The route starts from Knebworth Station and then runs clockwise to the east of Stevenage on quiet roads through the undulating East Hertfordshire Plateau. This is historic countryside with faint traces of the Romans around Buntingford.
Amusing highlights (for me at least) include Arthur Dent's house and his local pub from the 2005 film of 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and 'Nasty', a village name that you can guarantee wasn't invented by estate agents.
In addition to the summaries here, there are notes on each waypoint. These can be difficult to find and access on Outdooractive. You can find better edited and updatded versions on my blog site, www.pootler.co.uk . Look under the 'Pootler' heading.
Starting from Knebworth it runs to the East of Stevenage, heading North and then East through the East Hertforshire Plateau. Deep beneath there is chalk, laid down under a warm sea in the Cretaceous period some 60m or more years ago. It is mostly hidden under boulder clay deposited, diced & sliced through eons of glaciation and erosion and cut by valleys which sometimes expose the underlying white chalk.
Experts define this as 'ancient' countryside with villages, isolated farms and hamlets, narrow lanes and very old hedgerows; a pattern of settlement thought to have been created by 'assarting', or the clearance of forests, in the 12th & 13th century.
Forests apart, the area has always been relatively densely settled. . In the Iron Age, the Belgic 'Catuvellauni' tribe built an 'Oppida' or stronghold at Braughing, which is on this route and which later developed into a Roman settlement and is now regarded as one of the most important archaeological sites in Hertfordshire.
The current pattern of settlement and cultivation began with the Saxons. One of the early tribes were known as the Brahingas who gave their name to Braughing. Some traces of the later Saxon buildings survive mostly visible as part of the oldest churches but also in the ditches, field patterns and tracks. Now, the villages are stuffed full of Listed Buildings and old churches. The churches at Walkern, St Wydial, Buntingford and Braughing are rated 'Grade 1' and Braughing has a Grade 2* listed boozer, the Brown Bear.
There is a quick reference here:
Amusing highlights (for me at least) are 'Nasty', a village name that you can guarantee wasn't invented by estate agents, and Arthur Dent's house and his local pub from 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Just down the road from there it is a challenge to imagine the substantial roman settlement that stood where the rivers Rib and Quin join and which once outshone St Albans.