A walk through history in Hartham Common
16:34 15 February 2010
HERTFORD is the second largest town in East Hertfordshire and was the site of the first ever General Synod of the English Church in 673 AD. It has been a strategically important site since Saxon times as it is the meeting place of four rivers; the Mimram, the Rib, the Lee (Lea) and the Beane.
This natural island has recently been managed as an otter habitat. Otters were released back into the county in 1991 and have been seen in this vicinity. Otters need dense undisturbed river bank vegetation to breed. The release programme has been successful.
In the late 18th century, Hertford was an important centre for malting, brewing and corn milling. Surrounded by agricultural estates and with a canal linking the towns of Hertford and Ware. The old river course still meanders over the floodplain.
The area is crisscrossed by rivers and ditches which are home to many waterside plants and animals. A section of the Lee was straightened in 1765 and its banks protected to create a canal linking the towns of Hertford and Ware which meanders over the floodplain.
The cycle path across Hartham Common was opened in 1995 and follows the River Lee towpath for much of its length from Hertford to Ware. It has a smooth level surface suitable for walkers and cyclists of all abilities.
1 Starting at the Car Park for Hartham Common, follow tarmac path towards Hartham Swimming Pool.
2 At junction before Swimming Pool take tarmac path to the left towards Hartham Common Tennis Courts. Do not cross River Beane but turn right to follow river bank.
3 Join cycle path and cross bridge. Where cycle path turns to the right away from river, leave cycle path to follow river bank, eventually reaching footbridge at Joe's island.
4 Do not cross bridge but turn right across Hartham Common towards Hertford Lock, once more joining
5 Over lock turn left along river bank. Keep to river side of Pumping House. Go through kissing gate on right.
6 After crossing bridge bear left on track across the Meads through field to kissing gate. Go through this kissing gate and turn right through a second kissing gate.
7 Follow field boundary with hedge to left to reach Hertford Lock. Turn left
to follow towpath away from the Meads along canalised River Lee. Go under a small bridge.
8 Climb steps at next bridge and turn right, then left and immediately right
to cross weir and join cycle path behind Hartham Swimming Pool. Retrace your steps back to car park.
Distance 3.8km (2.3 miles)
Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Rating Moderate - flat, some unsurfaced paths
Parking Car park at start of the walk at Hartham Common, Hertford
Toilets At Hartham Common
OS Map Explorer 194