Therfield Heath

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The open country of the Heath

Therfield Heath overspreads a chalk escarpment just north of Therfield in Hertfordshire – part of the ridge south-west of Royston which marks the northern bounds of Hertfordshire. At the foot of the scrp runs the ancient Icknield Way which is the border with Cambridgeshire. The Icknield Way Trail long-distance footpath winds its way over the heath.

Therfield Heath is also known locally as Royston Heath. It has a testing racetrack for horses on its slopes and is a popular spot with dog walkers and birdwatchers.

The Heath is a common on which sheep are still regularly grazed. It has also been designated as a biological 'Site of Special Scientific Interest'[1] and a 'Local Nature Reserve'.[2]

The site offers very good views towards the north, over the valley of the Cam as far as Cambridge. The Heath is a golf course but nevertheless provides some fine walking. At the foot of the heath sits the thriving Heath Sports Club, with facilities including a gym, squash courts, bar and bistro. The club also provides a home also home to Royston Hockey Club, Royston Rugby Club & Royston Runners amongst others.

The heath contains a long barrow, thought to be neolithic, and several bronze age round barrows, all of which are scheduled ancient monuments. The round barrow cemetery is the largest known example of its type in Hertfordshire.[3][4] Therfield heath was reportedly favoured by King James I as a hunting ground.[5]

The highest point of the Heath is Therfield Hill. This top reaches 551 feet, the highest point for twelve miles in every direction. The top is crowned by a water tower. Church Hill has many rare pasqueflowers, which flower in early spring.[2]

The Heath can be accessed from Baldock Road.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Therfield Heath)


  1. SSSI listing and designation for Therfield Heath
  2. 2.0 2.1 Therfield Heath Local Nature Reserve (Natural England)
  3. National Heritage List 1010428: Round barrow on Therfield Heath
  4. National Heritage List 1010431: Therfield Heath
  5. [1]A History of the County of Hertford - Volume : {{{2}}} (Victoria County History)