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Cycling in Welwyn Garden City

Welwyn Garden City (WGC) is a new town founded in the 1920s and for a time a centre of film making.  It is now an affluent town, home to many commuters into London.

For cyclists, WGC is at the junction of National Cycle Routes 12 (Great North Way) running north - south, NCN 61 south west - east and NCN 57 which heads north west to join NCN 6 for Luton (but with a difficult gap, see below). Going south there are two parallel cycle paths to Hatfield via Stanborough Park or Mill Green Museum.

Welwyn Garden City station has lifts to all platforms suitable for bikes but not tandems.

Maps of all the local cycle routes are available from Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council as pdfs.

Local cycling highlights include:

Ayot Greenway

  • The NCN12/57 route runs thorough Sherrardspark Wood, an ancient woodland managed by local volunteers.  This then leads west to Wheathampstead along NCN 57, the Ayot Greenway.  A nice cafe in Wheathampstead, Charlie's, is at the end of the route.  
  • Please note that there is no cycle path from Wheathampstead to Harpenden, as a local landowner will not sell the land.  The B653 Lower Luton Road is unpleasant to ride on due to fast traffic and big lorries. If need be you can push along the pavement on this section. 
  • The alternative is to go up the hill south of Wheathampstead, along the ridge and then back down to Leasey Bridge where the cycleway restarts.  The hill down to Leasey Bridge is steep and badly surfaced.  (You can bypass this if coming from Hatfield by taking a more direct route, see the Hatfield page for more information.)
  • Once past this section, NCN 57 continues off road or on quiet back streets to join NCN 6 to Luton, Dunstable and Milton Keynes. The rural section between Harpenden and Luton is very pleasant and well surfaced. The bus lane cycleway to Dunstable has now been smooth surfaced and the anti-Dalek shaped barriers removed. Thereafter the route continues to Milton Keynes and the north.

Cole Green Way

  • The Cole Green Way (NCN 61) east to Hertford leaves WGC via Mundells.  It continues along Black Fan Road past Morrisons supermarket using road side cycle paths and then follows the old railway line through very pleasant countryside to Hertford.  Tea at Serendipity is a must!   
  • The section to the A414 is surfaced, but beyond the A414 is is porous stone.  This is quite ridable except for those on really thin tyres. An alternative on road route along the quiet Old Coach Road (turn left after the subway under the A414) takes you from the A414 to the outskirts of Hertford.
  • A speeded up video of this cycle route east of Cole Green Lane is available from Hertfordshire County Council.
  • The route is due for resurfacing over the next 2-3 years, the section from the A414 to Hertingfordbury will be a graded porous surface, but Hertingfordbury to Hertford will be tarmac.  This creates a surfaced route if the Old Coach Road (the former A414) is used east of the A414 subway.
  • Beyond Hertford NCN 61 continues along a lovely riverside section to Ware and then links to NCN1 at Rye House.

Great North Way

  • This route (NCN 12) runs north - south through WGC and will eventually link London with Grimsby.  From the south it currently starts at Hadley Wood station, so can be done as a ride from WGC starting with the train south.  For information on links south to London and east to Enfield Lock, see the Hatfield page.
  • From Hatfield the route follows the road via Mill Green (Mill Green Water Mill and Museum) and then over the railway Twentieth Mill Bridge.  Rather than visit the town centre the cycle route goes north west via Handside Lane. 
  • Continuing north via Sherrardspark Wood (see Ayot Greenway above), the rather indirect route, which includes a steep hill after the Mimram ford, takes you through Codicote and then past Knebworth House to Stevenage.  Old Stevenage has nice cafes just off the route. You can catch the train back to WGC from here or carry on to Letchworth (world's first roundabout) or Arlesey and the train back from there. 
  • North of Arlesey NCN 12 has a gap to Biggleswade, awaiting a new bridge over the railway which being worked on as part of a delayed Network Rail level crossing closure project.   A detailed plan of this section of the NCN12 route can be found in the Biggleswade Green Wheel cycle route leaflet.
  • The route is complete from Biggleswade to Spalding via Huntingdon and Peterborough. 

