The North Chiltern Trail – Barton – Pegsdon
The weather forecast was good for the first part of the morning giving me a chance to complete the next section of the North Chiltern Trail. A steep climb out of the village of Barton-le-clay bought me quickly out of the stick in the mud, stubborn, clay hollows and up to the wide open views of the chalk downland. I never can tell exactly where the soil changes but always feel the reflection of lightness in my mood as I move upwards. Hardy’s phrase “where ghosts know no liberty” (“Wessex Heights“) always enters my mind.
There was a super view back over the village, across to Sharpenhoe Clappers (which I had visited on Leg 2 of the North Chiltern Trail) and across to the sandy landscape of the Greensand Ridge (which I walked this last July).
Onwards across the nature reserve. I spent a while trying to photograph (unsuccessfully!) two red kites playfully circling low around each other. It is so very many years since I studied ‘A’ level Geography but I still wish Mrs B was with me on many of my walks to point out glacial and erosion features in detail!
At the top of Barton Hills on my left appeared Ravensburg Castle – one can’t gain access and I’ve often wondered what is on the other side of the fence and trees. I followed the footpath southwards walking adjacent to the route I had taken on Leg 2 and tried (unsuccessfully!) to photograph a hare of extremely loppy ears and rapid sprint.
Soon those “naked ladies” appeared again (Thank you Anne!!) * And a tractor. I’m not sure why but I do love the constancy and comfort of a newly ploughed field.
Upon reaching South Beds Golf club the path turns left and follows the route of the Icknield Way for a while eventually turning up and onwards to Pegsdon Hills Nature Reserve. What a hidden gem in the Hertfordshire countryside (I passed the Herts/Beds border somewhere just before here). The views were spectacular. A bench was located in an ideal spot for me to open my thermos flask of coffee.
I strolled slowly alone over these hills and to be honest didn’t really want the walk to end. However little by little the skies were darkening. I was just able to get a shot of the tree which our family name “The wilderness tree” – The LHD and I used it as a symbol at our wedding.
Down the hill just before the rain started and my lift awaited in the car park in the “Live and Let Live” pub in Pegsdon.
Yet, again the North Chiltern Trail did not fail to delight with superb walking and views, signage and variety.
Just 5 miles. The Guidebook available…………… here……………… gives details of a circular walk back.
OS Map Explorer 193.
If you have one close at hand take a geography teacher with you.
A Full Index of Posts on Walking the North Chiltern Trail can be found here.
*E M Forster
(Best I could do)