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Walk 7: The Little Berkhamsted Loop

A hill walk and an 'environmentally sensitive' area

3 miles (5 km)


Little Berkhamsted bridleway 17 mentioned at point 4 below Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Little Berkhamsted bridleway 17 mentioned at point 4 below
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

This is an excellent walk which includes a spectacular stretch of bridleway, a sandy path edged in gorse, and rich woodland. Don't be put off by the golf course and quarry along the way, you are soon past them.

You then climb to a quiet lane leading to a 'Conservation Walks Area' where you are free to roam over an open field which is one of the country's, 'Environmentally Sensitive Areas'. This spot has 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside before you drop down to a quiet wood.

You also follow a picturesque and well-worn path linking Howe Green and Little Berkhamsted, with oak trees that must be hundreds of years old. You can park at the side of the road by the Little Berkhamsted Cricket Club and opposite the Five Horseshoes pub.

Note added Jan 8, 2020: Warning signs saying “DO NOT ENTER” have been put up at a section of a public right of way along this ramble and the bridleway sign has also been removed. The affected stretched is now marked in red on the map below. A local resident told Hertfordshire Walker that the route is currently “in dispute”.  Hertfordshire County Council is aware. We have re-routed the walk to avoid the disputed section. Read more...

Map for Walk 7: The Little Berkhamsted Loop Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors An interactive map with KML and GPX data is embedded at foot of page
Map for Walk 7: The Little Berkhamsted Loop
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors
An interactive map with KML and GPX data is embedded at foot of page

Directions

  1. Enter the cricket field by the gate near the shops at the north end of the ground. Follow the footpath, (Little Berkhamsted footpath 8), keeping the hedge on your right and the cricket field on your left, until you reach a gate in the south-west corner of the field.
  2. Turn right here on the bridleway (Little Berkhamsted bridleway 22) and head for a wooden gate leading to the lane. Turn left down the lane. 
  3. Just before the lane bends take the bridleway on your right (Little Berkhamsted bridleway 17). This is paved until you reach Danes Farmhouse. At this point it becomes a track which soon ends at a gate leading and then continues heading north-west.
  4. Continue straight along this sandy bridleway. At this point you have good views to the left across to Bedwell Park and gorse bushes on the left and right along with good views north across the Lea Valley. The bridleway now drops down through woodland. At this point it can be quite muddy after rain.
  5. At the bottom of this hill you pass a small cottage on your left and an outbuilding on your right as the bridleway veers slightly to the left before reaching a gate leading to Bedwell Park Farm. Turn right here on Essendon bridleway 25 before the conifer trees, and walk north with trees on your left and hawthorn on your right.
  6. After a short walk you reach a junction. The path to the left passes over the golf course. Your way is to the right on Little Berkhamsted bridleway 2, across a small stream (this is marked as a ford on some maps). Keeping the quarry on your left, climb east up the sandy bridleway to the top of the hill.
  7. Here you will come to a fork in the path, with a step stile to your left. You can go either way as both meet again soon after at a gate leading into a lane.
  8. When you reach the lane, turn right and follow the lane round past Ashfield House on the left and Ashfield Cottage on the right, until the lane turns right and into Ashfield Farm.
  9. Take the track on your right at the end of the lane, Little Berkhamsted bridleway 18, and head slightly uphill keeping the farm on your right. Here you have an option. Shortly after starting up this bridleway, you will notice another path on the left Little Berkhamsted footpath 3. A sign describes the spot as 'A Conservation Walks Area'. This is an 'Environmentally Sensitive Area', which is part of a scheme, introduced in 1987, offering incentives to encourage farmers to adopt agricultural practices aimed at safeguarding and enhancing parts of the country of particularly high landscape, wildlife or historic value. It is well worth exploring this field and following the path that leads across it down to Culver Woods. This path offers a wonderful 360-degree view of the surrounding countryside. Otherwise, continue on the main route heading uphill following the bridleway south.
  10. When you reach a concrete footbridge across a small stream turn left up the hill across the field in the direction of a gate in the distance along Little Berkhamsted bridleway 19. Take this bridleway and head south-west uphill until you reach the lane.
  11. This is Breach Lane. Turn right and follow the lane back to the village. You will reach Robins Nest Hill where you cross the road and take the path through the churchyard back to Little Berkhamsted village centre.
Little Berkhamsted bridleway 19 mentioned at point 10 above Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Little Berkhamsted bridleway 19 mentioned at point 10 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Little Berkhamsted bridleway 19 meets Breach Lane, mentioned at point 11 above Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Little Berkhamsted bridleway 19 meets Breach Lane, mentioned at point 11 above
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0



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