Winter walks in Hertfordshire: 8 of the best routes
PUBLISHED: 09:36 18 December 2020 | UPDATED: 12:02 18 December 2020
Clear your head during the colder months with a walk around the beautiful and varied Hertfordshire countryside. We have gathered eight spots that make stunning walks in the winter
Tring Park is home to over 260 acres of wood and grassland that makes for a perfect winter ramble. Follow the way-marked trail while absorbing the panoramic scenery in the tranquillity of this ancient park. If you still have some energy, it’s worth paying a visit to the Natural History Museum, home to hundreds of fascinating specimens to pore over at leisure.
• Chiltern Hills
The Chiltern Hills are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it’s not hard to see why when you visit for a walk in these hills. With winter comes a whole new colour palette to admire as you peruse one of the many routes. The Hertfordshire portion of the Chilterns runs through towns such as Tring and Berkhamsted, great places to finish with a visit to one of the many pubs or restaurants.
Ashridge House in Berkhamsted is a great day out and perfectly represents the beauty of the Chilterns with over 5,000 acres of landscape to explore. Relax afterwards in the onsite Brownlow Café.
• Mardley Heath
Mardley Heath, the Local Nature Reserve that is comprised of over 100 acres of oak and hornbeam woodland, is a brilliant place to enjoy a contemplative winter afternoon. There are subtle hues of purple, orange and green as autumn turns to winter so make the most of this time by wrapping up warm and exploring.
Visit the family run Chequers Inn in Woolmer Green after your ramble and enjoy some delicious traditional comfort food by the open fire with a glass of your favourite real ale in hand.
Located in Baldock, Weston Hills is a picturesque nature reserve (officially declared a Local Nature Reserve) with woodland of beech and ash that attracts interesting birds all year round. There is chalk underfoot that is visible in some places such as the Roman chalk quarry. Take a tranquil walk through the hilly terrain and spot some winter flora and fauna along the way.
When you’ve finished, head to The George at Baldock for a post-stroll tipple. This 15th-century inn serves fresh, seasonal food and drinks from coffee to cocktail, whatever takes your fancy.
• Heartwood Forest
Heartwood Forest, looked after by the Woodland Trust, is a new forest – one of the largest in the country at over 850 acres – interspersed with patches of ancient woodland. Wildlife is prospering in the forest with birds such as hen harriers being spotted on visitors’ winter strolls.
Located on the edge of St Albans, this is a great excuse to browse some independent shops or fall into a cosy pub such as The Queens Head complete with open log fire and delicious home cooked food.
In the summer, Stanborough Park is buzzing with visitors who are row boating, picnicking and taking nature walks. In the winter it is transformed with a completely different atmosphere – one of tranquillity and end-of-year introspection, all making for a great walk. There are over 125 acres to explore, with two large lakes that reflect the winter sky, and rolling parklands.
If you fancy venturing into Welwyn Garden City, you can enjoy an all day breakfast at Café Trio on Wigmore South. It’ll be a full fry up for us, please!
At over 50 miles in length, the Lea Valley Walk is surely a heroic effort by even the most seasoned walker’s standards. Much of the walk passes through Hertfordshire which means you can pick and choose a route to suit your mood and ability. Rye Meads Nature Reserve is located close to the River Lee, which makes for beautiful winter scenes to admire as you traverse the reserve. Stop in a hide to spot some winter birds on the water.
Duck into a local riverside pub such as The Jolly Fisherman in Stanstead Abbotts, a short drive from the reserve, or a 30 minute walk. With cosy interiors to relax in and hot food to order, what else do you need?
Nature lovers will have plenty to see on land, in the sky and in the water at Amwell Nature Reserve. This is a wildlife-rich place to enjoy a winter ramble. Made up of a patchwork of diverse terrains including rivers, lakes and streams, woodland and grassland, this walk is a feast for the eyes. Spot wildlife, both rare and common, including otters, wildfowl, buzzards and sparrow hawks.
After your fill of nature for the day, explore the town of Ware. Drop into a pub such as the King’s Mead, or experience the historical Scott’s Grotto, a series of chambers whose walls are covered in seashells and coloured glass.