Stage 8 - St.Albans to Hertford East Station (15.15 miles)
Start: Grid Reference TL1450206455 Post Code AL1 2PS StreetMap
If you just want to print out the "Route" instructions of stage 8 of this walk,
without all the blurb on the website, you can download this as a
Word Docx by clicking on the link.
If you just want to print out the "Route" instructions of stage 8 of this walk, without all the blurb on the website, you can download this as a Word Docx by clicking on the link.
Starts on Holywell Hill, just north of St Albans Abbey Station. We join a footpath next to the River Ver and follow for 0.65 miles. Climb to join the Alban Way to and thru' Hatfield. Past the old mill at Mill Green, go thru' Commons Woods Nature Reserve, then join the Cole Green Way to Hertford and finish at Hertford East Station. The longest, but a direct route. There's a lot to see and we make use of two disused railway lines, now converted to footpaths / cycle tracks.
For a history of St Albans see the end of the write up for stage 7. For a shorter version see the entry at Wikipedia.
Start opposite the entrance to Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre across Holywell Hill. Go north along Holywell Hill. After 100 yards and just before the bridge over the river, turn right between two brick pillars onto the River Ver Path (signed River Ver Trail). Follow the path east along the river. After another 150 yards follow the path left across the river using a footbridge and continue right along the north bank.
Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre sits in the pleasant surroundings of Verulamium Park, below the Abbey Cathedral and overlooking a large open grassy area which runs down to the River Ver. As well as a leisure centre here, there is also the Abbey Theatre. Holywell Hill takes its name from an old "holy well" situated to the east of the street and north of the River Ver. It leads up along the southeastern side of the Abbey Grounds to the centre of the city. It has a lot of history associated with it and in medieval times the east side of the street was made up completely of inns.
Where we join the River Ver Trail A 17 mile (27km) linear walking route starting from the source of the River Ver at Kensworth Lynch, Bedfordshire and ending at the confluence with the River Colne in Bricket Wood, Hertfordshire. You can follow the signs until we climb up to join the Alban Way.
At 0.4 miles the path comes out next to the St Albans Sub Aqua Club at Cottonmill Lane. Then turn right along the pavement over the river and for an extra few yards. Here turn left to cross over the road using the traffic island and rejoin the river path on the opposite side, now with the river to your LHS. Continue along the path for a further 0.3 miles to just before a high bridge over the river.
St Albans Sub Aqua Club is based at an open-air pool hidden behind high brick walls. The outdoor pool was opened in 1905 on the site of the old cotton mill. Before this people used to bathe in this area of the river. Bathing was only really popular during warmer months as the pool wasn't heated. In 1971 a new indoor pool opened on the site of what is now Westminster Lodge Leisure and the pool here became less popular. However, the pool was saved and is now home to the sub aqua club. To read a longer history of the old pool see Sopwell Memories.
To the right of
the path, 150 yards after Cottonmill Lane, just across a green space and through
the trees, are some old ruins. This is where
once stood (also known as
It was founded around 1140 by Geoffrey de Gorham, Benedictine Abbot of St.
was a prioress during the 15th Century and is believed to be author
of the "Boke
of Saint Albans".
book was first published in 1486 and displayed her love
for hawking, hunting and fishing. It was the first book in
Whilst researching a later part of this walk around London, at Fryerning in Essex, I came across a lengthy book of 1913, entitled "Ingatestone and the Essex Great Road with Fryerning". This gives much more background on Juliana Berners and her family. One excerpt on page 56 states:
"The Berners were a very ancient Essex family. They
held Berners Rooting since the Conquest. Possibly a founder of the family was a
"berner" to the king - a "berner" was one in charge of running hounds. A Sir
James Berners was executed in 1388 for high treason; on the same day his wife
gave birth to a daughter. This daughter, Juliana, was one of the first English
authoresses. She wrote on hunting, fishing and heraldry, she was also head of
the nunnery of Sopewell, Hertfordshire. A Ralph Berners was one of the twelve
knights appointed in Henry III's reign to make a perambulation of the royal
forest of Essex..."
The ruins seen
today are the remains of
Sir Richard Lee's
The priory was dissolved in 1537 by Henry VIII and shortly afterward he granted
the site to Lee, one of his military architects. Lee demolished some of the old
building and remodeled the rest between 1540 and 1575 to make it more
fashionable and added gardens so creating a magnificent
Just before the overhead bridge, turn right to climb some steps (we leave the River Ver Trail at this point). At the top turn left over the bridge and along what was once a railway line and is now a cycle track / footpath.
Look down from the bridge to the left, and just north of the river to see the Watercress Wildlife Association nature reserve. This small area is maintained by conservation volunteers. It is on the site of former watercress beds and is now an urban haven for wildlife and plants. To the right below the bridge is a fishing lake and beyond this is the Verulam Golf Club. "Ryder and Son" had a seed merchants in St Albans. Sam Ryder (1858 - 1936) is better known today as the founder of the golfing competition, the Ryder Cup. His own club, the Verulam Golf Club, to the south of the city and which we pass on leaving St Albans via the Alban Way, is the original home of the Ryder Cup and is where he developed the competition.
For the next 5.7 miles the route follows The Alban Way to Hatfield, the old St Albans to Hatfield railway line.
This branch line of the Great Northern Railway opened in 1865 and was closed in 1969 as a consequence of the report of 1963 by Richard Beeching and known as the "Beeching Axe". It was re-opened for walkers and cyclists by the St Albans & Welwyn Hatfield district councils in 1985.
Smallford.org has a very informative leaflet on The Alban Way (also see Wikipedia). There is also a short video on YouTube entitled "Rediscovering the Hatfield and St Albans Railway" - it goes in the opposite direction to our walk. Another, an informative cycle video, does go the same way as we do.
brought prosperity to the area and many industries grew up along it. These
industries attracted workers and homes had to be built to house them and their
families. This meant
along the .
250 yards follow the Alban Way straight on through a small modern housing
development named Orient Close. Immediately past Orient Close is one mile into
the stage, and for the next 4 miles, to the Galleria at Hatfield, the route is
very easy to follow along the
On the left, nestled amongst the houses at Orient Close is the Old London Road Station. The station building was cleaned up and redeveloped as The Old Station Business Centre, and later a children's nursery. However, still maintains its original facade and part of its platform. Further along the Alban Way you can also see the remains of what were the platforms of Hill End, Smallford and Ellenbrook Lane stations.
