North Hertfordshire Ramblers

Where we do all the talking and our feet do all the walking!

HOOP Walk Description

Section 1 - Hitchin Town Centre (Market Place) to Ickleford Church – 4.5 miles (7.2km)

Leave the Market Place in the centre of Hitchin at the arcade known as West Alley. Cross Payne’s Park using the pedestrian crossing and then turn left towards Hitchin museum and library. Cross over Nun’s Close then left past the museum entrance and physic garden. Cross Old Park Road by the pedestrian crossing, turn right then left and follow a narrow path running between the side of a house and car showroom. Continue until the path emerges onto Gray’s Lane, passing a children’s play area along the way.

Follow Gray’s Lane until it comes out into open countryside. Continue along the track for about half a mile, avoiding the first track on the right leading to an isolated cottage and take the second right past Oughton Head Farm. Turn left, then after a short distance right, follow this path from the source of the River Oughton into Oughtonhead Common Local Nature Reserve - NHDC, with a number of paths and trails to explore.

Continue along the south bank of the river for about half a mile until you reach a bridge across the river on your left hand side. Cross the river and pass Old Westmill Farm, turn right onto Westmill Lane then immediately left back out into open fields. After a short distance take the right hand fork and then at the junction turn right onto Hambridge Way and head towards the A600 Bedford Road. Turn right when you reach the road and cross using the horse crossing, continue down the track into Ickleford. Pass the Plume of Feathers pub and the church until you reach Arlesey Road. Cross using the pedestrian crossing, turn right and then turn left down a track just before you reach Ickleford Stores.

Section 2 - Ickleford Church to Cambridge Road (Hitchin Garden Centre) – 3 miles (4.9km)

Follow the track crossing over the River Hiz by a bridge. Pass the remains of an old railway bridge and using the footbridge cross over the East Coast Main Line. Continue along the Icknield Way through sloping farmland for about a mile to Wilbury Hills plantation on the left. Take a sign posted path through the trees to a T junction of paths; continue straight ahead and through the car park to the Stotfold Road with the Wilbury pub on the left. Take care crossing the road then turn right onto Icknield Way Road this is where the route joins the Letchworth Garden City Greenway. After a short distance, turn right onto Campfield Way then right again at the T junction with Highover Road. Cross over the railway line using the footbridge and take the first turn right into Hillbrow. After a sharp left turn take the first alley way on the right passing a children’s play area on the left and out into countryside again. Cross diagonally left across the field and over the ditch by a bridge in the far corner. The large circle of trees nearby marks the site of a Bronze Age burial ground. Turn left and follow the broad track keeping the hedgerow on your left, until you reach a wooden gate leading to the A505 Cambridge Road. Refreshments can be obtained from the Hitchin Garden Centre a short distance down the road.

Section 3 - Cambridge Road (The Hitchin Garden Centre) to Wymondley Road – 2.5 miles (4km)

Take great care crossing Cambridge Road, turn right and pass the ‘Healthy Living Centre’ on the left followed by a bus stop. Now look out for a public footpath sign pointing left into the wood. Follow the well-used path and take the right hand path with the golf course fence on your left. Follow the path to the right through the trees and onto the edge of a field. Go left along the field boundary to Queenswood Drive. Turn left and continue down Kingswood Avenue. At the bottom of Kingswood Avenue, leave the Greenway and go straight ahead onto a well-used track with playing fields on the right. Go past Purwell Ninesprings Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve – well worth a visit - and continue with large fishing lakes on the right hand side until you meet the main road. Cross Wymondley Road, turn right and then head towards the railway bridge.

Section 4 - Wymondley Road to Hitchin Town Centre (Market Place) – 2 miles (3.2km)

Pass under the railway bridge then almost immediately turn left onto a track. Turn right at the end of a children’s play area and follow the grassy track with Ippollitts Brook on the left. This takes you to the junction with Stevenage Road. To cross this busy road first cross over Whitehill Road then cross Stevenage Road using the second traffic island. Turn right into Blackhorse Lane and follow this lane until it meets London Road. Cross London Road and continue down Newlands Lane, crossing Gosmore Road and continuing down Black Kiln Lane - a restricted byway - to the village of Charlton. After passing the Windmill pub, turn right along Charlton Road and at the T junction with Willow Lane, turn right. Just before you reach Park Way cross the road and use the pavements continuing alongside the main road then turn right through the pedestrian underpass and emerge by a car park. Turn half left onto Old Charlton Road, then right at Tilehouse Street and first left to Bucklersbury which leads to the Market Place.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019