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Walk 84: Waterford Heath Loop

2 miles (3.2 km) with 100 ft of ascent


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 which features marshland alongside a rare chalk-bed river and deep woodland. The route has a fair amount of up and down as you loop across heaths, down to the river, and back up through the woods. There are notices along the way asking dog owners to keep their pets on a lead.

There is a free car park (at time of writing). We recommend you approach the car park on Vicarage Lane from the east and not the west. Click here for our suggested route.

Unlike most of our walks, this route doesn't pass close to a pub or a cafe, so take refreshments with you. There is an elevated picnic table three quarters of the way round affording great views. The nearest places to find refreshments are in Bengeo which is about a mile to the south of the start and finish point by road. They are The Greyhound (location - https://w3w.co/helps.blunt.calculating), The White Lion (location - https://w3w.co/golf.cabin.thick), and The Secret Garden cafe (location - https://w3w.co/define.knots.gift).

The starting point is two miles N from Hertford North station by road. We have another walk in this area. It's Walk 203: Waterford Heath South-West Loop.

Directions


Map for Walk 84: Waterford Heath Loop
Map for Walk 84: Waterford Heath Loop
Click here or on the map above for a larger version
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.

From the 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 Sacombe Road car park (location - https://w3w.co/they.chase.acted) with several paths heading off to your left. You take the path closest to the road (location - https://w3w.co/bugs.cliff.pads) which you follow it as it heads along the edge of woodland, first N then NW for 700m before reaching the car park alongside Vicarage Lane.

Getting to the car park


We recommend you approach the car park on Vicarage Lane from the east and not the west.

If you approach from the west the lane is narrow with few passing places and there is a sharp bend over the railway bridge where we got trapped in a traffic jam caused by an articulated truck getting stuck. It took half an hour to clear.

A local resident told us it is far better to approach the car park via Bulls Mill Lane, Sacombe Road, then Vicarage Lane. They were right. We rerouted that way. I have created a map (below) to show the recommended route to the car park in green and the narrower route in red. Click on the map for a larger version.

Recommended route to car park in green
Recommended route to car park in green
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors
Click here to return to the start of the directions for the walk.

Interactive map




4 comments:

  1. I really wonderfull well thought out walk. The autumn colours are on their way and the last summer rays were on us today. There are some fantastic views as well as magical little woodland and river paths. There really is a great deal to love about this walk and an introduction to an area that is ripe for future exploring. Thank you. Daniel, Iwona, Sara and Casper.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Daniel, Iwona, Sara and Casper,
    Glad you enjoyed it. Ellie and I did, too. We wondered whether it was too short to add to the collection, but the mix of landscapes in such a compact area convinced us that it's a good addition, especially for those who may not be able to walk too far.
    David

    ReplyDelete
  3. Enjoyed this walk. Quite a hill towards the end but luckily was in the shade.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, quite a climb, hope you enjoyed it.

      Delete

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