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Walk 90: Heartwood Forest Loop

5 miles (8 km)


The wild flower meadows at Heartwood Forest Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The wild flower meadows at Heartwood Forest
A picturesque and varied walk taking in a part of Heartwood Forest that attracts fewer walkers - because it’s further from the car park - but which is an area rich in wildflowers and butterflies and well worth a visit. This Woodland Trust reserve has several smaller circular walks dotted around the 347-hectare (858-acre) site all close to the free car park.

Our route takes in the part of Heartwood Forest to the east of the B651 where grass meadows have been allowed to grow untamed. In this area you will also find a communal orchard of native fruit trees, and an arboretum laid out with several distinct areas of native trees.

According to the Woodland Trust, Heartwood Forest is the largest continuous new native forest in England; “a place where everyone can find space, peace, wildlife and miles of beautiful woodland to explore.”

This ramble follows the outer edge of the site and goes through the village of Sandridge where you can find refreshments.

Directions


Map for Walk 90: Heartwood Forest Loop Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors There is an interactive map below the directions
Map for Walk 90: Heartwood Forest 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 in Heartwood Forest (location - https://w3w.co/year.hang.jokes), accessible from High Street (B651).

1: Leave the car park at the gate just to the left of the disabled parking area at the point where the car park road bends round (location - https://w3w.co/grape.tested.soon). Once through the gate turn left and head ESE on Sandridge bridleway 8 for 300m until you reach High Street, Sandridge (location - https://w3w.co/agrees.tonic.sling).

2: Cross High Street and walk along Church End for 50m passing The Queen's Head on your right and continuing until you reach the gates of St Leonard’s parish church (location - https://w3w.co/tube.buzz.noble).

Enter the churchyard and walk to the left of the church following the footpath to a metal barrier. Cross a lane, go through another metal barrier and turn right on Sandridge footpath 18. Follow this path as it heads ENE for 210m until you reach Langley Grove (location - https://w3w.co/space.mint.sorters).

3: Cross Langley Grove and continue heading ENE along Sandridge footpath 18 for 90m until you come to a wooden Heartwood Forest notice board (location - https://w3w.co/firm.nets.body).

Here you take the left fork and head NNE for 840m through the Community Orchard where it bends to the right (location - https://w3w.co/smashes.woods.rises) and then bends to the left (location - https://w3w.co/begin.usage.year) and heads NNW to Coleman Green Lane (location - https://w3w.co/manage.beam.golf).

The Arboretum welcome sign at point 4 below Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The Arboretum welcome sign
4: Cross Coleman Green Lane and head NW, N, then NE for 940m on a path that will eventually take you to the Arboretum (location - https://w3w.co/soda.models.gained).

When you reach the Arboretum stop and read the information board about the different trees growing in the area (see image above). Then continue walking to the right of the sign and following the path as it heads NE until you reach a gate leading to Drovers Lane (location - https://w3w.co/could.chained.banks).

Fields of wild flowers between points 3 & 5 Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Fields of wild flowers between points 3 & 5

Many butterflies in the wild flower meadows between points 3 & 5 Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Many butterflies in the wild flower meadows between points 3 & 5
5: Cross Drovers Lane, go through another gate and head N and uphill for 180m until you reach a T-junction where your footpath meets Sandridge bridleway 7 (location - https://w3w.co/noted.festivity.dice). Turn left here and follow this path W into woodland (location - https://w3w.co/leave.belly.plant). Continue heading W for 145m back to the B651 (location - https://w3w.co/surely.boom.below).

Wild flowers between points 3 & 5  Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Wild flowers between points 3 & 5

Wild flowers between points 3 & 5  Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Wild flowers between points 3 & 5
6: Cross the B651 and walk on the N side of Ferrers Lane for 15m until you reach a crossing. Turn left, cross Ferrers Lane, turn right and head WNW though the common land for 1.2km until you reach a fork in the track (location - https://w3w.co/puddles.teach.fall), see image below. Take the left fork, see yellow arrow on image below. Continue until you reach a T-junction (location - https://w3w.co/note.stays.activism).

Take the left fork following the direction of the yellow arrow
Take the left fork following the direction of the yellow arrow
7: After turning left go through a gate and enter Heartswood Forest again. Head S and SW for 240m until you come to Round Wood (location - https://w3w.co/lakes.gains.lives). Turn right and NW for 140m ignoring the first path on your left. Continue until the path you are on bends to the left (location - https://w3w.co/tiles.agents.lived). Follow this path and head SW along the western edge of the reserve for 1km to a bridleway crossing (location - https://w3w.co/flops.snaps.cities) .

The track between points 7 & 8 Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The track between points 7 & 8
8: Cross the bridleway continue heading straight WSW for 210m until the track bends to the left (location - https://w3w.co/fits.cliff.summer) and heads SSE and uphill for 800m until you reach a bridleway T-junction (location - https://w3w.co/radio.heave.storm).

9: Turn left on Sandridge bridleway 9 and head E for 990m along the S side of the forest until you reach Sandridgebury Lane (location - https://w3w.co/pits.attend.closet).

10: Here there is a cafe and farm shop on your right (location - https://w3w.co/rigid.ridge.behave). But if you don't need refreshments turn left when you reach Sandridgebury Lane and head NE and NNE for 280m until the lane turns right (location - https://w3w.co/round.necks.worm). At this point you take the track heading NNE past the scout hut and on to a T-junction in the track (location - https://w3w.co/remark.clocks.damp).

11: Turn right on Sandridge bridleway 8 and head ESE for 190m until you reach the gate you went through at point 1 in the walk. Turn left here and walk back to the car park.

For the young at heart


While you are at Heartwood Forest take the kids on the Magical Meander and up through the Magical Wood (see map below). When on the walk see if you can spot the post with the spy-hole and view the wooden owl in the tree beyond. Or see if the younger ones can find all the wooden animals along the way. And encourage them to discover and read the hidden nature notes that are slotted into some of the posts. Great fun - and not just for the young.

Animal carvings on the Magical Meander, Heartwood Forest. Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
 

Animal carvings on the Magical Meander, Heartwood Forest. Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
 

Animal carvings on the Magical Meander, Heartwood Forest. Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
 

Animal carvings on the Magical Meander, Heartwood Forest. Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
 


After your walk you can find refreshments at one of three pubs in Sandridge. The Green Man, The Queen's Head, or the Rose and Crown.

Interactive map




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