Direct routes north to Stevenage.

  • To the north of WGC, there is an off road cycle path beside the A1000 (Bessemer Road) via Mundells, but this ends at Hertford Road where it becomes a dual carriageway, with no choice but to join this main road and then the difficult junction with the A1(M).   A cycle route to Welwyn village has been talked about, but the cost of getting under the motorway seems to be the big stumbling block, even though the pavement could easily be upgraded to shared use.. 
  • A good alternative way north from Bessemer Road is to turn off just before the railway viaduct on to Digswell Lane and then up the hill via Welwyn North station to Harmer Green. 
  • Country lanes out to Datchworth then link you into the extensive cycle path network in Stevenage.

Town centre links and cycle parking:

Unfortunately, these good local off road routes do not link in to the town centre, other than with sections on road:

  • From the south, Longcroft Road is a quiet signed street marked as part of NCN 57 off NCN 12 at Twentieth Mile Bridge (20 miles from London Kings Cross by railway).  This brings you into the town centre near Kinetic Cycles and Argos. 
  • From the north west, the Sherrardspark Wood route brings you to Campus West (library and Roller City), but no closer. Avoid cycling round The Campus gyratory unless you like crossing lanes of fast moving cars. Push across using the pedestrian crossing points.  
  • A better but more circuitous route is to follow NCN12 south off this path and then NCN57 into town by the Parkway fountain.  You can avoid busy Parkway if you push across the pedestrian crossings.
  • From the north east there is a cycle route from Mundells via Lyles Bridge, but this ends at the exit from the car park behind the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council building. You are then advised to push to avoid the busy roads round The Campus.

There is extensive and well used cycle parking outside the Howard Centre which is also the railway station.  Bikes can also be parked on the east side of the station footbridge on Hyde Way, but use double locks as this is a rather isolated spot.  Note this will soon be at the centre of a redevelopment project.

Places to visit:

  • Stanborough Park: This is on the Welwyn GC to Hatfield cycle path along side the A6129.  The two lakes are a nice open space, with a cafe by the south lake and children's play area by the north lake.
  • Mill Green Water Mill and Museum is just over the A1000 from NCN12/61. This is a lovely little museum with working mill all year on Sundays and very nice afternoon teas on summer Sundays. Very good for the kids, with plenty of events they will enjoy, especially in school holidays. Beatrix Potter visited and painted the building when on holiday at nearby Bush Hall.

Bike shops:

Staying in Welwyn Garden City

The local cycling group is WelHatCycling who run rides for families and lobby for local cycle paths.  Details of monthly social rides and the current local route news is on the web site.

Updated 29.3.19

Other areas …

Latest photos of the area

See also a full list of photos in this area.

Segregated cycle track running southwards of spiral bridge in need of a little maintenance

Path was seriously overgrown dangerously restricting viability on the corner, this has recently been cut back and the pavement cleaned up.

Woods Ave path at crossing of Sycamore Ave.

Woods Ave new cycle route showing crossing of Chantry Lane. This really should be a raise crossing over the entry to this cul-de-sac road.

Bishops Rise looking north at the start of the 2018 built route along Woods Ave. This turns gets cyclists off the road ahead of the roundabout.

Woods Ave looking west up the new cycle route completed May 2018. Shows the initial section which splits round the trees

Access to Welwyn Garden City station is through a shopping centre - awful for cyclists. There's also a footpath on a bridge from the east (where there's cycle parking) - maybe this could be improved to allow cyclists to legally get their bi ... [more]

Access to Welwyn Garden City station is through a shopping centre - awful for cyclists.

Green line painted in car park to guide cyclists from Gresley Close to College Way, Welwyn Garden City. Very useful when the car park is full.

Unsigned junction at Mundells, Welwyn Garden City loking north: Turn left to continue on the cycleway on Bessemer Road. Straight ahead is a route off the road for southbound cyclists and is a dead end if followed north as in the picture. ... [more]

Cycleway at Mundells, Welwyn Garden City, showing route via subway to follow if heading for the cycleway along Bessemer Road in both directions.

Cycle path from Mill Green to Gypsy Lane alongside the A414, looking east at Mill Green.

