Saturday 8th June 2013
7 miles approx, including station links
Toilets: Welwyn Garden City Station; shopping centre, cafes and pubs in Welwyn Garden City; Cowper Arms pub, Letty Green; pubs in Hertford; Hertford North Station.
Having enjoyed the Ayot Greenway a couple of weeks ago, we decided to walk along another disused railway route, this time the Cole Green Way from Welwyn Garden City to Hertford. It was a day of two halves. The first half was really disappointing, but the second half picked up and was a lot more enjoyable.
We started off having to walk about a mile through the streets of Welwyn Garden City to the start of the route, since the location of part of the railway is now covered by industrial estates. This was frustrating as the route kept stopping and starting. After walking down Knella Road, and then down an alleyway, we crossed another road in order to get to a narrow strip of parkland. This didn’t last long, and we soon ended up walking along Black Fan Road, before the route appeared to start again properly on the corner of Cole Green Lane. Even that entrance was slightly difficult to find, though.
We finally felt like we’d got going. The path was paved for quite a while, and I was fine wearing trainers rather than boots, especially as the weather had been dry recently. The route didn’t seem very interesting, although we were able to look out onto fields. The map suggested the path was unfenced on the right, although there was in fact a small wire fence.
As soon as we went through the tunnel under the A414, our surroundings became a lot nicer and our walk began to feel a lot more worthwhile. Just after Letty Green, we passed the remains of Cole Green Station. The station building was demolished in 1975, but the platforms were still there.
We stopped for a quick drink at the Cowper Arms pub nearby. Our walk then continued along a typical railway cutting, which became more picturesque as it went on. This bridge was near a nursery just east of Hertingfordbury, very near the end of the Cole Green Way.
After passing under the modern-day railway still in use, we took a few more footpaths to bring us into the centre of Hertford. We reached Hertford Castle, where the outer walls dated back to the early 14th Century. The castle building in the middle was far less ancient, having been done up a couple of hundred years ago, and now being occupied by Hertford Town Council.
It was an enjoyable day in the end, but if you only want to see the best bits, it’s worth starting at Letty Green or just before, and walking towards Hertford.