STOOP Walk 1. 4.7 miles
This is a gentle 5 mile walk easily accessible from the estates to the north east of Stevenage. There are fine open views to enjoy and no stiles to climb. You pass the old mill at Walkern and return to Stevenage New Town through meadows alongside the River Beane. You can follow this easy route on OS Explorer Map 193.
Link Path 1: Great Ashby to Dane End Farm. 0.7 miles. Start point TL261272.
Cross the road to the signed bridleway ahead, slightly to your left. Follow this broad track, alongside the boundary fences on your left. At the end of the housing development, ignore a path leading off to your left and continue across more open ground. Keep to the track as it turns gently right, but where it turns more sharply right, turn left on to the signed bridleway, climbing gently uphill, with a wood to your left. Follow this track to the farm buildings of Dane End Farm, ahead of you as you emerge. Here you leave Link Path 1 (271277)
You now join STOOP
Turn right to follow the waymarked footpath, with the farm buildings and then a hedge on your left. This leads to a clear path on the field boundary, a hedge now on your right. As the field curves away to the left look out for a well worn path that bears right through the trees. The farmhouse is almost directly behind you at this point. Follow this (now signed) path along the next field edge, with a spinney – and bluebells in spring - now on your right. As you leave this spinney behind, the path continues ahead but gradually you enter a more open landscape, one dotted with trees. Ahead there is a clear line of trees joining the path.
Make your way gently downhill on this clear track. Walkern comes into view as the track curves. There is a bank on your right. Continue, but as the descending track curves more directly towards the houses, be on the look out for a waymark post (or new finger post) on the bank to your right (283267). Turn right here on to the waymarked path, following it up the bank and along the field edge straight on to a T- junction. Turn left here. This is Froghall Lane. Follow this, past houses to a road sign on the right, alerting drivers to the presence of children playing nearby.
Note a diversion is possible here. Continue straight ahead downhill to reach Walkern High Street. Cross with care to reach the White Lion or the Yew Tree Inns or the village shop before retracing your steps to this point on STOOP One to continue along the orbital path.
Turn immediately (288262) right into the footpath at the entrance to this estate, the small play area in front of you. You bear right, past flats on your left. Soon, turn left through the alley and cross the road ahead. Turn right here and follow the footpath round to the left, passing between flats and parking bays. Immediately past the parking bays cross the road to the fingerpost on the street corner opposite. Continue along Moors Ley and turn first left. This route brings you to the B1037 (286259), and a bench thoughtfully placed directly opposite the footpath on other side of the road.
Cross the B1037 with great care – this is a busy road - and follow the footpath through a kissing gate, uphill alongside the first field, through a second kissing gate and diagonally across the next field to a third. Go through and turn left. Follow the path, keeping the hedge on your left, until you meet another signed kissing gate, left. Turn left here, go down the steps and follow this path down the edge of the field (286255). Just before you reach the road, with the mill clearly ahead of you, turn right and leave the field by the gate in the corner. Your route now follows the well signed Beane Valley footpath, the river on your left.
After about 150 yards, go through the kissing gate on your left. Continue through meadows, to meet two adjacent gates and go through the one on the left. Continue on the clear path ahead, crossing fields, through a succession of gates, across a farm track and on until your path crosses a shallow ditch by a tree. Here a white topped waymark post indicates the junction of paths.
STOOP One, STOOP Two and Link Path 2 all meet up at this point (282245) - and you now head back to Stevenage on Link Path 2.
Follow the bridleway diagonally right across the small field to a metal gate and go through. The right of way now goes straight ahead and you follow a well marked path. Towards the top of the hill you meet a mid-field junction. Turn left here and walk over the brow of the hill to reach a well signed waymark post by the hedge.
Turn right here, ignoring the gate and steps in front of you, and follow the bridleway uphill with the hedge on your left. You meet a waymarked lane, left, leading through the trees. This is Holders Lane and you ignore this too, but carry on along the field boundary to pass a mobile phone mast on your right. Continue. Very soon you bear left at the waymarked T- junction.
Follow the signed bridleway ahead, keeping the hedge on your right, eventually to meet civilisation in the form of Gresley Way on the eastern edge of Stevenage. (268252)
This marks the end of Link Path 2.
To Stevenage Bus Station:
Note: About five minutes easy walking to the SB1 bus stop.
Cross Gresley Way with particular care – do look and listen for 40 mph approaching traffic. Continue straight ahead between the houses opposite and walk on to reach Chells Manor on your right. Turn left here to emerge on the White Way. Cross this road to the SB1 bus stop opposite, slightly to your right.