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Walk 11: West End Loop

4.3 miles (7 km) with 149m total ascent

Image for walk 11, West End Loop, created by The Hertfordshire Walker and released under Creative Commons
This undulating walk along footpaths, byways and quiet lanes taking in woodland, rivers, and open spaces involves a lot of up and down with a total elevation gain of almost 400ft. There are refreshment opportunities both on and slightly off the route at Little Berkhamsted, Wildhill, and West End.


Note: This walk crosses over a golf course

Map for Walk 11: West End Loop Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors There is an interactive map embedded at the end of these directions
Map for Walk 11: West End Loop
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors

There is an interactive map embedded at the end of these directions
Those with GPS devices can download GPX or KML files for this walk. We've added What3Words references for those who use that system. If you print these walks you might want to use the green PrintFriendly icon at the bottom of these directions to delete elements such as photographs.

1: Park in the lane outside the Candlestick pub at West End (location - https://w3w.co/later.linen.cute). Facing the pub, take the footpath, Essendon Footpath 13, to the left of the building which heads SE and leads to a stile. Cross the stile and walk downhill for 430m, keeping the hedge on your left and the field on your right until the path goes through the woods and reaches the byway open to all traffic (BOAT).

2: Turn right at this point and head S following this byway, Essendon BOAT 14, for 520m downhill and then uphill until you reach the top of a hill where you will see a sign on the left with a yellow arrow pointing to a footpath and a gate.

3: Go through this gate and head SE following Essendon Footpath 16 as it leads to an open field. Continue with the hedge on your left and the open field on your right. After 330m you reach a footbridge over Essendon Brook. If you are lucky, you might see a heron at this point.

4: Cross the bridge and continue straight ahead heading E through the woods. Keeping the brook on your left which cuts through sand banks, so look out for flashes of blue because this is kingfisher country. After 450m you will reach a point where two footpaths cross. To your left, the path drops down to a footbridge, don't take this path. Instead, your way is straight ahead, still on Essendon Footpath 16, as it continues to climb slightly, and then drops down to another footbridge across the brook.

5: Cross the footbridge and climb some wooden stairs cut into the bank until you reach some more steps leading to the B158.

6: Your next path is across the road on the opposite side. Take this path, which is still Essendon footpath 16. Continue heading E along this fenced path for 330m with a field on your right and a hedge on your left. Take care through a patch of nettles. The path veers right until you reach a bungalow on your right and the path opens into Cucumber Lane.

7: Cross Cucumber Lane and head NE down Berkhamsted Lane opposite. Unfortunately, this part of the walk requires 1.4km of lane walking, however the lane is pleasant and we met one car and two horses only on the day we mapped this walk.

8: When you reach the outskirts of Little Berkhamsted you come to a 30 mph sign and a welcome sign. Soon after, you will see a bridleway sign to the left by two white gates and a lodge.
* At this point you could make a short diversion into the village of Little Berkhamsted village where there is a pub, The Five Horseshoes or the village shop which sells refreshments (location - https://w3w.co/bonus.depend.intervals). See the yellow detour route on the map above.
If you don't need a break, turn left here and follow the track NW until you reach a sandy, gorse-lined bridleway, Little Berkhamsted Bridleway 17.

9: Continue heading NW for 1km along a ridge-route path with excellent views to all sides. This sandy path drops down through woodland to a small cottage on the edge of the golf club.

10: Keep the cottage to your left, and follow the yellow arrowed signposts W up the track, Essendon bridleway 4, through the golf club.

11: After 200m the path reaches a wooden-faced building. At this point turn right, keeping the wooden building on your left and a series of water features on your right. Continue round the building following the yellow arrows. The bridleway climbs NW uphill and crosses a fairway. Watch out for golfers teeing off to your left. Cross the fairway and, at a point where a golf club path turns right, continue straight ahead, leaving the golf course and walking past a white gate and into the woods. This bridleway eventually leads to School Lane, Essendon.

12: Turn left on School Lane and then turn left again at the junction with the B158.

13: Walk on the right hand (west) side of the B158 for 70m until you come to a footpath sign and a gate on your right. Go through the gate and you will now be in the grounds of Essendon Cricket Club. Keep walking WSW along this footpath, Essendon Footpath 13, with the cricket pitch on your right and the wall on your left, until you reach the club house. Keep to the left of the club house and go through a gate.

14: The path now drops downhill with a hedge on your left and a field on your right. After a few yards you will see a sign and gate on the right, ignore these and all other paths off as your way is straight and downhill heading WSW through the woodland. Near the bottom of the hill this path becomes fairly steep and care is needed as it weaves down in a zig-zag until it reaches the valley bottom and a footbridge crossing the stream.

15: Cross the footbridge and keep going straight through another gate and then straight on heading W up the hill with fields on either side.

16: 240m beyond the footbridge you will reach Essendon BOAT 14 which you walked earlier. Turn right and head NW for 330m to West End Lane.

17: Turn left on West End Lane and head SW for 270m back to your starting point at the Candlestick pub.

Interactive Map

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