Hertfordshire Chain Walk 2:
Cuffley, Newgate Street and Goff's Oak

18 May 2008

Today I returned to the Hertfordshire Chain Walk, last essayed in March. The route is a series of 15 circular walks which link together to create a chain, running from the northern edges of Enfield to Cambridgeshire. With the walks being circular they can be started from any point and walked in either direction. I started the second walk from a little car park on the southern edge of Cuffley and walked clockwise.

The route took us along the valley of Northaw Brook to the south-west of Cuffley, past the site of a circus

The weather after a few damp and miserable days was lovely. A green and yellow meadow under blue and white skies always looks delightful.

We then turned right up the hill through the woods towards the Ridgeway

We walked a short way along the Ridgeway with its expensive houses, then through the northern edges of Cuffley before joining the Hertfordshire Way and through the pleasant Home Wood.

We then had a walk along the road up Carbone Hill towards the village of Newgate Street, dodging the cars travelling too fast. Here we pass Tolmers Park House, which dates from 1761. Since World War I it has been used as a military hospital, a girls' boarding school, a geriatric hospital and has now been converted to luxury apartments.

The church in Newgate Street, where there was a May Fayre going on. The Hertforshire Way goes past the church, but our way lies to the right.

The Coach & Horses in Newgate Street

We then took to a byway for a couple of kilometres through Ponsbourne Park. Built in the mid-19th century, it was leased to the Roman Catholic Church as a Convent Church School, known as St. Dominics Priory. In the 1960s it was sold again to be used a non-residential country club. In the 1970s it was sold to be used as a hotel: Tesco bought it in 1987 for use as a management training centre, and it now fulfils all of those last three roles.

A pond next to the byway, on a section of the route shared with Chain Walk 3.

We reach the northernmost point of Chain Walk 2 and after a short bit of road walking along White Stubbs Lane, we turn south into Old Grove, the first of a series of adjacent woodlands. This first is light and airy, with well spaced trees.

Crossing a little stream which goes on to become Wormleybury Brook

There are a few boardwalks, but quite a bit that was fine today on a dry day but after rain would have been rather muddy.

Moving into Westfield Grove, the trees are younger and the space between them is very green grass rather than soil and dead leaves

After passing through Derry's Wood there was then a long walk along a pavement to Goff's Oak and the official end/start of Chain Walk 2, but I hadn't thought that a very good end to the walk, hence starting in Cuffley. We have passed through Goff's Oak and now reach Dell View where the gates across the road show we are about to enter the Theobalds Park Estate

Here we reach a crossroad of public footpaths and the point where we touch Chain Walk 1 which continues south towards the M25 (the white blob centre picture is a lorry on the motorway) while we turn right and head west.

A First Capital Connect train heads south from Cuffley towards London across Soper's Viaduct. We turn right past the viaduct and go under the railway through a more modest arch and a short wooded track takes us back to the car park after a pleasant Sunday walk.

Zoom in for more detail, or see map in larger window: Ordnance Survey | Open Street Map | Google Maps

Total distance 15.5 km with 238 metres of ascent in 3 hours 20 minutes.

On to Hertfordshire Chain Walk 3, from Bayford through Tylers Causeway, Epping Green & Little Berkhamsted...


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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson