Royston, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom



Winter in Royston - snowfalls February, 2009

Cold, wintry weather gripped the UK in February, 2009, as the worst snowfalls in 20 years were experienced. The majority of schools in the Royston area were closed after about five centimetres of snow fell on the town during Sunday night and the early hours of Monday. Overnight snow had caused havoc in Crow Country. A serious accident had seen the A505 shut down in both directions between Royston and Melbourn, while Newmarket Road was also closed.
I witnessed this first-hand on Thursday morning 5th February, after an aborted attempt to get to work using public transport. Gritters were out in force again through the night to salt the county's road network after more snow and rain fell in the early hours, despite reports that there was a shortage of grit. Snowfalls had caused damage to overhead lines at Hitchin station the night before, resulting in a replacement bus service from Stevenage to Royston. Arriving at Royston station the following morning, I was informed that buses between Letchworth and Stevenage were taking up to 2 hours to reach their destination. Commuters trying to get to London were being offered an alternative route via Cambridge and into Liverpool street station. By the time I arrived at Letchworth station by train from Royston, the service had been cancelled due to a gridlock situation leading into Stevenage, so the only alternative was to return home and attempt a journey in by car. As luck would have it, traffic came to a halt near the bypass.  As I approached the Baldock turnoff, where I considered turning around, it was reopened.  Train services were restored by Friday, which was fortunate, as the A505 bypass was being subjected to further closures, whilst drivers were being urged to avoid the A10.

Royston town centre.


View down Baldock Road.


View up Royston's High Street.


View down Kneesworth Street.


Royston Church and the grounds covered in snow.


Car dealership, Royston - anybody for a test drive?


View down Garden Walk, Royston, towards A10.


View up Garden Walk, Royston near the A10.


Ashwell station platform and bench.


A white Xmas in Royston? Snowfalls, December, 2009

Snowfalls in the south-east corner of England are a rare occurrence indeed and so when they do occur, it has a habit of causing chaos on British roads and public services. The disruption to the Eurostar train service between Paris and St Pancreas Station, London, Friday 18th December, proved no exception and continues the cycle in terms of an inability to cope with the harsh conditions.  Traffic on roads to Dover and Folkestone came to a standstill. The problem is not so much that breakdowns occur but that there is no contingency plan in dealing with it. Some people spent up to 17 hours stuck on trains in the tunnel and criticism was levelled at the lack of communication.

The best thing to do is to stay at home, if you have to. Just listening to BBC radio weather reports brought some justification to that strategy. That's what the folk of Royston did the weekend after the snowfalls. Royston Heath was bathed in snow and sunlight Saturday and Sunday.  Families frolicked in the snow and tobogganed down the hillside on Royston Heath whilst low temperatures prevented the snow from melting.  In some places it was 5 inches or more deep as my boots sank into the soft, cuddly snow. The jury is out as to whether Xmas Day 2009 will be a white one.


Scene from window at 22h00 after heavy snowfalls on the evening of 17th December, 2009.


Snow in the south-east of England is a rare occurrence indeed. Royston folk took to tobogganing down the hillside slopes of Royston Heath.


A pair of snowmen on Royston Heath along the road into the town, as if to guard it, Sunday, 20th December.


Royston Heath and golf course bathed in snow and sunlight, Sunday, 20th December.


Royston Heath bathed in snow and sunlight, Sunday, 20th December, two days  after snowfalls.


View across Royston from Royston Heath, looking north-east.


Dog and his master, Royston Heath, Sunday, 20th December.


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Scene from window at 08h00 on the morning of Friday, 18th December, 2009. Spot the neighbour shovelling his driveway.