Orient Close follow the cycle track / path under two bridges. The first is the
0.45 miles we cross a
over Camp Road. It was built in 2003 to make the cycle track / path continuous
to Hatfield. Before this, users would have to descend to and cross the road,
then climb back up on the other side. The paths down off the track and the one
back up still remain as access points to the
About 250 yards further the old wooden platform on the left of the track is all that remains of Saunders Sidings. It was built in 1890 and was used to transport orchids from the nearby Saunders Nursery. In later years it was known as "Salvation Army Halt". Their nearby Campfield Works produced brass instruments and periodicals which left from the station to be transported all over the world. The sidings closed in 1964 and the Campfield Works in 1972.
400 yards later
the Alban Way passes through a
under Ashley Road (at 2 miles)
access is provided by a path to the right just before it. Immediately after the
subway and to the right is yet another industrial estate (
continues with private housing developments on both sides for a short distance.
After these, on the left is an industrial area with some of the units now out of
town superstores. To the right is a reclaimed land named Smallford Pit (at 3
miles). It was formally a landfill site with a gravel pit on the eastern side.
The landfill area is now open fields with paths across it (instructions tell
walkers to "please
keep to the paths in this area"),
and the gravel pit, adjacent to the Alban Way (after another 0.6 miles), is now
a lake and a popular
Just south of Smallford Fisheries is another industrial park at Sleapshyde.
Opposite the fishing lake and to the left of the
The Alban Way then passes under an old road bridge with Station Road to the left and Smallford Lane to the right. The next few hundred yards of the trail go through some pleasant countryside with fields on both sides. However, building developments (or progress as it is sometimes called) is never far away.
350 yards after passing under the old road bridge the trail passes under a metal sculpture named Blackberry Arch. The arch (at 4 miles) was created by local sculptor Diane Maclean in 1998. If you are wondering why the sculptor chose this spot to erect the arch, you can get an answer at Smallford.org. In many cultures blackberries were thought to have magical powers and at one time passing children through a blackberry arch was thought to cure them of rickets - I'm not sure if there's a connection.
200 yards after the arch, on the right, is a cast iron mile post. This is the decorative, fish-tail "Boundary Mile Post" which marks the boundary between St. Albans and Welwyn Hatfield.
The trail continues between open fields for another half a mile passing the old platform of the former Nast Hyde Halt Station and crosses Ellenbrook Lane. As you can see from these extra photos at Disused Stations, there has been a lot of work done here to improve the old station and its surroundings. The work was undertaken be a team led by local postman and charity fundraiser Mike Izzard. I'm sure he has lots of stories to tell from his work here over the years, but one certainly worth a mention is from November 2018. "A St Albans postie made a "one in a million" find of a stolen handbag and has returned it to its rightful owner in Hatfield - nearly 40 years after she was mugged.". You can read the rest of the story at Welwyn Hatfield Times.
From here the trail passes through a residential area and after another 300 yards passes under a high bridge carrying the A1001 (Comet Way). It then gradually climbs through trees to run parallel to the A1(M), immediately to the right, and with Comet Way a short distance to the left. 300 yards later the path comes to an abrupt stop at Cavendish Way (at 5 miles). To the left, just south of the roundabout is the former art deco Comet Pub, now The Comet Hotel. In front of it is a small monument to the de Havilland Comet Aeroplane. On the opposite side of the hotel is the site of the former de Havilland and old Hatfield Aerodrome. It is now University of Hertfordshire - de Havilland Campus, a business park and residential development.
Comet came about when in 1933 Sir Macpherson Robertson put up the
10,000 prize money for the
Victorian Centenary Race
from England to Melbourne.
At this time there was no competition for existing American aircraft. However,
through sheer patriotic determination the de Havilland Company offered to build
a winner. Three were ordered in advance and completed shortly before the race.
The first was flown at Hatfield on 8th September 1934, just six weeks
before the race. At dawn on 20th October 1934 the race started from
The comet on the memorial outside the hotel appears to be the model of the winning Grosvenor House aircraft as it was the only one of the three painted red, the other two were painted black and gold, and green.
The first ever jet passenger airplane, the DH Comet 1 was built at the de Havilland works at Hatfield. It first flew on 27th July 1949, but after a few disastrous crashes, caused by metal fatigue on its square windows, it was taken out of production in the 1950s. Today's jet liners have round windows, a lesson taken from the Comet's crashes. Other well known aircraft built here included the Mosquito and the Trident.
The aircraft factory started here by Geoffrey de Havilland in 1934 merged with Hawker-Siddeley in 1959, then in 1977 became a part of British Aerospace. Production stopped in 1993 and the site has been redeveloped to provide commercial and leisure facilities as well as home to the aptly named new de Havilland campus of the University of Hertfordshire.
It was at Hatfield Studios (at Hatfield Aerodrome) in 1998 where Steven Spielberg filmed most of Saving Private Ryan, spending $15m on sets. He later came back, with Tom Hanks, to film the TV series Band of Brothers at a cost of $125 million.
On reaching Cavendish Way (at 5 miles) turn right along the pavement to cross over the A1(M) as it disappears underground into the Hatfield Tunnel.
The Hatfield Tunnel is 1150 metres long and was opened in 1986 by the Duke of Kent, a plaque on the wall as we cross over records the event. It was built to replace this section of the Great North Road. At the time it was heralded as an amazing piece of engineering. You can watch a documentary on the building of the tunnel at YouTube. You can also take a journey through the tunnel on YouTube.
Across the road to the left is the Galleria, a shopping centre and leisure complex, which is built over the roof of the tunnel. This also has a replica of the G-ACSS, Grosvenor House Comet which won the Race from England to Melbourne.
Immediately over the motorway turn right onto a footpath downhill to a
pedestrian subway under
The route is
now back on the course of the old railway line on its way through residential
areas of the new town of
500 yards the path comes out onto
280 yards later cross straight over Lemsford Road and back onto the Alban Way.
On crossing over Lemsford Road, look right and you can see the remnants of the old railway bridge over the road. Shortly after Lemsford Road are the remnants of the old platform of Lemsford Road Halt. This was a private stop and late addition to the line. It was opened in 1942 for the use of the workers at de Havilland and closed in 1951.
After another 420 yards The Alban Way crosses over Wellfield Road by way of a footbridge.
Then after another 600 yards cross straight over the road (Homestead Road / Ground Lane) and continue along the Alban Way. The trail is tree lined and gradually veers right. Then after 400 yards turns left and then right to a road. Cross straight over the road (Great North Road) and cross a footbridge over the main railway line.
