As a number of Hertfordshire friends have asked me to recommend a buggy-friendly walk, I thought I’d write up this circular amble along the country lanes and tracks of Watton at Stone, near Hertford. The walk passes through woodland and farmland and it’s great for a family stroll or as a refreshing morning’s walk if you’ve been awake half the night with a young baby. There are plenty of ways to extend it and there are lots of woods to dive into for den building, bluebell admiring (mid April to mid May) or welly-muddying.
You can start and end the walk at the Nigel Poulton Community Centre which has toilets and a play area. If the car park is full, try the High Street or the train station. Behind the play area you’ll find a footpath which leads up to St Andrew and St Mary’s Church. From the church, walk up the slope and turn right onto Church Lane. After a few hundred metres, you’ll cross a railway bridge, from here take the left hand fork in the lane.
Follow the lane, with views over farmland on either side, passing a farmhouse on your left and then a small wood and a pond on your right. After about 750 metres, you’ll reach a larger farmhouse. With the farmhouse ahead of you, the road becomes a track which you should follow round to the left past a small pond.
The track slopes down and then back up towards some woods. The track is usually quite muddy at its lowest point but I have managed to push a buggy across it on numerous occasions (it might be impassable with a buggy after particularly heavy rain). The track leads through the woods, which are usually full of snowdrops and bluebells in the spring, before reaching Perrywood Lane.
If you turn right, Perrywood Lane becomes a track which will take you into a larger and rather beautiful stretch of woodland, the bluebells put on a particularly impressive display here. This area is all managed by the Woodhall Estate. The woods are great for a wander if you’re not ready to head back to the village yet. If you have older children, this is a fantastic place for a bike ride. There are a couple of rewarding pubs in neighbouring Datchworth which can be reached along the woodland paths.
Once you’ve had your fill of the woodland, follow the paved part of Perrywood Lane in the opposite direction as it winds its way downhill and then back uphill over the railway line towards Watton at Stone. After about 1km, you’ll reach Watton at Stone Common on your right which is perfect for a picnic. From the common, the lane slopes steeply downhill to meet Church Lane where you can retrace your steps through the churchyard back to the community centre.
Length: approx 3.5km
Features: beautiful spring flowers, far reaching views over the countryside, woodland to explore
Terrain: aside from a slightly muddy area (which I managed to get my buggy through) you’ll be walking mostly on farm tracks and quiet lanes.
Refreshments: The Bull in Watton is family friendly, there’s a good sized garden with a small play area and they do a decent Sunday roast. There’s also a cafe, Crumbs, and a second pub, the George and Dragon, further up the High Street.
Parking and transport: There is parking at the Nigel Poulton Community Centre (postcode SG14 3SF) or the High Street (check restrictions on weekdays), otherwise there is free parking at the train station (SG14 2RJ). There are direct trains from London Moorgate via Finsbury Park and Hertford, plus a bus service to and from Hertford and Stevenage.
I’ve written about other buggy-friendly walks in Hertfordshire in my post Autumn walks in Hertfordshire.
Have you done this walk? Do you have any tips to add? Let me know in the comments below.