Today I joined members of the RailUK forums to walk parts of two discontinued railway lines around Welwyn Garden City. Firstly the line towards Luton, now Ayot Greenway, towards the A1 then looping back to Welwyn on Dawson Way. Followed by Cole Green Way at the other side of Welwyn towards Hertford.
We planned to meet in Welwyn Garden City at 11.30am so after a fairly involved train journey I arrived there around 11. It was a wet morning but the forecast looked reasonable for the afternoon. I had time for a quick look around the centre and the central park, Howards Gate, sets the Garden City theme. Some road works going on so a bit of dodging barriers needed.
Ebeneezer Howard was the founder of the town and the nearby plinth gives quite a detailed history since its founding in 1920. We met in the nearby Two Willows and after a quick snack and chat set on our way at 12.15.
Ayot Greenway starts at a railway bridge just outside the town centre. There is a short bit further towards town but that is now blocked by housing. A pleasant walk through woodland for a mile or so.
We continued for a while until the forward path became impassible and reached what was the old Great North Road, another rail bridge, where we looped back along Dawson Way, another woodland path. We had originally planned to take the bus to the start of Cole Green Way but decided instead to walk, along fairly busy roads, across town to there.
The start of Cole Green Way with a display board telling us about it and the former railway.
Well paved at the start then deeper into woodland and getting a little muddier. The weather remained dry.
Cole Green station which served the village of that name, its platform on the single track line remaining.
We cross a road and the path continues through the woodland.
Under a bridge then as the route comes to an end a magnificent viaduct taking the main line service over the old railway. The path continues for a short while until ending at a large pond where we had to finish our walk. Then along to the outskirts of Hertford where we ate at the Black Horse before parting and making our ways home.