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Walk 90: Heartwood Forest Loop

England’s largest continuous new native forest

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
Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
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.

Walking towards the newly-planted Community Orchard at Heartwood Forest  Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Walking towards the newly-planted Community Orchard at Heartwood Forest
Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Our route takes in the part to the E 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 See the interactive map below the directions for KML and GPX details
Map for Walk 90: Heartwood Forest 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 free car park in Heartwood Forest (grid ref: TL 16785 10744), 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. Once through the gate turn left and head ESE on Sandridge bridleway 8 for 300m until you reach the village of Sandridge at High Street.

2: Cross High Street and walk along Church End for 50m until you reach St Leonard’s parish church. Enter the churchyard and walk to the left of the church following the footpath to a metal gate. Cross a small lane, go through another metal gate and turn right on Sandridge footpath 18. Follow this path as it heads ENE for 210m until you reach Langley Grove.

3: Cross Langley Grove and continue along heading ENE along Sandridge footpath 18 for 90m until you come to a wooden Heartwood Forest notice board. Here you take the left fork and head NE for 840m through the Community Orchard and then NNW as the path bends to the left and eventually reaches Coleman Green Lane.

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 at point 4 below
Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

4: Cross Coleman Green Lane and continue heading NW, N, then NE for 940m on a path that will eventually take you to the Arboretum. When you reach the Arboretum stop and read the information board about the different trees growing in the area. Then continue walking to the right of the sign and following the path around until you reach a gate leading to Drovers Lane.

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
Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
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
Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
5: Cross Drovers Lane go through another gate. Continue NE for 70m until you reach a crossing where your footpath meets Sandridge bridleway 7. Turn left here and follow this path W for 145m back to the B651.

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
Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

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
Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
6: Cross the B651 and walk on the N side of Ferrers Lane for 15m until you reach a crossing. Cross Ferrers Lane and after a red dog waste bin. Turn right and head WNW though the common land for 1.2km until you reach a bridleway.

7: Here you turn left and head S and SW for 240m until you come to Round Wood. At this point you turn right then NW for for 140m ignoring the first path on your left. Continue until the path you are on turns left. Follow this path and head SW along the western edge of the reserve for 1km.

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
Image by Hertfordshire Walker shared via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

8: At a bridleway crossing continue heading straight WSW for 190 until the track turns left and heads and follow the track as it goes first west and then turns sharply and heads SSW for 800m with the forest on your left and the railway track on your right.

9: When you reach a bridleway T-junction at Cheapside Bridge, go down to the bridge and turn left and follow Sandridge bridleway 9 E for 780m along the south side of the forest. Continue until just before you reach Sandridgebury Farm. Continue heading SE for another 210m until you reach Sandridgebury Lane.

10: Here there is a cafe and farm shop. 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. At this point you take the track heading NS past the scout hut and back to the track on the south side of Heartwood Forest.

11: Turn left then first right, enter the reserve and walk back to the car park.

For the kids - and 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 spot all the wooden animals along the way. And encourage them to find 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



Interactive map