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This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Wednesday Walk Garston to St Albans - River Ver, Moor Mill, St Albans Abbey and Verulamium

Book 1, Walk 7 - Garston to St Albans

Length: 14 km (8.7 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10

London Euston: 10-24 hrs    Milton Keynes service
Arrive Watford Junction: 10-39 hrs  Change trains. Have a coffee
Leave Watford Junction: 11-09 hrs    St Albans Abbey service
Arrive Garston: 11-14 hrs

[ The 10-49 hrs   Birmingham New Street service out of Euston allows a 6 minute change time at Watford Junction, which is a bit tight if the London train is not spot on time.]

Return: Either  St Albans Abbey to Euston, changing at Watford Junction:  16-07, 16-54 and 17-45 hrs
or
St Albans City to St Pancras: Thamselink fast services at 01, 13, 18 and 27 mins past the hour, and stopping service at 35 mins past the hour.

Rail ticket: buy a day return to St Albans Abbey. If returning from the City station you will probably  have to buy an additional ticket.

Not too ghastly a walk, with a Christmas Market in the Abbey's precincts, and you might catch a carol service in the Abbey

This usually makes for a pleasant and easy pre-Christmas walk. Shortly after the start you are likely to encounter a good dollop of mud in Bricket Wood Common but with care and some slopping around you should make it safely through and out the other side. Then it is along the drive of Mundon House and through its grounds to come out onto a bridleway which you follow for a mile or so  before you  head along field edges and cross a vast field to the lunch pub - the Moor Mill. At this time of year this popular pub-restaurant gets booked up, so I have made a booking for SWC walkers. For a pub chain the food is usually much better than the pre-digested fare often encountered at similar establishments.
After lunch you head along the Ver Valley walk through light woodland on a hilly section (the only hilly bit today) as you make for the village of Park Street. Then you have to negotiate some water meadows and walk along a field edge beside the River Ver to come out onto a residential street which you follow gently uphill  for a while - with  a fine view of the Abbey directly ahead of you - before you return to the river to follow it all the way to St Albans.  A short walk uphill brings you to the Abbey cum Cathedral. In its precincts you should find a Christmas Fair in full swing.  Inside the Abbey its cafe serves as your tea stop today. After exploring the Abbey (recommended) your final journey of the day depends on which of St Albans' railway stations you wish to return home from. Personally I prefer the walk back downhill from the Abbey to Ye Olde Flying Cocks pub (recommended for its choice of fine ales). Then through Verulamium Park to St Albans Abbey  station. Allow at least 20 mins from the Abbey to this diddy railway station. Allow slightly longer if you walk through the town and make for St Albans City station for trains to St Pancras.
T=1.7
Your walk Directons are here: L=1.7




7 comments:

Peteb said...

Your big dollop of mud is just as likely to be through the Ver watermeadows. Some tricky navigation may be required.

Marcus said...

Thanks Peteb
But the Ver watermeadows are likely to be soggy and squelchy - not muddy. Important to get this right, Peteb !
And shock horror - I am hoping to attend....my first SWC walk since early June.

Peteb said...

My dear Marcus, your comment elevates pedantry to new heights😂. Glad to hear you are getting back to fitness
Cheers
Pete

Jane from Kew said...

Good News dear Marcus

Jane

Bridie said...

Cracking comment PeteB and welcome back Marcus

Jane from Kew said...

Hoping to walk

Jane

Walker said...

W=Sunshine after the overnight rain was enough on its own to ensure that this would be a cheerful outing for the n=8 of us who turned up, but “Ghastly to St Albans” is also a perfectly pleasant little walk, much nicer than a glance at the map would suggest. True, you cross a motorway and a trunk road but there is also a nice wood at the beginning and some pleasant river meadow stretches. We even saw a heron on the outskirts of St Albans who showed no great rush to get out of our way.

There was a further encounter with wildfowl outside the lunch pub where a flock of Aylesbury Ducks (which I would have previously described as “geese”) paddled up to us in the hope we would put 20ps into the duck food dispenser. We did, three times, and the food was gobbled up. Top marks to the two ducks who worked out the best place to stand was right by the dispenser to catch the pellets we dropped. They have probably done this before.

Earlier, entering the lunch pub, we got told off by a man in a car for not taking our boots off. This man turned out to be totally unconnected to the pub, whose staff were happy for us to wear boots on their stone floor. It was a chain pub and service was a bit slow and the food a bit ordinary, but it filled us up and we left a 10% tip. Apparently this was the first tip they had had all day, which is a bit sad in this festive season.

One of the group left mid afternoon to get a train from Park Street. Another went straight to the station on arrival in St Albans and another went to the pub. Four of us went to the very atmospheric abbey and after a look round found its (temporary) refectory already closed at 4.20pm. Emerging into the High Street we found ourselves in possibly the last settlement of any size in Britain that does not have a coffee shop on every corner. I was more assiduous in seeking tea than my fellows, however, and finally found a well-hidden Costa Coffee, where I am penning these lines in splendid solitude over a nice cuppa. I hope to get the 5.45 train.

Oh, and by the way: a bit of slippy mud and some large puddles, especially after lunch, but no squelchy or boggy ground.