Five winter walks to explore in Hertfordshire
The countryside in Hertfordshire may be known for gracing the Chilterns on its south west, but there are plenty more trails and walks to be had throughout the county. Some of these cover history, ancient villages and natural wonders. And these aren’t just worth doing in the summer; Winter is the perfect time as well, to avoid the crowds and maybe even see some snow on the fields alongside the deer.
The village of Wheathampstead has over 10,000 years of history and is ranked as one of Hertfordshire’s prettiest villages. This heritage trail, which was launched in 2012 by Downton Abbey actor Jim Carter and his wife, takes in the fifty plus listed properties in the village. It can be done within just over a mile for a short afternoon stroll via the green signposted route. Alternatively, you can stretch out and the see more of the local area by heading towards Marshalls Heath via the northern Roman road, following the Lea river path on the return. A perfect historic afternoon!
Ashwell, Caldecote, Hinxworth
Known for its church which inscribes some historic phrases about the plague in the 14th century, the first stop, Ashwell, is the perfect start for this trail which takes in three villages in just over six miles. After having a wander through Ashwell you’ll reach Newnham Hill which has beautiful views over the rolling country before seeing the grand Caldecote Manor. The small village of Hinksworth is next up on this walk, but before you head back to Ashwell make a stop off at the thatched Three Horseshoes pub, a cosy setting for a mid-walk bit of lunch or drink!
Berkhamstead to Tring
The Grand Union canal stretches for almost 140 miles across England from London to Birmingham, but you can enjoy a small slice of it on a walk along its towpath between Berkhamstead and Tring. Taking in lovely countryside and spotting some canal boats during the four and a half mile route, this walk will make sure you take in some history as well, passing some lock keepers houses along the way. Some people even venture to walk the whole length of the canal so keep an eye out for the professionals!
Verulamium and St Albans
This route just scrapes the surface on the vast expanse of history available in St Albans and its surrounding area. Beginning the walk just outside the city, near the Westminster Lodge Running Track, take the gravel path towards the London Gate and check out the Roman wall which remains the longest surviving section of the great walls. Once you have navigated the Roman ditches, head towards Verulamium and pay a visit to the museum which documents the third largest Roman city in Britain. Once you’ve taken in all the conquering knowledge you can, make for a final stop in St Albans with its large cathedral and abbey gatehouse.
Chess Valley and Sarratt
Possibly the longest of our selection at 7 ½ miles, you begin this walk in Sarratt, once a popular stop on cattle drives to London and included five working pubs. This small village is home to a church from the 12th century and many other historical buildings. Next, head northwest to Flaunden which boasts the locally famous Bricklayers Arms – who have recently won Dining Pub of the Year. After indulging in some lunch, head back east towards Sarratt, taking in all the nature, including the unusual site of watercress beds, that takes you along the Chess Valley.