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8 perfect autumn pub walks in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 10:20 26 November 2019

These eight pub walks all take in lots of pretty autumnal colour (photo: Ashridge Estate, Getty Images)

These eight pub walks all take in lots of pretty autumnal colour (photo: Ashridge Estate, Getty Images)

Archant

Make the most out of autumn with these eight walking routes that take in a variety of Hertfordshire's terrains and - most importantly - have a cosy pub along the way

- The Lea Valley Circle

This walk starts in the pretty village of Wheathampstead before heading down Rose Lane, an ancient road surrounded by foliage that will be displaying its hues of orange and brown during the autumn months. Continue north and the trail takes a Roman road past lush fields before heading towards Marshalls Heath which is rich in wildlife including butterflies and moths. Cross over the Lea River by Leasey Bridge, the final stretch back towards Wheathampstead takes walkers through patchwork fields parallel to the river.

The pub: Upon arrival back in the village, pay a visit to The Swan on the High Street to satiate you after your walk. Start with a pint of real ale while you peruse the menu and daily changing specials board and when you're ready, tuck into freshly prepared food.

For a map of the trail, click here.

Lea Valley Walk, Wheathampstead

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- The Three Burys

Absorb the beautiful scenery of the Ver Valley on The Three Burys walk. Referring to the pretty hamlets of Childwickbury, Redbournbury and Gorhambury, the walk, between St Albans and Redbourn, offers picturesque views over fields and farmland.

At a moderate eight miles, this walk starts and finishes at the Verulamium Museum in St Albans before travelling north past the pretty Batch Wood - on fire with colour in the autumn - and up through Childwick Green before turning and heading west at Bamville Wood. Travel down Beesonend Lane where the trail takes walkers back towards St Albans at Redbournbury Mill, along the River Ver.

The pub: There are plenty of eateries in St Albans to enjoy after your ramble. Why not try The Six Bells on St Michael's Street which is located very close by the Verulamium Museum? With a roaring open fire and real ale on tap, you can enjoy the cosy atmosphere that is well deserved after your hike.

Click here for a map of the walk with detailed instructions.

Gorhambury House

- 10-mile Chess Valley walk

The train station in Rickmansworth is the start of this walk through the Chess Valley. Heading into the trees and greenery takes the walker to the River Chess. Follow the river and take in the autumn flora and fauna of Mount Wood and Baldwin's Wood before the village of Latimer enjoying the eclectic terrains and wildlife that surround you including woodland, water meadows and cosy cottages before arriving at the end in Chesham.

The pub: The Boot in Sarratt is worth driving back to: it's the perfect pub to enjoy a satisfying meal and a drink. Or for a shorter walk, finish around the Sarratt part of the river and head straight for the pub. This 18th century inn serves elevated pub classics such as beer battered haddock and chips, sausage and mash or a generously portioned beef burger.

Click here for a map with walk instructions and landmarks.

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- Shaw's Corner walk

Enter the world of George Bernard Shaw, influential Irish playwright, who lived in the village of Ayot St Lawrence. This 7.5-mile walk will take you around the landscape that Shaw himself used to tread and even stops off at his eponymous home, Shaw's Corner. Start in the village of Wheathampstead at the East Lane car park and head north. Cross over the River Lea before heading east a little way next to the water. Walking north through fields and woodland will take you past Lamer House in the pretty Lamer Park, and then up towards Harepark Spring and into Ayot St Lawrence. Here you will find Shaw's Corner, long-time home of George Bernard Shaw, now owned by the National Trust and open for visitors to explore. Once you have your fill at the house, head past stunning woodland until reaching the River Lea again which, when followed west, will take you back to Wheathampstead.

The pub: Continue your day of tranquillity with a visit to The Cross Keys, a charming pub based in the secluded woods of Hertfordshire, a short drive from Wheathampstead.

Click here for step by step walk instructions.

Summer's End

- Lilley, Chilterns AONB (long route 5 miles, short route 2 miles)

Starting on East Street in the village of Lilley outside of Hitchin, this walk takes in some hills in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Along East Street, take the Baulk bridleway on your right heading out of the village before going downhill towards the Kingshill Plantation which will be flourishing with autumnal colour. You could take a detour to visit Telegraph Hill for arresting views over Bedfordshire or continue along the Icknield Way. Walkers will pass Galley Hill with ancient excavated graves, before traversing back along Wardswood Lane to the village of Lilley.

The pub: A kilometre from Lilley, in the neighbouring village of Great Offley, is The Red Lion pub, a freehouse surrounded by countryside that has been described by one customer as a "lovely country pub with good food and a good atmosphere". Featuring unpretentious pub classics such as steak and ale pie or lamb shank in mint gravy, it's the perfect spot for a hearty post-walk refuel.

The hills above Lilley

Find full walk details here.

- River Stort walk

The beautiful River Stort, navigated by canal boaters and bursting with wildlife throughout the year, runs through Bishop's Stortford to Sawbridgeworth, providing a pretty, five-mile ramble that's perfect to witness the turning of the seasons. Start at the Bishop's Stortford train station and head in the direction of the town centre but take the footpath along the river just before the Riverside Bridge. As you leave the market town, the riverside route becomes rural, plunging the walker into a kaleidoscope of autumn colour.

The pub: Cosy up next to the flickering fire either before or after your walk in The Coach & Horses, one of our favourite real ale pubs in the county. Quirky decorative features paired with open brick fireplaces create an eclectic and cosy place to refuel with a few glasses of real ale and some homemade food.

A trip along the river

Full walking instructions here.

- Ashridge Estate woodland walk

Nestled in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Ashridge Estate is comprised of lush meadowland, cascading countryside and historical wooded patches. Start from the visitor centre and take the woodland path which provides stunning views of the pretty village of Aldbury. Along this circular trail, you will pass country cottages, dramatic vistas and Dockey Wood, sprinkled with bluebells in the spring but carpeted with orange leaves at this time of year. Walkers can choose their own routes that range from 1.5 to 4.5 miles.

The pub: When you've finished and worked up an appetite, head to The Greyhound Inn in Aldbury, a perfect country pub boasting high accolades from locals and professional bodies alike. The lunch menu features four sharing platters from the ploughman's style board with cheese, ham, scotch egg, pickle and crusty bread to the seafood platter of calamari, crayfish, king prawns and smoked mackerel pate or maybe indulge in a garlic and rosemary infused baked camembert with bread and fig jam.

Ashridge in November 2007

For the full walk and other routes on the estate, click here.

- Panshanger Park 3-mile walk

Panshanger Park, the 1,000-acre nature reserve is a patchwork of woodland, rolling hills, lakes and a rare chalk river. This walk starts at the car park and heads through woodlands before wandering through the reserve and stopping off to gaze over Osprey Lake. Head through meadows, see a second lake, Riverside Lake, flanked with autumn trees at this time of year, and spot insects including dragonflies and birds.

The pub: The White Horse is a short way from Panshanger Park in the pretty little village of Hertingfordbury. It has the cosy exterior aspect of an old country pub but with comfortable, refreshed interiors. This will be a welcome retreat to enjoy a few pints and some food after a long walk.

Panshanger Park

For full walk details and an interactive map, head to the Hertfordshire Walker website.

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