Two trees

On the golf-course stretch, Welwyn Circular

24-Jan-10 • moontiger on Flickr

hertfordshire book3 swcwalks walk69

'Ivied ruin of a church'

Ayot St Lawrence Welwyn Circular

24-Jan-10 • moontiger on Flickr

hertfordshire book3 swcwalks walk69

Bridleway across fields

Welwyn Circular

24-Jan-10 • moontiger on Flickr

hertfordshire book3 swcwalks walk69

Bridleway - looking back

Welwyn Circular

24-Jan-10 • moontiger on Flickr

hertfordshire book3 swcwalks walk69

Tree in hedgerow

Welwyn Circular

24-Jan-10 • moontiger on Flickr

swcwalks hertfordshire book3 walk69

Trees, Ayot Place driveway

Welwyn Circular

24-Jan-10 • moontiger on Flickr

hertfordshire book3 swcwalks walk69

Trees, shadows

Welwyn Circular

24-Jan-10 • moontiger on Flickr

hertfordshire book3 swcwalks walk69

Welwyn Circular walk

An easy walk through Hertfordshire countryside, visiting Ayot St Lawrence and an an ivied Gothic ruin of a church.


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: Thu, 17-Jan-19

Date # Post
Sun, 30-Sep-18 11

Sunday walk: Hertfordshire countryside and G B Shaw's home

Welwyn Circular

Length: 17.7km (11 miles) Toughness: 2 out of 10

10:02 Welwyn North train from Kings Cross arriving Welwyn Garden City at 10:30.
There is also a stopping service from Moorgate at 09:57, calling at numerous stations in north London and arriving at Welwyn Garden City at 10:48.

Return trains fast to Kings Cross are at xx:53, with additional stopping services to Morrgate at xx:28 and xx:58.

The route traverses some attractive Hertfordshire countryside, including the landscaped parkland of two large country houses. Just before or after lunch you could visit Shaw’s Corner, the former home of George Bernard Shaw, now owned by the National Trust, before it closes for the winter.

The recommended lunch pub for this walk is The Brocket Arms (01438 820250) in Ayot St Lawrence, 11km from the start. Ring ahead to reserve a table. For an earlier lunch stop you would need to divert to Wheathampstead (see directions).

You will need to download the Walk Directions.

11 on this walk and despite some early sun most of it was done in cool and cloudy weather. For one walker this was a long trip down memory lane as she was one of around 8000 babies born at Brocket Hall in the 10 years after WW2. Photographs were taken and memories shared.

Three of the group decided to do their own thing early on so 8 of us ambled along the easy trails and we all decided to go to Wheathamstead where 5 enjoyed a superb value variety of meat and vegetarian roasts in the "old school" Swan pub. There are other meal options in the village which has 2 interesting looking cafes. (The Brocket Arms was fully booked.)

After lunch I and 5 others decided not to retrace our steps to the walk route but take a road based shorter route and meet with the two others where the paths met up. Unfortunately the intrepid two went a bit off piste and enjoyed a little adventure of their own. The rest of us carried on to George Bernard Shaw's House where for the price of a couple of raffle tickets those of us not NT members were allowed in to view the gardens.

We got back to Welwyn just after 5pm for refreshments at cafe Nero and on the way to the station met the intrepid 2 who had reached GBS's house
at around 4.30 and then (ahem) cadged a lift back to Welwyn.

All 11 of us met up at the station to catch a standing room only fast train back to London.

This is an ideal walk for autumn; it has no outstanding scenery but is just a pleasant and rewarding amble with places of interest and a quick service from and to London. A lovely day out in lively company.
One small additional point. The length of this walk looks to have been a bit underestimated, My gpx route for the main walk gives 18.32km (11.45m).

The GPX for the path to Wheathampsted gives 2.82km (1.76m) so if you do this extension there and back you will be doing around 13m or so.
Sat, 14-Jan-17 30

Saturday Second Walk - Hertfordshire hills

SWC Walk 69 - Welwyn Circular
Length: 17.1km (11 miles) - or 19.6km (12.5 miles) with diversion to alternative lunch pub.
Toughness: 2 out of 10

10.04 train from Kings Cross (10.10 Finsbury Park) to Welwyn Garden City, arriving 10.31.

There is also a 9.34 stopping train from Moorgate which calls at all sorts of stops in North London, arriving 10.23

Buy a day return to Welwyn Garden City.

For walk directions click here.

There are two esoteric treats at the start of this walk: getting a train that starts from Kings Cross and walking through the heart of Welwyn Garden City, planned in the 1920s as a better way of living: not uninteresting to look at.

You are pretty quickly out into the rurality, however and walking first along the River Lea and then over gentle Hertfordshire Hills up to Ayot St Lawrence, where George Bernard Shaw made his home. Sadly being winter, you can't visit his house (now NT) but the village apparently has two interesting churches.

Lunch is either in Ayot St Lawrence or via a 2.5km/1.5 mile diversion earlier in the walk at a "more traditional" (= "Sky Sports") pub in Wheathampstead. The Ayot one candidly looks nicer, but it might be worth phoning at the start of the walk to check it has space before you rely on it.

Tea is either at a pub just before you enter Welwyn 2.4km/1.5 miles from the walk end, or at various cafes in Welwyn (if nothing else, the Costa Coffee is open until 7pm).

