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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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Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Wednesday walk Knebworth Circular - Knebworth Hall, St Paul's Walden Bury, Hoo Park, Hertfordshire Villages - and snowdrops

SWC 353 - Knebworth Circular

Length: 19.7 km (12.2 miles)   (Sorry - it's longer than I originally suggested)
Toughness: 3 out of 10

London Kings Cross: 09-51 hrs   Cambridge service     Finsbury Park 10-00 hrs
Arrive Knebworth:  10-34 hrs

Return:  13 and 43 mins past the hour

This is the inaugural posting of Elsa's new "snowdrop" walk, a companion to her lovely walk SWC 340 - Knebworth to Welwyn Garden City.

The start of the walk shares the opening leg of SWC 340, to enable you to enjoy once again Knebworth Hall and its extensive grounds and deer park. You then continue through Graffidge Wood - alas, muddy today - before exiting onto Rusling Lane. Where the Welwyn walk turns left off the lane you keep ahead, with your next destination depending on your choice of lunch pub. Staying on this quiet, pleasant lane will bring you to the Hertfordshire village of St Paul's Walden, where you stop for an early lunch at the Strathmore Arms pub.  If you leave Rusling Lane shortly after Easthall Farm, and head for the village of Whitwell via Reynolds Wood, your lunch options are the Bull Inn on the High Street, or nearby on The Valley (road),  Emily's Tea Room (recommended). But before you head for Whitwell both routes take you past St Paul's Walden Bury - the English estate of the Scottish Bowes-Lyon family, with historic links to HRH Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.  On the grass verges outside the estate's grounds are currently some lovely displays of snowdrops.

The St Paul's Walden route having connected with Whitwell by the Hertfordshire Way, your walk continues over large fields, farmland, woods and through the historic Hoo Park to the larger village of Codicote, latterly reversing a section of the Welwyn walk after Kimpton Mill. In Codicote you can take a late lunch or an early tea in the village if you wish before embarking on your homeward leg via the hamlet of Rabley Heath. The local pub here - The Robin Hood and Little John - alas closes mid-afternoon weekdays, so today you by-pass it and continue on a path which connects with Park Lane where you return to Knebworth. Just past the railway station there are two tea rooms with one staying open until 5 pm for those in need of a cuppa before your journey back to London.
Your first edition walk directions are here: L=swc.353.  The directions will be walk checked on the day, so please bear with us if before the check some bits are wobbly.
There is a sporting chance the walk author and walk poster will be on this walk - to ensure we all get totally lost together........

1 comment:

Walker said...

N=14 on this walk, one of whom missed the specified train and caught up with us at lunch. w=A-bright-sunny-day, even if the wind was rather keen In the morning. Crossing Knebworth Park it was positively arctic, but gradually lessened thereafter, and the afternoon was almost spring-like.

Walk author Elsa had promised us lots of snowdrops on this inaugural outing of her walk, and we definitely could not sue her under the Trades Descriptions Act. There were numerous patches throughout the walk, including some large ones in woods, a fairly rare sight. We also saw red deer in Knebworth Park (or more accurately, they saw us), and heard one chaffinch singing (my first of the year) and one lark. At one point there were some aconites (yellow flowers) growing wild in a wood, which is very unusual.

The scenery was very pleasant throughout - gentle hills, quiet country lanes, woods, pretty villages. Mud was minimal, even on the ploughed fields, probably because it had been blast-dried by the winds of recent days. At one point we passed the late Queen Mother's birthplace and were given the inside story about an encounter with one of her relatives. Some reminisced about Genesis concerts in Knebworth Park (before my time, natch...).

Choosing the Bull Inn for lunch, we found a lovely old-fashioned pub, still with a recognisable lounge and public bars. The menu (only offered on Wednesdays at present) was handwritten on a piece of paper and featured homemade dishes in enormous portions, each priced at only £6.50. This seemed a tremendous bargain, until we discovered that pudding was also included. Despite the seven diners having declared themselves all totally full seconds earlier, most of us succumbed. Two also tried the village tea room, and the rest had sandwiches. Some of the latter set off early, but most of us kept together as a group in the afternoon.

The pace after lunch was a bit stately, our bodies busy processing the unexpected influx of stodgy pud and custard (or ice cream), and thus having little energy to spare for such trivia as moving legs. We did an author-led variation around Codicote which is soon to be the main route. The sun was golden and the wind dropped and the troubles of the world seemed a long way away.

Back in Knebworth seven of us crammed into the tiny Sugar Cafe, having first phoned to ask them to stay open for us. This was basically a cup-cake emporium and despite our calorific lunch, most of us had one. After a pleasant chat over tea we caught a train about dusk (forgot to record the time) back to London