Walk 1504 - printer friendly version
Potten End Circular Walk
Author - Donald Morton
Length - 6.0 miles / 9.8 km
Ascent - 500 feet / 152 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference TL017088
Lat 51.768649 + Long -0.52757713
Postcode HP4 2QH (approx. location only)
This Hertfordshire walk as described starts from the village green in Potten End (Grid Ref TL017088). There is parking at the side of the village green outside the village hall. Alternatively this walk can be started from Hemel Hempstead Railway Station. In this case, when you leave the station walk, via the pedestrian crossing, down the road opposite towards The Fishery Inn, which can be seen ahead by the side of the Grand Union Canal. On reaching the canal, turn left along the tow path to join - and at the end leave - the walk at Bridge 148.
Starting from Potten End on the lovely village green, walk between Martins Pond Public House right, and the actual Pond on the green, left. Continue along Hempstead Lane, past some rather expensive houses to Pouchen Lane on the right. Turn down here - this really is a quiet lane - and then left at the first junction. You can see a footpath sign ahead. Turn right here onto the Chiltern Way. You follow this down to the Grand Union Canal. For a long distance it goes straight down an enclosed path. After going over a cross path it runs along the edge of Hemel Hempstead, although in spring through autumn you are barely aware of it.
This path comes out at a road (Long Chauldon). Cross over and continue straight on. Now you are walking between two of the "villages" of Hemel Hempstead, Chaulden and Green End (when the new town was built each area was given the name of one of the hamlets which had been absorbed) but again between spring and autumn you are barely aware of it; designing the layout of the new town must have been quite a challenge because the area is quite hilly but use was made of this to create green avenues between the areas, and the Chiltern Way is able to follow one of these so that trees and fields are between you and the houses. After a junction of paths -choose the left hand one of the two going straight on and not the one through the gate - the way does eventually come out onto a green where the surrounding houses can be seen. Go straight on over this to come to the junction of Shrubhill Road, Chiltern Terrace and Jocketts Road. Go straight on along Jocketts Road.
At a T junction with a main road turn right. You now have about 1/2 mile walking through typical postwar new town housing. In the 1950s this represented escape from the overcrowded cramped houses of inner London; indeed as part of the 1951 Festival of Britain celebrations London children came on day trips to see the future being built, and after 50 years its honest architectural style still compares favourably with a lot of later more meretricious developments. Still, it is welcome when on coming to Chaulden Lane the route doglegs right and left to plunge into the rural Old Fishery Lane, past Old Fishery House and Cottage from earlier times, to arrive at Bridge 148 on the Grand Union Canal. Here the route leaves the Chiltern Way.
Cross the bridge and turn right along the tow path which is followed to bridge 145. En route, watch out for herons which are fairly common along here. There are plenty of mallards, swans, Canada geese, moorhens - with broods in spring; with a great deal of luck maybe a kingfisher or grebe will be spotted. Half way along is a lovely canal side pub - the Three Horshoes - at Winkwell where the canal is crossed by a swing bridge.
At the next bridge join the Hertfordshire Way - there is nothing to indicate this but you now follow it all the way back to Potton End. At bridge 145 leave the canal and turn right up the lane i.e. under the bridge, turn left and turn left again over the bridge. Cross over the railway and continue up the hill. Soon after the road turns sharp left (by a cottage dated 1672), turn right up steps and through a metal kissing gate. Follow the path through two more metal gates and straight on with trees on right to a gate in the fence on the left. Cross the field diagonally to a gate which can be seen to the right of a cottage on the far side (via two more gates which come into view as you go forward). Go through the gate, along an enclosed path, then inside the edge of a wood to a road. Turn right and at the next junction turn left. Go straight on at cross roads down Bullbeggars Lane. Just before a white stucco and brick house, turn right onto a gravel drive. Immediately before imposing iron gates turn left onto an enclosed path running between fences and hedges and fields. By the bowling club it joins a gravel drive which comes out onto Potten End village green.