Thundridge Old Church

SWC Walk 165 - St. Margarets Circular

08-Nov-17 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Approaching Cold Christmas

SWC Walk 165 - St. Margarets Circular

08-Nov-17 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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The Ash River Valley

SWC Walk 165 - St. Margarets Circular

08-Nov-17 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Hollycross Lake in Autumnal Colours

SWC Walk 165 - St. Margarets Circular

08-Nov-17 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Amwell Nature Reserve

SWC Walk 165 - St. Margarets Circular

08-Nov-17 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Ash river survey

and they're definitely not walkers...well, not today anyway

18-Sep-13 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

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Hen party

Well, what were you egg-specting?

18-Sep-13 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

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St Margarets Circular walk

Quiet rolling Hertfordshire countryside, a haunted, ruined church and long stretches in scenic river valleys.


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Sun, 06-Jan-19

Date # Post
Sat, 03-Mar-18 9

Snowy Saturday – St. Margarets Circular

SWC Walk 165: St. Margarets Circular (Short or Long) T=SWC.165

Distance: 12.2 Miles or 19.5 km for the shorter option and 16.0 miles or 25.7 km for the longer option

Difficulty: 3 out of 10 (up to 5 out of 10 for the main walk)
Train: Take the 9:43 AM Greater Anglia Cambridge train from London Liverpool Street, changing at Broxbourne (arriving 10:15 and departing 10:19) for a Hertfordshire East train, arriving at St. Margarets at 10:25. Return trains from St. Margarets are at 19 and 49 minutes past the hour (again changing at Broxbourne). Buy a day return to St. Margarets.
This is a very charming walk in the gentle rolling hills of Hertfordshire with hopefully reasonable deposits of Siberian snow over the next few days. It passes through several picturesque river valleys. Towards the end of the walk, you also pass through a nature reserve before finishing along the Lea Navigation. As the outbound route of this walk passes by the inbound route in several places, it would also be possible to shorten the walk further if the snowy conditions make the going difficult (so bring a print out of the map with you for added optionality). You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.
The recommended lunch stop is the White Horse or the Chequers Inn in Wareside on the short route (8 miles into the short walk) or the Feathers Inn or The Anchor in Wadesmill (6.8 miles into the main walk). Tea and other late afternoon refreshments can be had at the Jolly Fisherman near the station back in St. Margarets.
Dress warmly, wear your best boots (and socks) and enjoy the walk!
There might be some confusion on the platform as a Ramblers group (Capital Walkers) are starting an 11 mile walk from this station at the same time. Their walk is also in and around the Ash valley, but I don't know how much the two walks will overlap.
Odds are that it is the same walk with the two short cuts. However it is advertised as a packed lunch, though with a pub stop.
9 SWC Walkers managed to quickly disentangle themselves from a similar number of Capital Walkers who disembarked from the train at St. Margarets (based on a casual observation, our average age seemed well below theirs). Not sure where they went as we only really saw some of them again at the Jolly Fisherman at the end of the walk...

We set off under grey and slightly foggy conditions. In the morning there was a reasonable amount of snow on the ground though not the heaping blankets hoped and dreamed of....Nonetheless, enough to illustrate the stride of quite a vast number of critters walking the area....We authoritatively identified a pheasant footprint after one ran down a snowy lane just ahead of us...Reaching the balmy heights of 2 degrees above in the afternoon saw much of snow melt with a return of some muddy patches....

Although efforts were made to bring the whole group on the long the end, 5 did the long walk and 4 the short. We all reconvened at the Jolly Fisherman for a bevie before catching the 17:19 back to London.

Well done Stargazer for doing the 12m walk before doing a half marathon today. Best of luck. I am sure yesterday was execellent training.
Wed, 08-Nov-17 7

Wednesday Walk - St. Margarets (Hertfordshire) Circular

Length: 19.5 km/12.1 mi or 25.6 km/15.9 mi
Ascent/Descent: 230 or 300m
Net Walking Time: ca. 4 ¼ hours or 5 ½ hours
Toughness: 3 out of 10 or 5 out of 10
Take the 09.42 Hertford East train from Liverpool Street (Hackney Downs 09.48, Tottenham Hale [Victoria Line] 09.55, Ponders End 09.59 etc.), arrives St. Margarets 10.21.
Return trains are on xx.17 and xx.47.

