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Walk 78: Welwyn NE Loop

Woodlands, a nature reserve, undulating, open views

7.7 miles (12.4 km)


Photograph taken along the route of Walk 78: Welwyn NE Loop  by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


This walk offers some really good ups and downs with a steady climb at the halfway point, a pub two-thirds of the way round, a stretch that will fascinate train lovers, and wide, open fields with excellent views. There is some walking along quiet country lanes.

Directions


Map for Walk 78: Welwyn NE Loop  Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors See the interactive map below the directions for KML and GPX details
Map for Walk 78: Welwyn NE Loop 
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors
See the interactive map below the directions for KML and GPX details
Park in the public car park at Mardley Heath Nature Reserve (Grid Reference: TL 24866 18390).

1: Walk to the SE corner of the car park and take the path that heads E with Heath Road on your right and a steep drop on your left. Continue until you drop down to a gap in the hedge. Go through the gap, turn right, and follow the path round to the right with the field on your left and the hedgerow on your right. Continue along the path as it bends to your left at the point where a footpath goes off to your right. Continue heading E with the hedgerow on your right and and houses straight ahead in the distance.

The path joins Heath Road just before the railway bridge. Turn left on Heath Road, cross the railway bridge (with care because at this point there isn't a pavement for pedestrians), and follow the road round to the right where it joins the B197 London Road on Mardley Hill. Turn right on the pavement running alongside the B197, cross the road, and continue heading SW for 75m looking out for a footpath sign on the left.

2: This is Woolmer Green bridleway 10 to Robbery Bottom Lane. Follow this path SE for 530m until you reach Robbery Bottom Lane. Continue heading SE along the lane for 80m looking out for a footpath sign on your left at the point where the lane swings right.

3: Take this path, Woolmer Green bridleway 24 and continue heading S for 420m keeping the woodland on your right and the hedgerow and fields on your left until you reach a fork in the path.

4: At the fork take the left-hand path, Woolmer Green footpath 24, and head SE for 530m until you reach a four-way junction.

5: Take the right-hand path, Welwyn footpath 32 and head SW for 580m keeping the woodland on your right and the fields on your left. At the top of the hill follow the path round as it bends to the right. Continue following the path through the woodlands until it bends sharp left at a point that looks like a T-junction but is actually just a bend in the path.

6: When you reach a T-junction you will see a field ahead of you. Take the right turn, Welwyn bridleway 26 and head NW for 80m until you reach a wooden fence with a yellow arrow. Take the path on your left, Welwyn footpath 27 and follow it NW for 250m until you reach the woodland. Go through a gate, then through a gap in the fence, and continue straight heading NW for 280m until you come to a track crossroads at a point where a large tree stands in a triangle of land on your right.

7: Just beyond the tree look out for a track on your left. Take this track, Welwyn footpath 29, and head SSW for 940m following yellow waymark signposts. As you walk you will pass an air vent for the mainland railway line running through a tunnel underneath. It's worth stopping for a moment to hear the noise of the trains as they pass below.


One of the air vents for the mainline railway tunnel running beneath the woodland Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
One of the air vents for the mainline railway tunnel running beneath the woodland
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
This path eventually goes alongside an open field before continuing to the left of the railway line which, at this point, has emerged from the tunnel and is in a cutting on your right. Continue heading S with the railway line on your right until the path climbs and then turns right where it crosses the entrance to the next stretch of tunnel.

Looking north from the top of the second tunnel Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Looking north from the top of the second tunnel
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
8: After crossing the tunnel entrance turn slightly left and climb the hill towards a footpath sign.

After crossing the tunnel turn left then first right at the signpost Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
After crossing the tunnel turn left then first right at the signpost
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Here you turn right and follow Welwyn footpath 38 W and NW for 1.4km. The path drops down to a field and your way is straight, with the fields on your right and the woodland now on your left. Continue along this path until you reach the edge of the woodland. Here you continue straight, heading along a path that has been cut through the crops.


Head east along the path cut through the crops Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Head east along the path cut through the crops
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
9: At the brow the hill continue heading east as the path starts to drop downhill. Ignore the track that crosses your path just after the brow. Your way is now to the left of a telegraph pole along a path which leads to a metal gate.

Keep to the left of the telegraph pole Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Keep to the left of the telegraph pole
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Go through the gate, cross a metalled farm road, go through another metal gate directly opposite, continue heading W with the hedgerow and fence on your left and the field on your right. At the end of the field go through another gate. Turn right and then left through another gate keeping the hedgerow on your left and the field on your right. This path drops down to the right of a house with loud barking dogs behind the fence and hedge.