On this last section of The Alban Way look out for a decorative mile-post and then a piece of modern artwork.
distance south of here is
Hatfield Railway Station
and just east of the station is Old
Hatfield. The town dates from Saxon times when it was called "Hetfelle",
of heather". The
old town which exists today grew up around the gateway to the
son Robert Cecil (1563
1612) also became a trusted friend of Queen Elizabeth and shortly after his
father death became
Henry VIII was
the last and most foremost king to enjoy making a collection of palaces. His
Cecil did not
have much respect for the history of the Palace at Hatfield and tore most of it
down. He used the materials to build his own splendid Jacobean House. This was
originally designed by Robert Lyminge with modifications by many others
including a young Inigo Jones. The rooms within the house were built to
entertain and accommodate royalty. Only the Great Hall of the Palace was left
standing and this was used as stables. Robert Cecil did not live long enough to
enjoy his new house, dying just before it was completed in 1612. He is buried at
Hatfield. However, his descendants continued to make it their family home and
have now lived there for almost 400 years. Today, Hatfield House is home to
Robert Michael James
Marquess of Salisbury.
It is deemed to be one of the best examples of a Jacobean house in
was a Protestant and although married to a Catholic, under his rule Catholics in
An outbreak of
the plague delayed the opening of Parliament until 5th November, 1605
and in the meantime a cellar/undercroft below the Parliament buildings became
available to rent. Although this seemed like good fortune to the plotters, it
may be that
1st Earl of
There are many
conspiracy theories connected to the plot, mainly because Cecil was very
anti-Catholic and wanted to rid
had been relaxed on the availability of gunpowder after the cessation of the war
In the early
hours of November 5th, on the instructions of Lord Salisbury, Sir
Thomas Knevett J. P. for
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I can think of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old
By God's providence he was catch'd
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
The Old Palace was rebuilt and Great Hall returned to its previous glory, after 300 years of being used as stables, by James Edward Hubert Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury (1861 - 1947).
Through the 400
years since the building of Hatfield House many of the members of the family
played senior parts in the British Government as Leaders of the House of Lords,
Ministers, MPs and
Robert Cecil, 3rd
even served three terms as Prime Minister. The house has hosted many Monarchs
and celebrities and its interior and grounds have been improved greatly through
remains the family home of the Cecil Family and both it and the
Cinema goers will recognise the inside of Hatfield House as that of Bruce Wayne's house in the Batman films (1989 & 1992). Other films made here include the Lara Croft movies with Angelina Jolie, Orlando (1993) with Tilda Swinton & Billy Zane, "The Golden Age" (2007) with Cate Blanchett, "Shakespeare in Love" (1998) with Gwyneth Paltrow & Judi Dench who both won Oscars, "Cromwell" (1970) with Alex Guinness, "The New World" (2005) with Colin Farrell, "The Avengers" (1998) with Sean Connery, and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (2005) starring Johnny Depp. To see a more up to date list visit IMDb.
Old Hatfield is a beautiful town with many old houses and pubs, including The Eight Bells, dating from 1630 and which Dickens knew and featured in Oliver Twist. It was to The Eight Bells where Bill Sykes was said to have fled with his dog after his brutal murder of Nancy.
"It was nine o'clock at night, when the man, quite tired out, and the dog, limping and lame from the unaccustomed exercise, turned down the hill by the church of the quiet village, and plodding along the little street, crept into a small public house, whose scanty light had guided them to the spot. There was a fire in the tap-room and some country-labourers were drinking before it"
It is from one of the upper windows of the pub that highwayman, Dick Turpin is said to have leapt onto his horse Black Bess and galloped away, as the Bow Street Runners entered the place. Also, see entry at Geograph, with more information and links about the pub.
In the days of
horse drawn coaches, Hatfield was a staging point on the
Immediately over the Wrestler's Footbridge turn left onto path. Then out onto Bull Stag Green. Go straight on and after just 25 yards, and as the road turns left, cross straight onto an enclosed footpath.
The path leads to a residential road named The Ryde. Turn right for 175 yards and just before reaching the main road (A1000) turn left into Park View. At the other end of Park View, go straight on along a cycle track which leads downhill between trees and eventually along the side of A1000.
After another 300 yards cross straight over Lodge Drive. After another 160 yards turn right to cross the A1000 at the traffic island (at 7 miles).
across, turn left along the pavement along the A1000 and over the dual
carriageway (A414 (T)) .
Immediately after crossing over the A414 (T), turn right, at a gap in the barrier and onto a path.
To the left, 150 yards further along the A1000, is the Bush Hall Hotel (now closed, but some reports say it may re-open soon). The 25 bedroom hotel was originally a Tudor Manor House dating back to 1574. It was once the home of Sir Robert Chester (died 1848), Master of Ceremonies to three English Kings. Some sources claim he haunts the house. Beatrix Potter (1866 - 1943) as a child often visited the area with her parents, as her grandparents lived at the nearby Camfield Place in Essendon. She spent time at Bush Hall and paintings of the hall by her can be seen in the Linder Collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum. To read more follow the link to Our Hatfield.
The path leads downhill to join Bush Hall Lane. Go straight on along the lane, soon passing Mill Green Mill to your LHS - now a museum.
Mill Green Watermill dates from the 18th Century, it is thought to be on the site of one of three mills in this area listed in the Domesday Book, and was in use up until 1911, when competition from larger mills forced its closure. It was fully restored by volunteers between 1979 and 1986 and is now one of the few remaining water-powered corn mills still producing flour. The flour is supplied to a local bakery which uses it to produce their Mill Green Loaf. The mill's wheel is powered by the waters of the River Lea. The Lea (or Lee in some maps and books) rises at Leagrave, near Luton, and flows for 58 miles to enter the Thames at Bow in East London. This is our first encounter with the River Lea on the route but will certainly not be our last.
The Mill has a "Miller's Tea Room" which provides light lunches and afternoon teas during school holidays and open from 12 noon to 4 pm (Note: This can change so check their website for updates).
Next door to the mill is the Miller's House which dates from 16th Century and was home to millers for hundreds of years. It now contains the local history museum of the Welwyn Hatfield District.
Across the lane from the entrance to the mill & museum is an old stone horse trough which for many years sat next to the Great North Road, but was moved here in 1983 to preserve it.
Just past the mill the lane passes over the River Lee and comes out onto another lane (Mill Green Lane).
To the left is an old red telephone box and beyond that is the Green Man Pub, now closed, but there are plans to re-open as of news from April 2018. This is such a peaceful backwater and even though the busy A414 is just a few yards away.
Turn left past the old red telephone box and along Mill Green Lane. Cross the road asap and continue along the lane and past the Green Man pub.
Immediately past The Green Man Pub turn right onto a path down the side of the pub. Be aware, as since the pub closed, the hedgerow sometimes overgrows part of the path. Follow the path onto and across Mill Green Golf Club.
Mill Green Golf Club opened in 1994. It was designed by Peter Alliss and Peter Clark. It is built on the site of an old World War II camp named RAF Mill Green. According to the link:
"RAF Mill Green closed in April 1948 when the depot moved to RAF Church Lawford near Rugby. The Mill Green site was passed to the Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield Development Corporation and was used to house construction workmen building the two towns. When the site was no longer required, the site was used as workshops. Mill Green golf course is now situated where the main site was situated. The accommodation area of the Camp is now the caravan site off Ascots Lane."
The two new towns talked about above were Hatfield New Town and Welwyn Garden City.
At The Green Man Pub we join another walk, Centenary Walk, a 12.6 mile walk around Welwyn Garden City. It was developed to celebrate the centenary of the founding of the town. This walk was opened in 2020, it is marked and we follow it for the next 2.6 miles (also see Centenary Walk Guide and an interactive map at MapMyWalk).
Follow the path as it heads northeast across the golf course, soon adjacent to a sewage works, then northeast across three fairways and eventually out onto Gypsy Lane (8 miles).
Where you exit the golf course
onto Gypsy Lane you may notice two direction markers attached to the roundabout
sign. These are for the Lea Valley Walk, a 50 mile long-distance path from the
source of the River Lea at Leagrave to the River Thames in East London. We will
rejoin it later on in this stage and follow it for 20 miles to Enfield Lock.
On some maps you may find the route of the Lea Valley Walk a bit confusing, as originally it mainly followed the course of the river in this area. However, due to safety reasons the walk, from Mill Green, was rerouted along the northern side of the A414, then north along Gypsy Lane to this point. However, on our route I chose not to follow the marked route as I did not like the section next to the busy A414, so I decided to use the public footpath across the golf course.
Turn right along Gypsy Lane for
170 yards to just before two red-brick columns with “Mill Green Golf Club” on
them. Turn left past a metal gate and onto the track between the golf course and
the cricket pitch, and towards a wood.
The Commons Local Nature Reserve covers thirty-five acres of waste ground sandwiched between Welwyn and Hatfield which has been lovingly restored to fenland, woodland and pasture over the last two decades by a dedicated group of local people. It is managed by the Commonswood Nature Watch, a voluntary group headed by Peter Oakenfull, a local who went to the adjacent Commonswood School and who has been very supportive of our Green Belt project. The volunteers have made the nature reserve accessible to the public by opening paths, building bridges, elevated walkways over wetlands and hedges using ancient techniques. There are rare breeds of animals, insects and plants. Noticeboards have also been erected provide us with information about the reserve.
When I first found The Commons and a route through it, I was in a way pleased we could not follow the old River Lea Walk along the A414. The woods are a very lonely and peaceful place, they bring us back to nature and a natural habitat for it to thrive in, and what a way to cut out the long trek through the houses of Welwyn which the Lea Walk currently follows.
The Commons are constantly under threat because of proposals to build thousands of houses on farmland next to it. See YouTube for a video about this. Also, see latest news on this at "Green Corridor for central Herts: Where should it be and how wide? Herts Civic Society 18 March 2020."
On entering the woods, on the left through the trees, is the Commons Woods Caravan Club Site and behind this is the New Queen Elizabeth II Hospital. Some of the locals still refer to the woods as "Hospital Woods". The area was once part of the Hatfield House Estate, but was given to the local council by Lord Salisbury in 1997. This was probably shortly after the building of the A414 which certainly cut the common off from the rest of his estate - possibly a smart bit of planning by the architect of the road.
There are many miles of paths within the woods, I have found this out through getting lost many times and losing a sense of direction caused by the density of the trees blocking out the sun. However, the route through is relatively direct, gives you a real feel for the place and takes in most of its points of interest. For insect, bird, fungi and plant lovers, also try a few of the other paths.
On entering the woods turn right along a wide path. After 100 yards turn left and follow the path into the woods, then eventually come out next to a golf tee. Stay left of the tee and along a track for a short distance. As the main track turns right, stay straight on onto a narrow path into the trees. The path soon widens to a large track. Go straight on, soon passing a metal gate across the middle of the track. The gate seems to play very little purpose as the track is open on both sides.
The track eventually leads to a
newly built bridge over a stream. Once over, turn
right along a path going
gradually downhill. This leads to a small open area (at 9 miles) with an
information board. Soon we cross over a second
At this point the Centenary Walk turns left, you may choose to go that way as the result will be the same. However, our route will divert here for a short distance, before rejoining the Centenary Walk in another 350 yards.
Once over the footbridge, go straight on uphill with a field to the left. At the top turn left along the top edge of the field.
The reason for this minor diversion is, on occasions I have found the lower, more direct path sometimes floods and can be unpleasant. The path along the top of the field is only slightly elevated and there are good views and a sense of openness. There is usually a rare breed of black sheep in the field to the left and on the right is a tree with a wooden plaque below it as a memorial of Jack Lonergan, a former Chairman of the Local Council - see photo, taken in 2005.
On reaching the far end of the field, turn left to follow the path downhill, with the field still to the left. The path soon veers right. At the bottom, turn right onto a path through the trees. We also rejoin the Centenary Walk here.
After 100 yards, where there is an opportunity to turn left and over a footbridge, stay right along a narrow path which soon becomes an elevated wooden walkway above the marshy ground. Follow this mixture of path and elevated footways staying to the main path and avoiding others off to the right. After a few hundred yards the path passes a small pond to the right and eventually comes out through a wooden kissing gate and onto an open common. It is here the route exits the nature reserve.
Immediately through the kissing gate turn right along the RHS of the common. This leads to some houses. Turn right towards the houses and go straight on along a signed footpath between houses. Follow the path straight through this housing estate crossing straight over a road, past some garages, over a second road and eventually coming out next to garages. Immediately after this turn left onto Holwell Hyde Lane.
