Welham Green

Apologies Welham Green but this what the name meant to me when I was commuting back and forth from London – a blur of vehicle parks and anonymous warehouses crowding a quaint old railway halt.

In fact, Welham Green station is not a Victorian relic. It was only opened in 1986, a recognition that constant expansion during the 20th century had turned a village on the southern edge of the Hatfield Park estate into a sizeable settlement in need of a commuter station of its own. And although it does have string of depots and yards on one fringe and is hemmed in by the A1M a mile to the west and the railway and A roads on other sides, it also has the expansive Bush Wood with an area of heath above. They are worth a walk even if the noise of distant traffic is incessant. The wood is typical of Hertfordshire, hornbeam and oak with a sprinkling of holly.

A circular walk through the wood, up to the triangulation point on the heath and back into the village passes briefly behind the depots and yards.

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From there, we followed a footpath through the housing and came out near Balloon Corner, so called because of the memorial below that tells its own story. Or it tells a version of a story. An alternative telling is that the intrepid aviator was carrying not just a dog and a cat but also a pigeon, which in an enclosed space was asking for trouble. It was just the cat that was deposited at Welham Green into the arms of a girl working in the fields.

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