Footpaths, fields, woodland and a ridge
13.13 miles (21.13 km)
This circular walk starts and ends in Brookmans Park, first heading south to Little Heath, then east to Northaw, north through Cuffley, on to Newgate Street, and west to Wildhill before heading south-west back to Brookmans Park.
It's a pretty walk with plenty of shady paths, woodland, and ups and downs. But a warning. The walk includes some stretches along busy roads. Most have pavements for pedestrians, but, in one section, the climb up Carbone Hill from Cuffley to Newgate Street, there isn't a pavement. This means that for about 10-15 minutes you have to walk against the traffic and keep on the verge. In a few places that verge is thin, and you will be facing traffic, but you can lean into the bushes when vehicles approach. Walk with care.
- From Brookmans Park's Bradmore Green head south along Bluebridge Road taking the second road on your left, Bluebridge Avenue. Head to the end of Bluebridge and enter Moffats Open Space via a gate.
- Turn right and continue heading south towards a gap in the hedge, go through the gap and turn left heading east across the field keeping the hedge on the south of the field to your right.
- When you reach a bachelor gate go through and head south through the Leach Fields down a path until you reach a T junction of paths, turn left. Follow this path as it heads east then turns south. You will have fields on your right and a hedge on your left. At the bottom of this field turn left into Gobions Woodland. Turn right once you are in the woodland, cross a wooden footbridge, turn right and then, soon after, take the left fork in the path heading up hill to a T junction in the paths.
- Turn left and head east through a small plantation until you re-enter Gobions Woodland again.
- Turn right into a field and head diagonally south-east towards Folly Arch crossing three fields and one footbridge. The downside of this route is that the way is not clear, the grass is often long and sometimes wet, and you can emerge at the end soaking wet. Alternatively you can stay in Gobions Woodland and follow the path around the southern edge of the wood until you reach a gate into the same field but further along. Here you will find a path heading up to Folly Arch. This is probably a better route for most people. Either way you will reach Hawkshead Road at Folly Arch. Turn left and then turn left again down Swanley Bar Lane.
- At the end of Swanley Bar Lane you will meet the A1000 Great North Road. Turn right and follow the road south, heading up the hill until you reach a right-hand bend. Although busy at times, this road is okay to walk along because there is a good path alongside.
- On the bend you will see a footpath sign on the other side of the road (the east side), cross with care (this can be difficult) and take that path heading first east and then turning south-east. It's a narrow path with fields on your left and a hedge on your right. Continue along this path until you reach a patch of woodland. Here you will see a path go off to your left. Ignore it. Your way is straight ahead through the woodland with a small brook on your right.
- At the end of the woodland you will come to a footpath T junction. Here you turn left and, keeping the garden fences on your right, head east until you emerge on the B156 Coopers Lane at the junction of Well Road and Judges Hill.
- Cross the road with care, and then head east along Judges Hill, the B156. Again, this road has a good pavement for pedestrians. Follow this road until you get to Northaw. There were two pubs in Northaw if you need refreshments, The Two Brewers and The Sun (but checking Trip Advisor in January 2018 I notice that The Sun is reported as closed and ringing the number got a 'number not recognised' automated response.)
- When you reach The Sun, turn left and head north-east down Vineyards Road until it swings left (north) by some woodland and a layby on your right. Here you will see a footpath sign on your right.
- Take that path and head east. This is a pleasant tree-lined path with fields on both sides. Continue along it. Soon it will turn sharp right. Follow it round as it heads south-west for a short distance. You will soon come to a junction. You turn left and follow the path up a steep, tree-lined hill heading north-east until you reach the B157, The Ridgeway, in Cuffley.
- Turn left and cross the road continuing west until you reach Hanyards Lane on your right.
- Turn right here and head north-west along Hanyards Lane dropping down to Hill Rise.
- Turn left on Hill Rise and head north and continue until it reaches Tolmers Road.
- Turn left on Tolmers Road and follow it to the end where you will enter Home Wood. There is a nice bench here if you want to stop for a snack. Continue through Home Wood until you reach Caborne Hill where it crosses Cuffley Brook.
- Turn right and follow Caborne Hill north-east until you reach Newgate Street. Note: This part of the walk needs care. There is no pavement for pedestrians. For much of the way there is a verge, so you are fine, but there is one section as you approach Newgate Street where the verge disappears. Proceed with caution. If traffic approaches push into the hedgerow (there is enough space), but traffic does race along this road and you will need to be alert.
- When you reach Newgate Street Village turn left. At this point you have the option of stopping for refreshments. There are two pubs and a restaurant. The pubs are The Coach & Horses and The Crown.
- Soon after turning left in Newgate Street you will see New Park Road on your left (just to the left of a restaurant on the corner). Follow this road as it heads west and eventually becomes a farm track. Keep walking with the farm on your left and fields on your right. This is a lovely stretch with great views on both sides.
- When this path turn sharp right continue on it, ignoring a path to your left, and head north until you reach Tylers Causeway.
- Turn left, cross the road with care and, after passing a few houses on your right, turn right and head north-west along Cucumber Lane. Continue along Cucumber Lane (there is no pavement for walkers, but it's quite and there are many opportunities for walking on the verge when traffic approaches.
- At a right hand curve in the road look out for a footpath sign on your left. Take this path and head north-west keeping Nine Acre Wood on your right. You will be walking through a Hornbeam Woodland. Continue as the path drops down and emerged on a track called Hornbeam Lane. Follow the track up hill until you reach the B158 Kentish Lane.
- Cross the road and head south-east until you reach the junction with Wildhill Road. Here you should cross the B158 with care (this is a dangerous bend) and head south down the east side of the B158 until you reach a footpath sign on your right,
- Take this path which leads you across three fields and down to the car park at The Woodman.
- Once you are in The Woodman car park you will see a bachelor gate at the west end. To find this gate walk from the pub to the end of the car park but take the right hand branch which leads to the path. Go through the gate, cross the first field (this first bit can be soggy), cross a footbridge, go through another gate, cross another field, another footbridge, another gate and then emerge in a field.
- Turn right, keeping the hedge on your right and the field on your left, and continue as the path curves round to the left and heads south.
- Soon you reach a gap in the hedgerow. Turn diagonally right and head south-west with the hedge on your right and the field on your left climbing the hill with woodland straight ahead.
- Soon you will see a path cut through the crop. Follow this to the top of the hill. From here there are wonderful views back towards Wildhill. Continue south following the path until it emerges on Grubbs Lane.
- Turn left on Grubbs Lane, and, almost immediately, take the path on your right into another field. Follow this path across two fields, through to a small plantation, across a third field and emerge on Woodside Lane by a garage (where you can get refreshments).
- Turn left on Woodside Lane and then, immediately, cross the A1000 Great North Road at Bell Bar and head down Bell Lane. At this point you could turn left for refreshments at The Cock o' The North on the corner or further on at The Dutch Nursery.
- Continue down Bell Lane until you reach Bulls Lane. Turn right and follow this down until you go under the railway bridge.
- Immediately after the railway bridge take the footpath and follow it, keeping to your right as it heads south alongside the railway, to the right of a football pitch, turns south-west through woodland, turns right and emerges at the North Mymms Youth and Community Centre car park.
- Follow the track out of the car park and on to Station Road in Welham Green. Turn left and walk south along Station Road back to Brookmans Park where there is a pub, restaurants, a cafe and shops.