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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Saturday, 14 January 2017

Saturday Second Walk - Hertfordshire hills

SWC Walk 69 - Welwyn Circular
Length: 17.1km (11 miles) - or 19.6km (12.5 miles) with diversion to alternative lunch pub.
Toughness: 2 out of 10

10.04 train from Kings Cross (10.10 Finsbury Park) to Welwyn Garden City, arriving 10.31.

There is also a 9.34 stopping train from Moorgate which calls at all sorts of stops in North London, arriving 10.23

Buy a day return to Welwyn Garden City.

For walk directions click here.

There are two esoteric treats at the start of this walk: getting a train that starts from Kings Cross and walking through the heart of Welwyn Garden City, planned in the 1920s as a better way of living: not uninteresting to look at.

You are pretty quickly out into the rurality, however and walking first along the River Lea and then over gentle Hertfordshire Hills up to Ayot St Lawrence, where George Bernard Shaw made his home. Sadly being winter, you can't visit his house (now NT) but the village apparently has two interesting churches.

Lunch is either in Ayot St Lawrence or via a 2.5km/1.5 mile diversion earlier in the walk at a "more traditional" (= "Sky Sports") pub in Wheathampstead. The Ayot one candidly looks nicer, but it might be worth phoning at the start of the walk to check it has space before you rely on it.

Tea is either at a pub just before you enter Welwyn 2.4km/1.5 miles from the walk end, or at various cafes in Welwyn (if nothing else, the Costa Coffee is open until 7pm).

Trains back are at 23 and 53 past for fast trains to Finsbury Park and Kings Cross - 03 and 33 past for the stopping service to Moorgate


Anonymous said...

A lot of walkers. I would guess around n=25 including those who took the slow train and joined up with us en route. The weather started off w=cold_with_some_drizzle but w=sunshine_later We were quickly out of WGC and past the motorway into peaceful gentle countryside. The Brocket Arms in Ayot is small but friendly. It's reputedly haunted perhaps by a ghost who likes to lock the front door as some walkers had trouble opening it. All in all a very nice walk.

Walker said...

n=30 on this walk - a record for a Hertfordshire walk? We were promised sunshine but in fact got w=a-morning-of-light-rain-followed-by-sunshine. Well, it was nice when it finally appeared.

Winter seems to suit this walk. Welwyn GC is pleasant and interesting - one of the better examples of a planned town, I think, and apart from a rather too long section across a golf course the rest of the route is easy to navigate, with long straight stretches, and reasonably nice, if undramatic, scenery. We got to the end as the sun was setting, tinting the trees in the final wood with gold, so the length was just right too.

We had managed to book 12 places for lunch in the Brocket Arms but squeezed in 15. They were friendly, though as usual we could have done without the 30 minute delay before they took our order at the table. It would have be nice too if the pub could invest in a tray so that our waitress did not have to bring the drinks from the bar two at a time. But these niggles apart, a nice meal.

Six other walkers "took one for the team" and diverted to the Sky Sports pub in Wheathamsptead, which they reported friendly and with good food.

Ayot St Lawrence was very pretty, with its ruined church (parttly dismantled for romantic effect in the nineteenth century, apparently). The afternoon sunshine was glorious and Simmons Cafe in WGC had great cakes and was also very friendly (perhaps it is because we were "Up North"). Five of us who lingered for a drink also found the Doctor's Tonic pub very cosy and well-appointed. All this and fast trains to whisk you to London in 30 minutes. Perhaps living in a Garden City would not be so bad after all?

Walker said...

Apologies for two walk reports. I think we must have been doing them simultaneously....