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Walk 80: Panshanger Park Long Loop

Wonderful parkland, shaded woodland, river walking

4.75 miles (7.64 km)


Photograph taken along walk 80: Panshanger Park Long Loop Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0


This is an excellent walk through Panshanger Park. It combines three loops to create an undulating, varied, and fascinating stroll through former parkland, a walk along a rare chalk river (one of only 180 on the planet), quarries now taken over by nature, some historical remains from the former country estate, and a visit to the largest 'maiden' or clear-stemmed oak in the country, which is thought to be more than 500 years old.

Directions


Map for Walk 80:  Panshanger Park Long 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 80:  Panshanger Park Long 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

Please don't be put off by any concerns about noise from the A414; Panshanger Park is so absorbing that you will soon forget about it. There are two points when the tracks meander close to the road, but you soon move away and totally forget about cars.

Park in the car park at Panshanger Park just off Thieves Lane in Hertford (Grid Ref: TL305125).

1: Go through the metal gate in the south-west corner of the car park. Go through a second gate and take the left-hand path as it heads diagonally downhill across the field in a south-westerly direction leading to the woodland below.


Photograph taken along walk 80: Panshanger Park Long Loop Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The gate heading out of the car park and leading south-west to the River Mimram
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

When you reach the hedgerow go through another metal gate and turn right heading south-west. You will cross two wooden footbridges before crossing a larger bridge over the River Mimram. At the other side of the bridge turn right. Do not go under the underpass on your left.

(If you want refreshments, there is an option at this point to take the path under the underpass and follow the track to Hertingfordbury Road where you turn right to reach the White Horse pub, but you probably haven't earned the right to have refreshments just yet; you can always return to this spot at the end of the walk.)

2: After turning right you will come to a fork in the path. Take the right-hand fork by going through a gap to the right of the gate.


Photograph taken along walk 80: Panshanger Park Long Loop Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Take the right-hand fork and go through the gap to the right of the gate
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Continue heading west along this track with the hedgerow and River Mimram on your right and the field on your left until you pass Kings Lake on your right. Soon after you will come to a track junction.

3: Take the track on your left and head south uphill into the woodland.

4: At the top of the hill turn right and follow the track first west and then north-west as it meanders through some stunningly beautiful, unspoilt woodland.

5: When you reach a fork in the track (see image below) take the left-hand fork, head south a short distance, and then take the track on your right as it leads north-west downhill.

Photograph taken along walk 80: Panshanger Park Long Loop Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Take the left-hand fork and head south before turning right and following the path north-west
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

6: At the bottom of the hill turn right and follow the path round to your right as it heads north-east. Here you will get some excellent open views across the Mimram Valley.

Continue along the path as it heads east and then south-east across open ground with the Mimram on your left and the field on your right. Keep on this path until you reach Kings Lake.

7: Turn left on the track at Kings Lake and walk north-east with the lake on your right, and then north towards Riverside Lake. Continue heading north with Riverside Lake on your left until you reach a gate signposted Oak Trail.

Photograph taken along walk 80: Panshanger Park Long Loop Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Go through the gate to the Oak Trail and head diagonally north-west across the field
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

8: Go through the Oak Trail gate and head diagonally to your left as you cross the field heading north-west to the distant gate.

9: When you reach the next gate take the left fork and continue heading north-west. Soon after going through this gate look out for a track that veers slightly to your left and drops through the hedgerow to a 19th century water wheel and Repton's Broadwater - see image below.


The 19th century water wheel at Repton's Broadwater Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The 19th century water wheel at Repton's Broadwater
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Continue following the Oak Trail as it climbs the hill to the north-west corner of the field.

10: Here you will find a bench with great views; you might just need it at this point. After a sit down turn left a short distance and then turn right into the woodland following the Oak Trail up to a large oak tree surrounded by a metal fence.

11: When you reach the oak, consider taking time to admire this wonderful specimen. A couple of benches have been placed around the site for those wanting to just stop and take in the historical significance of this tree. It's estimated to be between 450 and 500 years old, and is thought to have been planted by Queen Elizabeth I. It's said to be the largest 'maiden' or clear-stemmed oak in the country.

Photograph of The largest clear-stemmed oak in the country - thought to be between 450 and 500 years old Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The largest clear-stemmed oak in the country - thought to be between 450 and 500 years old
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Information board bout the Panshanger Oak Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Information board about the Panshanger Oak
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

12: Continue following the path round past the tree as the track heads to your left past the remains of the Orangery and then the remains of the foundations of Panshanger House.


Photograph of The remains of the Orangery in Panshanger Park Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The remains of the Orangery in Panshanger Park
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

The Orangery in Panshanger Park in 1895 - photograph of a photograph displayed at the site Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The Orangery in Panshanger Park in 1895 - photograph of a photograph displayed at the site
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0




Photograph of a photograph displayed at the site of the foundations of Panshanger House Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Photograph of a photograph displayed at the site
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

13: Here you will find another bench which offers a view of what would have been seen from the main house before it was demolished.


The view to the south from where Panshanger House would have stood
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Now turn left and head north. Do not head downhill into Panshanger Park, instead walk towards a gate that leads to one of the exits from the site.


Photograph of the gate to the right of the site of Panshanger House Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Go through the gate to the right of the site of Panshanger House
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

14: Go through the gate and follow the track round to your right. When you reach a second gate close to a large carved wooden bird, turn right down a track which is a 'permissive path'.

Turn right past the large wooden bird and head south-east along a permissive path Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Turn right past the large wooden bird and head south-east along a permissive path
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Follow this track as it weaves south-east through the woodland.

The 'permissive path' follows the track east and south-east through woodland Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The permissive path follows the track east and south-east through woodland
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

15: The track eventually reaches a junction, but your way is straight ahead continuing to head east. Here you will have a fine view point over the Mimram Valley to the south-east. Also look out for a grand old oak tree on your left.

Continue following the track as it heads east and south-east back to the car park Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Continue following the track as it heads east and south-east back to the car park
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

16: You will reach a junction in the track (which is point 5 on our Walk 79: Panshanger Park Short Loop) with a path joining from your left and a gate leading down to the river on your right. Ignore both and continue straight, heading east through woodland back to the car park.

Note: Panshanger Park is a 1,000 acre site owned by Tarmac and managed by Herts County Council and the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust for the benefit of both people and wildlife.

Interactive map


Below is an interactive map for those with smartphones and tablets. It enables you to zoom in and access KML/GPX data.





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