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A growing collection of free walks suitable for all ages, from an hour-long potter to half-day hikes. We have walking tips for those new to rambling and a comment box beneath every walk for your feedback - you may need to disable any ad blocker to add comments.

Walk 5: The River Lea Loop

Rolling hills, open vistas and a secluded pub

3 miles (5 km) - 60m of ascent

Image for walk 13, The Candlestick Loop, created by The Hertfordshire Walker and released under Creative Commons

This is a fairly short walk along bridleways, footpaths, and country lanes down to the banks of the River Lea and back up to West End near Essendon. It offers open views north across the Hertfordshire countryside and has the benefit of beginning and ending at The Candlestick pub/restaurant.


Map for Walk 5: The River Lea 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 5: The River Lea Loop
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors

We have an interactive map at the foot of this page

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 at West End (grid ref: TL 26263 08341) and (location - https://w3w.co/switch.farmer.calms). Almost directly opposite the pub is a lane heading WSW and uphill for 370m until you reach the last cottage on the right.

2: Immediately after the last cottage you will see Essendon footpath 11, heading N. Turn right here and follow the path downhill for 1km until you reach Hillend Cottages.

3: Join the lane and walk N downhill for 900m. Despite being a lane, this is also still Essendon footpath 11 until you reach the farm where it becomes Hatfield footpath 96. Continue until you reach a left-hand bend in the road.

4: Here you turn right and head E along Hatfield bridleway 75 which becomes Essendon bridleway 6 after 100m, Continue with the river on your left. The path bends slightly left, then right, but continues for 830m until you reach Essendon bridleway 10 joining from the right.

5: Turn right here and follow Essendon bridleway 10 as it climbs uphill for 1.5km heading S out of the valley and back up to West End.

6: When you reach West End Lane, turn right and follow the lane round back to The Candlestick.

Interactive map