Walk 78: Welwyn NE Loop

Woodlands, a nature reserve, undulating, open views


7.7 miles (12.4 km)


Photograph taken along the route of Walk 78: Welwyn NE Loop  by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


This walk offers some really good ups and downs with a steady climb at the halfway point, a pub two-thirds of the way round, a stretch that will fascinate train lovers, and wide, open fields with excellent views. There is some walking along quiet country lanes.

Directions


Map for Walk 78: Welwyn NE Loop Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors Note: There is a larger, more detailed map embedded at the end of these directions
Map for Walk 78: Welwyn NE Loop
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors
Note: There is a larger, more detailed map embedded at the end of these directions

Park in the public car park at Mardley Heath Nature Reserve (Grid Reference: TL248183).

1: Walk to the south-east corner of the car park and take the path that heads east with Heath Lane on your right and a steep drop on your left. Continue until you drop down to a gap in the hedge.

Go through the gap in the hedge, turn right, and follow the path round to the right with the field on your left and the hedgerow on your right.

Continue along the path as it bends to your left at the point where a footpath goes off to your right. Continue heading east with the hedgerow on your right and and houses straight ahead in the distance.

The path joins Heath Lane just before the railway brige. Turn left on Heath Lane, cross the railway bridge (with care because at this point there isn't a pavement for pedestrians), and follow the lane round to the right where it joins the B197 London Road on Mardley Hill.

Turn right on the pavement running alongside the B197, cross the road, and continue heading south-west a short distance looking out for a footpath sign on the left.

2: This is marked public bridleway 10 to Robbery Bottom Lane (1/4 mile). Follow this path south-east until you reach Robbery Bottom Lane.

3: Turn right on the lane and head south a short distance looking out for a footpath sign on your left at the point where the lane swings right. Take this path and continue south keeping the woodland on your right and the hedgerow and fields on your left.

4: At the next fork take the left-hand path heading south-east, and continue as the path dips and then climbs through a shaded stretch with trees either side. Continue climbing to the top of the hill.

5: At the top you reach a fork near a clearing. Take the right-hand path keeping the woodland on your right and the fields on your left. At the top of the hill follow the path round as it bends to the right. Continue following the path through the woodlands until it bends sharp left at a point that looks like a footpath T-junction but is actually just a bend in the path.

6: When you reach another footpath T-junction you will see a field ahead of you. Take the right turn and follow the yellow arrows until you reach a wooden fence with another yellow arrow pointing slightly to your right. Continue along this path with the hedgerow on your right and the fields on your left.

Go through another wooden bachelor gate and continue with the field on your left and the hedgerow on your right.

You will now enter the woodland at another wooden bachelor gate. Go through the gate, then through a gap in the fence, and continue straight, heading north-west through woodland rich in bracken in the summer months.

7: Continue straight along the path until you come to a track crossroads at a point where a large tree stands in a triangle of land on your right. Just beyond the tree look out for a track on your left. Take this track and head south-west following yellow waymark signposts.

Soon you will pass an air vent for the mainland railway line running through a tunnel underneath. It's worth stopping for a moment to hear the noise of the trains as they pass below.


One of the air vents for the mainline railway tunnel running beneath the woodland Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
One of the air vents for the mainline railway tunnel running beneath the woodland
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

This path eventually goes alongside an open field before continuing to the left of the railway line which, at this point, has emerged from the tunnel and is in a cutting on your right.

Continue heading south with the railway line on your right until the path climbs and then turns right where it crosses the entrance to the next stretch of tunnel.

Looking north from the top of the second tunnel Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Looking north from the top of the second tunnel
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

8: After crossing the tunnel entrance turn slightly left and climb the hill towards a footpath sign.


After crossing the tunnel turn left then first right at the signpost Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
After crossing the tunnel turn left then first right at the signpost
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Here you turn right and follow the path as it heads east towards Welwyn.

The path drops down to a field and your way is straight, heading east with the fields on your right and the woodland now on your left. Continue along this path until you reach the edge of the woodland. Here you continue straight, heading along a path that has been cut through the crops.


Head east along the path cut through the crops Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Head east along the path cut through the crops
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


9: At the brow the hill continue heading east as the path starts to drop downhill. Ignore the track that crosses your path just after the brow. Your way is now to the left of a telegraph pole along a path which leads to a metal bachelor gate.

