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Walk 96: Hunsdon West Loop

Rivers, wide open views, and woodland

7 miles - (11 km)


The River Ash south-west of Wareside mentioned in point 10 below  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The River Ash south-west of Wareside mentioned in point 10
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

This is a great ramble if you want wide open views across the east Hertfordshire countryside. You will be walking along well-marked bridleways and footpaths, over farmland, through woodland, and by the side of rivers. The walk can be muddy in parts, especially where the route cuts across fields. The walk starts and finishes in the village of Hunsdon which is on a bus route. There are two pubs in the village - The Crown and The Fox & Hounds, - which serve food. There is also a village shop at the beginning of the route where you can buy refreshments.

Directions


Map for Walk 96: Hunsdon West 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 96: Hunsdon West 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 on the High Street (the B180), in Hunsdon. Check whether any parking restrictions have been added since this walk was written. Walk SW along High Street, past The Fox & Hounds restaurant and pub, and past the village store, and continue until you reach a footpath on your right, at the point where the road bends to your left. This is Hunsdon footpath 6.

Hunsdon footpath 6 just after you leave the village - mentioned in point 1 below Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Hunsdon footpath 6 just after you leave the village - mentioned in point 1 below
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
1: Turn right on Hunsdon footpath 6, and follow it W for 150m until you reach Tanner’s Way. Cross this lane, and take the footpath directly opposite, still Hunsdon footpath 6, and follow it SW, with the hedge on your right and the field on your left, for 320m until you reach a track (Hunsdon restricted byway 3).

The junction mentioned in point 1 - turn right, cross the stream, then turn left  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The junction mentioned in point 2 below - turn right, cross the stream, then turn left
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

2: At this junction turn right on Hunsdon restricted byway 3 for 50m and cross a stream. Immediately after the stream take the path on your left (still Hunsdon footpath 6), and follow this SW, with the stream on your left, until you come to a footpath junction where four tracks meet. These are Hunsdon footpaths 6, 7, 8, and 9.

The junction where four footpaths meet - mentioned in point 2  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The junction where four footpaths meet - mentioned in point 2 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
3: Take the right-hand path (Hunsdon footpath 7), which heads WSW through the crops.

If it is muddy, or if the path is not clear, you can follow the right-hand edge of the field and head W for 200m before turning left at the edge of the field and heading SSW for 100m to the point where Hunsdon footpath 7 reaches the hedgerow in the far corner of the field. You can pick up the route from there. This detour is shown in red on the maps above and below. 

The path through the hedgerow is a bit overgrown (see image below).

The path through the hedgerow mentioned in point 3 above Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The path through the hedgerow mentioned in point 3 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
4: As you make your way through the hedgerow you will pass a small pond on your right (see image below). After passing the pond you will come to the junction of two paths (see second image below). You take the path heading SW towards the gap between Black Bushes (woodland), and Newgate Wood in the distance. This is Stanstead Abbots footpath 6a.

The pond mentioned in point 4 above Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The pond mentioned in point 4 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The junction mentioned in point 4 above - you head for the gap between the two wooded areas Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The junction mentioned in point 4 above - head for the gap between the two wooded areas
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

5: After 520m you will reach Black Bushes at a point where a track crosses your way. You cross the track and continue heading SW with Black Bushes on your left. As you pass the end of Black Bushes you will come to a muddy bit. We managed to get round it without too much trouble. Your way is to continue on Stanstead Abbots footpath 6a, passing a small pond on your right (see first image below), and continuing until you reach a small copse called Thirsty Spring. Here the path veers slightly to the left, keeping the woodland on your right (see second image below).

The path at the western tip of Black Bushes, mentioned in point 5 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The path where it reaches Thirsty Spring, mentioned in point 5 above - here you turn left Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The path goes to the left of Thirsty Spring, mentioned in point 5 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
6: Continue walking past Thirsty Spring heading SW for 800m where the path drops down through a gate (see image below), and continues SW with a stream on your left until the path reaches a footbridge leading to a gravelled track, this is Stanstead Abbots bridleway 18.

