Pete's Walks - Berkshire-Essex Walk

Post-walk comments

I enjoyed this walk, and Im glad that I did it. I achieved what I set out to do, which was to walk the parts of the Ridgeway and the Icknield Way that lie within about an hours drive of my home. As with all long-distance paths, some days were better than others, but every walk on this journey was enjoyable and a couple of walks were quite outstanding. Most of the route was new to me, but I often came across bits of walks Id done before, especially the Chiltern Way and the Hertfordshire Way which both criss-crossed this route in numerous places. Every time I came across a walk Id done before it brought back happy memories, and it felt like meeting an old friend!

As Id expected, the section along the Ridgeway was better than that along the Icknield Way it was hillier, there were more woods (especially beech woods) and it didnt pass through any large settlements. So if I did this walk again, Id probably do it the other way round and start in Essex, saving the best for last. It was very noticeable, too, that I came across far more walkers on the Ridgeway than on the Icknield Way. This is hardly surprising, I suppose, as the Ridgeway is a National Trail, and therefore better promoted and far more widely known.

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Therfield Heath (Day 12)

One of the great joys of walking in summer is the abundance of both wildflowers and butterflies. I am very ignorant about both these subjects, but got more and more interested in them as the walk went on. I took lots of photographs every day, and then tried to identify the different species when I got home. I soon learned the names of the commoner plants that I saw frequently Scabious, Ragwort, Knapweed, Bindweed, Rosebay Willowherb, Ladys Bedstraw, etc. One of the highlights of the walk for me was seeing a Chalkhill Blue butterfly at Therfield Heath. On days when I wasnt walking I occasionally went out to places with my camera to take photos of butterflies and wildflowers. Eventually I hope to put some of my wildflower and butterfly photographs on my website (Update: I have now done this see my Photos page).