Start of link through from Mill Green to NCN12/61 via bridleway (see map). Ths path was used by Beatrix Potter when staying locally at Bush Hall with her parents.

Start of cycle path alongside A414 at end of Gypsy Lane, Welwyn Garden City. Note abuse of cycle path by cars coming off the road over the verge.

A414 cycle path at junction with Gypsy Lane, Welwyn Garden City. There is no cycle path along the A414 east of this point.

Cole Green Way, Welwyn Garden City: The start of the old railway cycle path to Hertford. Watch out for the anti-motorbike device at the gate.

Junction, unsigned, where NCN61 goes left and the cycle path along Black Fan Road to Mundells and Welwyn Garden City town centre carries straight on. The signs are rather unhelpfully at the far left of the photo on the other arm of the t ... [more]

Entrance to obscure bridleway linking NCN12/61 to Mill Green Museum and then the cycle path along the side of the A414. Beatrix Potter walked along this route when staying at Bush Hall and then going to paint the mill, now Mill Green Mus ... [more]

Signal at Nast Hyde Halt, Ellenbrook, Hatfield. The signal has a short history of the railway and was erected as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations in 2015 by a local resident who has been restoring the station and keeping the ... [more]

Nast Hyde Halt, Alban Way, NCN61, Hatfield. Restored 2015 as part of the 150th anniversay celebrations. There is also a station clock, signal (see #74090 ) and information on the history. This is a project by a local resident who is ... [more]

Alban Way NCN61 subway under Cavendish Way, Hatfield. Subway avoids a crossing of a dual carriage way.

Sign misdirecting cyclist and pedestrians to go north from Hatfield station to get to the town centre. The town centre is 0.6 miles by walking or cycling in the opposite direction, yet this is only signed South Hatfield!

Subway from Batterdale linking to French Horn Lane cycleroute. This could be used as a better route for NCN12 avoiding the roundabout in #74069 but not allowed as subway is deemed too low. View from other end is in #74068. Note thi ... [more]

Shared use pavement extending cycle route past Hatfield station and then on to NCN61 at the Red Lion junction, see #74067 and #74075.

Red Lion junction Hatfield showing crossing to the cycle route south from NCN61 to the station, opened November 2015 see #74067. Despite lobbying by local cyclists the island has been constructed to pedestrian only standards requiring cy ... [more]

NCN12 where it joins NCN61 at the north end of Old Hatfield. NCN12 turns right to head north to Welwyn Garden City. Island crossing of road enabling each lane to be crossed separately with clear signs. View going south can be seen ... [more]

Junction where NCN12 leaves NCN61 and goes south via Old Hatfield. Central island big enough for bikes with clear signs. View in other direction on NCN12 in #74074

Hatfield station toucan crossing which allows all ways crossing for pedestrians but not for cyclists, who have to go round the sides following the square in two phases rather than one. An opportunity missed?

New cycle parking at Hatfield station intalled November 2015

Double decker cycle parking installed at Hatfield station November 2015.

NCN12 leaves Old Hatfield via this busy roundabout on the Great North Road. A much better route would be via the subway from Batterdale see #74068 and #74077.

Subway under Great North Road Hatfield. This could be used to divert NCN12 away from a busy roundabout, but rulled out because the subway is too low to be legally acceptable. Hertfordshire County Council should take the view this is s ... [more]

Shared use pavement completed November 2015 at Hatfield Station. Creates link to NCN61 and thence NCN12 at the Red Lion see #74025.

French Horn Lane Hatfield where NCN12 turns south. Note NCN12 goes onto the road to the left despite the wide island. Cyclists should use the waiting area on road not the island.

Alban Way bridge over Wellfield Road which also has a cycle route. A rare double decker cycle route. See #45254 for bridge from below.

Fore Street and the Eight Bells Pub on NCN12. Old Hatfield, Hertfordshire. Fans of Oliver Twist should note this is believed to be the pub Bill Sykes hides out in after Nancy is murdered.

Broken cycle stands outside public library in Hatfield. Over complex design which did not last and impossible to use with small wheeled bikes.