This walk leads along ancient tracks and green lanes through some very quiet, rolling East Hertfordshire countryside defined by wheat fields and woods, in-between extensive stretches along the Ash, Rib and Lea rivers. Cold Christmas hamlet and a haunted, ruined church are passed just before lunch, taken in one of three recommended pubs, either in Wadesmill or High Cross (Long Walk). Long parts of the afternoon route are spent in the scenic Ash valley, before passing through Amwell Nature Reserve, a bird watcher’s paradise. The final stretch leads along the Lea Navigation back to St. Margarets.
[Short Walk] The White Horse or The Chequers Inn in Wareside (12.9 km/8.0 mi).
[Long Walk] The Anchor or The Feathers Inn in Wadesmill (10.9 km/6.8 mi). The White Horse in High Cross is now shut for conversion into dwellings.
Tea: The Jolly Fisherman, The Oak, The Red Lion, all minutes from the station.
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.165.a
This walk is not suitable for a mid week winter walk where the short version is 12 miles long with lunch after 8 miles. As a founder member of the mid week walkers could I remind walk posters that the group mainly consists of senior walkers who prefer a more leisurely pace using senior railcards which cannot be used until after 9.30 or10.00 am if using a Network card for our younger walkers on a day off from work.
I disagree, and on several accounts. (I) It is autumn, not winter. There is light until 17.00 hours. (II) The train posted was at 9.42 (ie after 9.30) and the full price rtn ticket was at £11,80 below the minimum threshold of £13.00 for the Network Railcard, so the 10 o'clock cutoff for that didn't matter. (III) And, arriving in St. Margarets at 10.21, it meant that there was ample time for slower walkers doing the short walk to get to a pub 8 miles away, had they tried.
As it was, the delayed 9.42 was terminated at Broxbourne "to regulate the service", so we had to wait for the 10.12 anyway, and were half an hour behind the posted schedule upon arrival at St. Margarets.
7 walkers were up for this ramble in overcast later sunny conditions, which featured gently rolling fields, plenty of small woods showing autumn colours, streams and rivers, grassy valleys, a haunted ruined church, a birdwatchers' paradise, the Lea Navigation and just one stile and only 500m of arable field crossings. What's not to like?
4 opted for the main (long) walk with lunch at The Anchor, which proved to be exceptionally good value: main course plus drink for £15 for two people, and tasty it was as well, and the beer was delicious! The other 3 took Shortcut II, cutting all of 1 mile from the main walk (ie no one walked the short walk). The 4 long walkers caught the 'shortcutters' mid afternoon and we arrived back in St. Margarets as one group. As we turned from the Lea Navigation onto the road, the level barriers were down for the 16.47 train, and one tried (but failed) to catch it, the rest went straight into The Jolly Fisherman for a bevvie. A jolly good day was had by all.
A day return fare from Tottenham Hale to St Margaret's using an Oyster pay as you go is £9.70.
Same price as my ticket from the machine then!
To be pedantic about the fares, there is no such thing as a day return on Oyster. A paper day return ticket is £9.70, as Sandy says. If you use Oyster you'll probably pay £3.60 out (off peak, touch in after 9.30am) + £5.70 back (peak, touch in 4 7pm) = £9.30, so slightly cheaper.

If you have a Senior Railcard the paper day return is £6.40. If your railcard is linked to your Oyster card the fare out is reduced to £2.40 but there's no discount on the peak fare back. In this case the paper day return is cheaper (£6.40 vs. £8.10).

For other journeys the prices will obviously be different, but in general if your return journey is in peak the paper day return will be cheaper if you have a Senior Railcard and Oyster PAYG cheaper if you don't.
Thanks for all this detailed information Sean. It only came up because we were surprised to see Oyster card readers at St Margarets and I wondered if I needn't have bothered buying a paper ticket. I'm inclined to think if you have to do that much research to know the answer, I'll be sticking to old tech for a while yet.
Sun, 18-Sep-16 8

Sunday Walk 1 – the East Hertfordshire countryside

Extra Walk 165a – St Margarets Circular (omitting Wadesmill)
Length: 19.5 km (12.2 miles), with longer options. Toughness: 3/10

09:44 Hertford East train from Stratford (Lea Bridge 09:50, Tottenham Hale 09:55, etc), arriving St Margarets (Herts) at 10:21. If it's more convenient you can take the 09:32 Stansted Airport train from Liverpool Street (or a Victoria Line tube) and change at Tottenham Hale.

Trains back to Stratford via Tottenham Hale are at 17 & 47 minutes past the hour.

St Margarets is one of those stations outside the TfL Zones which now take Oyster PAYG, which is convenient but might not be your cheapest option.

I'm suggesting you do the ‘short’ version of this walk through “quiet rolling East Hertfordshire countryside”, although it seems to me that 12 miles is still a pretty decent workout. However, I've chosen a slightly earlier train than recommended in case you want to do the full 16 miles instead. In fact the lunch option on the short walk comes after a slightly longer morning; on this variation you do two-thirds of the walk before lunch in Wareside, whereas the lunch stops on the full version (in Wadesmill or High Cross) come before halfway. At any rate you don't have to decide which option to go for until you've got a fair way through the walk.

You'll need to print the directions from this pdf document, which lists a number of pubs for refreshment at the end of the walk. T=swc.165.a
Thank you Pete (& everyone) for a fantastic day out! You'll be pleased to hear we safely caught the 15.47 so were safely back in London in time (phew)!
8 alighted from the train but one stayed behind at the station to wait for a friend who was driving but sadly we never saw them again.

Perfect early autumnal weather for walking, dry mild and cloudy, and we set off at a medium pace to try to reach the lunch time pub around 1pm as we all opted to do the 12 mile option. The splendid rolling countryside and woodland was only marred by the sad sight of the horse chestnut trees autumnal leaves ruined by the depredations of the leaf miner ant. Will they ever find a way to get rid of this pest?

Excellent roasts and fish at the lunch time pub before the gentle amble back along lovely riverside valley paths. Three opted for the 15.47 whilst 3 others (Moontiger was marching to his own drum) had a riverside drink before catching the next train 30mins later. Lovely day out on one of our often under appreciated Hertfordshire walks. One or two issues with the written directions which will be passed on to the walks author. I also made a note to make a winter visit to the bird watching and nature reserve near St Margarets which would make a nice short day out.
Sun, 05-Apr-15 13 St Margarets Circular
Wed, 18-Sep-13 St Margarets Circular (short walk, omitting Wadesmill)
Sat, 17-Nov-12 St Margarets Circular