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Walk 182: Hertford to Watton-at-Stone Linear

5.6 miles (9.1 km) with 350 ft of ascent


A field of poppies just after point 9 in the directions below
A field of poppies just after point 9 in the directions below
This lovely linear walk between Hertford North station and Watton-at-Stone station follows the River Beane. The route crosses Waterford Marsh and Waterford Heath, and passes through the grounds of Woodhall Park. There are two pubs close to the finish point, The George and Dragon and The Bull, as well as Crumbs bakery and cafe. A short detour to visit all three is included towards the end of the directions. There is one pub, The Millstream, close the the start of the walk.

Directions


Map for Walk 182: Hertford to Watton-at-Stone Linear
Map for Walk 182: Hertford to Watton-at-Stone Linear
Click here or on the map for a larger version
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors

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

1: Leave Hertford North station at the North Road exit (location - https://w3w.co/ripe.intervals.merit), then cross North Road via the pedestrian crossing. Once on the other side, turn left then head NNE for 40m until you reach Beane Road on the right (location - https://w3w.co/meant.leader.agreed). Turn right on Beane Road then head NE for 310m until you reach Moleswood Road on the left (location - https://w3w.co/humid.bath.fish).
* I realise it's early in the walk, but if you already need refreshments there is a pub a short walk from this point. It's The Millstream (location - https://w3w.co/daring.lung.score), 115m to the right along Port Vale.
2: Turn left on Moleswood Road then head NNW for 290m until you reach a footpath going uphill to the right (location - https://w3w.co/shot.pipes.corner).

Ignore the footpath on the right and continue heading NNW
Ignore the footpath on the right and continue heading NNW
3: Ignore the footpath on the right, see image above, and continue heading NNW, now on Hertford footpath 95, for 285m until you reach Moleswood Lodge on the left and the former Borough of Hertford Water Works on the right (location - https://w3w.co/sounds.limit.error).

Those interested in industrial archaeology might want to look out for the old Hertford Water Works at this point, as well as some leftover pieces of machinery.

Hertford Water Works erected 1888
Hertford Water Works erected 1888

Rusting water works machinery
Rusting water works machinery

Sluice gates further along the River Beane
Sluice gates further along the River Beane

Turn left on Hertford footpath 93
Turn left on Hertford footpath 93
4: Turn left after Moleswood Lodge on Hertford footpath 93, see image above, then head NW, passing under the railway line (location - https://w3w.co/talent.swift.groups), then continuing for 295m until you reach North Road, the A119 (location - https://w3w.co/trails.trim.either).

5: Turn right on North Road then head N along the pedestrian pavement for 360m looking out for a footpath on the right just before a bridge over the River Beane (location - https://w3w.co/gaps.guitar.apple).

Turn right on Hertford footpath 26
Turn right on Hertford footpath 26
6: Turn right on Hertford footpath 26, then follow it NE for 50m until you reach a gate leading to Waterford Marsh, see image below.

The entrance to Waterford Marsh on Hertford footpath 26
The entrance to Waterford Marsh on Hertford footpath 26
Continue heading NE, then NW across Waterford Marsh keeping close to the eastern bank of the River Beane on your left.

After 890m the path you are on crosses the parish boundary and becomes Stapleford footpath 2 (location - https://w3w.co/chin.nation.rider). This is a lovely stretch with several benches facing the river for those who want to take a break and soak in the view.

Hertford footpath 26 running alongside the River Beane
Hertford footpath 26 running alongside the River Beane
Continue to follow Stapleford footpath 2 N for 400m until you reach Vicarage Lane in Waterford (location - https://w3w.co/thank.crowds.test).

Stapleford footpath 2 continuing at the end of Barley Croft
7: Turn right on Vicarage Lane then head E for 60m until you reach Barley Croft on the left (location - https://w3w.co/crust.rises.cafe). Turn left on Barely Croft then head N for 105m, still on Stapleford footpath 2, until you pass the last house (location - https://w3w.co/boxer.twigs.letter), see image above. Follow the path for 145m, crossing a field and continuing until you reach a tunnel under the railway, see image below.

Go under the railway line again and continue heading NNE
Go under the railway line again and continue heading NNE

The route follows the River Beane through Waterford Heath
The route follows the River Beane through Waterford Heath
Go under the railway line (location - https://w3w.co/from.beams.donor) and continue heading NNE, still on Stapleford footpath 2, through the river section of Waterford Heath for 280m until you reach Bullsmill Lane (location - https://w3w.co/fingernails.shovels.films).

Take the track on the right off Bullsmill Lane
The track on the right off Bullsmill Lane
8: Turn left on Bullsmill Lane then head N for 50m until you reach a track on the right (location - https://w3w.co/final.wires.alert), see image above. Turn right on the track then follow it NNE for 220m until it bends right. Ahead you will see a footpath sign to the right of a gate (location - https://w3w.co/fell.drops.moss).

Head NNE on Stapleford footpath 3 for 120m until you reach a junction
Head NNE on Stapleford footpath 3 for 120m until you reach a junction
9: Take this footpath, Stapleford footpath 3, and head NNE for 120m until you reach a junction. Keep left, still on Stapleford footpath 3 (location - https://w3w.co/bumpy.speak.warm), following the path into woodland. The footpath heads NNW for 85m before heading NNE, N, then NNW alongside the eastern bank of the River Beane for 915m until it reaches Church Lane, Stapleford (location - https://w3w.co/fonts.vent.proof).

