HALF PRICE OFFER Subscribe to Hertfordshire Life today CLICK HERE

Enjoy a five-mile walk along the River Stort from Bishop's Stortford down to Sawbridgeworth

18:04 20 April 2011

Tednambury Lock

Tednambury Lock

Details of a route along the River Stort from Bishop's Stortford down to Sawbridgeworth. Read here to find out more about this beautiful route to explore...

Down by the river...


Enjoy a five-mile walk along the River Stort from Bishops Stortford down to Sawbridgeworth courtesy of the Countryside Management Service.


Bishopss Stortford is an ideal centre from which to explore the River Stort. Before people settled here and cleared land for farming, the valley floor was a series of extensive marshes with undisturbed forest on nearby slopes.

Bishops Stortford grew up at an ancient river crossing and the Iron Age settlement at Wallbury Dells, two miles downstream on the Essex side of the river, dates from about 400BC.



Many water mills were built along the course of the river and several, such as Burnt Mill and South Mill, have disappeared but Hallingbury Mills remain. In 1769, the river was canalised to enable barge traffic to use it. The navigation was used to transport timber and grain, particularly barley on its way to maltings in Bishops Stortford and Sawbridgeworth. Later, the building of the railway and improvements to London Road, the old A11, took freight away from the canal. In 1962, British Waterways Board took it over, principally for recreational uses.


Wildlife
Some marshes survive in the valley to this day and the area is extremely important for birds, not only as a breeding ground and wintering area, but also as a feeding and resting place during migration.



Wet grassland provides insects, worms and other invertebrates as food for waterfowl and other birds as they pass. Breeding birds are numerous and include reed and sedge warblers, little grebe, water rail, moorhen, kingfisher and the occasional snipe. The area is also good for flocks of finches which in autumn and winter feed off seeds of teasel, thistle and other plants.



In spring, marsh marigolds carpet some of the wetter places and you can often find ragged robin and ladys smock. Marsh orchids occur in several places together with yellow iris, meadow sweet and hemp agrimony.



During a walk along the quieter stretches of the river in summer it is still possible to find the yellow water lily and the white flowers of arrowhead. The banks of many waterways are also coloured by a scattering of the tall spikes of purple loosestrife and occasionally by the pink umbels of flowering rush.



In summer, shoals of fish can be seen basking near the surface of the river. Damselflies and dragonflies are often visible, particularly the bBanded demoiselle, easily recognisable by its blue colour and deep purple wing patches. In the backwaters life is particularly rich with freshwater sponge, crayfish and sometimes stone loach.

The route
Starting at Bishops Stortford Railway Station main entrance, head for the town centre and before the Riverside Bridge, walk down to the left to find the path along the Stort. Walk with the river on your right and take care as you cross the main London Road.



From here, you cross to the other side of the river for about 600 yards (550m), then back to the left side at South Mill Lock. The walk becomes more rural from here.



Past Rushy Mead Nature Reserve (7)and Twyford Lock, exercise caution crossing Pig Lane. At the mid-point of the walk and on your left before you reach Spellbrook Lock is Wallbury Dells. Watch for traffic at Dell Lane and continue past Hallingbury Marina, at Gaston Green, and Tednambury Lock.



You have some lovely views of the countryside and its flora and fauna as you continue to Sawbridgeworth Lock. From here, you can pop into Sawbridgeworth (right) for refreshments or walk (left) to Sawbridgeworth Railway Station and travel back by train. Two or three trains run per hour and the journey only takes a few minutes.

START WALKING
This walk is based on the Bishops StortfordSawbridgeworth Station to Station Riverside Trail leaflet, produced by East Herts District Council, British Waterways Board and the Countryside Management Service.
Distance: Approx 8km or 5 miles
Map: OS Explorer Map 194
Time: 2 to 3 hours
Description: The route is flat and most is well surfaced with slopes at access points for buggies or wheelchair users
Start: Bishops Stortford Railway Station
Toilets: Bishops Stortford and Sawbridgeworth railway stations

0 comments

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Out & About

Mon, 18:29
Crossing the river Ash on the Easneye estate (Photo: Liz Hamilton)

With a walk of the month and many more routes besides, the Herts Campaign to Protect Rural England website is a great resource for exploring the county’s countryside (and to cross hemispheres) says Liz Hamilton

Read more
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
© BuckleyPics

If you love history and exploring then check out our guide to historic churches in Hertfordshire

Read more
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
A shy and retiring Chrsyler at last year's show (Photo: Teresa Whyte, Studio 66 Photography)

May is an important month for car lovers as the county hosts a day devoted to magical motors. This year’s Herts Auto Show promises to be the most impressive yet with a vast array of vehicles from vintage to supercars. Doretta Sarris Hogan discovers the story of the show and the allure of fine motoring

Read more
Monday, May 16, 2016
The event is a Mecca for narrowboats, with around 100 gathering on the festival stretch of the canal (Photo: Greg Townsend)

Rickmansworth Festival, one of the premier waterway events in the country, takes place in May. A hundred narrowboats and so much more, writes Louise McEvoy

Read more
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
The Queen is presented with a book written by former schoolmaster John Davison, Berkhamsted School  A 475th Anniversary Portrait (photo Will Gunary)

Berkhamsted was in full royal fever for a visit by the Queen, the patron of Berkhamsted School, as part of celebrations to mark its 475th anniversary.

Read more
Monday, May 9, 2016
The walks cater for all ages

Exploring Herts’ nature and history, getting fit and meeting like-minded people, all for free – sound good? There are more than 70 guided routes on offer in the Countryside Management Service May Walking Festival. Hertfordshire Year of Walking officer Rukia Augustine explains

Read more
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
© Siri Stafford, Thinkstock

From five star hotels and Georgian townhouses in the city to countryside farm houses and even a VW camper van, we have something for everyone who wants to escape

Read more
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
The river Mimram at Tewinbury (Tim Hill)

Hertfordshire is home to around 10 per cent of the world’s chalk rivers. David Johnson, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust living rivers officer, takes a clear look into these rare water courses

Read more
Sunday, May 1, 2016
(c) Mypurgatoryyears, Getty Images

From comedy to classic cars, indie-rock to art, jiving ponies to jazz greats and folk music to old-fashioned family fun, whatever your tastes – Hertfordshire has a festival for you. In fact, you could fill every weekend with a festival in the county this spring and summer, so here we celebrate 50 of the best

Read more
Sunday, April 24, 2016
Goldcrest feed on insects that live on conifers on the site

A new Chalk Stream and Heath walking route has been created at Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust’s Waterford Heath reserve giving access to heath, river and marshes. Reserve officer Andy Brown outlines the history of the site and its wonderful wildlife

Read more


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Job search in your local area




Local Business Directory

Hertfordshire's trusted business finder

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search