Holwell Hyde Lane is practically traffic free as it only leads to Holwell Hyde Farm which is just 100 yards to the right. The farm was part of a manor which dates back to Saxon times (A 'hyde' or "hide" is a Saxon land measurement, usually 120 acres).
On reaching the lane, directly in front, and on the other side through the trees, is the north edge of a small fishing lake stocked with carp which is controlled by Welwyn Garden City Angling Club. Their car park is about 200 yards away at the south tip of the lake.
On the right of the lane, just
north of the lake, is a large fenced off area of elevated ground with strange
hatted cones growing out of it at uniform intervals. This was once a huge gravel
pit which was filled with waste from London during the 1930s and has now been
returned to what looks like a field. The cones are vents to allow gases to
escape from the buried waste and not let them build up under the ground.
In October 2008, French aggregates company Lafarge put forward proposals to build over 4,000 houses on green belt land in this area. Holwell Hyde Lane would be enlarged as an access road for many of the properties. There is currently a campaign to stop this from happening because it is green belt land and concern that the biodiversity of The Commons Local Nature Reserve will be affected. You can read about the proposal at Welwyn Hatfield.
To the right after 350 yards is a double metal gate and a wooden fence. At the far end of the fence there is access. It is here where we leave the Centenary Walk.
Turn right to use the access and follow the track, along the edge of wood (to your LHS) for 170 yards. It then meets a cycle path / footpath (Cole Green Way). Turn right along the cycle path.
This is a slight change from previously as you can see below. This short track is marked as a "traffic-free cycle route" on OS maps, but over the years it has been used as a dumping ground. The local council could do some work here to make it more attractive. It would make a good picnic area or something a bit more useful than now. However, I do worry it may get completely blocked off, and for this reason I've left the old instructions below in brackets and slightly smaller writing.
(After 400 yards Holwell Hyde Lane meets Cole Green Lane at a T-junction. Turn right along the wide grass verge and after 160 yards turn right again through a kissing gate and onto The Cole Green Way.)
The Cole Green Way (see leaflet) is a disused railway line and now is a cycle track / footpath. The closure of the railway in the 1960s was a consequence of the "Beeching Axe".
Underfoot, the Cole Green Way is a gravel path built by the local council and remains flat for a short distance before descending gently downhill. To the right is the opposite side of the ex-gravel pit come ex-landfill site seen earlier along Holwell Hyde Lane. It looks like pleasant pastures, yet the metal cones protruding from it do make it look somewhat sinister. It's obvious this reclaimed land has still lots of toxic fumes seeping up through the metal cones. This is why I assume there are no animals grazing and it's still fenced off as it may prove hazardous to the public. Maybe a sight to make people and councils put more effort into recycling as it would mean less places like this in the middle of such beautiful countryside.
After 0.9 miles the path leads to a subway under the A414 and within a few yards crosses straight over a lane (at 11 miles).
From here, by
looking at maps, is where the
Within half a mile the trail crosses a high bridge over Station Road and after another few yards reaches what remains of the old platform of the previous Cole Green Station.
The area around the site of this old station is peaceful and pleasant. There is a small car park, a wood with carved people & creatures, a picnic area, and a short gentle walk with a pond to enjoy. Just northeast on OS maps is marked the site of an ancient settlement.
The ancient settlement is classified as a Scheduled Monument. Yet, there is very little information on it. If you paste in the grid ref. (TL 28826 11197) for centre of the settlement at Grid Ref Finder and enlarge thru' aerial view you can see what appears to be the outline of many buildings on the site. On first coming across this I found it very interesting, so I researched what was here. I found nothing apart from similar to above. Maybe, there is more, and if not already, hopefully, someday there will be. For any who want to investigate, I have drawn a map of the border of this ancient settlement at MapMyWalk. Let's see if anything happens. Maybe, this is a project for the Time Team.
At the bottom
of the lane which leads up to the station is the
a friendly country pub with home cooked food, a selection of real ales and a
pleasant beer garden. This was originally
The Railway Hotel,
opened c1858 to serve the new railway. With the closure of the railway in the
1960s the name was changed to the Cowper Arms and is derived from the Cowper
family. They were Lords of the Manor and lived at
Panshanger Park just north
of Cole Green, and at Hertingfordbury Park a mile east of here.
William Cowper, 1st
1723) was MP for Hertford, Lord Chancellor and made Earl Cowper for his services
to Queen Anne in unifying
south of Cole Green Station is the
We continue to follow the leafy tree lined Cole Green Way east from Cole Green Station for just over two miles to the outskirts of Hertford.
After 120 yards the Hertfordshire Chain Walk joins us from the right. Originally, I found it a bit strange as it seems to appear many times and sometimes crosses itself. However, it is actually 15 interlinked circular walks of between 4.25 and 9 miles, making a total distance of 87 miles. So, I suppose the reason Chain Walk. These are all marked on OS Maps and it would be less confusing if they were labelled Chain Walks. For further information visit Pete's Walks, this even has link to a rough map showing how the 15 walks link up.
The trail is mainly flat or gently downhill using old Victorian bridges to cross over roads. The first bridge, after 650 yards, passes over Birch Green next to its junction with Chapel Lane and Pipers Lane. After another 650 yards the path comes up to cross Staines Green. The trail continues for 0.75 miles, then crosses over St Mary’s Lane via another bridge (at 13.1 miles) and immediately past this is the old platform of Hertingfordbury Park Station.
Just north, along the St Mary's Lane, is the village of Hertingfordbury. The manor here dates from at least Saxon Times and is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. The village has some lovely old buildings and the 15th Century St Mary's Church contains many memorials to the Cowper Family. In the churchyard is the grave of Sir Benjamin Truman (1700 - 1780) owner of the Truman Brewery in East London. Also buried here is Dorothy Paget (1905 - 1960), champion racehorse owner and winner of the Derby, the Champion Hurdle four times and the Cheltenham Gold Cup seven times (five were with one horse - Golden Miller 1932 - 36). She was the daughter of Almeric Paget, 1st Baron Queenborough and Pauline Payne Whitney (1874 - 1916), an American Heiress who is also buried here.
Spencer Gore, post-impressionist painter, often came to stay and work here at his mother's home, Garth House. He died at the young age of 36 in 1914 and is buried in St Mary's churchyard. His funeral was attended by fellow artists Jacob Epstein, Stanley Spencer and Paul Nash. Many of Gore's works are in the Tate Collection.
