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Walk 95: Ware West Loop

Gentle walk along the banks of the River Lea Navigation


4 miles (6.4 km)


The stretch of the Hertfordshire Way between points 8 & 9 below Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The stretch of the Hertfordshire Way between points 8 & 9 below
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

This walk starts and finishes in Ware. It follows the River Lea (also known as Lee) Navigation tow path west to Hartham Common in Hertford, then loops back along the Hertfordshire Way. If you are interested in bird watching, you might want to take your binoculars because you pass King’s Meads, which, according to the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust is one of the largest water meadows in Hertfordshire, with 265 different species of wildflower and 119 bird species recorded. The return route passes the site of the former Coleman-Theobald Mill.

Directions


Map for Walk 95: Ware West Loop Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors Note: There is a larger, more detailed map embedded at the end of these directions
Map for Walk 95: Ware West Loop
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors
Note: There is a larger, more detailed map embedded at the end of these directions
If you are travelling by car, you can use the pay-and-display car park, known as the Library Car Park,  off Burgage Lane (Grid ref: TL 35635 14273). We parked for four hours for £2 because we wanted to have lunch in a nearby restaurant after our walk. The car park is ideally situated for many eating places and pubs. For those travelling by train to Ware station, we have included a short addition to the route (in orange on the maps above and below). This will add a return total of two-thirds of a mile (1000m) to your walk.

1: Take the footbridge in the south-east corner of the car park and cross the River Lea Navigation, turning right on the south side. You then head west along the southern bank of the waterway on Ware Town footpath 18. After 1.25km you will reach the A10, which passes overhead.

A narrowboat on the River Lea Navigation   Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
A narrowboat on the River Lea Navigation 
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

2: Go under the A10 and continue heading west then south-west, now on Hertford footpath 99, until you reach New Gauge, the pump house at the start of the New River - an artificial waterway opened in 1613 to supply drinking water to London.

The River Lea Navigation at the junction with the New River, mentioned in point 2 above  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The River Lea Navigation at the junction with the New River, mentioned in point 2 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

New Gauge at the start of the New River  Uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Stephen Dawson released via Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0
New Gauge at the start of the New River
Uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Stephen Dawson released via Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0
3: Continue heading west and follow the track, now Hertford footpath 33, as it swings left and heads south-west until it reaches Hertford Lock.

The path leading from New Gauge to Hertford Lock   Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The path leading from New Gauge to Hertford Lock 
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The approach to Hertford Lock - you cross the bridge at this point  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The approach to Hertford Lock - you cross the bridge at this point
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


Cross Hertford Lock to reach Hartham Common, see point 4 below  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Cross Hertford Lock to reach Hartham Common, see point 4 below
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

4: Here you turn right on Hertford footpath 23 and cross the River Lea Navigation via the lock gate bridge. Continue past the lock-keeper’s cottage on your left, and follow the path across Hartham Common and head north-west for 280m until you reach a footbridge.

5: Turn right to cross the footbridge, which is Hertford footpath 20, and then, once on the other side, follow the path, Hertford footpath 19, as it continues to head north-west for 200m until you reach another footbridge.

The footbridge mentioned in point 5 above. Turn right after crossing Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The footbridge mentioned in point 5 above. Turn right after crossing
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

6: Immediately after the footbridge take the path on your right, Hertford footpath 17, as it heads north-east for 140m to another footbridge, this time crossing the River Rib. Follow the path round to your left.

The footbridge over the River Rib, mentioned in point 6 above Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The footbridge over the River Rib, mentioned in point 6 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
7: When you reach the lane - Ware Park Road - turn right and then take the first turning on your right. This is the Hertfordshire Way, Hertford bridleway 97. Take this track as it heads south-east then east passing cottages on your left and following the river on your right. After 600m you will reach the site of the former Coleman-Theobald Mill, at this point you are walking on Hertford restricted byway 97.

The site of the former Coleman-Theobald Mill, mentioned in point 7 above Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The site of the former Coleman-Theobald Mill, mentioned in point 7 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

8: After leaving the site of the mill, continue heading east and then north-east along the Hertfordshire Way for 600m until you see a step stile on your right.

The step stile mentioned in point 8 above - take this as it drops down towards the river Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The step stile mentioned in point 8 above - take this as it drops down towards the river
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

9: Take this path, Hertford footpath 100, as it continues heading east, and goes under the A10. The path then climbs up to playing fields, now Ware Town footpath 16, where it bends to the right of the football pitches and then follows the bank of the river and continues to head east.

The path skirting to the right of the playing field mentioned in point 9 above Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The path skirting to the right of the playing field mentioned in point 9 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

10: At the end of the playing field, the path swings to the left to reach another footpath. Here you turn right and take Ware Town footpath 17 over the footbridge crossing the River Lea Navigation. After crossing the river, turn left and retrace your steps along Ware Town footpath 18 back to the car park.

Interactive map