STOOP Walk 3. 5.4 miles.
This walk skirts to the east and south of Stevenage and there is a chance to visit the twelfth century All Saints Church at Datchworth before you begin the descent for the bus home. There are good paths, fine views to enjoy and two sturdy stiles on this walk. Follow the route on OS Explorer Maps 193 and 182.
Stevenage Bus Station Stop B
Alight at the bus turning point, by the Magpie Tea Rooms
To Join Link Path 3. About twenty minutes easy walking
With your back to the tea rooms, look for the footpath/cycleway ahead, to your left and follow it down to join the footpath cycleway alongside Gresley Way. Bear right under the underpass and then straight ahead along this path for a good stretch until you meet the footbridge, left. Cross over the bridge.
Follow the footpath ahead up through the trees, along Dene Lane and on to meet Broadwater Lane (272225). Cross this road. Follow the path ahead, turning left as you meet the gate. Bear left at a T-junction to emerge in the open and go on, past the green keeper’s compound. Bear right at the signpost and follow the road left round the Club House and car park.
*Note: The Club House serves coffee etc. Open 7am - 9pm. Walkers welcome.
Turn right at the waymark as you meet the woods. The right of way now skirts the wood on your left. (An attractive alternative permissive path has been provided through the wood and is accessed over the bridge. The two paths link at the wood’s edge.) About 40 yards after the paths meet, just under the power lines, look for an old iron kissing gate (271219). Turn left here and go through the gate.
Turn right along this busy lane. After about 200 yards you come to the Aston Bury drive on your left. Cross the road (Take care!) and walk ahead up the drive. Ignore the signed footpaths and track to the right and continue past the farm, left, and on past the residential area. As you meet the Manor House on your right, follow the road round to the left and climb over the stile.
Turn right on to the road. After about 75 yards, be on the look out for a fingerpost on your right (277218). The post is waymarked with a STOOP green roundel and it is this waymark you now follow as you make your way on to Hook’s Cross.
At this point you leave Link Path 3.
You now join STOOP.
Turn right along public footpath 26. Keep the hedge on your right and follow the broad track ahead to the junction of footpaths 30 and 26. Turn right here, with the edge of the wood (Astonbury Wood) on your right. Continue in this direction until you meet the A602 (278207). Turn left and follow the narrow footpath beside the road to the finger post at the brow of the hill.
This directs you across the road and the most dangerous road crossing on the entire STOOP circuit. Pedestrians are not yet catered for here. Traffic is moving at speed. Do take the very greatest care.
Cross the A602 to Raffin Green Lane opposite. Follow this lane under the railway bridge, past Hazel Farm on your left, on through the wood (Skegg’s Wood) and on up the hill. Follow the lane as it bears right, past Staples Cottage on your right and a larger establishment on your left. Ignore the public bridleway signed to your left and continue along Raffin Green Lane. You pass the farm house of Raffin Green Farm and houses at Datchworth on your right.
Keep on in this direction climbing gently up the hill, with open views over the fields to your left, until you meet the main road (269192). Turn right here and walk on to meet the junction of paths by the church.
This marks the end of this section of STOOP, (which now goes on to Woolmer Green).
You now join Link Path 4. (268193).
Link Path 4: Datchworth to Stevenage (Hertford Road). 1.5 miles.
Keeping the church on your left, continue straight ahead along Bury Lane. There is no footpath provided for pedestrians along the road so it is necessary to take care. You pass farm buildings and the junction with Hollybush Lane. As the road bears right take the broad footpath straight ahead, Public Bridleway 24.
This is signed 1 mile to Stevenage. Follow the clear path ahead along the field edge, noting fine open views to right and left, and walk on to emerge at a road (261207). Turn right along this road – there is no footpath, but a broad verge protects you here. Just before you reach the gates of the crematorium look out for a finger post left, pointing to a public bridleway.
Cross the road and follow this bridleway down as it passes under the railway bridge. Walk on to emerge at a housing development and on through it, to leave Cardiff Close at the Hertford Road, opposite the finger post which marks the end of Link Path 4 (257213).
To Stevenage Bus Station:
Turn left to reach the bus stop. It is a few yards down the hill on this side of Hertford Road.
Link Bus: SB8 to Stevenage Bus Station from the Hertford Road Stop