the beautiful Church of St Mary.

View down Ashwell Street, an old Roman Road heading west towards Ashwell Morden - the steeple of the local church comes into view long before the town is reached.


Church of St Margaret of Antioch in Church lane, directly opposite The Old Rectory, in Bygrave.


Along a dirt track across farmland, just outside the town of Wallington.


A hedgerow and ploughed fields, a characteristic of English countryside for centuries, just outside the town of Wallington.


Thatched cottage along The Street, in the town of Wallington, Hertfordshire.


Heading out of Hertfordshire 's Wallington along The Street towards Sandon.


View from the hillside just outside Wallington looking towards Sandon.


Ploughed fields between Wallington and Sandon.


View from the graveyard at the rear of the All Saints Church in Sandon, Hertfordshire.


All Saints Church in Sandon, Hertfordshire, one of a number of listed buildings in the town.


The entrance to the grounds of the All Saints Church in Sandon, Hertfordshire.


Just outside Sandon, a right turn at this gorgeous farm homestead leads to Kelshall.


Church of St Mary, Therfield, Hertfordshire.


The beautiful stone walls of the Church of St Mary, Therfield, Hertfordshire.


The Church of St Mary, Therfield, beneath clear blue skies.


The entrance to the Church of St Mary, Therfield, Hertfordshire and it's arched windows.


A listed cottage at the rear of the Church of St Mary, Therfield, Hertfordshire.


The Fox and the Duck on Therfield Common, Hertfordshire.


Hedgerows form a unique characteristic of English countryside.


Hedgerows just outside Therfield.


Late afternoon sunshine brings out the autumnal colours.


A hedgerow castes a shadow across a ploughed field, ready for the next season.


This Hertfordshire hedgerow near Therfield separates two fields.


Along the lane joining Therfield and Baldock Road leading into Royston, just before Royston Heath and the golfcourse.


Looking back towards Therfield along the lane leading back to Royston.


View down the private lane towards Buntingford Brewery, just outside Royston.


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