Continuing our quest for safe and easy cycling our latest family bike ride was along the Ayot Greenway. This is a fairly short ride along a disused railway running between Welwyn Garden City and Wheathampstead. In total, taking in both directions, it’s about 6 miles long.
Turning off the A1(M) at junction 5, you take the old road (B197) from Lemsford north to Ayot Green and bear right through the village, following signs towards Ayot St Peter for the Ayot Greenway car park. Once parked, return along the road and climb the slope to join the cycle path.
The Ayot Greenway runs for about three miles to the edge of Wheathampstead village, passing through woods and offering scenic views of the surrounding countryside. The outlook is pleasantly varied with farms and some gorgeous pastures of wild flowers; it would be a particularly good ride in autumn once the colours start changing. About half way along is a picnic area and there are several benches lining the route, so you can pace yourselves. You’ll probably pass walkers as you go, so be prepared to keep tinkling your bell and look out for people on horses too.
This is the kind of easy, level ride and that currently suits us very well. You could stay and explore Wheathampstead before returning to the car park at the other end – we spotted an Italian restaurant on Marford Road which could make a good venue for lunch (you’ll have earned a plate of pasta by that point, particularly if you’ve picked up some speed). Further into the village is Le Moulin overlooking the River Lea and to the south is The Wicked Lady gastropub. Alternatively, you could return to Ayot Green and head to The Waggoners or The Red Lion on the Great North Road for a drink or bite to eat. We didn’t have much time, so we completed the route, loaded the bikes back onto the car and drove back to Barnet. However, we’ll include a visit to one of the local hostelries next time and enjoy seeing how the Greenway varies according to the seasons.