Lea Valley Walk 2: Harpenden to Hatfield


The previous section of the Lea Valley Walk ended at Harpenden, so we travelled there to continue. This time we took the bus to Bedford (rather expensive, not to mention half an hour late), then the train down to Harpenden. There we met my parents, who were joining us for this section.

Harpenden to Wheathampstead

Bridge over disused railway.
1/60 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO200 51°49′16″N 0°20′23″W

After walking along the main road from the station, the walk proper began by the river at Batford. Before long we left the river again, climbing to an embankment for a disused railway path.

Fallen tree by ex-railway.
1/30 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°49′2″N 0°19′18″W

We saw the river again briefly where the railway path ended, but then walked across farmland to the village of Wheathampstead.

View from bridge on Cherry Tree Lane.
1/30 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′58″N 0°18′57″W
Horse box and buildings.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′48″N 0°18′52″W
Trees covering muddy path.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′49″N 0°18′42″W
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′45″N 0°18′26″W
Dragon-shaped deadwood.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′44″N 0°18′11″W

Wheathampstead Church

We stopped inside the church to have a look at it and also to dodge the rain.

Church tower, famously described by somebody as a ‘Victorian ice-cream cornet’.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′44″N 0°17′39″W
Central tile flooring (and a table).
1/30 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO800 51°48′44″N 0°17′40″W
Archway, lid thingy over font, and pipe organ.
1/15 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO800 51°48′44″N 0°17′40″W
The inside of the font.
1/15 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO800 51°48′44″N 0°17′40″W
Recently modernised church entryway, with rain.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′44″N 0°17′40″W
Fancy lighting on the lamb painting on the ceiling.
1/30 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO400 51°48′44″N 0°17′40″W

Wheathampstead to Hatfield

The path ran close to the river most of the way from Wheathampstead.

Pebbledash buildings in Wheathampstead.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′46″N 0°17′37″W
River curve and trees.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′50″N 0°16′35″W
Track and telegraph pole.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′45″N 0°16′3″W
Trees on the ridge.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′44″N 0°15′58″W

At Waterend Lane we didn’t need to cross the ford, but I walked across it anyway. It wouldn’t be the wettest our feet got.

1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′36″N 0°15′21″W
Strange flint-decorated building, like (but not) a very posh bus shelter.
1/80 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′22″N 0°15′0″W
Plaster wall inside the shelter.
1/30 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′22″N 0°15′0″W
Trees by the river.
1/15 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°48′22″N 0°15′0″W

We crossed the golf course and grounds of Brocket Hall, an old stately home that is now a conference venue or something.

Fancy bridge and weir at the end of their lake.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°47′55″N 0°14′19″W

At Lemsford, an old mill is now the headquarters of, strangely, Ramblers Walking Holidays.

Bridge over river by mill.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°47′49″N 0°13′57″W

We walked across farmland to a road junction.

1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°47′43″N 0°13′59″W

Here the Lea runs below the A1(M). There is a path beside the river, and also an alternate route you can take if it’s flooded. We didn’t take the alternate route; this is where we got our feet slightly wet.

A1(M) underpass, mainly also underwater.
1/15 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°47′27″N 0°13′36″W

The path crossed Stanborough Park, basically a couple of lakes at the edge of Welywn Garden City.

They really wanted us to know about the low bridge.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°47′8″N 0°13′18″W

We crossed under another railway then followed country lanes until we joined a main road at Mill Green in Hatfield.

Railway bridge.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°46′54″N 0°12′49″W

That’s the end of the walk - we got a bus to St Albans and from there a train back to Bedford, and another couple of buses home.

Bonus picture: Italian church in Bedford.
1/30 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO200

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.