The path eventually reaches a lane. Immediately opposite you will see Welwyn footpath 38 turn right and run alongside the A1(M). Take this footpath with the A1(M) on your left and continue heading north through woodland until you reached the Great North Road.

Turn right on the path running north alongside the A1(M) Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Turn right on the path running north alongside the A1(M)
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
10: Turn left and go under the A1(M). Immediately after passing under the A1(M) turn left along the footpath running S along the eastern side of the Welwyn Bypass. Here you will find a subway underpass which goes beneath the Welwyn Bypass and emerges on the W side. Go through the underpass and then turn right and follow the track up to where Church Street joins the roundabout.

11: Cross Church Street and take the track that heads NE for 180m behind blocks of flats. Continue along this track until it becomes a footpath.

The entrance to the track running north from Church Lane behind the blocks of flats Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The entrance to the track running north from Church Lane behind the blocks of flats
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


Go through the gate and climb the hill to Danesbury Park Road Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Go through the gate and climb the hill to Danesbury Park Road
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
12: Follow this path, Welwyn footpath 39, NNE and then N as it climbs the hill passing through a couple of gates on the way.

13: At the top of the hill the path emerges on Danesbury Park Road, which is also Codicote footpath 31 at this point. Here you turn right and continue walking NE until you reach Danesbury Lane. Turn left on Danesbury Lane, still on Codicote footpath 31, and walk NW for 50m looking out for a footpath on your right heading diagonally north.

14: Take this path, still Codicote footpath 31 and head N for 100m. At this point you path becomes Welwyn footpath 19 and continues heading N for 230m. until you reach an old water tower.

15: Go to the right of the old water tower, then through a metal gate and take the left fork. You are now back on a continuation of Codicote footpath 31 which you follow NNE for 240m continuing with the hedgerow on your left and the field on your right. Go through another metal gate and continue straight looking out for a footpath T-junction.

16: Go through a metal gate and take the first gate on your left. Continue heading NW on Codicote footpath 34 with the hedgerow on your left and the field on your right for 240m until you reach a metal gate. Go through ignoring the footpath on your left but instead go straight ahead on Codicote footpath 33 heading NNW across the field with the fence on your left and the main part of the field on your right. Continue to another metal gate to the right of the trees. When we were there the horses had gathered for a chat either side of the fence.

Go through the metal gate and then through the wooden gate on your left Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Go through the metal gate and then through the wooden gate on your left
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


Go through the metal gate and ignore the footpath on your left Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Go through the metal gate and ignore the footpath on your left
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
17: Go through the metal gate and then turn left, still on Codicote footpath 33, where the path goes through woodland. Follow the path as it continues SW for 80m before turning to your right and then heading NW for 350m with fields either side.

18: When you reach Rabley Heath Lane turn right and follow the lane NE for 200m until you reach Sally Deards Lane on your left. Turn left on Sally Deards Lane and head NNW, NNE, then NNW for 280m looking out for a footpath on your right.

19: Take this path, Codicote footpath 27 and head NE for 470m diagonally across the fields emerging on Slip Lane.

20: Turn right on Slip Lane and head SSE for 250m looking out for a footpath on your left just before a bend in the road.

(If you want to take refreshments at this point you could continue a short distance along the lane to the Robin Hood & Little John pub.)


The Robin Hood & Little John pub Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The Robin Hood & Little John pub
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
21: Take this footpath, Codicote footpath 29 and head ENE for 150m. After crossing the field go through another metal gate and then turn right through a wooden gate with a water tower in the distance. This is Knebworth footpath 10 which you follow E for 370m to Spinney Lane.

22: Turn right on Spinney Lane and head SSW for 280m. Soon after passing a scrap yard you will approach a right-hand bend in the road. Just before the bend you will see a lane on your left marked 'Hinnings Lane leading to Normans Lane'.

23: Take this lane, which becomes Welwyn BOAT 12 (byway open to all traffic) and follow the track heading SE for 490m until you come to a tunnel under the A1(M).

24: Emerge from the underpass and follow the track, now Welwyn bridleway 12, as it turns right and heads into Mardley Heath Nature Reserve. Continue straight, following the blue sign posts, and head SE until you reach a left-hand fork leading to a clearing. Cross this open heath land, rich in thistles and popular with butterflies and bees when we were there, and head E for 600m back to the car park.

Bee on thistle at Mardley Heath Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Bee on thistle at Mardley Heath
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


Interactive Map