logo Walking Britain

Hertfordshire Walk
Ayot St Lawrence to Ayot St Peter circular

County/Area - Hertfordshire

Author - Elaine and Craig Hindal

Length - 4.6 miles / 7.5 km

Ascent - 300 feet / 91 metres

Time - 2 hours 40 minutes

Grade - easy

Start - OS grid reference TL194168
Lat 51.837054 // Long -0.268435
Postcode AL6 9BU (approx. location only)

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Ayot St Lawrence to Ayot St Peter circular
Click thumbnails for larger images.

There are several walks from Ayot St Lawrence, a small village best known as the home of George Bernard Shaw, where his house, Shaw's Corner, is maintained by the National Trust and open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays, April through October. Roadside parking is available near the ruins of The Church of St Lawrence (Grid Reference TL194168), which is easily visible from the road, although parking can be very limited at weekends when the local pub, the Brocket Arms, is quite busy. At Saturdays and Sundays, it's best to plan an early walk so that you can park without any problem.

With the pub, The Brocket Arms, behind you, turn right out of Ayot St Lawrence, turning right again at the signpost to Ayot St Peter. Where the road bends sharply to the right (at Grid Reference TL198166), take the footpath on your left through the gap in the hedge and up a short bank onto open fields. Follow the path ahead up the hill. You will come to a cross-roads where the path crosses a farm access track (you will see Hill Farm to your right). Carry on straight ahead.

The path reaches a narrow country road (Codicote Road). Taking care, cross the road as the path continues straight in front of you. Follow the path as it goes up hill a little (but it's not steep) and follow the path as it bends to the right by an old tree and follows a short hedge on your left.

At the top of the small hill, one path leads diagonally across the field to the left; but you are going to go straight ahead on the wider path that leads towards and around a small, rather sunken copse of trees. Follow the path around this and you will reach the road at a black and white cottage, and directly opposite the old cemetery of Ayot St Peter.

Turning left, follow the country lane into Ayot St Peter. Before reaching the Church, however, you will take the path on your right signposted to Waterend (just before School Lane on your left and a sign pointing to Welwyn and Codicote) and walk alongside a small private wood, Saul's Wood. After walking alongside the wood, you will arrive at Ayot Greenway, a former railway line and now a broad and comfortable path (and an excellent cycle trail). Turn right along the Ayot Greenway.

After a while, you will arrive at an old bridge named on the OS map at Grid Reference TL206143 as Hunters Bridge (but we could find no sign bearing this name). Descend from the Greenway but do not go under the bridge, and instead follow the path up as it goes slightly to the left. There will be a small coppiced wood to your left, and an area of pine trees to your right; further on, the woods (Dowdell's Wood) are only to your right.

You will soon reach Codicote Road again. Taking care, cross the road to the path opposite and carry straight on. Stocking Springs, a small and rather lovely nature reserve of coppiced hornbeam trees, is immediately to your right. You can walk through the nature reserve and re-join the bridleway through a small gate at the top.

The bridleway will bring you to the road (Grid Reference TL194165). Turn right here and walk up the road back towards Ayot St Lawrence, passing Shaw's Corner, with the entrance to the house and gardens on the left. Continue up the road to where our walk started.

In the nearby area

It is worth a small detour to visit St Peter's Church, the spire of which can be seen from the path as you enter Ayot St Peter. It is an "arts and crafts" church, designed by J.P. Seddon and built in 1875 after the original church (at the site of the cemetery passed earlier on the walk) burnt down after being struck by lightning on 12th July 1874. There has, apparently, been a Church of St Peters in this vicinity since 1282. Information from British History.

Practical information

There are some benches along Ayot Greenway which make a nice place to enjoy the view or have a packed lunch. Also, Hunters Bridge on the Ayot Greenway is a good place to shelter if you need to escape the rain!

How to get to Ayot St Lawrence

The village is accessed by minor roads including single track with passing places. One way is to take the B197 on the west side of Welwyn Garden City and then follow the signs to Ayot Green, then Ayot St Peter and finally Ayot St Lawrence.

Note - Shaw's Corner is owned and managed by the National Trust and is open to the general public. Opening times are - House 17th March-28th October 1.00 pm - 5.00 pm not Mondays or Tuesdays (except Bank Holidays) Garden - as house, but 12.00 - 5.30 pm with last entry 4.30 pm. A visitor's car park is close by, within the grounds. For more information visit the National Trust website.

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer 182Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer 182Digital Map1:25kBUY

It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.

GPS files - On older browsers right click or option-click the link and choose "Save As..." to download this file.

Recommended Reading

Cicerone Books

Cicerone PressCicerone Press offer a range of books and eBooks offering guides to all the popular walking areas and long-distance trails in Britain and overseas. Their illustrated guides feature walks, information and maps to help you make the most of the outdoors.
Explore Cicerone's Catalogue

Social Media

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news.

Facebook Twitter

Wainwright Hill Bagging Map

A scratchable map showing all 214 Wainwrights in the Lake District. More info.

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.

Digital Mapping Guide

Digital Mapping Guide - a simple guide of how to start using digital mapping. Includes advice and useful links.