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Walk 143: Wheathampstead North Loop

7.2 miles (11.4 km) with 380ft of ascent


The bridleway between points 6 & 7
The bridleway between points 6 & 7
This is one of our favourite walks in the collection. It starts in the village of Wheathampstead which has several cafes and restaurants and three pubs. There is a car park which, at the time of writing, is free of charge. The route follows the Lea Valley Walk before following a disused railway branch line, the Ayot Greenway, then looping round to the north passing close to two more pubs before returning to Wheathampstead.

Directions


Map for Walk 143: Wheathampstead North Loop Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors There is an interactive map below these directions
Map for Walk 143: Wheathampstead North Loop
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors

There is an interactive map below these directions
Those with GPS devices can download GPX or KML files for the walk. We've added What3Words 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.

Park in the East Lane car park in Wheathampstead (location - https://w3w.co/rated.empire.held). The parish council's website says that parking is free of charge, but check in case the situation has changed since these directions were written. When parking make sure you park in the local authority car park and not the one adjacent belonging to The Bull pub, which is for customers only.

1: Leave the East Lane car park turn left and head NE along East Lane and then along Meads Lane for 190m until it becomes a track (location - https://w3w.co/shady.cafe.signal). This is the Lea Valley Walk. Continue heading NE, now on Wheathampstead footpath 71, for 30m until you reach a footpath on your left leading to a footbridge over the River Lea (location - https://w3w.co/ranges.comet.club).

Turn left over the footbridge to join the Lea Valley Walk
Turn left over the footbridge to join the Lea Valley Walk - point 1
2: Turn left and head NNW and cross the River Lea. This is a great spot for paddling. Immediately after crossing the river turn right, still on the Lea Valley Walk (location - https://w3w.co/quite.needed.cable) and follow it NE then E for 220m until you join Wheathampstead bridleway 12 (location - https://w3w.co/twig.builds.bunk). Turn right and follow this bridleway SE, E, then SE again for 430m until you reach a left turn leading to a junction (location - https://w3w.co/legend.finishing.grain).

3: At the junction turn left on Wheathampstead BOAT 4 (byway open to all traffic) and head NNE and uphill for 270m until you reach Ayot Greenway (location - https://w3w.co/points.mugs.final). The Greenway is the route of the former branch line between Welwyn Garden City, Luton and Dunstable.

The right turn onto Ayot Greenway - point 4
The right turn leading to Ayot Greenway - point 3
4: Turn right on Ayot Greenway and follow it E for 2km until you reach a footpath on the left shortly before a bridge (location - https://w3w.co/fade.noble.roof).

The view south from Ayot Greenway between points 4 & 5
The view south from Ayot Greenway between points 4 & 5


Turn left before the bridge on Wheathampstead footpath 89
Turn left before the bridge and take Wheathampstead footpath 89
5: Turn left on Wheathampstead footpath 89 and follow it uphill and ENE for 55m until you reach a track. Turn left on the track, still on Wheathampstead footpath 89, and head N, NW, then NE for 1.2km until you reach a footpath junction (location - https://w3w.co/curve.mining.calls). This section was ablaze with rose bushes when we did this walk mid June.

Rose bushes along Wheathampstead footpath 89
Rose bushes along Wheathampstead footpath 89
6: When you reach the junction, turn left on Wheathampstead bridleway 11 - which is also Ayot St Peter bridleway 16 at this point - and head NW for 200m until you reach Codicote Road (location - https://w3w.co/spins.amused.liked).
* For those interested in why some footpaths, bridleways or byways have two parish names, it usually means that the public right of way straddles a parish boundary.
Turn left at the junction - point 6
Turn left at the junction - point 6
7: Cross Codicote Road and continue on Wheathampstead bridleway 11 - which at this point is also Ayot St Lawrence bridleway 2 - and head NNW for 760m.
* Soon after crossing Codicote Road you pass Stocking Springs Wood on your right (location - https://w3w.co/passes.closes.yours). You can wander through this Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust nature reserve on a path parallel that runs parallel to our route and rejoin it further along.
The southern entrance to Stocking Springs
The southern entrance to Stocking Springs Wood
Soon after the Stocking Spring Wood path rejoins the route from the right (location - https://w3w.co/finds.dips.humid), the bridleway you are on continues as Ayot St Lawrence bridleway 2 but is also Wheathampstead bridleway 1 for this section. Continue heading NNW for 770m until you reach Bride Hall Lane (location - https://w3w.co/frog.teeth.forks).

