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The North Hertfordshire Chain Walk

A 37-mile chain of seven circular routes


Scene along Walk 127: Wallington SW Loop
Scene along Walk 127: Wallington SW Loop
We have just finished the final link in a chain of seven circular walks that, together, form a 37-mile loop across the north-east of the county. It starts in Graveley heads NE to Royston via Therfield before circling back then heading SW to the starting point. If you would rather break it into two linear walks, the northerly section is 15 miles and the southerly section is 17 miles.

We have been told that the Red Lion pub, mentioned in the following directions, is currently closed (February 2024), we will update these directions and maps when we know more.

The final link in a chain of seven walks stretching across the north-east Hertfordshire countryside has just been completed.

The seven walks which make up the chain are between four and eight miles long. They start in Graveley, just north of Stevenage, then pass through several villages and hamlets before reaching Royston.

All the routes are free to download and enjoy on any device. Each has detailed directions, maps, photographs, and GPS navigation files.

Walkers can either print the walks or download them to a smartphone then follow the routes using satellite navigation. The seven routes which make up the chain are:

Walk 124: Weston South-West Loop (6.5 miles)
This section links Weston with Graveley and passes through an area where, according to a noticeboard in one of the villages, evidence has been discovered of Neolithic occupation dating from 8,000 to 4,000 BC, “succeeded by Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Normans”.

Walk 125: Weston North-East Loop (7.5 miles)
On this section you will pass through the graveyard of the Grade 1 listed Holy Trinity Church, Weston, where you might be able to spot the grave of Jack O'Legs, who is said to have robbed from the rich to give to the poor.

Walk 127: Wallington South-West Loop (5.6 miles)
The third section passes some excavation where drainage ditches dug by prisoners from the Napoleonic Wars have been unearthed. You will pass Manor Farm, which features in George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, as well as the cottage where Orwell lived for four years between 1936 and 1940.

Walk 128: Wallington East Loop (6.4 miles)
In this section you will pass Blagrove Common, described as “one of the few remaining areas of unimproved marshy grassland in Hertfordshire” which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Walk 171: Sandon East Loop (4.7 miles)
This leg passes through Sandon, a village which has 47 listed buildings, including one of Britain's estimated 200 mediaeval barns.

Walk 121: Therfield South Loop (4 miles)
As you walk this section you will pass Hawkins Wood which is a Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust nature reserve and which is worth exploring if you have time - especially when the bluebells are out.

Walk 122: Therfield North Loop (6 miles)
The final leg offers wide open views across the north-east Hertfordshire countryside and passes through the beautiful landscape around the Pen Hills. On a clear day you are supposed to be able to see Ely cathedral from one of the highest points.

Between them, the seven routes, include sections of several long-distance paths including: Those who enjoy long-distance hiking could combine sections of all seven circular walks in order to create one 32-mile north-east Hertfordshire circular route or two shorter linear legs. The northerly section is 15 miles long and the southerly section is 17 miles. 

Public transport

You could do it in two legs by catching a bus from Stevenage station to The Waggon and Horses in Graveley (13 mins), walk to Royston then catch the train back to Stevenage (22 mins). Another day you could catch a train to Royston, walk to Graveley, then catch the bus to Stevenage station. I've checked with the Arriva and Great Northern sites and have included screen grabs of sample bus and train times below.

Screen grab of the Arriva site
Screen grab of the Arriva site

Screen grab of the Great Northern site
Screen grab of the Great Northern site

The circular route of 32 miles would include about 1,800ft of ascent over the entire walk. The seven walks that make up the route pass six pubs along the way, see our page listing all the pubs on our walks.


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If you try any of the walks on this site, please let us know what you thought of them. You can either comment here, or on our members-only Facebook Group where walkers are sharing photographs of their walks and walking tips. Comments on our Facebook Group go live immediately, as they do on our Facebook Page. Comments here on our website are moderated, so there will be a slight delay before what you write goes live.

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