New pavement next to exit from cycle lane. Using this crossing then leads to the new cycleway on the opposite side of the road shown in #74054

Queensway Hatfield new cycle way approaching town centre #74054

Queensway, Hatfield, shared use path looking south. Now open and usable, February 2016.

Alban Way at Ellenbrook Lane, Hatfield

Alban Way at Ellenbrook Lane, Hatfield, a former railway level crossing.

Alban Way at Lemsford Road Hatfield. Route to left leads to steps, route to right is towards St Albans.

Alban Way at Ground Lane looking south west

Alban Way at Ground Lane

Spiral bridge on NCN12 over South Way, Hatfield. This was originally built to serve a School, now closed.

Gate at south end of Oxley Park, NCN12. Impassable for tricycles and disabled buggies. Difficult for tandems.

Gate on National Cycle Route 12 to stop misuse by motorbikes but which blocks the route for tricycles and disabled buggies. Located at north end of Oxley Wood, Hatfield.

Toucan crossing where Woods Ave cycle path west side starts

Start of cycle path on Wood Close leading to route on Woods Ave, Hatfield

Junction between NCN12, turning right, and cycle route to central Hatfield, straight on

Link to Lark Rise which is a quiet road to Hill Top and the University residences

Start of cycle path along east side of Woods Ave, Hatfield.

Cycle lane on Queensway Hatfield where it crosses the entrance to ASDA.

Oxlease roundabout approaching from the north

Oxlease roundabout looking north at end Travellers Lane

Toucan crossing of Queensway

End of cycle route on Queensway, Hatfield, showing link in to toucan crossing.

Exit from Knella Road, Welwyn Garden City heading east on NCN61. Cycle path then zigzags into gap in hedge in back ground squeezing past post just visible in background. Difficult if hedge overgrown.

Narrow cyclepath on bridge over A414. Southbound cyclists need to give way, as shown by sign.

NCN61 looking north showing where cycle route leaves main road to use Park View.

Welwyn Garden City station - the lifts are too small, as at Cambridge.

New Wellfield Road cycle path looking east towards Hatfield Fire Station

Wellfield Road cycle path looking west. Access to Alban Way NCN61 on bridge via ramp to left. View on Alban Way in #74065.

View of new cycle path west along Wellfield Road

The NCN 61 cycle route Location: , Panshanger Aerodrome (England, United Kingdom)

Bridge over the railway, Hatfield Location: Smallford, St. Albans (England, United Kingdom)

Cycle route signs, Hatfield Location: Smallford, St. Albans (England, United Kingdom) The sign to Welwyn Garden City is pointing in the wrong direction. It should be pointing in the opposite direction to the St. Albans sign.

Cycle path from Hatfield to Colney Heath where it goes under the A1(M). Old but well made.

On road cyclepaths on Queensway Hatfield make this a dangerous roundabout for cyclists. You need to cycle much more out into the road to be safe here. Yet this is close to 3 schools!

Junction on NCN12 where route turns off French Horn Lane to Old Rectory Drive

NCN12 Traveller's Lane Hatfield where the route turns off to follow the paths through Oxlease Wood and Streamwoods. (Note map is slighly inaccurate at this point. Photo marker is at the correct location where the cycle path crosses the roa ... [more]

Stanborough Park looking west showing the contraflow cycle path along the park entrance slip road. This contraflow path is a crucial link in the Hatfield to Welwyn Garden City cycle path which also connects to Stanborough School.

View from the bridge on NCN12

South end of Wrestler's Bridge Hatfield on NCN61 looking north. The original bridge here collapsed in 1966. Riders are about to set off on a ride to open a new cycle route in Welwyn Garden City led by Welwyn Hatfield Cycling Forum

Welwyn Hatfield Cycling Forum family bike ride along NCN57 (Ayot Greenway) about to depart on Sunday 10th July 2011. Photo is at the start of the route, just behind Roller City, Campus West, Welwyn Garden City.

View of the cycle path to north side of French Horn Lane. After the subway ahead it goes north to the rail station. NCN12 is on the road on the right, unable to use the cycle path due to a further lower subway.

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