Trains back are at 23 and 53 past for fast trains to Finsbury Park and Kings Cross - 03 and 33 past for the stopping service to Moorgate
A lot of walkers. I would guess around 25 including those who took the slow train and joined up with us en route. The weather started off cold with some drizzle but sunshine later We were quickly out of WGC and past the motorway into peaceful gentle countryside. The Brocket Arms in Ayot is small but friendly. It's reputedly haunted perhaps by a ghost who likes to lock the front door as some walkers had trouble opening it. All in all a very nice walk.
30 on this walk a record for a Hertfordshire walk? We were promised sunshine but in fact got a morning of light rain followed by sunshine. Well, it was nice when it finally appeared.

Winter seems to suit this walk. Welwyn GC is pleasant and interesting one of the better examples of a planned town, I think, and apart from a rather too long section across a golf course the rest of the route is easy to navigate, with long straight stretches, and reasonably nice, if undramatic, scenery. We got to the end as the sun was setting, tinting the trees in the final wood with gold, so the length was just right too.

We had managed to book 12 places for lunch in the Brocket Arms but squeezed in 15. They were friendly, though as usual we could have done without the 30 minute delay before they took our order at the table. It would have be nice too if the pub could invest in a tray so that our waitress did not have to bring the drinks from the bar two at a time. But these niggles apart, a nice meal.

Six other walkers "took one for the team" and diverted to the Sky Sports pub in Wheathamsptead, which they reported friendly and with good food.

Ayot St Lawrence was very pretty, with its ruined church (parttly dismantled for romantic effect in the nineteenth century, apparently). The afternoon sunshine was glorious and Simmons Cafe in WGC had great cakes and was also very friendly (perhaps it is because we were "Up North"). Five of us who lingered for a drink also found the Doctor's Tonic pub very cosy and well appointed. All this and fast trains to whisk you to London in 30 minutes. Perhaps living in a Garden City would not be so bad after all?
Apologies for two walk reports. I think we must have been doing them simultaneously....
Wed, 23-Sep-15 10

Midweek day walk - Welwyn Circular

Welwyn Circular

Ayot St.Lawrence, a ruined ivied Gothic church and the home of George Bernard Shaw

Book 3* Walk 69

* online only

Length : 17 km or 11 miles

Toughness : 2 out of 10

Getting there : Catch the 10:35 am train from London Kings Cross to Welwyn Garden City (10:41 from Finsbury Park)

Meeting point : Welwyn Garden City Station at 11:01

Tickets : Buy a Cheap Day Return to Welwyn Garden City

Brief Description

After a brief encounter with the shopping centre, the walk passes through Sir Ebenezer Howard's world famous new town circa 1920's and shortly enters woodland.
You may find full details of the walk here

Suggested Lunch stop

Suggested Tea stop

Simmons at 33 Howardsgate open to 5:00pm t:01707 321 051


OS Explorer : 182

Return train times

There are five trains an hour returning from Welwyn Garden City to London
Faster trains appear to be at :23,:40 and :53 minutes past the hour
Intend going
After platform alterations at Kings Cross and Finsbury Park 10 managed to get to WGC and start the walk. The weather was Sunny with some light cloud in the afternoon.
Four ate lunch at the Brocket Arms and the six with sandwiches went off to George Bernard Shaw's House.
Foragers found walnuts, apples, plums and some remaining blackberries.
The group split in the afternoon with five heading off to take tea in Welwyn with the remainder following on after visiting GBS's house
Sun, 24-May-15 1

Sunday Walk 2 – Ambling through Hertfordshire

Extra Walk 69 Welwyn circular
17km (10.6m); toughness 2/10
Trains: London Kings Cross10.05 (Finsbury Park 10.11) Welwyn Garden City 10.31
Fast return trains from Welwyn Garden City at xx:52 and slower stopping trains at xx:29 and xx:59.
A gentle amble through attractive Hertfordshire countryside including the landscaped parkland of Brocket Hall and Lamer House.

See here for further information about the walk and the lunch and refreshment options.
Welwyn Circular Sunday 24/5/15

I was apparently the only person to choose this walk, which turned out to be something of a Blytonesque adventure although sadly lacking Timmy the dog for company. The challenges arose from the directions seemingly dating back to 2009 (?). Fortunately I was reasonably well prepared with map, compass, all weather gear and compo rations. If the poster would like to leave contact details I can forward more details of the updates which might be advantageous. In summary, all the wooden stiles/posts/kissing gates have been removed and most, but not all, replaced with metal kissing gates and particular care was needed at the following points (1) if not lunching at Wheathamstead be careful not to take the indistinct right fork at the first kissing gate otherwise you will come out too far to the east on the former railway track (2) the path through Lamer Park has been diverted so that it is no longer possible to take the former path past the summerhouse. The diversion is not marked but you need to take the left path at what is now a T junction (3) after leaving the lane beyond the Brocket Arms you need to be careful not to turn off too soon to go down the right hand side of the (third) field otherwise you will come out too early at Hill farm (4) the estate formerly known as Ayton Place has changed its name to something impressive beginning with ‘M’. The gatehouse to the left has a small plaque with the former name (5) the ‘black gated driveway entrance’ to the house beyond the small green has gone. Take the footpath to the left of the house (there is also one to the right). The walk was a lovely mix of woodland, open fields and parkland – it just took rather longer than anticipated!
Sun, 06-Apr-14 1 Welwyn Circular
Sat, 19-Oct-13 12 Welwyn Circular
Sat, 30-Mar-13 15 Welwyn Circular
Mon, 27-Aug-12 Welwyn Circular
Sun, 27-Nov-11 Welwyn Circular
Sat, 26-Mar-11 Welwyn Circular
Sun, 24-Jan-10 Welwyn Circular
Sat, 18-Jul-09 Welwyn Circular
Sat, 21-Mar-09 Welwyn Circular
Wed, 01-Oct-08 Welwyn Circular