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Walk 155: Ickleford Loop

7.5 miles (12 km) with 230 ft of ascent


Pirton footpath 5 between points 2 & 3
 
This walk is mainly flat, following well-defined paths across the rolling countryside of northwest Hertfordshire. The route crosses Toot Hill motte and bailey castle and shrunken medieval village at Pirton, passes three pubs, and is close to two more. We have marked a well-positioned bench at roughly the halfway mark which makes an ideal spot for a picnic.

Directions


Map for Walk 155: Ickleford Loop Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors There is an interactive map below the directions
Map for Walk 155: Ickleford Loop
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors

There is an interactive map below the directions
Those with GPS devices can download GPX or KML files for this walk. We've added What3Words location references for those who use that system. If you print these walks you might want to use the green PrintFriendly icon at the bottom of these directions to delete elements such as photographs.

The Old George, Ickleford
The Old George, Ickleford
1: With your back to The Old George (location - https://w3w.co/snippets.vague.obstruct) in Ickleford, turn right then head SW on Turnpike Lane for 550m until you reach the junction with Bedford Road (location - https://w3w.co/footsteps.standard.situation). This first section is a fairly busy road, but there is a pavement for pedestrians.

Cross Bedford Road then continue heading SW, now on Westmill Lane, for 810m until you reach a junction with a bridleway on the right (location - https://w3w.co/predict.equipping.hems), see image below.

The right turn off Westmill Lane on to Ickleford bridleway 19
The right turn off Westmill Lane leading to Ickleford bridleway 19
2: Turn right on Ickleford bridleway 19, which is also the Hitchin Outer Orbital Path at this point, then head NW for 360m until you reach a junction (location - https://w3w.co/openly.stale.relocated), see image below.

Pirton footpath 5 turning left at the fork
Pirton footpath 5 turning left at the fork
Take the left fork at the junction then head W on Pirton footpath 5 for 1.6km to a junction and a gate (location - https://w3w.co/included.woes.handyman). Go through the gate then continue heading W for 340m with Pirton recreational ground on your left and the hedgerow on the right, then walk through the car park and emerge on Walnut Tree Road (location - https://w3w.co/idealist.pull.wool).

3: Cross Walnut Tree Road, take the footpath in the hedgerow, then head W for 220m crossing the Toot Hill motte and bailey castle and shrunken medieval village. To make sure you take the right path, follow the line of the yellow arrow in the image below.

Toot Hill motte and bailey castle and shrunken medieval village
Toot Hill motte and bailey castle and shrunken medieval village
After crossing the Toot Hill site you will reach a gate in the corner of the field (location - https://w3w.co/snoozing.winning.deny), see image below. The gate leads to a lane called Bury End.

The gate leading to Bury End
The gate leading to Bury End
Go through the gate, turn right, then follow the lane round to the right and continue past the front of the Motte and Bailey pub on the right (location - https://w3w.co/sheep.cups.should), see image below.

The Motte & Bailey in Pirton
The Motte & Bailey in Pirton
4: Keep right after passing the Motte & Bailey pub, then head NE along Crabtree Lane for 250m until you reach the junction with High Street (location - https://w3w.co/chuckling.sweetener.likely). The Fox pub will be opposite (location - https://w3w.co/fussed.void.unclaimed), see image below.

The Fox, High Street, Pirton
The Fox, High Street, Pirton
Turn right on High Street then head SE for 190m passing the village shop and post office on the left (location - https://w3w.co/implanted.charm.community) and Blacksmith's Pond on the right (location - https://w3w.co/analogy.imposes.offstage) and continuing until you reach a junction, with Hambridge Way opposite (location - https://w3w.co/superbly.blinks.acrobat).

5: Continue heading E on Hambridge Way for 80m until the track becomes Pirton bridleway 21 (location - https://w3w.co/intelligible.tools.named), which is also the Icknield Way along this stretch. Continue for 1.6km at which point you will find a stone bench on your left (location - https://w3w.co/magazines.carbon.specifies) with a great view to the south; an ideal spot for a picnic, see images below.

The bench on the left along Pirton bridleway 21
The bench on the left along Pirton bridleway 21

The view south from the stone bench on Pirton bridleway 21
The view south from the stone bench on Pirton bridleway 21
Continue along bridleway 21 for 350m until you reach a junction with a path on the left (location - https://w3w.co/possibly.novelists.film), see image below.

Pirton footpath 6 heading N off Pirton bridleway 21
Pirton footpath 6 heading N off Pirton bridleway 21
6: Turn left then head N on Pirton footpath 6, first across a field then alongside a sand quarry, see image below.

Pirton footpath 6 with the sand quarry on the right
Pirton footpath 6 with the sand quarry on the right
Continue N for 920m at which point the footpath becomes Holwell footpath 14 (location - https://w3w.co/informal.tidal.starch) then continues heading N for 530m until you reach Pirton Road (location - https://w3w.co/smirking.repay.parent).

7: Turn right on Pirton Road then head N for 30m looking for a footpath on the right (location - https://w3w.co/informal.beamed.incensed). Take this footpath, Holwell footpath 5, then head E for 1.2km until you reach Bedford Road (location - https://w3w.co/cakewalk.nipping.inflates).

8: Cross Bedford Road (it can be busy), then turn right and walk along the pavement heading S for 60m until you reach a bridleway on the left (location - https://w3w.co/auctioned.ooze.stared). Take this bridleway, Ickleford bridleway 4, then head E for 950m then S for 480m until you reach the junction with Arlesey Road (location - https://w3w.co/ironclad.sentences.expose).

Ickleford bridleway 4 heading east
Ickleford bridleway 4 heading east
9: Turn left on Arlesey Road then head ESE for 180m until you reach the railway bridge. There are two footpaths on the right. Take the one closest to the railway bridge to the left of the last house (location - https://w3w.co/cheesy.veto.engrossed), see image below.

Ickleford footpath 20 heading south of Arlesey Road
Ickleford footpath 20 heading south of Arlesey Road
Turn right on this footpath, Ickleford footpath 20, which is also The Hicca Way at this stage, then follow it SSW for 700m to a junction (location - https://w3w.co/elevate.easygoing.catching).

Ickleford footpath 20, also the Hicca Way, between points 9 & 10
Ickleford footpath 20, also the Hicca Way, between points 9 & 10
10: Turn right on Ickleford BOAT 18 (byway open to all traffic) then continue following the track W for 330m over a wooden bridge back to Ickleford and the starting point.

There are three pubs in Ickleford, The Old George (location - https://w3w.co/snippets.vague.obstruct), The Plume of Feathers (location - https://w3w.co/midwinter.shame.invent), and The Cricketers (location - https://w3w.co/snooping.globe.slid).

Thanks to our occasional walking companions, Sophie and Mike, for inspiring us to explore this northwestern tip of Hertfordshire.

Interactive map





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