Shape up for summer on a Braughing walk

Blow away the cobwebs with a lengthy walk around Braughing, recommended by the Countryside Management Service

WITH the weather getting warmer you may feel the need to really stretch your legs after the long winter and get yourself back into shape for the impending summer months. Braughing, a village between Ware and Buntingford just off the A10 in the east of the county, offers the perfect opportunity to do just that.This route starts in the village centre and heads across fields and through woodland, taking you past the 17th-century Upp Hall, Gatesbury House, an Iron Age settlement and the site of a former watermill at the River Rib. Towards the end it joins the old Buntingford branch railway line and passes the former Braughing Station.The walk then leads back into the village where you can enjoy a well-earned drink or a spot of lunch.

THE ROUTE From the Square, walk down The Street past the Brown Bear pub and turn left up Green Lane until you reach the second footpath on the left. Follow this straight across fields, go over a bridge and then through Hill Wood to a kissing gate. Please keep dogs on a lead as there may be animals in this field. The path goes straight up the hill and right along the iron fence around the 17th-century Upp Hall – which is visible on the left – to the gate onto Stortford Lane at The Warren. Watching for traffic, turn left for a few steps, then pick up the footpath on the right after the farmhouse, passing Darney Wood and go down the hill ignoring the footpath on the right. At the bottom, turn right along a permissive path then left at the spinney and follow this path to Gatesbury House. Here, you are close to an Iron Age settlement and it is possible that the site has been occupied ever since. There was a watermill here until 1906 and the sluice by the bridge over the River Rib used to regulate the flow of water through long-abandoned watercress beds. Turn right through the kissing gate along the old Buntingford branch railway line, closed in 1965. Take care where the path meets the busy B1368. Cross the road to see the well-maintained but privately-owned former Braughing station, complete with signal box and railway carriage. Head away from here along the pavement past the small industrial estate. Cross the road at the War Memorial into Ford Street to return to the village. Bear right at the Millennium Memorial on the green, up The Street and back to the Square. START WALKING

Distance 8 km/5 miles, mainly across farmland, where some paths can be muddyTime 2 to 3 hoursStart and finish The Square (where limited parking is available) in the centre of BraughingGetting there Braughing is signed off the B1368 which leaves the A10 at PuckeridgeMap OS Explorer 194