• Start: The pond in Barkway village
  • End: The pond in Barkway village
  • Country: England
  • County: Hertfordshire
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub: The Tally Ho in Barkway, SG8 8EX; The Cabinet in Reed, SG8 8AH; The Woodman Inn in Nuthampstead, SG8 8NB
  • Ordnance Survey:
  • Difficulty: Medium
Google Map


The pretty village of Barkway and its beautiful surrounding countryside is the focus of this month's Countryside Management Service walks...

The village of Barkway lies in the eastern extension of the chalky Chiltern Hills.

In earlier times it was the site of a major crossroads, the east west trading route taking advantage of the dry highlands of the scarp, and the north south track linking London with Cambridge.

Barkway appears in the Domesday survey. It was granted a market, and became an important trading point.

Both these walks are circular and start at the centre of Barkway Village by the pond and the Parish Map Board.

Rokey Wood Walk

Head northwards up the High Street, then left into Church Lane. Pass the wagon wash pond, open originally at each end for cart access. A tributary of the River Quin enters the pond under the road, and exits through a grill at the eastern end.

Follow the lane around the churchyard of St Mary Magdalene.

Continue along the lane, which becomes a rough track. You will come to a crossing of paths by an old oak tree. Turn right following the bridleway towards Rokey Wood. This is an ancient mostly ash and maple woodland. At the bench, you can enjoy views to the south and east towards Wyddial and back at Barkway church and village.

Continue across an open field and then skirt around Bush Wood. Just inside the wood is the remains of an old moat.

Continue along the track, veering right across the corner of a crop field, and rejoining another farm track. Reed church comes into view.

Keeping on the track head to a stile in the corner of a hedge, cross a grass field into Reed Village. Our route then goes almost immediately right up a broad byway. The Cabinet pub is visible just up the lane.

Head straight ahead along the byway past Rokey Wood again. There is a very slight depression in the field on your left. This is the site of Periwinkle Hill, an ancient motte and bailey castle.

The byway descends gradually back into the village. Just before the main road, turn right down a footpath, through a pair of kissing gates. Cross a grass field and rejoin Church Lane. Follow the route you came along back to the village pond.

Earls Wood Walk

Walk southwards down the High Street. You will pass the thatched hall house of Wealden type. Shortly after this, turn left down a narrow path. This emerges on a lane leading to Rushing Wells, over the River Quin.

Turn right, then head left up a broad track towards Earls Wood. Follow this along the southern edge of the wood. Follow the footpaths along the eastern and northen edges of the woodland. From here you can see Cokenach house across the fields.

At the corner of the wood there is a choice of paths. Take the concrete track towards Earls Wood Cottage, and then through its parkland. On the right is a large pond which never dries up as this area of the county has a high water table.

Proceed over the River Quin across a rough plank bridge, veer around to the left through an area of scrub and spinney. Here is a site of common spotted orchids.

Cross the recreation ground to the far left corner, through trees to the High Street, turn left back down to the pond and school.

As you emerge on to the street, you will pass the medieval hall house on the corner. At the far southern end of the village is Barkways one remaining pub, the Tally Ho.

Start Walking

The pond in Barkway village

Rokey Wood Walk 3miles (4.9km); Earls Wood Walk 2.7miles (4.3km)

About 1.5 hours per walk

Time for a pint?

Barkway The Tally Ho, SG8 8EX;

Reed The Cabinet, SG8 8AH;

Nuthampstead The Woodman Inn, SG8 8NB

Find out more

The Countryside Management Service (CMS) works with landowners and communities to develop projects that enhance landscape and biodiversity, as well as encouraging people to understand and enjoy the countryside across Hertfordshire.

For more information contact the CMS on 01462 459395 or email

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