The UK's ancient pathways are a national treasure out there to be explored for their history, archaelogy and wild life.  Now having a tad more time for this kind of pursuit, I have been investigating some of them recently - starting with the Icknield Way.  The Icknield Way stretches for 110 miles and links the Ridgeway to the south-west to Peddars way in the north east. As you will see I have split the Way into circular routes each of which takes a bite-sized stretch that can be completed as a comfortable stroll in a leisurely few hours. The standard information available is great for taking you from A to B along the paths but these circular routes will allow you to plan a day's walk which will bring you back to A again by the end of the stroll. The notes that you find here describe each of the walks and some of the archaeology and natural history that was seen along the way. The second walk was the Ridgeway and notes for the 26 circular walks were completed in 2011. The Greensand Ridge Walk (GRW)  was started late in 2011 and was completed in 12 sections. The John Bunyan Trail (JBT), was accomplished during 2012 and the North Bedfordshire Heritage Trail (NBHT) was explored during 2013.  Other walks (the Clay Way and Three Shires Way) were explored in 2015.

OS maps will always be essential to follow the routes described and the relevant sheets are given in the summary section for each walk. There are bound to be errors in the descriptions. They are entirely my responsibility and I would appreciate being made aware of them by anyone who may venture out on one of these walks and encounters bad information.

Similar activities have been enjoyed in other parts and so this section also includes walks from Malta where I was very fortunate to count on the help of local experts in the identification of some of the species encountered.

1. The Icknield Way

Known as the oldest road in Britain, the Icknield Way extends from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Knettishall Heath in Norfolk. It pre-dates the Romans and could have been a trade route for the Iceni from their base in East Anglia.  The Icknield Way is easily followed with the help of the Icknield Way Association’s Walkers’ Guide and the three Icknield Way Path Leaflets published by Bedfordshire County Council Leisure Services.

Here are my notes:
Walk 1: from Ivinghoe Beacon to Dagnall Walk 2: from Dagnall to Dunstable Downs  Walk 3: from Dunstable Downs to Thorn Road (TL007249)
Walk 4: from Wingfield to B530 (TL021295) Walk 5: from Sundon Country Park to TL0622292  Walk 6: from Sharpenhoe Clappers to TL109283
Walk 7: from TL109283 to Pirton Walk 8: from Pirton to Wilbury Hill  Walk 9: from Baldock to Sandon
Walk 10: from Sandon to Therfield Walk 11: from Therfield to Royston  Walk 12: from Royston to Heydon
Walk 13: from Heydon to Strethall Walk 14: from Strethall to Great Chesterford (in reverse)
 Walk 15: from Great Chesterford to Linton
Walk 16: from Linton to Balsham Walk 17: from Balsham to Crick’s Farm  Walk 18: from Crick’s Farm to Stetchworth
Walk 19: from Stetchworth to Ashley Walk 20: from Ashley to Gazeley  Walk 21: from Gazeley to Herringswell
Walk 22: from Herringswell to West Stow (in reverse) Walk 23: from West Stow to Shelterhouse Corner  Walk 24: from Shelterhouse Corner to Triangle Plantation
Walk 25: from Euston back to Triangle Plantation and on to Peddars Way, plus Knettishall Heath
2. The Ridgeway

The Ridgeway runs from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Overton Hill in Wiltshire.  It is a very ancient path which was used for livestock droving along high routes that kept the stock and the drovers clear of the dangers lurking in the wild forest below. The Ridgeway is well supported by guides of many kinds such as this one on the National Trails website.

Walk 1: from Ivinghoe Beacon to Westland Farm
Walk 2: from Westland Farm to Pavis Wood Walk 3: from Pavis Wood to Wendover
Walk 4: from Wendover to Chequers
Walk 5: from Chequers to Princes Risborough
Walk 6: from Princes Risborough to Wigan's Lane
Walk 7: from Wigan's Lane to SU741987
Walk 8: from SU741987 to SU722968
Walk 9: from SU722968 to SU693933 
Walk 10: from SU693933 to Ewelme Park Walk 11: from Ewelme Park to Grim's Ditch  Walk 12: from Grim's Ditch to South Stoke
Walk 13: from South Stoke to Post Box cottage  Walk 14: from Post Box cottage to crossroads (SU535819) Walk 15: from crossroads (SU535819) to car park (SU478842)
Walk 16: from car park (SU478841) to the B4494 at SU418842 Walk 17: from Segsbury Camp to the B4494 Walk 18: from Segsbury Camp to car park at SU343851
Walk 19: from car park (SU343851) to Uffington White Horse Walk 20: from Uffington White Horse to SU265835 Walk 21: from SU265835 to ex-Shepherd's Rest pub
Walk 22: from ex-Shepherd's Rest pub to Snap crossroads Walk 23: from Snap crossroads to west of Ogbourne St George  Walk 24: from west of Ogbourne St George to Barbury Castle
Walk 25: from Barbury Castle to Fyfield Down crossroads Walk 26: from Fyfield Down crossroads (SU125708) to Overton Hill  

