Walk 1503 - printer friendly version
Clothall short circular from Weston Walk
Author - Donald Morton
Length - 5.5 miles / 8.9 km
Ascent - 380 feet / 115 metres
Grade - easy
Start - OS grid reference TL259301
Lat 51.955145 + Long -0.16929296
Postcode SG4 7DH (approx. location only)
This Hertfordshire walk starts from the Village Green in Weston (Grid Ref TL259301). You may park in Maiden Street down one side of the Green. This is a short walk through gently rolling country side typical of this part of Hertfordshire. On a good spring day it is ideal for exercise, without strenuous exertion, while enjoying the quiet rural scene and perhaps good conversation; for this is a walk where for the most part two may walk comfortably and companionably side by side.
The Village Green is triangular with a pond shaded by a weeping willow and with a road down two sides. Standing at the angle of the two roads, go down the right hand one - Maiden Street - past the village hall, past Mill Lane on the left, past School Lane on the right, past Footpath 21 on the right. Then go up steps on the left through a kissing gate to Footpath 12. From here the walk follows the Hertfordshire Way to Clothall.
Cross the field to a stile in the left hand hedge. Once over the stile turn right along the field edge and round to the left with hedge on right. Where the hedge bends right, go straight on along a wire fence. This brings you to a stile. Cross the stile and continue straight on, hedge on left. Approach a white house and pass to the right of it to come out to a lane. Turn left and then when the lane turns left, turn right down the bridleway (grid ref. TL262309). This is initially tarmac but becomes unsealed but still broad. After .5km or so it turns sharp left and runs along the side of woodland.
It continues, still as an enclosed way but with wide views. At a fork take the right hand bridleway down into and through woods. After going through a gate, come out onto down land. Swing right to follow the hedge on the right. Go through a gate and continue now with a fence on the right. At the end of this field dog leg through a gate and continue with hedge on left until reaching some farm buildings. Once through a gate and past the buildings, turn right at a T-junction onto a broad track (grid ref. TL259325). Initially it is along a field edge, hedge on right, then across an open field, then with hedge on left.
Now ignore the better track slanting off right and go straight on over the open field on the now narrower path to a stile into a field. Do NOT go over but turn right and then left to go round the field on the outside. Just beyond the end of the field you come to a road (grid ref. TL270319). The village of Clothall (population 75) lies to the left, if you wish to view the church. Otherwise leave the Hertfordshire Way and turn right up the lane past what were Victorian almshouses on the left. At the top of the hill (Hickmans Hill), turn left with the road, but where it turns right carry straight on down a gravel drive. (This has not only a sign prohibiting motorcycles and cars, but another, much rarer, prohibiting horse drawn wagons).
Once past The Gables it becomes a traditional green lane as would have been familiar to our forefathers. Follow this for the best part of one kilometre, crossing over a clearly marked footpath, until turning off onto a bridleway going right (grid ref. TL275308). The waymark is on the left of the green lane and being partly obscured by bushes, easy to miss (bitter experience), so whenever you spot a likely gap on the right, check for the waymark on the left. Follow the new bridleway down the field edge, hedge on right; go through a hedge gap and on until reaching a bridge on the right. Go over the bridge, diagonally over a field and down an enclosed path to a house glimpsed ahead. Continue past the house on the drive to a lane (grid ref. TL267301).
Turn right and then left up Church Lane to reach the parish church. Turn right into the churchyard. Immediately to the left are two stones some 8 feet apart marking head and foot of the grave of the giant Jack o' Legs, a legendary Robin Hood like character who, like Robin Hood lies, where his last arrow landed - in this case shot 3 miles from Baldock!
Less open to doubt is the age of the church - parts back to the 12th Century - and its interesting interior with some unusual features, which is well worth a visit. The route continues past the church to the west end of the church yard where it turns left just before an iron gate, goes through a wicket gate and down an enclosed path - which must have been a route taken by villagers to church* - to a gate into a sports field. Go along the edge of the field, hedge on left, to exit into Weston Meadow, a conservation area. Continue on with hedge on left, through a kissing gate and down an alley to the Red Lion. Here turn right to reach the Village Green.
*or perhaps as a bee line from the church to the Red Lion.