Gay Outdoor Club
The activity club for gay men and women and their friends

9 June 2018: Letchworth to Arlesey & Ickleford

10 Jun 2018 | Hertfordshire Group

Event led by John T
Attendance: 12 men
Distance: 10.6 miles (17.1 km)
Time: start 11:13, end 16:00, lunch 35 minutes
Terrain: grass, track, road, pavement, gravel, tarmac
Elevation: start 59m, high 91m, low 39m
Weather: dry, overcast and warm throughout, some sunny spells, very little wind
Number of sewage works on the walk: 2
Number of golf courses on the walk: 0
Number of churches on the walk: 1
Number of listed buildings on the walk: 9


This was a 10.6 mile circular walk from Letchworth Standalone Farm, SW to Ickleford, N to Arlesey then SE to Fairfield and to Letchworth.

The route comprised farmland and town.  Features included:

  • a section of the River Hiz (pron “Hitch” - the “z” originates from the Romans' desire to denote the “ch” sound);

  • long views N towards Biggleswade, noticeable for its wind farm;

  • glorious long views over the Blue Lagoon SW and NW, with the continuous rolling of the Chiltern Range in the SW aspect;

  • a glimpse of Fairfield housing estate, now a parish in its own right, complete with parish council.

  • a section of Pix Brook.


  • Pictures, with captions.

  • Links relating to some pictures.

  • The Blue Lagoon.

On the day, the group decided not to visit the Green Lagoon.

Group shot.
View of the Chiltern Hills from Letchworth looking south west.
A view looking north to a wind farm from Letchworth.
Hitchin Lavender Farm (Cadwell Farm) with Hitchin in the background.
Hitchin Lavender Farm (Cadwell Farm).
Church of St Katherine, Ickleford - Grade I listed (see links below)
Field of oxeye daisies at Ickleford.
Mackerel sky (see link below to wiki for some science stuff).
View of the former Fairfield Hospital - Grade II listed - with new housing around it, taken north of Ickleford. A psychiatric hospital that closed in 1999. Link below.
River Hiz, by which we had lunch.
River Hiz.
Field of buttercups and horses, west of Arlesey.
The railway at Arlesey.
Terraced houses in Arlesey.
An industrial building in Arlesey. An eyesore that blots the landscape for miles around, visible even from Sharpenhoe Clappers. It looks like it might be prepared for demolition.
Orchids near the Blue Lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon. The continuation of the Chiltern Hills are in the far distance left-and-middle of the pic.
A slice of Fairfield.
Pix Brook, just after leaving Fairfield.

Church of St Katherine, Ickleford, Grade I listed

Mackerel sky

The former Fairfield Hospital, Grade II listed

The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon, and its smaller sister the Green Lagoon, are both holes in the ground created by the clay brick industry, both now filled with water.  The brick industry here ceased in 1992.

Today, the Green Lagoon hosts fishing and the Blue Lagoon hosts boating/sailing.

The decapitated body Michael Gilbert was found in the Blue Lagoon in 2009.  The courts found Mr Gilbert’s family guilty of murder (in various forms). The wiki page sets out the full story.

Pictures by Peter O’Connor.  Words by Martin Thornhill.

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