The Guide

There was only so much we could squeeze onto the map, so these pages give an opportunity to provide additional information:

Places to visit: (attractions, cafes, pubs, restaurants)

Diversions: turn off down one of the side routes, like the old railway lines converted to cycle routes: The Alban Way, The Cole Green Way, The Ayot Green Way etc.

Travel information: combining cycling with the train one way perhaps, or the best place to park the car.

Route Information: current issues & useful tips!


The Guide is divided into 3 sections, describing riding from North to South

Stotfold - north edge of Stevenage

Stevenage - Ayot Green (near Welwyn Garden City)

Welwyn Garden City - Hadley Wood, London Borough of Barnet


Stotfold - north edge of Stevenage

This is a pleasant ride using mainly sections of the Letchworth Greenway, with an added loop into Baldock.

Bedfordshire border - northern start / finish

If you are starting the route from the North end, having taken the train to Baldock, to get to the start (the Bedfordshire border), go down the road leading from the station (Station Rd), turn right onto Icknield Way, then right at the end onto Norton Rd. At the T junc just before the village of Nortonbury turn right (onto Norton Road), and soon you will be passing Radwell Meadows on your right, reaching the county border sign before reaching Stotfold.

The cycle route is planned to continue north through Bedfordshire, we will let you know when it has been created!

Stotfold

Located on the banks of the River Ivel, the town is infamous for the Stotfold Riot of 1830. Today, in quieter times, go up Queen St to visit St Mary’s Church (turn left up Chequers Close). Just beyond turn left up Rook Tree Lane & take a stroll in Stotfold Meadows adjacent to the mill.

Letchworth Greenway / Garden City Greenway

Parts of the Great North Way follow the Letchworth Greenway, this 13.6 mile route circumvents Letchworth passing through many local attractions. Parts of the Greenway can be cycled and these paths are shown on the map.

A diversion to Standalone Farm

Soon after the start of the route instead of turning off Norton Rd on the track leading to Radwell Meadows, you can take the Greenway in the opposite direction, circling around the north of Letchworth to Standalone Farm. Here you can explore 170 acres of farmland with 70 bird specimens, mammals, creepy crawlies and a working beehive. Watch wildfowl in their natural habitat from specially constructed hides. See all the farm animals on the farm trail and check out the children’s play area. South of Standalone Farm the Greenway becomes a footpath only, however you could head into Letchworth from here.

Radwell Meadows Country Park

A good place to relax, featuring a fine children's play area, and fixed barbeques for public use. The park is an ancient meadows adjoining the River Ivel. Car Park.

Nortonbury

The route crosses Nortonbury Lane - a staggered junction, going south look out for the Greenway sign (watch out, there is no NCN 12 sign - remember you are following the 'Garden City Greenway').

Industrial Estate

On the outskirts of Letchworth the route arrives at the end of a cul-de-sac (Blackhorse Rd) on an industrial estate. Turn into Knap Close with the route going off road again at the end, leading over the railway line.

Alternatively if you want to head into the centre of Letchworth continue up Blackhorse Rd / Icknield Way.

Letchworth

Built in 1904 Letchworth was the first garden city, based on Ebenezer Howard’s ideals in his book Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Reform published in 1898. Utilising 4000 acres of land, Letchworth now has a population of 33,000. The visual effect of Letchworth’s planning is seen in the quite impressive approach to its centre along Broadway with its avenues of linden trees leading to the Town Square and its attractive rose beds.

Footbridge to Baldock

Once over the railway line, follow the route round, going past a footbridge over the A1M, as inticing as this looks, don't be tempted to cross this footbridge unless you are heading for Baldock.

Path to Hadrian's Way

This is a difficult section to describe, and is bereft of NCN 12 signs just where you need them, but hopefully this will be rectified shortly! As usual describing going south - pass the footbridge mentioned above on your left, and you arrive at a crossroads on the path, take the left turning, which leads onto the residential road Hadrian's Way. You will now see the A1M above you and on your left, at the end, before you get to the A505 turn left, the route follows Letchworth Rd a quiet road parallel to the busy A505.

A505

At the end of Letchworth Road the route becomes traffic free again alongside the A505, shortly to cross it, into Weston Way.

If you want to visit Baldock, the centre is straight on.

Baldock

The market town of Baldock is one of the county’s oldest settlements, at the intersection of two ancient roads - the Icknield Way and the Great North Road. Dating back at least to Roman times, the present town was established by the Knights Templar in the 12th century. Baldock was an important malting and brewing centre and thrived as a coaching town.

Weston Way

You pass Brandles School, and then the Fire Station, immediately after turn right, crossing the road and take the path (entrance is shown left), its quite easy to miss this turning, and if you get to the grocers shop you've gone too far!

Back Lane

Now you are on Back Lane, and you cross again under the A1M here, immediately after the bridge the path turns left, and follows the motorway closely for a while.

Baldock Lane

Crossing the fields with the Sports Centre on your right, the path turns sharp left when you get to the houses. Past the school, and then turn right at the top of of Pryor Way. The path is now adjacent to Baldock Lane (see photo).

Radburn Way

Back on the road at Radburn Way, and continue until you see the NCN sign - take the path to the left, avoiding the roundabout, and continue up to Letchworth Gate.

Caution - sign problem!

(If you are travelling in the opposite direction going north... a word of warning: It's easy to go wrong here, the sign on the roundabout points incorrectly but luckily someone has attempted to rectify it with black tape! Hopefully will be replaced shortly.

Best thing to do, before you get to the roundabout, take the bypass path shown here, bearing right onto Radburn Way.

Letchworth Gate

Here you cross the busy A6141, easily though, courtesy of the signalled cycle / pedestrian crossing.

Manor Wood

The route rejoins the road here, turn left into Roxley Court Rd. For a detour cross over to the Manor Wood picnic area, or Willian Arboretum beyond.

Willian Arboretum

Willian Arboretum boasts over 30 different tree species. On the way from Manor Wood you will see a sculpture of the famous Letchworthian Telford Morton.

Roxley Court

At Roxley Court you leave the road and take this straight path heading across the wide flat landscape south of Letchworth.

Graveley Lane

A descent marks your arrival at Graveley Lane, turn left under the A1M, and then right back onto the off road path.

Caution - incorrect sign!

The path rejoins the road at Turf Lane, when you get to this point beware, the sign is pointing in the wrong direction! It is luring you down Oak Lane, which would be fine if you want to go to Graveley / Pub. However the route itself is straight on - along Ashwell Common.

A1M Junction 8

Crossing the B197 leading to the Junction 8 roundabout you have arrived at the north of Stevenage.

Don't worry about that sign - 'Cycle Route Ends' its not true, in fact your not half way yet. We have to accept these signs unfortunately where the layout meant that the route could not be safely taken across the carriageway - more correctly it could have said 'there is a little break in the route' while you cross the road!

Follow the NCN 12 signs, the path is adjoining A602 Hitchin Rd, and perhaps you could stop at Sainsbury's to top up provisions!