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Walk 80: Panshanger Park Long Loop

4.8 miles (7.64 km)


Photograph taken along walk 80: Panshanger Park Long Loop Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
 
This is an excellent walk through Panshanger Park. It's a varied, and fascinating stroll through former parkland, a walk along a rare chalk river (one of only 180 on the planet), lakes that were once quarries but now taken over by nature, some historical remains from the former country estate, and a visit to the largest 'maiden' or clear-stemmed oak in the country, which is thought to be around 500 years old.

Update July 2021: Tarmac has announced that parking charges will be introduced at Panshanger Park's Thieves Lane car park from 15 July 2021. The day rate for parking will be £2.50 and will initially be charged Thursday to Monday between 8:30am and 5:30pm. The company says assistant park rangers will be equipped with card machines and payment will be by card only. Payment by cash will not be accepted.

Directions


Map for Walk 80: Panshanger Park Long 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 80: Panshanger Park Long Loop
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors

There is an interactive map below 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.

1: From the car park off Thieves Lane (location - https://w3w.co/sounds.again.losses) go through the metal gate in the SW corner. Go through a second gate and follow the left-hand path as it heads diagonally downhill across the field on Hertingfordbury footpath 32 heading SW for 190m to the woodland below (location - https://w3w.co/field.spike.suffice).

Photograph taken along walk 80: Panshanger Park Long Loop Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Gate heading out of the car park and leading SW to the River Mimram
When you reach the hedgerow go through another metal gate and turn right, still on Hertingfordbury footpath 32, and head SW for 240m. You will cross two wooden footbridges before crossing a larger bridge over the River Mimram. At the other side of the bridge turn right (location - https://w3w.co/shadow.clubs.money). Do not go under the underpass on your left.

2: After turning right on Hertingfordbury footpath 33 you will come to a fork in the path. Take the right-hand fork by going through a gap to the right of the gate (location - https://w3w.co/smile.same.idea).

Photograph taken along walk 80: Panshanger Park Long Loop Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Take the right-hand fork and go through the gap to the right of the gate
Continue heading W along this track for 980m with the hedgerow and River Mimram on your right and the field on your left until you pass Kings Lake on your right and reach a junction in the track (location - https://w3w.co/envy.games.cheese).

3: At this point take the track on your left and head S uphill for 160m into the woodland.

4: At the top of the hill turn right (location - https://w3w.co/dangerously.calls.rested) and follow the track first W and then NW for 680m as it meanders through some stunningly beautiful, unspoilt woodland.

5: When you reach a fork in the track (see image below) take the left-hand fork (location - https://w3w.co/vague.boost.woods), head SSW for 60m and then take the footpath on your right (location - https://w3w.co/dish.cross.hotel). Follow this track, Hertingfordbury footpath 10, NW downhill for 350m.

Photograph taken along walk 80: Panshanger Park Long Loop Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Take the left-hand fork and head S before turning right and heading NW
6: At the bottom of the hill (location - https://w3w.co/basket.taking.harder) turn right and follow the path round to your right as it heads ENE then SE for 980m until you reach Kings Lake (location - https://w3w.co/lawn.dark.forks).

7: Turn left at Kings Lake and walk NE with the lake on your right and continue for 220m until you reach a gate signposted Oak Trail (location - https://w3w.co/firm.thus.pulse).

Photograph taken along walk 80: Panshanger Park Long Loop Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Go through the gate to the Oak Trail and head diagonally NW across the field
8: Go through the Oak Trail gate and head diagonally to your left for 440m as you cross the field heading NW to the distant gate.

9: When you reach the next gate take the left fork and continue heading NW. Soon after going through this gate look out for a track that veers slightly to your left and drops through the hedgerow to a 19th century water wheel and Repton's Broadwater - see image below (location - https://w3w.co/acted.ideal.storms).

