By all accounts King Offa was a Medieval ‘big cheese’…at least in England. At one point he’d conquered all the bits of England you’d want to live in (he didn’t bother with Cornwall or the North East) and built a big ditch to keep out the Welsh. He also received an angelic visitation, instructing him to bury the remains of St Alban in a ‘provincial market town‘ in Hertfordshire. As a result he oversaw the building of a monastery at St Albans. While the work was on-going he lived in a palace in Great Offley…giving his name to the local village…allegedly!
This is a gentle stroll along deserted footpaths and quiet country lanes to the Delectable Mountains…well, Pegsdon Hills. By the time we reach The Pegsdon Hills Nature Reserve its lunchtime and, unusually of us, we pause for a quick lunch. To tell you the truth, lunch provides an excellent excuse for a break. The sun and lack of even a breath of fresh air has made the walking hard work…or we’re just growing old! Certainly, there are fewer woods on this walk than others and the lack of shade is taking its toll. The views from Deacon Hill today are worth the walk. Bedfordshire is stretched out like a map before us and we can see Milton Keynes, Flitwick and Shefford in the distance.
Refreshed, we return by the Icknield & Chiltern Ways, skirting Little Offley & Birkitt Hill en route. There are more woods on the return, for which we’re grateful and, by the time we reach Great Offley, we’re more than ready for that cool drink at the Red Lion we’d been promising each other. A 9 mile stroll, the first of this summer, and King Offa chose a great place for his local palace.
Great Offley picture gallery (more pictures on Flickr):
Distance: 9.0 miles ; Difficulty: Moderate
Postcode for Satnav: