While located just north of London, Hertfordshire is a county full of brilliant walks that make you feel like you’re getting lost deep in the countryside.
It may not have the magnificent landscapes seen in some of the UKs National Parks, like the Peak District and Lake District, but there are plenty of scenic hills, rivers, canals, parkland, and woodlands which offer a variety of amazing walks.
We’ve put together this list of the best walks in Hertfordshire that cover a range of locations across this beautiful county. Each location provides different scenery, depending on what you’re looking for, and most have a variety of routes of differing lengths that you can explore.
1. Heartwood Forest
Heartwood Forest, located near St Albans, offers an enchanting experience with over half a million trees, including ancient woodland sections intermingled with newly-planted forests. This captivating destination is renowned for its picturesque walking routes, attracting numerous visitors.
Spanning an impressive 858 acres, Heartwood Forest claims the distinction of being England’s largest continuous new native forest. Its vast expanse encompasses diverse areas and trails, catering to a wide range of hiking preferences.
One of the highlights within the newly-planted sections of Heartwood Forest is the magnificent Langley Wood, where bluebells burst into a splendid spectacle. The blooming period, typically occurring in late April and early May, showcases a breathtaking sight that captivates all who witness it.
2. Bramfield Woods
Nestled between the inviting villages of Datchworth, Bramfield, and Watton at Stone, this Bramfield Woods offers the perfect setting for an enjoyable stroll. With each of the surrounding villages boasting a decent pub, this also makes it an ideal choice for those seeking a refreshing drink after their wanderings.
For a shorter walk, the best parking spot is at Winding Shott, while if you’re up for a more extensive hike, consider parking in one of the villages and creating a circular route that connects them.
The woods make for a great location if you’re just looking for a casual stroll, with the various paths cutting through the trees providing a range of routes that you can follow as you loop around or create a figure of eight, never needing to go too far.
3. Deacons Hill
Pegsdon Hills and Hoo Bit is a nature reserve on the border of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, just a small drive from Hitchen, and it contains many great places for a walk.
This includes Deacons Hill, a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest that is part of the Chiltern Hills and offers one of the highest vantage points in this part of the country.
There are a couple of places you can part at the small village of Pegsdon, either the Hexton Road Car Park or Pegsdon Hills Car Park, and doing a loop up and down Deacons Hill is a great option for a walk that takes no more than two hours.
4. Alban Way
This disused railway connects St Albans with Hatfield and, being separate from roads and traffic-free, it’s a great path for walkers and cyclists alike.
At 6.3 miles long, it’s possible to walk the Alban Way from end to end, starting near Verulamium Park in St Albans and ending near the train station in Hatfield, or vice versa.
Alternatively, you can also choose to walk specific sections of the Alban Way, or make it part of a longer route as you circle round to other parts of St Albans like Verulamium or Highfield Park.
5. Kimpton and Ayot St Lawrence
Just seven miles north of St Albans, the small village of Kimpton is nestled in the heart of the Hertfordshire countryside and is a great starting point for numerous walks in the area.
This includes a circular walk to Ayot St Lawrence, which takes you passed Shaw’s Corner, a great National Trust site which was the home of poet George Bernard Shaw.
The route takes you across fields, over the picturesque River Mimram, and by the ruins of the old church in Ayot St Lawrence.
For more information, you can read our blog about the Kimpton and Ayot St Lawrence circular walk.
6. Tring Reservoirs
Containing four different reservoirs – Startop’s End, Marsworth, Tringford and Wilstone – the Tring Reservoirs Nature Reserve offers a different backdrop to other walks in this article.
It’s free to walk around the Tring reservoirs, which are home to a variety of wildlife and are a great location for bird watching.
Running nearby to the reservoirs is the Grand Union Canal, and one of the best walks in Hertfordshire is following a circular route out from the reservoirs, along the canal, and back.
7. Ashridge Estate
Ashridge Estate has 2,000 hectares which are great to explore for both hikers and casual wanderers alike, including a mix of woodlands, chalk hills and open fields.
The forest at Ashridge is large and contains many different walking routes to follow. With the expanse of trees that you feel like you could get lost in, Ashridge has one of the best woodland walks in Hertfordshire.
As a National Trust site, there’s a visitor centre you can also stop by, including a cafe. Plus, you can climb the iconic Bridgewater Monument in the centre of the estate to get great views of the surrounding woodland.
8. River Ver
Running through Hertfordshire for 17 miles, the River Ver is a chalk stream with some of the least-known walking routes in the county.
One of the best St Albans walks involves following the stream from where it flows through the city, in the middle of Verulamium Park, rejoining it where it leaves the city and following it south down to Frogmore.
You can also follow the River Ver trail in the other direction, heading north from St Albans towards Redbourn and past it to Flamstead.