Ramblers fight to keep Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield distinct

Walkers cut through barbed wire obstructing a public footpath

Walkers cut through barbed wire obstructing a public footpath - Credit: Archant

Campaigners desperate to preserve a rural barrier between Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield defied barbed wire to demonstrate a walk they hope will be opened to the public.

Led by Chris Goward of the Old Hatfield Residents’ Association, a group of ramblers followed a hypothetical seven-mile circular route from the former Green Man pub in Mill Green.

Mr Goward told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “it is now or never, because there are plans for 12,500 houses.

“it is a lovely walk, which people don’t know about.

“The concept of a green corridor can protect the separation of Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield.”

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Although parts of the route are official public footpaths, one section is not maintained as such by the landowner, and the group were forced to cut through barbed wire.

Mr Goward wants quarrying firm Tarmac to incorporate the route in its proposed Birchall Garden Suburb development, which is currently under public consultation.

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He told the Welwyn Hatfield Times the area was part of a “green corridor”, recognised in the borough council’s draft Local Plan, and in documents drawn up by the Gascoyne Cecil Estate, one of five key landowners.

Mr Goward said: “If we let the landowners forget about the green corridor, it won’t happen, but if we work with them we can make it real.”

John Duffield, land manager of Tarmac, said: “We’ve already had some interesting conversations with Chris.

“I’m sorry to hear that his walk was impeded, and I look forward to finding out more about where this was from Chris.”

He said the proposed walking route and green corridor were two of several topics under consideration under the consultation process, which started last weekend.

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