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Walk 34: Essendon South Loop

6 miles (9.6 km) with 186m total ascent

Photograph along the ridge path on Walk 34: Wildhill Double Loop
This walk is combination of two of our shorter walks which links the paths around Wildhill to those north-east of Little Berkhamsted. You might get muddy if you are walking after rain because there are two paths along the way that can get churned up. There is quite a lot of up and down and lane walking.

Emmie Murphy's village store close to point 7 in this walk serves hot drinks and snacks.


Walk 34: Essendon S Loop Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors There is an interactive map embedded at the end of these directions
Walk 34: Essendon South 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 location 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.

You can park in the car park at The Woodman at Wildhill if you intend to have a drink there before or after the walk (location - https://w3w.co/congratulations.trim.usual).

1: Take the footpath south of the beer garden on the east side of the car park, Hatfield footpath 85 (location - https://w3w.co/star.yard.oppose). Follow this path for 540m walking uphill and diagonally SE across the field and 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 Kentish Lane, the B158 (location - https://w3w.co/scuba.they.brush).

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

3: Turn right along Essendon footpath 19 (location - https://w3w.co/shack.remit.summer), 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 for 120m with the woodland on your right and field on your left. This part can be thick with nettles and long grass at times. When the woodland ends you will see a gate on the right (location - https://w3w.co/slowly.misty.tent), see image below. Go through this gate and continue with the house on your right and hedge on your left until you reach Hornbeam Lane.

The gate mentioned in point 3 below - continue for 70m to Hornbeam Lane
4: Turn right on Hornbeam Lane, Essendon bridleway 18, and head SW for 1.3km, past stables on your left and following the lane as it becomes a track and continues to Cucumber Lane (location - https://w3w.co/fuzzy.sends.arrive).

5: When you reach the lane, turn left and head N for 1.3km until Berkhamsted Lane joins from the right (location - https://w3w.co/honest.nest.frosted).

6: Turn right on Berkhamsted Lane and head ENE for 1.5km until you reach a bridleway on your left (location - https://w3w.co/light.title.palms).

7: Turn left on Little Berkhamsted bridleway 17 and head NW 990m first along a ridge lined with gorse and then down through the woods to the bottom of the hill (location - https://w3w.co/tens.shots.supply).

8: Follow the way-marked signs for Essendon bridleway 4 for 870m and head W across the golf course and past the club house where you turn right then left, continue across the course and emerge on School Lane, Essendon (location - https://w3w.co/goad.boot.snow). Turn left and walk up to the B158 where you turn left.

9: Head S along the B158 for 50m then take the footpath on the right, Essendon footpath 13 (location - https://w3w.co/among.skins.luxury), and follow it for 950m as it heads W along the southern edge of the cricket club. Follow this path as it drops down through woodland, crosses a footbridge, and continues uphill, with the field on your left and the hedgerow on your right, until you reach Essendon BOAT 14 (byway open to all traffic).

10: Turn left on the byway (location - https://w3w.co/yards.listed.faces) and follow it for 1.1km, first S and later W, up and down hill as it twists and turns until it reaches West End Lane (location - https://w3w.co/nation.amber.chair).

11: Turn left on West End Lane and follow it for 890m back to Wildhill where you turn left to reach The Woodman.

Interactive map


  1. A lovely walk on New Year’s Day. We happened to meet David at the start who helped us on our way through the first gate on the left. Highlights are the hornbeam wood, lovely countryside views and woodland paths. We took the opportunity of refreshments at the Five Horseshoes in Little Berkhamsted, roughly halfway which was ideal. Well marked route and easy to follow. Thank you for providing such a great resource.

  2. Hi Alison, so glad you enjoyed it. And it was nice to meet you and your family at the start of the walk and point you in the right direction. Thanks for the feedback. It's always nice to know when people have enjoyed the walks. David (and Ellie).


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