Wheathampstead - Ayot St Lawrence - Wheathampstead

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Wheathampstead - Ayot St Lawrence - Ayot Greenway - Wheathampstead

Wheathampstead has associations with the Romans and occupies a delightful spot in the Lee (or Lea) Valley, not far from Welwyn, Hatfield and Harpenden. The walk soon climbs out of the valley and passes through pleasant farm- and parkland before arriving at the edge of the little village of Ayot St Lawrence. George Bernard Shaw made this his home and it is possible to visit Shaw's Corner (now owned by the National Trust) in the course of this walk. The village too, is well worthy of exploration, but much more time will be required to do justice to all there is to see. In fact, if you decide to visit the village or Shaw's Corner by car you will approach it by narrow, winding lanes, from whichever direction you choose to come. Parking is in short supply, even if you decide to use the car park at Shaw's home. Many of the exhibits are Shaw's personal effects and you can also view the garden room, connected to the house only by a telephone, where much of his writing was done.

On your return leg you will pass an ancient wood of hornbeams and eventually use a stretch of the former railway track which you will have crossed on your way out. The Ayot Greenway (or Green Way) formerly served a station at Wheathampstead. It takes you through some cuttings and over an impressive embankment and complements the excellent views you will already have been enjoying. Just before you leave the track you will see an information board. Alongside this there is an unusual opportunity to hear some of the history of the line, spoken by a former railway employee. To hear this, all you have to do is turn a handle a few times and this generates enough power to operate the equipment. General Monck, who was instrumental in the restoration of Charles II, is said to have stayed at the Bull Inn at the start and end of the walk. For some tome after 1866 the village fire engine was kept there.

England - Central England - Hertfordshire - Countryside

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Great Views, Industrial Archaeology, Mostly Flat, National Trust, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, River, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
09/10/2020 - Astrid Fletcher

We did this walk yesterday in fine autumn weather. I was disappointed that much of the walk through woodland was along narrow paths with barbed wire and electric fencing and numerous Private Property/Keep out signs. I only read this morning the previous comment on this walk which also remarked on this. The latter part of the walk was in more open countryside with fine open views. While I agree that rubbish dumping in the countryside is appalling I didn't appreciate the Ayot estate signage of this describing offenders as 'tossers' and 'jerks'.

24/08/2020 - Kevin Hilton

We recently decided to nip across the border from Essex and tackle this fine Hertfordshire walk. The countryside hereabouts contains many beautiful woods and the tiny village of Ayot St Lawrence is packed full of interest. The only slight downside for us was the barbed wire fencing which lined many of the paths and the ominous 'Keep Out' signs - not exactly welcoming! Other than that, I can highly recommend this walk and we will definitely return.

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23 Miles