|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Hatfield House (TL232084)|
|Via:||Hatfield, Stanborough, Welwyn, Stevenage, Graveley|
|Distance:||19 miles (30.6 km)|
|Meets:||A1000, B6426, A1001, B653, A1(M), B195, A1001, A1(M), A1000, B656, A602, A1070, A1(M), A505, B656|
|Former Number(s):||A1, A6141, B6426|
|Route outline (key)|
The B197 follows the Great North Road (the original route of the A1) through much of Hertfordshire.
The road starts on the A1000 Great North Road at a roundabout in Old Hatfield. It heads northwest along French Horn Lane through Hatfield itself, the only time the B197 deviates from the Great North Road. Presently a roundabout is reached above the A1(M) (The Airfield Roundabout) but with no access to it. There's a multiplex to the right alongside the motorway along the A1001 as far as junction 4, where the A414 is met and we return to the Great North Road. The multiplex continues on the far side, this time along the A6129, to a roundabout where that road bears right into Welwyn Garden City. The road to the left, under the motorway, is the B653 according to signs. The B197 reappears at the next roundabout, where it turns right.
The next motorway junction, J5, is soon met and the B197 goes back under the A1(M) and runs alongside once again for a mile or so before turning away and descending Digswell Hill. The motorway is then crossed and we enter Welwyn from the south. The next roundabout forms part of A1(M) J6 and we multiplex along the A1000 along the first Welwyn bypass to the far side of the junction, half a mile away. At this point the B656 heads west into Welwyn town centre whilst we turn right and go under the motorway.
After passing through the village of Oaklands we go over the East Coast Main Line and then bear left to run parallel. We then pass through Knebworth. Knebworth House, famous for its rock concerts, lies a couple of miles to the west, in Old Knebworth. On the far side of town there's a brief rural section before we go over the Hertford to Stevenage railway line to enter Stevenage. After passing Tesco we reach a roundabout where all exits (except for the retail park access road to the left) are numbered B197. There's a spur along the dual-carriageway Monkswood Way to the right to the A602 but the B197 (and the Great North Road) continues ahead to pass under a spur of the A602 and pass another retail park before reaching that road again at the next roundabout to start a multiplex through the town centre.
The A602 deviates from the exact route of the Great North Road through Stevenage but runs parallel and not too far from it. The B197 reappears at a gyratory in the Old Town and heads north along the appropriately named North Road. We go over the A1072 and pass through the northern suburbs to enter open country and reach a T-junction. Here a spur of the B197 turns left to reach the A1(M) and A602 at J8 whilst the mainline turns right.
We continue north through Graveley and then continue along a Roman Road past a golf course. The road goes over Jack's Hill, then bears left to descend to a LILO junction on the A505. Originally the B197 ended here on the A6141. Now the A505 has been rerouted this way the road continues along what was the A6141. Through traffic must turn left onto the A505 and U-turn at the roundabout at A1(M) J9. The multiplex lasts until a roundabout where the A505 bears right to bypass Baldock, whilst the B197 continues ahead into town. We enter town along London Road then turn left at a roundabout into the High Street, then reach a mini-roundabout on the B656 at the far end. At one time the A1 bore right here then left past the station but this is not for the B197, which ends here.
The initial section of the B197, from the Clock Roundabout to Stevenage was renumbered to B197 between 1963 (the one inch map from 1963 shows the A1 and A1(M) coexisting) and 1965 (the quarter inch shows the old A1 having been downgraded. When the A1(M) was extended north from Corey's Mill to Letchworth Gate the B197 was also extended.
At its longest, it stretched right down to Bignell's Corner, as shown on the 1980 landranger, following what is now the C174 parallel to the A1(M), and then taking over the former B6426 into Colney Heath and B556 from there to Hatfield.