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Walk 9: The Howe Green Loop

A steady drop, a steep climb and a hidden hamlet

3.2 miles (5.2 km)

Image for walk 9, The Howe Green Loop, created by The Hertfordshire Walker and released under Creative Commons

This walk is rich in variety, with a good downhill stretch for striding out, a steady climb back up to Essendon and, halfway round, the quiet hamlet of Howe Green. You cross the golf course twice and pass a quarry, but don't be put off, the views are spectacular and the flora, particularly near the quarry, is rich.

A user of this site has mailed suggest a warning be issued with this walk to be careful for flying golf balls and that walkers should not making a noise if someone is attempting a shot. Towards the end, the route skirts the north and west side of Essendon, via a charming path that weaves its way around the village and returns past the cricket field. A great walk for getting the heart pounding.

Map for Walk 9: The Howe Green 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 9: The Howe Green 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


Park in the village of Essendon. A good place is near the church where the walk begins.

1: Head SE along High Street until you reach School Lane on your left. There is a signpost to 'School and Village Hall'.

2: Turn left down School Lane and head E until you reach the school on your right and East View on your left. After 280m you will reach a footpath.

3: This is Essendon footpath 3 which heads E across the golf course.

4: At a crossing a the track in the middle of the golf course continue heading E in the direction of the quarry on the E side of the golf course.

5: Leave the golf course and cross a footpath junction and then a ford and take the track ahead heading E, Little Berkhamsted bridleway 2, which climbs the hill with the quarry on the left. Continue until you reach a step stile on the left. Here the path forks, with one going over the step stile and the other going straight on. You can take either as they both end up in the same place.

6: When you reach the lane, Little Berkhamsted bridleway 18, turn right and follow the lane round past Ashfield House on the left and Ashfield Cottage on the right, until the lane turns right and into Ashfield Farm.

7: Here you will see a footpath on you left to Howe Green. This is Little Berkhamsted footpath 4. Cross the stile and follow this path NNW, keeping the hedge on your right. When the hedge ends, look diagonally ahead and slightly to your left, and you will see a large new house. To the right of the house is a wooden bridge. Head in this direction. Cross the bridge and go straight, keeping the house on your left, until you emerge into a country lane.

8: Turn left here and follow the lane, Little Berkhamsted bridleway 18, as it heads W. After 160m take the footpath on your right soon, after a left bend, some white stone markers, and an old oak tree.

9: Cross the stile and take the footpath, Little Berkhamsted footpath 1, W across a field and down the hill to another stile.

10: You now cross a bridge made of old railway sleepers and emerge on Bedwell Avenue (Little Berkhamsted bridleway 26). Turn right and follow the lane N until it meets Low Road the B158.

11: Turn left, taking care here because the traffic can be busy. After 50m, you will see a footpath sign and stile on your left. Cross the stile and enter the golf course again. This is Essendon footpath 5, which climbs steadily up over the golf course heading SW towards Essendon church. You will see the church tower and steeple in the distance. Follow this path for 1km. After a green it forks left. Ignore this turn and continue on paved path to your right still heading SW. The paved path crosses a brick footbridge and over the fairway on your right you will see a lake. Continue until you reach the point where the path skirts the left hand side of a green and reaches a fork. Take the left hand fork, and look out for a wooden footpath marker on your right pointing through the grass and then across the fairway. Follow these markers across the fairway and follow the path through the trees until it emerges in a field. Cross the field, keeping the house on your left, until you come to the B158.

12: Cross the road and take the footpath, Essendon footpath 5, heading SW and skirting the village. When you enter this field, you will notice two houses on the far side. Head for the right of the house on the right and exit the field through a gate, emerging on West End Lane.

13: Turn left and walk along the lane for 30m looking out for a footpath on the right. This footpath, Essendon footpath 7, has several gates as it twists its way round the village before opening up into a meadow. You will see the cricket ground buildings on your left as the path heads diagonally SW and downhill into woodland.

14: When you reach the woods turn left on Essendon footpath 13 and head NE back to the village, skirting the right hand side of the cricket ground.

15: This path leads to the main road, where you turn left and head back to wherever you parked the car.

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