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Walk 84: Waterford Heath Loop

Heathland, chalk-bed river, wild flowers, and butterflies


2 miles (3.2 km)


The River Beane on Walk 84: Waterford Heath Loop Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The River Beane on Walk 84: Waterford Heath Loop
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

This is a short walk through several fascinating geological areas including an old quarry which is now a nature reserve, marshland alongside a rare chalk-bed river, and deep woodland. It has a fair amount of up and down as you loop across heaths, down to the river, and back up through the woods. There is a free car park, well-marked paths, but, unusually for this collection of walks, there are no pubs or refreshment stops along the way, so do take water and a snack if you intend to make a day of it. There is an elevated picnic table three quarters of the way round affording great views.

Directions


Map for Walk 84: Waterford Heath 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 84: Waterford Heath 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

Park in the free car park off Vicarage Lane (grid ref: TL 316150, postcode SG14 3LU). You will notice two paths leading out of the car park, one to the north-east, and the other to the north-west. Before you set off, study the map on the information board. At least half of the walk is within the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trusts Waterford Heath reserve.

1: Leave the car park in the north-west corner and follow the path through the woods and out to open heath land. This is the North Heath.

The route as it crossed North Heath Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The route as it crossed North Heath
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

2: You will reach a gate leading to a path on your left with a signpost bearing the black Herts and Middlesex Trust arrow. Go through the gate and head west down to the river.

Take the path on the left as it leads down wooden steps to the River Beane Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Take the path on the left as it leads down wooden steps to the River Beane
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

3: At the bottom of a series of wooden steps you reach a footpath T-junction. There is an information board on the right and a bench on the left. Here you turn left and walk south-west alongside the River Beane.

4: Continue walking alongside the river, ignoring a path on your right, and follow the path under the railway bridge.

Continue alongside the River Beane and under the railway Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Continue alongside the River Beane and under the railway
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

5: You now cross open ground before emerging on Barley Croft. Continue heading south until you reach Vicarage Lane. Here you turn right and head west a short distance looking out for a path on your left before you reach the River Beane.

6: Turn left on this path and follow it as it heads south alongside the river.

Looking back along the River Beane - continue with the river on your right Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Looking back along the River Beane - continue with the river on your right
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

7: At the point where the path forks, take the right-hand fork keeping close to the river bank.

Turn left at the marker and follow the black arrow signs Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Turn left at the marker and follow the black arrow signs
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

8: Continue until you reach a wooden signpost (see above) at a pretty bend in the river (see top photo).  Here you turn left and walk east across the field, under the railway, through a gate, and then up through the woodland.

9: When you reach a footpath T-junction turn left and head north-west a short distance looking out for a marker post with yellow and black arrows.

10: Here you turn left and follow the path as it bends round to the right and continues to South Heath.


At the top of the hill, turn left and follow the black arrow signs Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
At the top of the hill, turn left and follow the black arrow signs
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

11: You will reach the Seacombe Road car park with several paths heading off to your left. Here you will see the picnic table on your left. But your way is to take the path close to the road that heads north-west across South Heath following the marker post with the black arrow (see image below)

Cross South Heath following the black arrow signs Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Cross South Heath following the black arrow signs
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

12: At the north-west end of South Heath you will see a path off to your left leading to wooden steps. Take this path, climb the steps, and follow it through the woodland.

At the north-west end of South Heath take the wooden steps on your left
Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

13: The path leads to a gate. Go through and continue north-west until you reach a path on your right.

14: Take this path back to the car park alongside Vicarage Lane.

Interactive map


Those with smartphones or tablets might want to take advantage of the interactive map below, which also contains KML and GPX data.





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2 comments:

  1. I really wonderfull well thought out walk. The autumn colours are on their way and the last summer rays were on us today. There are some fantastic views as well as magical little woodland and river paths. There really is a great deal to love about this walk and an introduction to an area that is ripe for future exploring. Thank you. Daniel, Iwona, Sara and Casper.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Daniel, Iwona, Sara and Casper,
    Glad you enjoyed it. Ellie and I did, too. We wondered whether it was too short to add to the collection, but the mix of landscapes in such a compact area convinced us that it's a good addition, especially for those who may not be able to walk too far.
    David

    ReplyDelete

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