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Walk 108: Preston East Loop

Woodland, open fields, two pubs

4.7 miles (7.5 km) - 120m of ascent


Preston footpath 1 mentioned in point 2 below  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Preston footpath 1 mentioned in point 2 below
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

An undulating walk to the east of Preston taking in some old woodland, following some well-defined paths and tracks, and crossing fields with wide open views. You pass close to two pubs, The Red Lion at Preston and The Rusty Gun at Chapelfoot, pass the ruins of the 14-century Minsden Chapel, and visit Hill End Chalk Pit at the end of the walk.

We have two other walks in this area which share some of the paths used. They are Walk 75: Hitchwood Loop and Walk 107: Preston W Loop.

Directions



Map for Walk 108: Preston East 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 108: Preston East Loop
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors
See the interactive map below the directions for KML and GPX details


The entrance to Hitchwood - turn right and head W then WSW  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The entrance to Hitchwood - turn right and head W then WSW
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

1: Park in the free car park close to the NE corner of Hitchwood, grid reference: TL 19662 23895. From the car park cross Hitchwood Lane and enter the wood. Turn right and follow the path W and then WNW for 700m keeping Hitchwood Lane on your right until you reach a junction where you turn left, see image below.

Turn left at the marker and head SSW uphill  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Turn left at the marker and head SSW uphill
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Follow the track SSW then S for 320m to another junction in the track (see image below).

** Turn right at the marker and head SSW for 130m to Langley footpath 19  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Turn right at the marker and head SSW for 130m to Langley footpath 19
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Here you take the right fork and head SSW for 130m until you reach a track in a dip. This is Langley footpath 19.

The right turn at the end of Hitchwood mentioned in point 2 below  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The right turn at the end of Hitchwood mentioned in point 2 below
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

2: Join Langley footpath 19 and turn left, heading SW for 200m until you reach the edge of Hitchwood. Turn right here and head W, with the woodland on your right and the field on your left for 130m until you reach a footpath on your right.

The start to Kings Walden footpath 42 mentioned in point 2 below Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The start to Kings Walden footpath 42 mentioned below
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Here you turn right on Kings Walden footpath 42 and head NW through woodland for 590m before the path becomes Preston footpath 1 and continues for another 240m before becoming Crunnells Green. Continue along Crunnells Green for 360m still heading NW until it meets Back Lane at a junction.

3: Here you have a choice of going into the village of Preston if you want refreshments at The Red Lion, or continuing with the walk.
Option 1: (Orange on the maps above and below) If you want to visit The Red Lion, head NW on Back Lane for 220m until you reach a footpath on your right just after the school. Take this path, Preston footpath 3, and follow it NE for 240m to the green at Preston. After visiting The Red Lion, turn right and then head SE down School Lane for 260m until you reach the entrance to PHC school on your left. Just beyond the entrance you will see a permissive path on your left.  
Option 2: (Green on the maps above and below) Turn right on Crunnells Green and walk NE for 200m until you reach the entrance to PHC school. Just beyond the entrance you will see a permissive path on your right.
The permissive path mentioned in point 3 above  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The permissive path mentioned in point 3 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
4: Take this path and then take the right fork heading to the right of the farm buildings (see image below) and head ESE for 440m until you reach School Lane. Note, a sign at both ends of the path says it is closed on Christmas Day.

Head ESE to the right of the farm buildings  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Head ESE to the right of the farm buildings
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Langley footpath 1 mentioned in point 5 below Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Langley footpath 1 mentioned in point 5 below
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
5: Turn left on School Lane and head E for 10m to St Albans Highway where you turn left and head NNE for 50m until you reach a footpath on your right. This is Preston footpath 2. Take this path and head ESE for 300m until the path bends to the left and then heads NE for 280m bending to the right after a telegraph pole and continuing past Ponders End Farm on the left.

When we visited in July 2020 the fields along this path were ablaze with wild flowers which had attracted many butterflies which seemed happy to pose for photographs.

A comma butterfly spotted soon after point 5  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
A comma butterfly spotted soon after point 5
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

A gatekeeper butterfly spotted soon after point 5  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
A gatekeeper butterfly spotted soon after point 5
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Langley footpath 1 heading down to Chapelfoot  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Langley footpath 1 heading down to Chapelfoot
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

After Ponders End Farm the path becomes Langley footpath 1 and continues heading NE and downhill for 1.1k to London Road at Chapelfoot.

6: Turn right on London Road and head SSE along the W (right) side of the road (there is track along the verge) for 160m looking out for a bridleway on your right immediately after The Rusty Gun at Chapelfoot. (To reach the bridleway you have to walk through the pub's beer garden.)

Langley bridleway 2 which leads out of the beer garden at The Rusty Gun  Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Langley bridleway 2 which leads out of the beer garden at The Rusty Gun
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Take this track, Langley bridleway 2, and then follow it to the left as it heads S for 1.25km until you reach Whitwell Road.

7: Cross the road and take the track almost opposite to the right. This is Langley bridleway 17.  Follow this bridleway SSW then SSE for 200m until you reach a junction in the track at a sign to Hill End Chalk Pit.

The sign at Hill End Chalk Pit Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The sign at Hill End Chalk Pit
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Turn right here and go down some steps to explore the chalk pit. After visiting follow the path to the south to join Langley UCR 1 (unmettelled unclassed county road) where you turn right and head WSW to Whitwell Road. Cross the road and return to the car park.

Interactive map