Welwyn Garden City
This circular walk around Welwyn Garden City uses some of the town's waymarked trails to take you to some of the highlights of the area. You'll visit the River Lea, Sherrardspark Wood, the Ayot Greenway and Stanborough Park on this varied route.
The walk starts from Stanborough Park just to the south of the town centre. The 126 acre park has two lovely large lakes with wildlife such as herons and egrets to look out for. You can also pick up the Lea Valley Walk here and follow it north west through the park and the adjacent Lemsford Springs Nature Reserve. The reserve includes lagoons, meadow, hedgerows, marsh and willow woodland. You can also use the bird hides to look out for water rails, snipe and green sandpipers.
The route continues past the Grade I listed Brocket Hall which dates from the 18th century. The estate includes pleasure grounds, a Palladian bridge with a weir and the Broadwater, a landscaped section of the River Lea which forms the central valley of the park.
After passing the hall the route continues west along the river toward Wheathampstead. Near here you pick up the Ayot Greenway, a shared cycling and walking trail which runs along a disused railway line from Wheathampstead to Welwyn Garden City. On the way you'll pass through Sherrardspark Woods. The woods are also a nature reserve with lots of birdlife, butterflies and Muntjac Deer to look out for.
The route then passes through the centre of Welwyn Garden City before returning to the park.
Welwyn Garden City Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Welwyn Garden City Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Welwyn Garden City OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Welwyn Garden City Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Just to the east of Sherrardspark Wood you can enjoy refreshments in the Red Lion pub. It's an attractive looking gastropub with beams, wood and stone floors, a large fireplace and Mediterranean-accented food. There's a good varied great menu and a nice courtyard and garden where you can sit outside on warmer days. You can find it at Digswell Hill with a postcode of AL6 9AJ for your sat navs.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
Just to the north west of the town you will find the noteworthy village of Ayot St Lawrence. The village is notable for its connections with the playwright George Bernard Shaw and is the site of Shaw's Corner, his old residence. There's also a ruined 12th century church and a lovely pub which dates from the 14th century to see here. Near here there's Codicote where you can visit the nearby Hoo Park and enjoy some pretty bluebell woods and a rather fine old bridge over the River Mimram. The village is also very attractive with several timber framed buildings and a historic 16th century pub to admire.
To the north east there's the pretty village of Tewin where you can pick up the Hertfordshire Chain Walk and explore the local woodland and countryside. The trail could be followed to Watton at Stone where there's a historic 15th century pub and the splendid Woodhall Estate to visit.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Hertfordshire Walks page.