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Walk 230: Welwyn Garden City short loop

2 miles (3.3 km) with 42m total ascent


The Ayot Greenway through Sherrardspark Wood
The Ayot Greenway through Sherrardspark Wood
We've had many requests for walks in the shade and for walks on the flat, so we decided to add this short walk to try to meet both needs. The route starts and finishes in the car park at Campus West in Welwyn Garden City then heads west along the eastern section of Ayot Greenway through Sharrardspark Wood, which is one of Hertfordshire's largest and most important oak and hornbeam woodlands, before returning the same way.

We hadn't planned to add this walk until a hot June morning in 2023 when we had to nip into Welwyn Garden City and wanted to escape the sun and heat with a shady walk on the flat. 

The route is ideal for people with buggies or mobility issues because there is a ramp at the beginning and end, and it follows the surfaced former track of what was the Hertford, Luton and Dunstable branch line, parts of which make up The Ayot Greenway.

Directions


Map for Walk 230: Welwyn Garden City Linear Loop
Map for Walk 230: Welwyn Garden City Linear Loop
Click on the map above for a larger version
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors

There is an interactive map embedded at the end of these directions
Those with GPS devices can download GPX or KML files for this 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 such as photographs.

If you travel by car you can park in the Campus West car park (location - https://w3w.co/offers.oiled.bath). If you travel by train there is an 850m walk from Welwyn Garden City Station to the starting point (see map below).

The route from Welwyn Garden City Station to the start
The route from Welwyn Garden City Station to the start
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors

You have to pay to use the car park at Campus West. The machine, when we visited, took cards and cash. You can also pay by phone - see photographs below.

Charges at Campus West Car park as of June 12, 2023
Charges at Campus West Car park as of June 12, 2023

The payment machine at Campus West car park
The payment machine at Campus West car park
1: At the NE corner (top right) of the disabled parking area of the car park (location - https://w3w.co/insist.tricks.jelly) look for a wooden sign which reads "Disabled Access To Ayot Greenway" which points to a ramp (location - https://w3w.co/eager.twins.pill). The ramp leads down to the former track and the path you will follow, see image below.

At the access sign turn left down the ramp to the track
After the access sign turn left down the ramp to the track
Once on the track turn left then follow it WSW, then W, then NW for 1.4km until you reach a ramp (location - https://w3w.co/farms.cowboy.alive), see image below.

The ramp at point 2 in the walk
The ramp at point 2 in the walk
2: At the ramp you could either turn back (which would reduce the overall walk to about 1.7 miles in total) or continue heading NW for another 270m to reach Digswell Hill and the option of visiting The Red Lion (location - https://w3w.co/aspect.risk.edge) or The Waggoners on Brickwall Close the other side of the A1(M) - (location - https://w3w.co/report.trip.stove) for refreshments.

3: From Digswell Hill turn back and retrace your steps to the start point. Along the way there are several options to branch off to the right and left in order to explore Sharrardspark Wood, which has some lovely paths weaving through this ancient woodland. At times it's hard to believe you are so close to Welwyn Garden City, see photographs below.

One of the paths leading to Sherrardspark Woods One of the paths leading to Sherrardspark Wood
One of the paths leading to Sherrardspark Wood

Some of the paths in the woods are not suitable for buggies
Some of the paths in the wood are not suitable for buggies

The network of paths weaves through Sharrardspark Wood
Once you are back on Welwyn Garden City there are several restaurants, cafes and pubs.

Interactive map




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