The 19th century water wheel at Repton's Broadwater Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The 19th century water wheel at Repton's Broadwater
Continue following the Oak Trail as it climbs the hill to the NW corner of the field (location - https://w3w.co/shades.hurls.both).

10: Here you will find a bench with great views; you might just need it at this point. After a sit down turn left a short distance and then turn right (location - https://w3w.co/poet.soup.lawn) into the woodland following the Oak Trail up to a large oak tree surrounded by a metal fence (location - https://w3w.co/cure.less.parade).

11: When you reach the oak consider taking time to admire this wonderful specimen. A couple of benches have been placed around the site for those wanting to just stop and take in the historical significance of this tree. It's estimated to be between 450 and 500 years old, and is thought to have been planted by Queen Elizabeth I. It's said to be the largest 'maiden' or clear-stemmed oak in the country.

Photograph of The largest clear-stemmed oak in the country - thought to be between 450 and 500 years old Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The largest clear-stemmed oak in the country - 450 and 500 years old

Information board bout the Panshanger Oak Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Information board about the Panshanger Oak
12: Continue following the path round past the tree as the track heads to your left past the remains of the Orangery (location - https://w3w.co/liked.tones.rotate) and then the remains of the foundations of Panshanger House (location - https://w3w.co/unions.cabin.ideas).

Photograph of The remains of the Orangery in Panshanger Park Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The remains of the Orangery in Panshanger Park

The Orangery in Panshanger Park in 1895 - photograph of a photograph displayed at the site Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The Orangery in Panshanger Park in 1895

Photograph of a photograph displayed at the site of the foundations of Panshanger House Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
A photograph displayed at the site
13: Here you will find another bench which offers a view of what would have been seen from the main house before it was demolished.

The view to the S from where Panshanger House would have stood
Now turn left and head NE for 160m - do not head downhill into Panshanger Park, instead walk towards a gate that leads to one of the exits from the site (location - https://w3w.co/photos.winner.pools).

Photograph of the gate to the right of the site of Panshanger House Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Go through the gate to the right of the site of Panshanger House
14: Go through the gate and follow the track round to your right. When you reach a second gate close to a large carved wooden bird, turn right down a track which is a 'permissive path' (location - https://w3w.co/lungs.parent.never).

Turn right past the large wooden bird and head south-east along a permissive path Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Turn right past the large wooden bird and head SE along a permissive path
Follow this track as it weaves SE through the woodland for 800m until you reach a junction (location - https://w3w.co/fade.foal.limit).

The 'permissive path' follows the track east and south-east through woodland Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The permissive path follows the track E and SE through woodland
15: At the junction continue straight heading ESE for 370m. Here you will have a fine view point over the Mimram Valley to the SE. Also look out for a grand old oak tree on your left.

Continue following the track as it heads east and south-east back to the car park Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Continue following the track as it heads E and SE back to the car park
16: You will reach a junction in the track (which is point 5 on our Walk 79: Panshanger Park Short Loop) with a path joining from your left and a gate leading down to the river on your right (location - https://w3w.co/cove.tender.nation). Ignore both and continue straight, heading E through woodland back to the car park.

Panshanger Park is a 1,000 acre site owned by Tarmac and managed by Herts County Council and the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust for the benefit of both people and wildlife.

Interactive map





A brief history of Panshanger Park



"Owned by the Cowper family from the late 17th century to the early 20th century, the Panshanger Estate was shaped around the Mimram Valley following advice from Humphry Repton and Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. Panshanger Park is registered as a Grade: II* park and garden by Historic England.
More recently since the 1980s, the park has been owned by Tarmac and parts have been quarried for sand and gravel. Much of the site has now been restored to arable farming and a range of valuable wildlife habitats including a new section of chalk river and a number of lakes. The park opened to the public on 31 March 2014 and comprises a country park and nature reserve. More of the site will be opened up in a series of carefully managed phases as the remaining extraction processes on site come to an end."



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