Sheltered, wooded paths and open fields
3 miles (5 km)
This walk starts across fields which can be fairly muddy after rain. It includes a sheltered stretch along a wooded bridleway which weaves along a ridge offering excellent views south towards Brookmans Park. The are a few short stretches along country lanes where there are no footpaths/pavements.
The bridleway is well worth the effort on its own and this walk can be extended to make this part of the walk longer. The walk ends with a short stretch of lane towards the end, but the lane is quiet and more like a bridleway than a road. The walk has the benefit of beginning and ending at The Woodman in Wildhill, please check for opening times.
- If you intend to end this walk with a drink at The Woodman in Wildhill, you can park in the pub car park, otherwise find a parking place on the road.
- When in the pub car park you will see that the parking area splits. The lower area, just beyond a few out-buildings, leads to a gate in the south-west corner, which leads to a field. Take this footpath (Hatfield footpath 84).
- As you look beyond this gate you will see a small wooden bridge and then another gate almost straight ahead. This field is often very muddy and churned up by horses so tread carefully.
- Go through this second gate and head almost straight ahead but slightly diagonally to the right. To help with navigation, head in the direction of the Brookmans Park transmitter on the distant horizon. The path crosses a small footbridge before climbing left to another gate. Note: Be careful just after crossing the footbridge because the path you want swings to the left and up to the gate, and doesn't go straight ahead along a path that's been trodden by the horses.
- Go through the gate and turn right, keeping to the right-hand boundary of the field with the hedge on the right. Skirt the field and follow the hedge round as it veers left.
- You soon reach a gap in the hedge just after a small stream. The post suggests you go straight across the field, but the last time we were there it had been ploughed up, so the best route is to turn slightly to your right and then turn left keeping the boundary of the field on your right. Continue slightly uphill heading south-west with the field on your left and the hedgerow on your right.
- After five minutes, depending on the season, you may notice the path heading diagonally uphill to the left through the crops towards a beech tree at the edge of the wood. Alternatively, you can continue skirting the boundary of the field keeping the field on your left and the hedgerow and woods on your right, until you come to the corner of the woods. Here you can walk through a gap in the boundary of the field and continue walking with the woodland on your right.
- At this point you will see the Brookmans Park transmitter to the south. Look back for excellent views over to Wildhill and Essendon. Keep walking, heading south-west to a point slightly to the right of the distant transmitter mast until you reach a gate leading out to Grubbs Lane.
- Turn right here and walk single file and against the traffic for less than a tenth of a mile.
- Soon after you past Westfield Lodge, look out for a footpath sign on the right pointing through the hedgerow and leading into a field.
- Take this footpath (Hatfield footpath 82) and cross the fields walking diagonally left as the path cuts through the crops heading to the left of the pylon and under the power lines. The path then continues diagonally left through another field of crops heading towards the woods and a wooden post with a yellow arrow.
- Keeping the woods on your right, continue straight along a bridleway as it curves first left and then turns right past a tree on your left and a white topped sign post on your right. Continue this footpath (Hatfield footpath 81) to Woodside Lane.
- At this point you have a choice of a short cut by crossing the lane and heading up a bridleway, keeping the farm on your left and the cottages on your right continuing along the bridleway (Hatfield un-metalled classed road UCR1).
- If you don't want to take the shortcut, turn left along Woodside Lane walking in single file and against the traffic heading the short distance along the lane towards the house on the next bend.
- When you reach the red brick house on the bend you will see a byway to the right. This is a BOAT (byway open to all traffic) so don't be surprised to find vehicles using it.
- Walk along this tree-lined track (Hatfield BOAT 80) as it bends and weaves first north-west, then north-east, and then east through farmland. Ignore a bridleway off to the right (which is where the short cut mentioned earlier joins the route) and continue along the ridge. This is called Green Street. As you walk you will see some excellent views across the valley on your right towards Brookmans Park and Potters Bar.
- This byway finally reaches West End Lane. Turn right and, walking single file and against the traffic and follow the lane downhill until it reaches Woodside Lane in Wildhill.
- Turn left at the bottom and right into the pub car park.