The gate mentioned in point 6 above Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The gate mentioned in point 6 above towards the end of Stanstead Abbots footpath 6a
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

7: Turn right on Stanstead Abbots bridleway 18, and head NW for 90m until you reach some cottages. Here the bridleway heads N before going through the farmyard at Little Briggens. Once through the farmyard the bridleway swings to the left, and then heads NW and then WNW for 690m until it reaches another track crossing from left to right.

The junction mentioned in point 7 above - you carry straight on heading west-north-west Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The junction mentioned in points 7 and 8 - you carry straight on heading west-north-west
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

8: Ignore this track, and continue heading WNW along Stanstead Abbots bridleway 18 for another 500m until you meet a T-junction.

The footpath T-junction mentioned in point 8 above - you turn right here  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The footpath T-junction mentioned in point 8 above - turn right here
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
9: At the T-junction, turn right on Stanstead Abbots footpath 16, and head N through Easneye Wood, eventually dropping down to a bridge and a ford crossing the River Ash.


Stanstead Abbots footpath 16 approaching Easneye Wood - mentioned in point 9 above  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Stanstead Abbots footpath 16 approaching Easneye Wood - mentioned in point 9 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Stanstead Abbots footpath 16 through Easneye Wood - mentioned in point 9 above  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Stanstead Abbots footpath 16 going through Easneye Wood - mentioned in point 9 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
10: Cross the bridge over the River Ash, and then turn right following the route of the now-dismantled Buntingford branch line, and head NE for 250m until you reach Hopneye Cottage and Wareside footpath 38 to the right.

Hopneye Cottage and Wareside footpath 38 - mentioned in point 10 above  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Hopneye Cottage and Wareside footpath 38 - mentioned in point 10 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
11: Take Wareside footpath 36 to the right of Hopneye Cottage and climb the hill heading ESE for 310m until you reach a T-junction.

Take Wareside bridleway 23 down to the River Ash  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Take Wareside bridleway 23 down to the River Ash - mentioned in point 12 below
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

12: Turn left on this bridleway, Wareside bridleway 23, and follow it as it heads NNE for  400m down to a footbridge over the River Ash (see image below). Cross the bridge and continue heading NE until you reach the route of the dismantled railway again.

If the footbridge over the River Ash is still closed, take the detour mentioned above  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
If the footbridge over the River Ash is still closed, take the detour mentioned above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
13: When you reach the old railway bridge, turn right and follow Wareside bridleway 20 SE for 160m until it crosses another footbridge over the River Ash.

At the railway bridge turn right and follow Wareside bridleway 20 south-east
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

14: Immediately after the footbridge over the River Ash, turn left and take Wareside bridleway 18 as it heads NE following the River Ash, which is now on your left, for 1km until you reach a footpath junction to the left of Hogham’s Plantation.

Continue past this stile and then turn right following the footpath up the hill Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Continue past this stile and then turn right following the footpath up the hill
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
15: You now head uphill and SE on Wareside footpath 19 between Hogham’s Plantation and Hogham’s Wood for 240m until you reach the top of the hill where you will find a stile and a strategically positioned bench - very welcome after the climb.

Nice to find a bench at the top of the hill by Hogham’s Wood
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
16: Cross the field on Wareside footpath 19, which is cut through the crops, and head SSE and S for 320m until you reach Thistly Wood. The path skirts the wood and leads to a footbridge between two fields (see image below). At this point the path becomes Hunsdon footpath 13, and crosses the next field.

The footbridge mentioned in point 16 above Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The footbridge mentioned in point 16 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

17: Hunsdon footpath 13 then heads SE for 460m crossing a field and going over two footbridges before reaching Hunsdon restricted byway 12.

First of the two footbridges on Hunsdon footpath 13 - mentioned in point 17 above Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
First of the two footbridges on Hunsdon footpath 13 - mentioned in point 17 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Second of the two footbridges on Hunsdon footpath 13 - mentioned in point 17 above Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Second of the two footbridges on Hunsdon footpath 13 - mentioned in point 17 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
18: Turn right on Hunsdon restricted byway 12, and follow it for 1.2km as it heads first S, then SE back to High Street in Hunsdon village where you started the walk.




Interactive map