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Walk 84: Waterford Heath Loop

Heathland and a chalk-bed river

2 miles (3.2 km)


The River Beane on Walk 84: Waterford Heath Loop Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The River Beane on Walk 84: Waterford Heath Loop
This is a short walk through several fascinating geological areas including an old quarry which is now a nature reserve, marshland alongside a rare chalk-bed river, and deep woodland. It has a fair amount of up and down as you loop across heaths, down to the river, and back up through the woods. There is a free car park, well-marked paths, but, unusually for this collection of walks, there are no pubs or refreshment stops along the way, so do take water and a snack if you intend to make a day of it. There is an elevated picnic table three quarters of the way round affording great views.

Directions


Map for Walk 84: Waterford Heath Loop Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors There is an interactive map below the directions
Map for Walk 84: Waterford Heath Loop
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors

There is an interactive map below the 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.

Park in the free car park off Vicarage Lane (location - https://w3w.co/truly.tooth.shiny). You will notice two paths leading out of the car park, one to the NE and the other to the NW. Before you set off, study the map on the information board. At least half of the walk is within the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trusts Waterford Heath reserve.

1: Leave the car park in the NE corner (location - https://w3w.co/sudden.quite.enhancement) and follow the path through the woods and out to open heath land. This is the North Heath. Head NNW then N for 430m until you reach a junction in the track (location - https://w3w.co/fried.enjoy.stud).

The route as it crossed North Heath Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The route as it crossed North Heath
2: Turn left at a gate leading to a path on your left with a signpost bearing the black Herts and Middlesex Trust arrow and head NNW then W for 160m down to the river.

Take the path on the left as it leads down wooden steps to the River Beane Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Take the path on the left as it leads down wooden steps to the River Beane
3: At the bottom of a series of wooden steps you reach a footpath T-junction. There is an information board on the right and a bench on the left (location - https://w3w.co/teeth.adults.pipes). Here you turn left and walk SSW alongside the River Beane on Stapleford footpath 2. Continue walking alongside the river for 160m, ignoring a path on your left, and follow the path under the railway bridge (location - https://w3w.co/sling.invent.cars).

Continue alongside the River Beane and under the railway Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Continue alongside the River Beane and under the railway
4: You now cross open ground heading SSW for 140m before reaching Barley Croft (location - https://w3w.co/chairs.chops.spite). Continue heading S until you reach Vicarage Lane (location - https://w3w.co/doing.sand.remedy). Here you turn right and head W for 60m looking out for a path on your left before you reach the River Beane (location - https://w3w.co/rang.hooks.cried).

5: Turn left on this footpath, still Stapleford footpath 2, and follow it as it heads S alongside the river for 200m until you reach a fork in the path (location - https://w3w.co/vows.chin.vets).

Looking back along the River Beane - continue with the river on your right Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Looking back along the River Beane - continue with the river on your right
6: At the point where the path forks, take the right-hand fork keeping close to the river bank. You are now on Hertford footpath 26. Continue until you reach a wooden signpost (location - https://w3w.co/dice.eggs.home), see below at a pretty bend in the river (see top photo).

Turn left at the marker and follow the black arrow signs Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Turn left at the marker and follow the black arrow signs
7: Turn left on Hertford footpath 24, and walk E for 210m across the field, under the railway, through a gate, and then up through the woodland.

8: When you reach a footpath T-junction turn left, still on Hertford footpath 24, and head NE looking out for a marker post with yellow and black arrows. Here you turn left and follow the path as it bends round to the right and continues to South Heath.

At the top of the hill, turn left and follow the black arrow signs Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
At the top of the hill, turn left and follow the black arrow signs
9: You will reach the Seacombe Road car park (location - https://w3w.co/they.chase.acted) with several paths heading off to your left. Here you will see the picnic table on your left. But your way is to take the path close to the road that heads NW across South Heath on Hertford restricted byway 9 following the marker post with the black arrow (see image below).

Cross South Heath following the black arrow signs Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Cross S Heath following the black arrow signs
10: At the NW end of South Heath you will see a path off to your left leading to wooden steps (location - https://w3w.co/lonely.drill.guards). Take this path, climb the steps, and follow it through the woodland.

At the NW end of South Heath take the wooden steps on your left
11: The path leads to a gate. Go through and continue NW until you reach a path on your right. Take this path back to the car park alongside Vicarage Lane.

Interactive map