8 Turn right on Bride Hall Lane and head N. After 160m you will pass Shaw's Corner on your left (location - https://w3w.co/charge.hung.mull). This ia the former home of the author George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) which is now maintained by The National Trust. Continue for 150m until the road bends to the right with a gravel track on your left (location - https://w3w.co/mull.cave.boring).
* At this point you could take a short detour to the right to visit the ruins of the old Ayot St Lawrence church (location - https://w3w.co/grapes.basket.flips) and then on to The Brocket Arms pub/restaurant (location - https://w3w.co/both.universally.city).
The ruins of the old church in Ayot St Lawrence
The ruins of the old church in Ayot St Lawrence
9: If you don't take the detour, turn left on a gravel track (location - https://w3w.co/mull.cave.boring) and head NW for 20m until you reach a gate (location - https://w3w.co/unrealistic.boxer.dash), see image below. Go through the gate and turn left on Ayot St Lawrence footpath 6. Head WSW on this footpath for 290m until you reach a three-way junction with a track going off to your right and Bibbs Hall Lane on your left (location - https://w3w.co/wash.range.weedy).

Go through the gate and turn left on Ayot St Lawrence footpath 6
Go through the gate and turn left on Ayot St Lawrence footpath 6
10: Turn right on Bibbs Hall Lane and head WSW for 40m looking out for a footpath on your left (location - https://w3w.co/skins.driver.player). Take this path, Kimpton footpath 13, and head SW for 160m to a footpath junction (location - https://w3w.co/bricks.powder.filed).

11: Turn right at the junction, still on Kimpton footpath 13, and follow it ESE for 220m until you reach a footpath crossing (location - https://w3w.co/leader.trials.stand). Continue heading W, now on Wheathampstead footpath 36, ignoring footpaths to your right and left. Follow this footpath for 900m until you reach Lamer Wood (location - https://w3w.co/learn.assure.suffice) where Wheathampstead footpath 36 is also Kimpton footpath 12 for 650m until you reach Ballsclough Hill (location - https://w3w.co/flap.coffee.always).

12: Turn left on Ballsclough Hill and head SW for 190m passing the Cross Keys pub/restaurant on your right (location - https://w3w.co/alien.smooth.paint) and continuing until you reach Kimpton Road (location - https://w3w.co/detect.store.index). Cross Kimpton Road and head SW along The Slype which runs across Gustard Wood Common for 230m before reaching a lane called Gustard Wood, which is also Wheathampstead bridleway 103 (location - https://w3w.co/headed.claps.rinse).

The left turn leading to Wheathampstead bridleway 103
The left turn leading to Wheathampstead bridleway 103 - point 13
13: Turn left on this bridleway and head S for 540m until you reach a bridleway junction (location - https://w3w.co/dragon.wheels.fell), see image below.

Continue heading S now on Wheathampstead bridleway 58 - point 14
14: Continue straight, heading S now on Wheathampstead bridleway 58 for 150m with the barn on the right and the golf course on the left, and follow the track round as it turns right and heads W at the end of the barn before reaching a junction (location - https://w3w.co/shorts.dogs.host).

Wheathampstead bridleway 58 heading S in the direction of the trees
Wheathampstead bridleway 58 heading S in the direction of the trees
15: Turn left, still on Wheathampstead bridleway 58, and head S for 260m until you reach another junction (location - https://w3w.co/ranked.bridge.cool) just beyond a tree, see image below.

Keep to the left after the tree, now on Wheathampstead bridleway 10
Keep to the left after the tree, now on Wheathampstead bridleway 10
16: Continue heading S then SSE, now on Wheathampstead bridleway 10, until you reach farm buildings on the right (location - https://w3w.co/format.vocal.wells).

Poppies in the hedgerow between points 16 & 17
Poppies in the hedgerow between points 16 & 17
17: After you pass the farm buildings take the footpath on the right, Wheathampstead footpath 59 (location - https://w3w.co/spirit.water.smug), see image below, and head S for 340m until you reach Lower Luton Road (location - https://w3w.co/blog.crisis.circle).

The gate leading to Wheathampstead footpath 59
The gate leading to Wheathampstead footpath 59
18: Cross Lower Luton Road and take Wheathampstead footpath 64 on the opposite side. Follow this footpath S crossing the River Lea, see image below.

Wheathampstead footpath 64 crossing the River Lea - point 18
Wheathampstead footpath 64 crossing the River Lea - point 18
Continue along Wheathampstead footpath 64, now heading SE, for 390m until you reach a play area (location - https://w3w.co/kept.weeks.mint), see image below.

Keep to the left of the play area - point 19
Keep to the left of the play area - point 19
19: Keep to the left of the play area and continue heading SE for 200m to High Street, Wheathampstead (location - https://w3w.co/ramp.rigid.washed). Cross High Street and head ESE along East Lane for 100m back to the car park.

There are a number of places to eat in Wheathampstead and three pubs close to the start and finish point. They are The Bull (location - https://w3w.co/flown.rents.sage), The Reading Rooms (location - https://w3w.co/just.square.snake), and The Swan (location - https://w3w.co/forgot.cooks.when).

Interactive map





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