STOOP Walk 2. 5.4 miles.
Link Bus: SB1 from Bus Station (Stop B)
To join the Link Path: ( About five minutes easy walking )
Continue along the road and across Harvest Lane. Turn left into Chells Lane. At Chells Manor turn right, head through barriers on to a bridleway and across a minor road to reach Gresley Way. Cross here with great care.
Continue on the waymarked bridleway ahead and walk on, the surface gradually changing until you meet a junction at the next waymark post. Bear right here, passing the mobile phone mast on your left. Follow this signed bridleway, keeping the hedge on your right. Ignore a lane off to the right but, as the path descends more steeply towards the bottom of the valley, look out for the next waymark post (277247).
Turn left here, leaving the field edge path and follow the bridleway across the field. Over the brow of the hill you reach a mid field junction where the bridleway branches off to the right.
Turn right here – there is a good wide view over the countryside to enjoy from this point – and follow the bridleway gently down the hill to a waymarked metal gate slightly to the right of a solitary tree. Go through the gate. The right of way goes diagonally half left across the field to the hedge end, to a shallow ditch by a tree. Here, a white topped waymark post by the ditch marks the junction with STOOP.
At this point you leave Link Path 2. You now join STOOP (282245).
Do not cross the ditch, but turn your back to it and walk ahead across the field, making for a gap in the trees ahead. Go through the kissing gate and on in the same direction. The Beane is to your left as you walk across the meadows to another gate, waymarked and clearly indicating the right of way. Your objective is a waymarked post directly across the field, slightly to the left of the smaller tree under the power line ahead. Once across you meet another waymark post at a junction of paths.
Here, leaving the lone tree on your left, you now follow a curving field edge footpath alongside the river. Continue on this clear route for a good long stretch, crossing two roads. Once over the second road, continue through a signed gap in the hedge slightly to your right and walk on to cross the footbridge. You now follow a broad path across the field, heading towards a signed waymark post in the hedge directly ahead. It is slightly to the left of a small pavilion with a tiled roof – do note the weathercock as you pass. Continue, with the hedge on your left, past a waymark post and on another 100 yards or so to the next, where the right of way changes direction.
Turn half right here and go diagonally left across the field, on a clear footpath, to meet a hedge. Here the owner of the garden extended across the right of way has applied to the Herts County Council for the path’s official diversion - walkers should follow HCC waymarks. On reaching the road (283218), turn right and walk up the hill, noting, as you pass, a fingerpost indicating a footpath left (277218). This marks the junction with STOOP Three.
You now return to Stevenage on Link Path 3.
Continue up the road. Towards the top, where the road bears right, turn left on to the footpath indicated. Go over the stile into the drive of Aston Bury and follow it round to the exit (271216). Turn right, but do take great care here – there is no provision for pedestrians and you now share the highway with fast moving vehicles. Facing the traffic, you now walk along the road for about 200 yards.
Look out for an old iron kissing gate on your left, cross the road with care and go through. Follow the footpath round the golf course with the wood and white marker posts on your right. (The permissive path through the woods eventually joins this route.) Turn left, passing the car park and club house on your right, and then turn left on to the footpath indicated through the trees. Follow this path, bearing right and then left and just before the road, turn right on to a narrow but carefully maintained footpath. Follow this path to the road (272225). Cross with care and go down Dene Lane to the footbridge across Gresley Way and the end of Link Path 3 (269228).
To Stevenage Bus Station:
Note: About fifteen minutes easy walking to the bus stop.
Here there is elegant provision for walkers. Cross the footbridge and turn right. As the bridge path joins the footpath/cycleway system (a much prized New Town heritage) turn left on to it, and follow the footpath alongside Gresley Way. Just before the underpass, bear left and left again. The bus stop for the SB1 bus home soon appears ahead, opposite Sainsburys.
Link Bus: SB1 to Stevenage
You have completed STOOP Two.