Keep to the left of the telegraph pole Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Keep to the left of the telegraph pole
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Go through the gate, cross a metalled farm road, go through another metal bachelor gate directly opposite, continue heading east with the hedgerow and fence on your left and the field on your right.

At the end of the field go through another bachelor gate. Turn right and then left through another bachelor gate keeping the hedgerow on your left and the field on your right.

This path drops down to the right of a house with loud barking dogs behind the fence and hedge.

10: The path eventually reaches a lane. Immediately opposite you will see another footpath heading to your right and running alongside the A1(M).

Turn right on the path running north alongside the A1(M) Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Turn right on the path running north alongside the A1(M)
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


Take this footpath with the A1(M) on your left and continue heading north through woodland until you reached the Great North Road.

11: Turn left and go under the A1(M). Immediately after passing under the A1(M) turn left along the footpath running south along the eastern side of the Welwyn Bypass. Here you will find a subway underpass which goes beneath the Welwyn Bypass and emerges on the west side. Go through the underpass and then turn right and follow the track up to where Church Street joins the roundabout.

12: Cross Church Street and take the track that heads north-east behind blocks of flats.

The entrance to the track running north from Church Lane behind the blocks of flats Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The entrance to the track running north from Church Lane behind the blocks of flats
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Continue along this track until it becomes a footpath.

Go through the gate and climb the hill to Danesbury Park Road Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Go through the gate and climb the hill to Danesbury Park Road
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


13: Follow this path north as it climbs the hill passing through a couple of gates on the way.

14: At the top of the hill the path emerges on Danesbury Park Road. Here you turn right and continue walking north-east until you reach Danesbury Lane.

15: Turn left on Danesbury Lane and walk north-west for a short distance looking out for a footpath on your right heading diagonally north.

16: Go to the right of the old water tower, then through a metal gate and take the left fork. Enter the next field with the hedgerow on your left and the field on your right

17: Go through another metal bachelor gate and continue straight looking out for a footpath T-junction. Go through a metal batchelor gate and take the first wooden gate on your left. Continue with the hedgerow on your left and the field on your right.

Go through the metal gate and then through the wooden gate on your left Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Go through the metal gate and then through the wooden gate on your left
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


Continue to metal bachelor gate. Go through ignoring the footpath on your left but instead go straight ahead across the field with the fence on your left and the main part of the field on your right.


Go through the metal gate and ignore the footpath on your left Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Go through the metal gate and ignore the footpath on your left
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


18: Continue to another metal bachelor gate to the right of the trees. When we were there the horses had gathered for a chat either side of the fence. Go through the metal bachelor gate and then turn left where the path goes through woodland. Follow the path as it continues south-west for a short distance before turning to your right and then heading north-west with fields either side.

19: When you reach Rabley Heath Lane turn right and follow the lane round until you reach Sally Deards Lane on your left.

20: Turn left on Sally Deards Lane and head north a short distance looking out for a footpath on your right.

21: Take this path as it heads noth-east diagonally across the fields emerging on Slip Lane.

22: Turn right on Slip Lane and head south-east looking out for a footpath on your left just before a bend in the road.

(If you want to take refreshments at this point you could continue a short distance along the lane to the Robin Hood & Little John pub.)


The Robin Hood & Little John pub Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The Robin Hood & Little John pub
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


23: Take this footpath and go through the metal bachelor heading across the field in an easterly direction. After crossing the field go through another metal bachelor gate and then turn right through a  wooden gate with a water tower in the distance. Here you turn left and follow the path with the hedge on your left and the field on your right.

Continue with the hedgerow on your left and field on your right Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Continue with the hedgerow on your left and field on your right
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


24: At the end of the track turn right and continue walking south-west along Spinney Lane. Soon after passing a scrap yard you will approach a right-hand bend in the road. Just before the bend you will see a lane on your left marked 'Hinnings Lane leading to Normans Lane'.

25: Take this lane and follow the track heading south-east until you come to a tunnel under the A1(M).

26: Emerge from the underpass and follow the path as it turns right and heads into Mardley Heath Nature Reserve. Continue straight, following the blue sign posts, and head south-east until you reach a left-hand fork leading to a clearing.

27: Cross this open heath land, rich in thistles and popular with butterflies and bees when we were there.

Bee on thistle at Mardley Heath Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Bee on thistle at Mardley Heath
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


Continue heading east until you return to the car park and the start of the walk.

Interactive Map

For those with smartphones and tablets you can use the interactive map below if you want to zoom in for more detail.





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