Under the tower
of the church is an effigy of Lady Calvert (1678
She was also Lady Baltimore and the granddaughter of Charles II and his mistress
Barbara Villiers. Her family founded
Other buildings of interest in the village include Epcombs - a Georgian brick house often visited by novelist Jane Austen. The Old Rectory was home to the Addis Family, the first mass producers of toothbrushes. Their factory was based at Hertford from 1920 to 1933. The White Horse Inn is over 400 years old, but has Georgian frontage and was a staging post for coaches.
borders onto the north edge of the trail, just east of the village, and is home
to the Independent Preparatory
in the Park School.
The park at Hertingfordbury is first mentioned in 1285, when was much larger and
for centuries was used as a royal hunting ground. There is also an old
footbridge over the Cole
Green Way next to the school .
0.55 miles after St Mary's Lane, in front is a large overhead railway viaduct. Before reaching the viaduct turn right to follow the Cole Green Way signs for a short distance to a lane. Then turn left, signed Cycleway 61, and follow this under the viaduct.
Along here you can look back over your shoulder for a good view if the railway viaduct.
After 220 yards, go straight on through the car park Hertford Town Football Club, then across a bridge over the River Lea onto a lane which leads uphill to a T-junction.
At the junction turn right, then after just 25 yards turn left to cross road and up steps signed Public Footpath (at 14 miles). The enclosed path is named Wallfield Alley and climbs uphill then levels out on a ridge between gardens. After 300 yards it turns left and falls back down to West Street, next to The Black Horse Pub. Turn right along the pavement staying on the RHS of the street.
There is a huge amount of history associated with Hertford, a lot which through the years gives a running history of the country. Some of it I have documented below. I hope I don't dwell too much on certain aspects and you enjoy the pieces I have chosen.
he was young; he seemed to have had his own agenda and took his time to return
with his work. He got shipwrecked on the
Porpoise and many of his drawings were lost or damaged. He
enjoyed some extra sightseeing in
the pavement on the RHS of West Street approaching the opposite end as a
continuous metal railing blocks the pavement from the road. At the T-junction
turn right along the pavement and parallel to a dual carriageway,
At the other end, climb the steps and go straight on to come out onto Castle Street.
A Castle Street Party was held each year in August for charity, the last record I can find is 2007. Just to the left along the street is The White Horse pub, dating back to the 16th Century. In 2008 the pub won a "Good Pub Guide" national award as you can see from the press cutting below.
"BARGAIN PUB OF THE YEAR - White Horse, Hertford, Hertfordshire
range of real ales and very reasonably priced food at this unpretentious homely
town-centre pub. They also have around 20 country wines. Parts of the building
date from the 14th c, and you can still see Tudor brickwork in the three quietly
cosy upstairs rooms."
straight across Castle Street and descend into the gardens on the opposite side.
The route has just entered the grounds of
The path through these well laid out gardens descends into an area which once formed part of the moat around the castle. On the left is the "Ice House", built by the Marquis of Downshire around 1800, and in front is the old flint perimeter wall of the castle. Ice would be collected in winter and stored here throughout the year. The ice house is connected to the castle by an underground passage.
Follow the path across the middle of the gardens, then veer left and up past an arched gateway in an old turreted wall. At the top turn right through an opening to enter the inner grounds of the castle.
To the left of the gateway is an old tower. Together with the turreted wall they are all made from flint and rubble and date back to the 14th Century.
To the left as you enter the inner grounds is Hertford Castle. This is in fact the gatehouse to what was a Royal Palace for over 300 years. It was one of a number of castles built over the years on the site.
Hertford owes its origins to four rivers which flow through it. The rivers Beane, Mimram and Rib all flow into the River Lea within the town boundaries. The town's name is Saxon and is derived from the "ford" here, where deer (or "harts") would cross the river. A hart standing in water can be seen on the town's coat of arms.
known record of Hertford is to be found in the writings of
who recorded the first meeting of the
Synod of the English Church.
This took place here in 673 AD, where the Bishops of
Chapter I. "That we all unite in observing the holy day of Easter on the Sunday after the fourteenth day of the moon of the first month.". . .
It is not known when the first castle was built here. However, records suggest two fortified places (burghs) were established by Edward the Elder around 911. After the Norman Invasion in 1066 a motte and bailey surrounded by a moat was built here. The motte is still visible as a grassy mound next to the River Lea and behind the theatre.
After the Battle of Hastings (1066) William the Conqueror granted the castle to Peter de Valoignes, one of his followers and the Sheriff of Hertfordshire and Essex. At this time the Norman occupiers fortified the castle to protect themselves from the people as many resented their new Norman rulers. After Peter died the castle was passed on to his son Roger de Valoignes by Henry I. When Henry died in 1135, Stephen de Bois, grandson of William the Conqueror, was crowned King Stephen I, even though the throne had been promised to Henry's daughter Matilda. Roger supported Matilda during the 18 year civil war with King Stephen. Stephen died in 1154 and Matilda's son, Henry Plantagenet became King Henry II. To reassert his authority of the Crown over disloyal barons he constructed many castles, and because of Hertford's support for his mother, he much improved the castle by adding flint walls, drawbridges and gatehouses. Roger de Valoignes died in 1184 leaving no male heirs and the castle passed back into the hands of the Crown.
died in 1189 and was succeeded by his eldest son Richard the Lionheart. Richard
spent most of his time overseas fighting in the crusades and defending his
French provinces. William Longchamps, the King's
Regent strengthened the castle's
defenses in his absence. Richard died in 1199 and his disloyal brother John
became king. He ruled to 1216 and left a divided country. He is probably
remembered most for being forced by the barons to seal
at Runnymede in 1215. After John's
death Henry III was crowned king.
With the country divided some stayed faithful to the new king whilst others
French Prince Louis.
The French had already arrived in
died at Burgh on Sands on 7th July 1307 on route to do battle with
Robert the Bruce.
He was succeeded by his son Edward II. The following year
Edward II married
Isabella of France (daughter of King
Philip IV of
"On the night of October 11 (1327 AD) while lying on a bed (the king) was suddenly seized and, while a great mattress... weighed him down, a plumber's iron, heated intensely hot, was introduced through a tube into his secret parts (up his anus) so that it burnt the inner portions beyond the intestines".
If the above is true, he was murdered in such a way so no external damage could be seen and it could be reported that the king died of natural causes.
