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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

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.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Saturday Walk - Hertfordshire Varied Landscapes - Harpenden to St. Albans [New Walk]

Length: 17.6 km (10.9 mi), Ascent/Descent: 201/209m
Net Walking Time: ca. 4 ¼ hours, Toughness: 3 out of 10.
Shortcuts possible, see the webpage linked below.

Take the Thameslink train from Gatwick Airport to Bedford via East Croydon (10.03), Norwood Junction, London Bridge (10.21) and all Central London stations incl. St. Pancras (10.36), arriving Harpenden 11.01.
Return trains from St Albans City: 9 per hour, from 21-35 mins journey time, fast ones on xx.13,  xx.27, xx.43 and xx.57. Buy a Harpenden return.

The walk links a wealthy Hertfordshire town with a historic Hertfordshire city, and is green and pleasant throughout. There is attractive common land, a forest with countryside views, a country estate, and finally a pleasant approach to St Albans which takes you through the old town past sites of historical interest.
The morning highlight is the brand-new forest called Heartwood.
The afternoon takes you through the pretty Childwickbury country estate, with views also out to another estate, Gorehambury. A further highlight is then the city of St Albans, where you pass old pubs, quaint houses, the Roman museum and remains, the Abbey and its gate, and finally the clock tower and museum of St Albans.

Covid-compatibility: not sure, haven’t walked this.

Lunch: Three Pubs in Sandridge (8.3 km): The Queen’s Head  (open all day), The Green Man (food to 14.30) and The Rose & Crown  (food to 14.30).
Tea: plenty of options in St. Albans, see the pdf for details.

For walk directions, map, height profile and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.351
Personal Note: in a first for one of my Saturday’s Postings, I post a walk of less than 20 km length. That is because I won’t be on the walk and am fulfilling a request by our man in Northamptonshire, Mike P. He has kindly volunteered to take over track-and-trace duties on the day. Please furnish him with your email address at the start of the walk for that purpose.


Anonymous said...

Sounds great. Thank you.

Mike P said...

Yep, I'm in charge! Can we meet immediately outside the station building so as to divide in to groups of up to 6 (if necessary) and give email addresses. This is the first day when pubs are open again, but I'm guessing that some will still prefer to take a picnic and that the groups may further divide. This is OK, so long as people pay attention to any groups coming in to view ahead.

Marcus said...

My apologies for the late notification, but an updated version of the directions has been posted on this website as of 17-15 hrs today. This is the inaugural posting of this new walk, and given some walkers who did a test drive of this walk became lost in the woods at point 13 in the directions, the walk author kindly walk checked the directions on Thursday 02 July, and made a few changes to the original. If you do not have time to print off the whole document, the key changes you might like to note are at points 13 and 14, in Pluckley Wood. Other changes are minor and of less importance.
Enjoy your walk on Saturday.

Mike P said...

7 turned up and the majority were willing to responsibly exchange contact details as required. There was plenty of space on the trains, though at Harpenden there were still signs saying 'don't use trains for leisure purposes'. It was cool and breezy, we never quite spotted the sun, but at least it stayed dry. We did well to para 11 (I'd printed the directions before latest revisions), but failed to find the metal gate. We were back on course in para 15. Nobody braved the pubs (one was closed and the others didn't look too busy), we had lunch at Sandridge church. Overall it was an enjoyable walk. Went a bit awry on the approach to St Albans (too many people in the way), but I found a turn of pace and managed to just catch my hourly train (2.55).

Marcus said...


Thomas G said...

Hi Mike. Very sad to hear that one (or more than one) individual (and a SWC regular at that) could not get themselves to comply with the few rules the Walk Posters have set for people attending the walks in these circumstances. It is clearly stated at the top of This Week's Walks and also in the explanatory walk post about the Resumption of a Walks Programme that (and why) we insist on subgroups no larger than 6 and on walkers giving contact details at the start, so it is utterly disappointing (to put it very mildly) that someone would come to the group walks knowing they won't abide by those rules. Just to confirm: no walk poster has any problem with people breaking the rules and laws while they go about the countryside under their own steam or in email-arranged groups of walkers not under the SWC name, but on SWC business we demand people stick to the rules as they are (as does any other walking club that has taken up operations again, may that be The Ramblers, CLOG, MeetUp or any other club I know of). It it also not right that the group would refuse to split into two subgroups.
All in, I am sorry to have put you into that situation and it won't happen again, as as an immediate result of these rebels' activities I will not post another walk that I am not 100% sure to be on myself, so that I can then deal with scenarios like this appropriately, and I can't see any other walk poster doing so either.
To repeat: the SWC does not want to be seen to be breaking the rules and laws as laid down by Government and does not want to be seen to quietly enable or tolerate people to be breaking those rules and laws while on a SWC walk.