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5 perfect Boxing Day walks in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 10:28 10 December 2018

Get away from the telly and go exploring (photo: Dirk Lindner, Getty Images)

Get away from the telly and go exploring (photo: Dirk Lindner, Getty Images)

Archant

It's a great tradition, but where to go? Countryside Management Service projects officer Emily Clowry picks five of the best Boxing Day rambles in Herts

Christmas is often a time of over-indulgence, so a sure-fire way to shake off the lethargy of too many mince pies is to gather family and friends, wrap up warm and get out and explore Hertfordshire’s beautiful countryside. With stunning nature reserves, ancient woodlands and much more to choose from, here are five of our best wilder spaces for a Boxing Day ramble.

• Sherrardspark Wood, Welwyn GC

Sherrardspark Wood is one of the county’s largest and most important oak woodlands, home to a wide range of wildlife including dormice. This much-loved place has an extensive network of footpaths and bridleways, allowing exploration by visitors on foot, bike and horseback. With all the linking footpaths, a walk in Sherrardspark Wood could be anything from two to five miles, a great way to work up an appetite for Boxing Day dinner!

Sherrardspark Wood

• Oakmere, Parkfield & beyond, Potters Bar

A Green Flag park that was once the private grounds of the Grade II listed Oakmere House, Oakmere Park has ornamental planting, lakes and one, two and four-mile circular marked walks that go out into the stunning setting of Parkfield and beyond. The four-mile route takes you past Folly Arch, a 17th century gothic gateway that once led to a pleasure garden in Gobions Wood. If you are feeling up for a longer tramp, the four-mile walk has a two-mile extension past a Second World War pillbox and round Furzefield Wood before leading you back to Oakmere Park.

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• Oxhey Woods Local Nature Reserve, South Oxhey

If you are looking for somewhere to explore with added entertainment for the family, then visit Oxhey Woods and its sculpture trail. It is the largest local nature reserve in the Three Rivers District with an easy path of less than a mile that takes you past all the wooden sculptures (there’s mystical woodland figures, a see-saw and even an armchair and tv), and it’s suitable for buggies and wheelchairs.

If you are up for a family Christmas challenge, the Countryside Management Service website features orienteering trails in Oxhey Woods with a choice of levels from beginner to a challenging three-mile course.

Oxhey Woods

• River Stort, Bishop’s Stortford

The Stort runs through the heart of Bishop’s Stortford and is home to a variety of wildlife including kingfishers. Starting at Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre this three-mile circular walk takes you through Castle Park and along the river, following the Stort navigation before heading through the town past historic features such as the market square and 17th century St Michael’s Church.

Stormy Day on the River Stort

• Verulamium Park, St Albans

For a two-mile circular walk suitable for pushchairs, St Albans’ Verulamium Park is a perfect place. With options to extend your walk to take in the sights of the river Ver, there is a walk for all abilities. Herons, ducks and other wildfowl are regular sightings around the wildlife-rich lake, providing plenty of interest along the route.

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To download a guide to all the walks and places featured, visit hertfordshire.gov.uk/walkingandcyclingroutes or hertfordshire.gov.uk/placestovisit

If you’d prefer to join an organised walk, check out the themed routes across the county at hertfordshire.gov.uk/walksandmore or join a Hertfordshire Health Walk. With more than 50 per week, you should find one to suit you at hertfordshire.gov.uk/healthwalks

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