The film Braveheart (1995) is based around this time and features Edward I (Longshanks), his gay son Edward II, and a love affair between Isabella and William Wallace. However, by looking at history you'll find the timing of events makes the affair almost impossible. In the film Isabella whispers in Longshanks ear, on his deathbed, she pregnant to Wallace with Edward III. In reality Isabella was 9 or 10 years old when Wallace was executed in 1305, Longshanks died in 1307 and Edward III was born in 1312.
Edward III's rule was greatly influenced
by his mother and Mortimer in his early years as king. However, on coming of age
in 1331 he took control and realising the treachery of them both, had his mother
imprisoned and Mortimer tried and hung. Isabella was eventually freed and spent
most of her remaining years at
In 1337 war
broke out with France
The Hundred Years War
In 1360 the castle was granted to Edwards III's son John of Gaunt. He used it as his main country home and repaired and strengthened the defenses.
died in 1377 and his 10 year old grandson was crowned
John of Gaunt had a huge influence over his young nephew. However, he was a
supporter of the religious reformer
and this put him at odds with the church. His unwise decisions on taxation
resulted in the
of 1381, led by
There is no evidence of disturbances in Hertford, but in
On coming of
age Richard distrusted his uncle and confiscated the castle. John was dispatched
John of Gaunt, 1st
Duke of Lancaster
died in 1399 and his Lancastrian estates including
The castle remained a royal residence through the reigns of Henry VI (r 1422-61), Edward VI (r 1461-83), Richard III (r 1483-5), Henry VII (r 1485-1509) and Henry VIII (r 1509-47). Henry VIII spent much money on the castle, which included work on the gatehouse, originally built in 1465 by Edward IV and which still stands today.
Mary died on
In the 18th
Century the castle was home to The Tower School and from 1806 to 1809 was the
until it moved to its current site at Hertford Heath.
In the late 20th Century the castle was given as a gift to the town by Lord Salisbury. Today the grounds are now a public pleasure garden and the gatehouse is home to Hertford Town Council. However, there is still much on view as a memory to the history which has gone before. The only known map to show Hertford Castle still standing is John Speed's map of Hertfordshire (c1610). The castle section of the map can be viewed by following the link to the "Discover Hertford" website. Another site worth visiting is Hertford Castle.
After entering the walls go straight on along a footpath, then after just 20 yards, turn left along the path in front of the castle.
Once past the castle, turn right, then almost immediately veer left onto a path along the river.
After another 50 yards, turn left to cross over a footbridge over the River Lea.
To the right, before the footbridge over the River Lea, is a large grassy mound. This was the motte of the old Norman motte and bailey castle.
Once over the river, follow the path to a car park. Turn right, through the car park and over second footbridge, then over a third footbridge.
The second footbridge is longer and has two parts. To your right as you pass over is Hertford Castle Weir - this marks where the upper River Lea connects to the start of the River Lee Navigation. This photo (looking back) shows the footbridge, the weir and a small part of Castle Hall sticking out over the river.
Immediately over the third, turn left around a small green area and up to the road (Mill Bridge) next to a bridge and a bus-stop.
Turn right along the pavement and past the statue of Samuel Stone (to your RHS). The road becomes The Wash and to the right is Castle Hall.
To the right as
you come out onto the road is Mill Bridge. for nearly 900 years until 1967 a
mill stood here. This was one of four Hertford mills which are recorded in the
Domesday Book of 1087 AD. In 1944 the last mill buildings were damaged by a V2
flying bomb and in 1967 were demolished. On the other side of
Millennium Statue of
Samuel Stone sits on the small public
gardens, overlooking The Wash and backing onto the River Lee.
was born in Hertford on
Stone was a 17th
Century Puritan minister. The Puritans were Protestants who wanted to purify the
Church of England of its ceremony and any other aspects which they thought were
Catholic. Eventually they came into conflict with The Crown and were suppressed.
In 1633 Stone and his friend Thomas Hooker fled across the Atlantic Ocean in
The Griffin. They
The Wash (so called because of its tendency to flood) and the modern building to the right is Castle Hall. It is the home of Hertford Theatre. A short distance to the right is the entrance to Parliament Square and running east off it is Fore Street one of the town's oldest thoroughfares.
At the junction
of Fore Street and Parliament Square is
The War Memorial. This
is a large Hart (male deer) high on a plinth signifying where the name of this
small county town originates from. The standard of the town has the hart
crossing a ford of the river
Immediately past Hertford Theatre and before a large old gate, turn left to cross "The Wash" via the pelican crossing and go straight on into Maidenhead Street, staying on the LHS.
A long distance path me met earlier - the Hertfordshire Way - is crossed as we cross over The Wash. It comes along the road from the south and goes north over Mill Bridge and along Cowbridge.
Maidenhead Street is pedestrian and one of Hertford's oldest streets. It takes its name from the old Maidenhead Inn. The inn closed in 1933 and up to recently Woolworths occupied the site. On Saturdays the street hosts a weekly market.
other end of
On the corner of Maidenhead Street and Bull Plain is Hinds Jewellery Store, but this was once the site of Hertford's first cinema, the People's Electric Theatre which opened in 1910. Bull Plain gets its name from the Old Bull Inn which is now Hertford Cameras. On the right side of the street is Hertford Museum which has recently celebrated its centenary. In 1915 the street suffered extensive damage after a German Zeppelin raid.
At the end of Bull Plain cross Folly Bridge and turn right.
On the right, immediately before Folly Bridge, is Lombard House. This is Grade II* listed by English Heritage and, it is thought, was originally a 15th century hall house, extended in the early 17th century and re-fronted in the 18th century. Since 1897 it has been occupied by The Hertford Club, and according to the club website:
"Perhaps Lombard House's most famous resident was Henry Chauncy who became bailiff of Hertford and the town`s first Recorder under the Charter of 1681, subsequently writing "The Historical Antiquities of Hertfordshire" in 1700. A wall-mounted plaque commemorates his occupation."
From the Hertford Heritage Trail:
"Lombard House: This ancient building has also housed the assize judges, the visiting Duke of Cumberland and a C19 ladies boarding school before becoming a club. The 1915 Zeppelin raid killed several members as they left the premises."
According to a short video, this was the worst raid Hertfordshire saw during the whole of the First World War, with 8 people killed and 15 wounded.
To the left,
just over the bridge, is a peaceful green area overlooking the river where it
forms a calm pool as the
river splits into two
one flowing under the bridge and the other going off to the right. It is here
where boats coming up from the River Thames can navigate the Lee and have been
doing for hundreds of years along the same stretch of waterway. This area is at
the south west tip of
which is surrounded by the two branches of the river.