3. The Greensand Ridge Walk (GRW)

The GRW is Bedfordshire's best known long distance walk, in fact it takes in parts of Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire as well.  It runs for 40 miles (64 km) from Gamlingay in the east to Leighton Buzzard in the west and as it does so it follows the Lower Greensand Ridge.  The GRW boasts its own website which is a rich source of information on all aspects of the route www.greensandridgewalk.co.uk.
4.  The John Bunyan Trail (JBT)
The JBT is a rather neglected Bedfordshire trail which celebrates the life and times of the eponymous Baptist evangelist who lived in the county from 1628 to 1688.  The JBT covers a total of 112 km (70 miles) and passes through some of Bedfordshire's most pleasant countryside.  Although there is no web site dedicated to the trail, route maps and further information can be downloaded from the links given in the Introduction to Walk 1.
Introduction and Walk 1: from Sundon Country Park to Harlington Walk 2: from Harlington to Steppingley Walk 3: from Steppingley to Millbrook
Walk 4: from Millbrook to Brogborough Walk 5: from Brogborough to Cranfield Walk 6: from Cranfield to Wootton
Walk 7: from Wootton to Bromham Walk 8: from Bromham Mill to Oakley Walk 9: from Oakley to Clapham
Walk 10: from Elstow to Haynes Walk 11: from Haynes to Shefford Walk 12: from Shefford to Shillington
Walk 13: from Shillington to Barton-le-Clay Walk 14: from Barton-le Clay to Lilley Walk 15: from Lilley to Streatley
Walk 16: from Streatley to Sundon Hills    
 5.  The North Bedfordshire Heritage Trail (NBHT)
The NBHT is a 70 mile (112 km) circular route through some of north Bedfordshire's most attractive villages (23 of them) and countryside.  The starting point is St Paul's Square in Bedford (TL049496).  You will always need the relevant OS Explorer map to follow the route, the way-marking is not very well developed, but an overview can be downloaded at: http://www.marstonvalecommunityrail.org.uk/northbedsheritage.pdf.  A narrative description is also available at: http://www.letsgo.org.uk/OldCMS/2805165_17.htm.
 Walk 1: from Bedford St Paul's Square to Bromham  Walk 2: from Bromham Mill to Stagsden  Walk 3: from Stagsden to Turvey
 Walk 4: from Turvey to Harrold  Walk 5: from Harrold to Sharnbrook  Walk 6: from Sharnbrook to Riseley
 Walk 7: from Riseley to Keysoe Row  Walk 8: from Keysoe Row to Colmworth  Walk 9: from Colmworth to Wilden
 Walk 10: from Wilden to Roxton  Walk 11: from Roxton to Tempsford  Walk 12: from Tempsford to Everton
 Walk 13: from Everton to Potton  Walk 14: from Potton to Sutton  Walk 15: from Sutton to RSPB Sandy Warren
 Walk 16: from RSPB Sandy Warren to Northill Walk 17: from Northill to Sweetbrier Cottage Walk 18: from Sweetbrier Cottage to Willington
 Walk 19: from Willington to Priory Country Park  

6.  The Clay Way is an 11.5 mile (18.4 km) linear walk over glacial boulder clays.  A route map is available via the link given in the Introduction and Walk 1

7. Three Shires Way (TSW) is a  62 km bridleway starting at Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire and ending  at Tathall End, Buckinghamshire.  Links to route maps are given in the Introduction.

8.  Exploring Malta and Gozo

The islands of Gozo, Comino and Malta are full of specifically Mediterranean wildlife and also some important prehistoric sites.  An initial foray was made in the June heat of 2013, to be followed by a spring-time return in March 2014.  Some of the wildlife encountered on the walks is recorded in the following PowerPoint presentations.

8.2. March & April 2014

9. Costa Rica. A wander through the wildlife of: San José, Tortuguero, Golfito, Sarapiquí, Bajos del Toro and Boca Tapada 

Subpages (1): Notes