Sunday, May 29, 2011

Walking in England, The Nickey Line

April 2011 was an especially fine month to visit England. The big story of the month there was the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, but I was there to visit friends and family as well as to take on a series of rail trail walks. My third and final English walk was the 7-mile Nickey Line (map shown below). I began my walk by taking the train to the Harpenden end of the Line before heading south-west towards the town of Hemel Hempstead.

The Nickey Line follows the route of a railway spur that once ran off what is generally known as the East Coast mainline, shown below, that connects London and Edinburgh. Lots of trains to watch before starting off on my walk!

So it's down the stairs and onto the path, and away we go. Spring had arrived nice and early in England, and by mid-April everything seemed very lush and green. Warmer weather was to follow, but on the day of my walk the temperature was a very comfortable 17C.

The Nickey Line's former life as a proper railway line is evident here as the path follows the cutting below an old stone bridge. I saw lots of fellow walkers and the occasional cyclist along the route.

More railway history here, as we see the leftovers of a station platform.

It wasn't long before I left both the town of Harpenden and its adjacent woods behind, and reached some proper English farmland. This fellow was enjoying the day, and yes, pigs do snore!

Fortunately, our daydreaming hog had a buddy to keep watch just in case a truffle wagon happened along!

The farmland soon gave way to some open countryside views and a hydro right-of-way. It was a very pleasant walk.

Some more animals enjoying the outdoors. These horses seemed to be quite a distance from any barn that I could see.

At about the halfway point of the Line, the pathway plunges under a major motorway, providing a rare bit of man-made noise. Thousands of vehicles speed over this tunnel each day oblivious to the pleasures to be had in exploring this bit of countryside by foot or by bike.

More sleepyheads! They hardly gave me any notice as I wandered by.

Approaching the Hemel Hempstead end of The Nickey Line, the path returned briefly into some woods before ending at the sidewalk of a local road. There was a pub nearby to offer refreshments to happy travelers, but I opted to hop on the bus at the conveniently located stop and head directly onwards to catch a train.

What a great walk! Some lovely Herfordshire scenery bookended by a pair of easy to access railway lines. My English walks were a big success, and if I had known just how wonderful the weather was going to be throughout April, I would have perhaps planned for a couple of additional rambles.

Here's a final look back at The Nickey Line, from the northeast end of the trail at Harpenden.

NEXT: Fish and Chips...and Fish...and Chips!!!

1 comment:

Bill the Butcher said...

What lovely pigs. I love pigs.

Don't particularly love England, but then I've never been there and never will. So.