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Walk 17: Hornbeam Lane Loop

4.1 miles (6.4 km) with 118m total ascent

Image for Walk 17: Hornbeam Lane Loop taken by Hertfordshire Walker and released under Creative Commons
A pleasant circular walk taking in old lanes, footpaths and woodland. The route takes you through  old Hornbeam woodland. Parts can be muddy at certain times of the year, and there are nettles to deal with on some of the narrow paths. The walk starts and finishes as The Woodman, Wildhill (Grid ref: TL 26362 06777).


Map for Walk 17: Hornbeam Lane Loop Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors Note: There is a larger, more-detailed map embedded at the end of these directions
Map for Walk 17: Hornbeam Lane 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.

If you intend to take refreshments before or after your walk the landlord at The Woodman says you are welcome to use the pub car park (location - https://w3w.co/congratulations.trim.usual).

1: Take the footpath S of the beer garden on the E side of the car park. This is Hatfield footpath 85. Walk uphill and diagonally SE across the field and go through a gate in the hedgerow. Head SSE until you reach another gate at the edge of woodland. With the woodland on your left, head SE until the path crosses a field and goes through a gap in the hedgerow to the B158. (540m)

2: Cross the road and turn left, walking NE along the east side of the B158 towards the right-hand bend in the road at the point where Wild Hill goes off to the left. (315m)

The gate mentioned in point 3 below - continue for 70m to Hornbeam Lane

3: Turn right along a footpath, Essendon footpath 19, which follows a private road heading SE. After 140m the footpath veers left to reach a wooden footbridge and a gate. Go through the gate and head NE along Essendon footpath 20 with the woodland on your right and the field on your left. After 120m you will reach the end of the woodland where you drop down slightly to the right to go through a wooden gate by an outbuilding (location - https://w3w.co/fields.blast.funded), see image above. Go through the gate and continue heading NE, now with the house and gardens on your right and the hedge on your left for 70m until you cross a footbridge and reach Hornbeam Lane.

4: Turn right on Hornbeam Lane, which is also Essendon bridleway 18, and head SW for 1.3km, passing stables on your left. Continue as the lane becomes a track and heads downhill then uphill through a Hornbeam woods.

5: When you reach Cucumber Lane, turn left and walk along the lane for 1.3km until you reach Berkhamsted Lane on the right.

6: At this point take the footpath on the left, Essendon footpath 16, just beyond a house (location - https://w3w.co/bells.wisdom.rare) and follow it for 360m as it drops down to the B158.

7: Cross the road and take the footpath opposite, still Essendon footpath 16, leading down wooden steps into Panther’s Wood. Cross the footbridge over Essendon Brook, turn right and head NW for 800m along the footpath with the brook on your right. Cross a footbridge, climb the hill with the field on your left and the hedgerow on your right until you come to a gate (location - https://w3w.co/gosh.calculating.wiser) leading to Essendon BOAT 14 (byway open to all traffic).

8: Turn left and head SE to West End Lane. (630m)

9: Turn left on West End Lane and follow the lane back down to Wildhill, where you turn left and return to The Woodman. (750m)

Interactive Map


  1. Enjoyable and easy to follow route, good for dogs but limited 'off lead' stretches (particularly if you have a pooch that roams!)

  2. Nice walk and good directions, thanks! The stretches in Hornbeam Wood & Panthers Wood were particularly enjoyable. Nice to see donkeys, goats and alpacas grazing in the fields just off Cucumber Lane.

    1. Hi Gareth, glad you enjoyed it. That is one of our local walks which we often enjoy revisiting, especially when it ends with a pint at The Woodman. David


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