Stay right along the road for just a few yards and on approaching the Old Barge Pub go straight on along the footpath, to the right of the pub, and next to the canal.
It is here where we join the River Lee Navigation. For the next 15 miles the route follows this well-defined canal path to Enfield Lock. There is much to see on the way.
River Lee Navigation flows from
Hertford Castle Weir
to the River Thames at Bow Creek. Whereas most canals are wholly manmade, the
Lee Navigation is a canalised river, incorporating the River Lee (or Lea). It
follows the course of the River Lee along its valley, sometimes joining and
using the river's
natural course as the navigable stream. However, for most of the route, as the
River Lee meanders along the valley, the Lee Navigation takes a more direct
route. Firstly, it goes due east from Hertford to past Ware, then gradually
turns south and continues almost directly south to the
There is also a Ware and Hertford Waterbus. This goes up and down the River Lee Navigation between the two towns. You can see a video of this at YouTube.
Before leaving Hertford there are a few other things I would like to mention about the town. I could go on for pages and if you want to read more you can visit "Discover Hertford" website which has been really useful in helping with my research and has a mountain of information to read. The website has many old writings, maps, photos and links. It is well worth a visit to discover more about this historical town. Also, see the Hertford Heritage Trail. This cover 41 points of historical interest where blue plaques have been erected.
Jane Wenham of Church Lane, Walkern, Hertfordshire was the last convicted witch in England. Her trial took place in Hertford in 1712 and to the disbelief of the judge; she was found guilty and had no choice but sentence her to death. However, she later received a Royal Pardon and was given shelter by the Earl & Countess Cowper at Hertingfordbury, near Hertford, where she died in 1730 and was buried in St Mary's Churchyard in an unmarked grave.
The Friends Meeting House in Railway Street was built in 1670 is the oldest Quaker Meeting House in the world still in use.
Sele Mill on the River Beane, near Hertford North Station was opened by John Tate in the late 15th Century and was England's first paper mill. The original mill was destroyed by fire in 1890 and was replaced by a newer mill. The building has now been converted to residences.
William Earl Johns
the author of the "Biggles"
novels was born in Bengeo on 5th February 1893. He lived at 41
Cowbridge, Hertford between the ages of 7 and 19 and was a pupil at
Christ's Hospital School moved to Hertford in 1666 after the Great Fire of London. Between 1902 and 1906 the boys moved to their current site near Horsham. The girls finally moved there too in 1985. Some of the school buildings still remain today and have been converted to flats. There is still much evidence of the famous "Bluecoats" school's time in the town.
2004, as reported by the Hertfordshire Mercury, the
Knights Templar seemed to have come
out of hiding after almost 700 years. There are stories of secret tunnels under
the town where they still meet and they have requested an apology from the
The order was
founded in 1118 by French knights Hughes de Payns & Geoffroy de Saint-Omer as
Knights of Christ and the
In France on Friday, 13th October 1307 (possibly the origins of this unlucky date) King Philip IV of France (Philip the Fair) had all the Templars in France arrested and accused of many wrongdoings. With these actions Philip could forget the large loans he had borrowed from the Order and was able to steal their lands and treasures. Philip also persuaded Pope Clement V (who attained his high position mainly thanks to the king) to side with him against the Order.
from all over Europe fled to .
The Order was
officially disbanded by Pope Clement V in 1312. The 24th and last
Grand Master, Jacques de Molay and his fellow knight, Geoffroy de Charnay, were
burnt at the stake on the Ile de la Cite in
"Clement, iniquitous, judge and cruel torturer, I assign you to appear in forty days, in front of God's Court! And you too, King Phillip!"
Both men died
that same year, Pope Clement on 20th April and King Philip on 29th
What was one of
the most powerful bodies in the world disappeared completely. A lot of its
possessions were given to the Knights Hospitaller and the rest were confiscated
by the Kings and the .
At Royston in Hertfordshire in 1742 some workmen accidentally discovered the entrance to a cave hidden under a heavy millstone covered with soil. Royston Cave lies below the crossroads of two ancient roads, Ermine Street and Icknield Way. Inside the cave there are carvings and drawings to suggest it has Templar connections. Whether this provides proof that the Order continued to function in secret is still debatable.
October 2007 was the 700th anniversary of their suppression by the
Vatican and King Philip. Hertford may seem a strange place from which a request
for an official apology is now asked, but as you can see from above it does have
many connections to the Templars. I can't
find a link to the original Mercury article, but the links below do tell the
The Insider "16th September 2004" - Secret Tunnels under Hertford
"13th September 2004"
"30th April 2005"
Pope investigates Knights Templar before his election
In October 2007, by coincidence a librarian at the Vatican found the files from 700 years ago on what actually happened and on the trials of the Templar, they had been misfiled for a long time - so the news article says. These are to be published soon. Is this really a way of the Vatican taking ownership of their actions and saying sorry for an injustice to the Knights Templar from 700 years ago? Let's see what the documents eventually say.
On joining the
Lee Navigation at The Folly, the path is easy to follow. The old cottages on the
left face onto the Lee. Across the canal, just where the cottages finish, was
the site of Hertford Priory. It was
established as a house of Benedictine monks shortly after the Norman invasion,
by Ralph de Limesi, a strong supporter of William the Conqueror. The Priory was
built on the banks of the Lee and dedicated to St. Mary. It was dissolved in
1536 and nothing remains apart from the name of
John Barber was Hertford Town Centre Manager for 7 years before stepping down on 31st March 2008. His own personal website has lots of information on the town which he collected over the years. According to John Barber, there is also a suggestion to claim the recent Templar's news as a hoax. His information about the tunnels of Hertford and the towns connection to the Knights Templar is well researched. You can read it at this link.
After 400 yards the towpath leads to a footbridge over Hertford Weir and brings us off Folly Island. Here the river and the canal meet but soon part company again for about a mile. Once over the footbridge turn right along the road and cross over the canal. It is just over the canal on Mill Road where we finish the stage.
There has been
much redevelopment here in what was once the area between
Hertford East Station is just 170 yards south along Mill Road. Hertford Bus Station is just a short walk, see map.
If you do finish your walk here and go to Hertford East Station, it is a special building. It is over 130 years old and a Grade II* listed building and is one of the 41 historical buildings on the Hertford Heritage Trail.
If you intend continuing along the route at Mill Road, turn left to rejoin the towpath on the opposite bank. Follow the Lee Towpath for the next 2.25 miles to Ware.
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