Kimpton and Ayot St Lawrence Circular Walk

One of the best walks in Hertfordshire can be found by starting out at the sleepy village of Kimpton and following a circular trail through the surrounding countryside.

We walked this route on a sunny day in April, one of the first days of the year that felt like spring. Signs of bluebells were emerging, and the weather stayed pleasant from start to end.

The route is just over 5 miles long, so it only takes a couple of hours, with fairly easy terrain that includes few strenuous inclines.

Where to start out

The starting point for this walk is in Kimpton, and you can find free parking at the Parkfield Sports Ground. Just follow the small lane off the B651 just past the church.

The church in Kimpton on a sunny day
The church in Kimpton

From here, you can either follow the path back to the road, but we recommend taking a detour through the village to see the Parish Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, which is especially picturesque on a sunny day.

Cross the B651 and you’ll see a sign for a footpath taking you east.

Heading away from Kimpton

The path takes you up a gradual incline as you pass through open farmland. Further up this hill, you’ll have great views down over the valley to your right.

Looking south over fields near Kimpton in Hertfordshire
Looking south as you walk uphill

On the other side of the valley is where you’ll be walking later on as part of this route when you’re returning to Kimpton.

Winding through to Rye End Farm

Keep following the path as it takes you off the farm track, through a paddock, and through a small section of woodland.

A desire path heading over a grassy field towards a small woods
The path heading towards a small woods

The trail keeps taking you eastwards before bending slightly north before taking you downhill, where you’ll be able to spot Rye End Farm.

A field near to Rye End Farm in Hertfordshire
Approaching Rye End Farm

Wander around the farm, continuing east, and you’ll head over the River Mimram, a small chalk stream.

A stream with trees along its bank in England
Crossing the picturesque stream

Along the river

You can then follow the river south downstream along a quiet country road. Eventually, it will join Green Lane, which subsequently meets with the larger Kimpton Road.

The stream flowing under the building at the corner of this road makes for a picturesque spot for a photo.

When it’s safe, cross Kimpton Road, heading south, and you can follow the signs that lead you along a footpath back uphill.

A path leading uphill with trees to the right and fields to the left
The path leading back uphill

Towards Ayot St Lawrence

Continue uphill and you’ll eventually join a path that takes you towards Ayot St Lawrence, a very small village nestled in the heart of Hertfordshire.

You pass by a manor house before joining Hill Farm Lane, the main road through the village.

A path next to trimmed bushes in Ayot St Lawrence
The path into Ayot St Lawrence

Looking around Ayot St Lawrence

This is the rough halfway point of the walk, and if you’re in need of somewhere to stop and rest with a pint at the Brocket Arms.

Outside Brocket Arms in Ayot St Lawrence
Outside the Brocket Arms

It’s worth having a quick look around the old St Lawrence church. These ruins would be a creepy place to visit at night, but in the day they have a serene and oddly beautiful atmosphere.

The ruins of the old church in Ayot St Lawrence
Ruins of the old church

Another option is to visit Shaw’s Corner, an Edwardian country house that was home to George Bernard Shaw. Now run by the National Trust, it’s open to the public a is one of the nicest places to visit in Hertfordshire.

As you leave the village, you can also stop by the new St Lawrence church. Dating from the 18th century, the classical Greek design makes this building really stand out as you wander by, so it’s worth taking a closer look.

The new church in Ayot St Lawrence
Walking by the new church

Continuing the walk

From the new church, the path is easy to follow as it takes you northwest along the edge of a woods before taking you briefly into the trees.

A path between trees on the walk towards Kimpton
A shaded path with trees either side

You’ll then follow a straight path that will take you downhill then back up, where you’ll emerge onto an open field.

As you cut across this field, you may be able to see Kimpton in the distance.

An open field in England with a path cutting across it a blue skies with several white clouds above
Continuing back towards Kimpton

You’ll then be led to a road, Ballslough Hill. Cross it onto a field on the other side.

Back to Kimpton

First head north then west, following the edge of the field.

Along the northern border, you’ll get a great view of Kimpton through the foliage.

Looking through foliage towards Kimpton, a village in Hertfordshire, England
Spotting Kimpton in the distance

The path will soon lead to an opening where you can emerge into the village near a bowls club and playing field. Head through here and past a playground, after which you’ll be back on the High Street in the centre of the village.

A path leading down to the village of Kimpton in Hertfordshire
The path back into Kimpton

From there, head up Church Lane. This will take you up towards the church in Kimpton, and from there it’s easy to continue following the paths north and back up to the car park.

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