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Walk 5: The River Lea Loop

Rolling hills, open vistas and a secluded pub 

3 miles (5 km)

Image for walk 5, The River Lea Loop, created by The Hertfordshire Walker and released under Creative Commons

This is a fairly short but stretching walk down from West End through bridle paths and country lanes to the banks of the River Lea and back up the hill again to West End. It offers marvellous open views north across the Hertfordshire countryside and has the benefit of beginning and ending at The Candlestick pub.

The part along the river can be muddy after rain but the going is good for most of the route.

Map for walk 5, The River Lea Loop, created by David Brewer, map elements copyright MapHub and Thunderforest


  1. If you intend to end this walk with a pint at the Candlestick pub at West End, you can park in the pub car park.
  2. Leave the pub car park and turn right. Almost directly opposite you on the left is a small dead-end lane leading uphill to cottages on your right.
  3. Follow this road as it climbs the hill. When you reach the last cottage at the top you will see a bridle path heading north. Turn right here and follow the path downhill for about 1km until you reach Hillend Cottages.
  4. Join the quiet lane here and continue walking almost straight north downhill, heading for the river.
  5. Three quarters of the way down you will see a path to the right shortly after a lane to Hillend Farm. The path is marked with grey dashes on the map above. This path is a possible shortcut if you are feeling tired, but it can be a difficult route through crops in the summer.
  6. We prefer to continue down the lane until it veers left. At this point you turn right along a footpath keeping the river on your left.
  7. The path bends slightly left, then right, but continues in a mainly straight line for about 1km until you reach a track joining from the right. Take this path and begin a fairly steady climb uphill heading south out of the valley and back up to West End.
  8. When you rejoin the West End to Essendon lane, turn right and follow the lane round to the left and back to the Candlestick pub.

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