Sacombe footpath 18 at the end of Clusterbolts
Sacombe footpath 18 at the end of Clusterbolts
10: Turn right on Church Lane then head E for 50m until you reach Clusterbolts on the left (location - https://w3w.co/rush.venues.fits). Head NNE along Clusterbolts for 240m until you reach a footpath to the left of the last house (location - https://w3w.co/card.aware.living), see image above.

Sacombe footpath 18 with the River Beane on the left
Sacombe footpath 18 with the River Beane on the left
Take this path, Sacombe footpath 18, then follow it N, NNE, then N for 590m until you reach a junction (location - https://w3w.co/worker.flock.casino).

Sacombe footpath 18 heading NNE
Sacombe footpath 18 heading NNE
11: Continue heading NNE, still on Sacombe footpath 18, for 370m until the path crosses the parish boundary and becomes Watton-at-Stone footpath 12A (location - https://w3w.co/stage.bonds.charm).

Go through the metal gate then continue NNE for 60m to a junction
Go through the metal gate then continue NNE for 60m to a junction
Keep heading NNE, now on Watton-at-Stone footpath 12A, go through a metal gate, then continue heading NNE for 60m until you reach a footpath junction (location - https://w3w.co/drove.chips.unless).

Turn left on Watton-at-Stone footpath 10A then head NNW
Turn left on Watton-at-Stone footpath 10A then head NNW
Turn left on Watton-at-Stone footpath 10A then head NNW for 70m to a stone bridge just before a footpath junction (location - https://w3w.co/almost.remark.bolt), see image below. You are now walking through Woodhall Park.

Cross the bridge then turn left on Watton-at-Stone footpath 10
Cross the bridge then turn left on Watton-at-Stone footpath 10
Cross the bridge then turn left on Watton-at-Stone footpath 10. Head W for 110m at which point the path you are on becomes Watton-at-Stone footpath 12 (location - https://w3w.co/store.stored.tribune).



Look out for information boards explaining the environmental work that is being carried out as part of the Woodhall Park River Beane Project.

River Beane flowing through Woodhall Park
River Beane flowing through Woodhall Park

Weir on River Beane in Woodhall Park
Weir on River Beane in Woodhall Park

The widened section of the River Beane through Woodhall Park
The widened section of the River Beane through Woodhall Park
Evidence of the River Beane Project is visible in all directions at this point. Unfortunatly it was raining heavily when we walked this stretch at the end of May 2022 and so the photographs, above, are not great. Keep heading W, now on Watton-at-Stone footpath 12, for 620m crossing the River Beane (location - https://w3w.co/burns.timing.lend) and continuing until you reach the A119 (location - https://w3w.co/elite.jumped.bumpy).

Cross the A119 then take the footpath on the opposite side
12: Cross the A119, taking the footpath on the opposite side. This is Watton-at-Stone footpath 24, which you follow NW for 60m to a junction (location - https://w3w.co/pile.table.sing).

The junction where you can follow Watton-at-Stone footpath 24 or take a detour
Here you have two options. You could continue to follow Watton-at-Stone footpath 24 for 910m crossing a field, walking through a short stretch of woodland, and across another field until you reach Perrywood Lane (location - https://w3w.co/counts.page.prep), or, if the field has recently been ploughed or planted and not yet reinstated, there is an alternative detour along a permissive path and a public right of way. Both end up at the same point. I have included a map showing the detour in orange below.

The optional detour mentioned above in orange
Click here or on the map for a larger version
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors
13: Turn right on Perrywood Lane then head N for 120m until you reach Church Lane on the left (location - https://w3w.co/album.wide.tulip). Turn left on Church Lane.
* Just past the church of St Andrew and St Mary on Church Lane, there is a footpath which offers the option of a detour for refreshments. There are three options The Bull (location - https://w3w.co/amuse.skills.supply), a Crumbs bakery and cafe next door to The Bull, and The George and Dragon (location - https://w3w.co/blur.line.reap). We have not tried the cafe, but we have visited both pubs and they both serve excellent real ale. If you take that detour (see map below), you can continue to Watton-at-Stone station after your refreshments by heading NW on High Street then turning left and heading SW on Station Road to Watton-at-Stone station.
The detour in orange for those wanting refreshments
The detour in orange for those wanting refreshments
Click here or on the map for a larger version
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors
If you don't take the detour, head NW for 305m along Church Lane looking out for a footpath on the right (location - https://w3w.co/brains.look.gently).

Turn right on Watton-at-Stone footpath 17
Turn right on Watton-at-Stone footpath 17

14:
Turn right on Watton-at-Stone footpath 17 then follow it NW for 190m until you reach Glebe Close (location - https://w3w.co/newest.scars.escape). Head N along Glebe Close for 140m until you reach Station Road (location - https://w3w.co/taken.settle.spoke).

Watton-at-Stone station at the end of the walk
Watton-at-Stone station at the end of the walk

15:
Turn left on Station Road then head WSW for 140m to Watton-at-Stone station (location - https://w3w.co/about.slick.finely).

If you have any comments about this walk, or tips for other walkers, please use the comment box at the foot of these directions. Thanks

And thanks to Mustafa Suleman for suggesting we map, test and add this walk to our collection.

Interactive map





Stapleford Along the Beane brochure




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