Easter Monday cycle ride, litter picking, Link Drive and barriers (March News)

By | 3rd April 2022

Easter Monday cycle ride to Scotts Grotto

WelHatCycling riders inside Scotts Grotto, 2018
Scotts Grotto 2018

Our first led ride of the year is on Easter Monday, 18th April 2022. In case you are wondering what the Grotto is like, here’s the riders from 2018 inside the main chamber. We are riding from Hatfield railway station at 10:45 sign in for 11:00 start, we will also pick up from Morrisons in Welwyn Garden City, if required at approximately 11:25. We are taking advantage of the smooth new service on the Cole Green Way.

We will stop for a picnic lunch at Hertford Castle (bring your own or a 5 min walk into the town centre) and then head for the Grotto in Ware for 2pm when it opens. The ride is free but you will need to donate £2.00 per person for the Grotto visit, which includes the Grotto and the gardens above. Full details are on the events page listing for the ride. Allowing time for exporing the Grotto (bring a torch!) and the ride home we should be back to Hatfield by 17:00.

Litter pick, Alban Way, 26th March 2022

Some of the 40 bags cleared

In 2020 we did our littler pick the Saturday before the first lockdown, so after two years of no picking, there was a lot to be cleared. Fortunately 12 people joined us including three generations of one family, so a special thank you to Ran, Ger, Victoria and James. Ran is now the youngest picker in the history of our litter picks and fully earned his chocolate biscuits. As previously we were joine by local Sustrans Rangers (thank you Richard and Dave) and Ian brought his cargo bike to move the bags to the road side collection points.

In just over two hours we cleared 40 bags of litter plus a loo seat, dumped TV and some very smelly bags of nappies! That sadly only cleared half a mile of the Alban Way working north from the Galleria to Lemsford Road. One day all plastic and glass bottles will have deposits on them so they get taken back to shop. How big a price is that to pay for a nice town?

Link Drive flats – blocking a safe cycle route from South Hatfield to the station

The Link Drive car park is now fenced off and the bollards removed opening the road up again to through traffic. WelHatCycling tried unsuccessfully objecting to the flats to try to get a through cycle path added to the plans but were turned down on the grounds that there currently isn’t a cycle route, which is true because people were able to cycle through the now closed car park, catch 22!

You can see the route we want in green to the left of the X (the former bollards) on the map below. Notice how it joins up all the red lines, via Wood Close:

Map showing cycle routes around Link Drive Hatfield
Hatfield Link Drive cycle routes

Why does this matter? In the absence of the car park route, the only signed cycle route is along Link Drive, but that’s now reopened to cars, so will be busier. It leads to the junction with French Horn Lane which Sustrans consider so dangerous they have delisted National Route 12 at this point.

Our proposal is for just 50 metres of cycle path to join up the Woods Ave cycle route to the cycle path to Hatfield station, creating a continous off road cycle path from South Hatfield to the Hatfield station (as part of a continuous cycle route from Welham Green all the way to Digswell). You can see where the path should run in the photo below, through the gap in the hedge to Wood Close in the background.

Gaps like this matter as they discourage active travel by families and those new to cycling. Our hope is the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan for Welwyn Hatfield currently being develped (more news later in the year when its out for consultation) will at least support this route, but there is no guarantee of any money. The flats could have funded this through Section 106 payments. We will keep trying.