Boxing day walks in Hertfordshire
PUBLISHED: 10:10 20 December 2015 | UPDATED: 15:28 23 November 2016
You can't beat a Boxing Day walk for reinvigorating the senses after the big day's over-stuffing (and before starting again). Isabel Crozier of the Countryside Management Service gives us her five Herts favourites
Beacon View, Tring
The Beacon View walk takes in the Grand Union Canal, the woodlands and chalk downland of historic Tring Park, the Ridgeway National Trail and rolling Chiltern’s countryside with views to the unmistakable Ivinghoe Beacon. You can start the walk from either Tring rail station or the Greyhound in Wigginton. Tring station is on the London Midland line out of Euston and has a large car park. The Greyhound is a popular pub, so remember to book if you fancy stopping here for lunch. The 6.5-mile route goes through Tring Park on King Charles’ Ride. As the name suiggests, the park has historic royal connections and houses a monument to Nell Gywnn, King Charles II’s mistress. The park has remnants of an early 18th-century landscape and provides important habitats for wildlife, particularly in its large areas of chalk grassland. It is managed by the Woodland Trust and provides open access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
Three Springs, Offley
With its sunken lanes, ancient hedges and irregularly shaped fields, the countryside around Offley is in many ways typical of much of the Chilterns. The Three Spring Walk provides the ideal route to explore these enticing features. If you only have an hour, you can choose a short stroll or spend longer soaking up the landscape on the five-mile circular walk. Both walks start and finish at the Red Lion pub in Offley, where you will be shown a warm welcome.
The ‘three springs’ are in fact small woodlands rather than rivers. Mazebeard Spring, Newfield Spring and Mead Springs were probably small areas of coppiced woodland, the word spring referring to the regrowth of shoots from trees cut close to the ground. This traditional method of woodland management ensured a regular supply of material for fencing stakes and rural crafts.
The Wall Hall Estate, Aldenham
Explore the countryside around the historic Wall Hall Estate near Aldenham on three waymarked routes. The gently-rolling landscape of the Hertfordshire County Council-owned estate is criss-crossed with miles of country lanes, hidden byways, bridleways and footpaths and is framed by the river Colne. The 1,000 acre estate is steeped in history and has a neo-Gothic mansion house at its centre. Visitors can explore the estate on foot, bicycle or horseback using three waymarked routes of one, four or 6.5 miles. The routes meander through the picturesque village of Aldenham, some ancient semi-natural woodland at Berrygrove and through the watery Colne valley.
Great Ashby woods, Stevenage
Woodlands and wildlife may not be the first thing that spring to mind when thinking about Great Ashby, a residential development to the north-east of Stevenage. But nestling along the edge and among the houses are pockets of ancient woodland. Great Ashby District Park connects these with green corridors and other important woodlands nearby by providing meadows and trees where once the land was arable. Visitors can take a detour further into the park to find views across the Beane valley. The now well-established woodland walk encourages people to explore the area. The walk is two miles and takes in five woodlands, each with its own distinctive character.
Broxbourne Wood, nr Brickenden
Ancient woodland, diverse wildlife and rich history make Broxbourne Woods National Nature Reserve a magnificent place to take a walk. Take your pick from a short 30min stroll up to a full-day woodland walk. For those who enjoy peace and tranquillity and have time to stand in awe and wonder, this is definitely the place. A walking guide is available on the CMS website with a variety of routes from the 0.6-mile sculpture trail to an 11-mile circular walk around the reserve boundary.
To download a guide to all the walks featured here, visit the Countryside Management Service website hertslink.org/cms/getactive. Some are walk routes and some are in places to visit but you should find something to suit your needs this Christmas holiday. If you’d prefer to join an organised walk, see the themed walks across Hertfordshire at hertsdirect.org/walksandmore
To keep up the excercise after Christmas, try one of the more than 60 weekly Hertfordshire Health Walks – hertfordshirehealthwalks.org has the details. Health walks and many of the routes and places to visit are also available as leaflets. Call 01992 588433 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy.