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08 January 2022: Letchworth and Baldock urban

Event led by Martin T.
Attendance: 12 men, of whom 1 guest member.
Distance: 8.76 miles (14.1 km).
Time: start 11:09, end 15:05, lunch 40 mins
Speed: brisk, 2.22mph (3.58kmph)
Terrain: pavement, road, track, grass, footpath, bridleway, highway.
Elevation: start 80m, high 108m, low 53m.
Weather: rain initially, then overcast, moderate breeze SSW 17mph with gusts up to 30mph, 9°C, with wind felt like 5°C.
Number of sewage works: 0.
Number of churches: 6 + 2 optional + 1 bonus at a distance.
Number of golf courses: 0.

This was a circular walk of 8.76 miles (14.1 km) from Willian village, N through Letchworth, E through Norton to Baldock, SW to the start point.

The route’s design was primarily one of relief from the excess of early winter mud, with just enough mud to make us enjoy early winter properly.

The various housing estates visited, broadly in order: Auberys (1960s-1970s), Broadway (1900s-1920s), town centre (1900s-1940s), Nevells Road (1905 & 1908), Grange Road/Estate (1950s), Jackmans Estate (1950s, with shopping centre, particularly bleak and Soviet), Lordship Estate (1970s-1980s).


Optional churches:

These two churches were optional for those who preferred to wander around Baldock rather than in St Mary’s Church, Baldock.

One bonus church was seen at a distance:

  • St George’s Church, Norton, visible by its distinctive spike. It’s a concrete spike, by the way, not a protein spike. Just like to make that clear.

A few members visited St Mary’s Church, Baldock. This huge building is the result of tremendous wealth in bygone era, starting with a gift of land from Norman nobility to the Knights Templar in 1150. Such ownership presages expansion over the subsequent centuries. The church demonstrates many features, including the chequerboard flintwork/stonework that we typically associate with southern Bedfordshire, eight bells, notably ornate art in stained-glass windows and a very large pipe organ.

The optional pub at the end was the Three Horseshoes at Willian, a free house, at which 11 walkers attended.

The event was planned in line with GOC’s covid-secure policy. This walk required no particular mitigations.


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

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