An undulating linear route passing four pubs
9 miles (14.5 km)
A stretching walk from Hatfield station, over the tops to West End, Essendon and via Wildhill back to Brookmans Park. Ideal if you want to leave the car at home and have a few pints on the way. Can be muddy in places after rain. Some gentle hill climbing involved.
- Leave Hatfield station and cross the road, heading head down the lane that runs alongside The Great Northern pub.
- At the bottom of the lane, turn left, go under the viaduct and continue along Park Street, keeping right until you reach The Old Hertford Road.
- Turn right on The Old Hertford Road until you meet Hertford Road, turn right, cross over the A414 and turn right down a footpath as soon as you cross the bridge.
- Continue along this footpath until you reach Bush Hall Lane. Continue, passing Mill Green mill on your left.
- At the point where Bush Hall Lane joins the A414 to Hertford take the footpath to your left, which continues alongside the A414 heading east. This bit of the walk is a bit noisy, but it is less than 10 mins.
- When you reach Gypsy Lane (by the Mill Green Golf Club), turn right and cross the A414 (needless to say great care is required to cross this busy dual carriageway). Head south down the lane opposite, past a woodmill on your right, and down to a bridge over the River Lea.
- As soon as you cross the River Lea turn left and follow the road until it turns sharply to the right.
- At this point you take the footpath straight ahead which follows the southern bank of the River Lea.
- Follow this until you reach open fields and, soon after, a bridlepath to your right which heads south. At this point you will have walked 2.5 miles since the start. Continue heading south on this bridelpath until you emerge on West End Lane.
- Here you turn left, (if you want refreshments, turn right and visit The Candlestick - do check opening times first). Back on the route, head down West End Lane, past a duck pond on the left and look out for a bridleway on the right. This is a BOAT (Byway Open to All Traffic), so there could be vehicles using it - but rarely.
- Take the BOAT and continue along for about a mile until you come to West End Lane again.
- Turn left, drop down the hill until you reach Wildhill. Turn left at Wildhill and refreshments can be taken at The Woodman which keeps strict pub hours, so not open all day. Check opening times.
- Continue through The Woodman car park heading for a gap between the higher and lower parking areas. Walk this path, through a bachelor gate, across a footbridge (note, this bit can be boggy, so take care). Continue through another bachelor gate, across a small footbridge, through another bachelor gate and turn right.
- Keep the hedge on your right and the field on your left until you reach a gap in the hedgerow on your right. Go through this gap and head straight up the hill with the hedge on your right and the field on your left.
- You will soon see a diagonal path cut through the crops heading to the top of the hill. Take this. At the top of the hill go through the gap keeping the woodland on your right and the field on your left. You will come to another part where a path has been cut through the crop heading south to a metal gate and emerging on Grubbs Lane.
- Turn left and almost immediately right into another field where a path runs through the crops, across a footbridge, across another field, through a small copse, across another field and ends at the garage at the corner of Woodside Lane and the A1000, Great North Road.
- Turn left and cross The Great North Road with care and take the lane opposite, Bell Lane. (If you want, you can stop for refreshments at The Cock Of The North to your left or The Dutch Nursery cafe further along). Continue down Bell Lane until you reach Bulls Lane on your right.
- Walk down this lane, past Foxes Lane on your right and continue heading west until you see a footpath sign on your left.
- Take this, go through a bachelor gate, turn right and follow the path with the hedge on your right and the field on your left. At the fence turn right, take the small footbridge on your left, and continue west with the hedge on your right and field on your left. You will emerge at Thunder Bridge.
- Go under the bridge and turn left along a footpath that runs to the right of the railway.
- Follow this path south until it branches slightly to the right and goes through woodland. There will be a football pitch on your left. At the end of the path go down some steps and turn right crossing a small river. Continue along this path until you reach Station Road.
- Turn left on Station Road and follow it for about a mile to Brookmans Park Station. There are several shops, cafes, restaurants and a pub serving refreshments in the village.