Hertfordshire Chain Walk 5:
Hertingfordbury to Marden Hill

30 August 2008

After much indecision about whether to do a longer or a shorter walk today, I decided to do a shorter walk - George and Ellie were with Lucy at a companion dog show, and a longer walk would mean I was dog-less, so Henry accompanied me on another visit to the Hertfordshire Chain Walk. 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 fifth walk from near the A414 roundabout on the north edge of Hertingfordbury..

Cottages in Hertingfordbury

The White Horse in Hertingfordbury

St Mary's church in Hertingfordbury

The entrance lodge to Hertingfordbury Park, now the site of St Joseph's In The Park School

Henry on the Cole Green Way, a route opened in 1978 largely along the route of the railway from Hertford to Welwyn

Stephen has been here before a couple of times, walking the Lea Valley Walk in each direction.

Sheep from the old railway line

Here we turn off the railway line opposite the point where stage 4 of the Hertfordshire Chain Walk joins route, as we make our way to the houses of Birch Green

Attractive old houses in Birch Green

Here the route of the public footpath crosses what is effectively an extended garden - an odd feeling.

Henry on the footbridge over the A414 dual carriageway

The map shows the next section of the route running alongside "disused workings" but they have now been filled in and look ready for some topsoil and to become farmland once more.

We then continue alongside woodland on a very pleasant section

Though overhead was a constant stream of light aircraft taking off from Panshanger Aerodrome

Henry started to wilt around here, despite a break of almost ten minutes at the top of the hill, and I began to worry that this was going to be too much for him.

However, here he went for a paddle in the River Mimram, and perked up greatly, regained his energy and didn't struggle at all for the rest of the walk. To be sure we stopped for another rest in the shade under the trees.

It was a lovely spot - perhaps somewhere to come back for a picnic and for humans to have a paddle too.

Looking downstream from our third resting point of the walk.

Marden Hill, built in 1790-94 as a plain block of yellow brick, with the four-colour porch added in 1819 by Sir John Soane.

Stables and cottage by Marden Hill

Crossing Poplars Green we finally emerge from the predominant pattern of the Hertforshire Chain Walk so far, namely a fuzzy combination of pseudo-suburbia and hidden industry (notably gravel extraction and landfill), into true farmland.

Bacon's Farm, where we followed the prominent track around the farm rather than the public footpath across this field and between the farm buildings.

Heading south-east along a pleasant bridleway towards Selebroom Wood

Henry at our fifth rest-stop, on the eastern edge of Selebroom Wood

Henry in Blakemore Wood

Farmland on reclaimed gravel workings, with more extraction going on in the background

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

A very pleasant walk, from familiar territory into new ground for us, and some decent weather at last after a largely grotty August.
Total distance 10.3 km with 126 metres of ascent in a longer than usual 2 hours 45 minutes, due to five stops and deliberately slower walking.

On to Hertfordshire Chain Walk 6, Bramfield Woods south...


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