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Local Walks


Am I being overly optimistic in thinking that the worst of winter might now be behind us?

Perhaps it's the daffodils in the shops and the Easter cards that seem to have recently filled the shelves, but it does feel like Spring might soon be on its way. Until then, perhaps we'll keep our wellies in the porch and at the ready for our lovely local walks. 

When it comes to walks and woodland adventures we really are spoilt for choice in and around Hemel Hempstead, but here are some we look forward to and enjoy as a family. 

The Nickey Line
This former railway line is now a 7 mile footpath and cycle way that links Hemel Hempstead, Redbourn and Harpenden and is great to take the family for a walk or cycle, particularly as it is steeped in local history. You don’t have to do the whole thing either as there is access points (step and ramp) all along the route. More info here.

Jellicoe Water Gardens

The Water Gardens surround the River Gade, which runs adjacent to Hemel Hempstead town centre. Created by the renowned landscape designer Geoffrey Jellicoe in 1962, the gardens were restored back to their former glory in 2017 and are beautiful in Spring and Summer, making for a lovely walk, particularly duck/duckling spotting for younger ones! More info here.

Gadebridge Park
Although the splash park is currently closed and the skate park can get busy during peak times, the rest of the park is great for getting out for a run around. With the River Gade running through the centre there are opportunities for a spot of net fishing or pooh sticks off the bridge. There is also a cycle path which runs from the Bury Lodge entrance (off Queensway) to Piccotts End Road and through to the Leighton Buzzard underpass as well as the beautiful walled garden. More info here.

The Grand Union Canal
The Grand Union Canal runs right through Hemel Hempstead and offers a lovely route to walk or cycle down, particularly if you hop on in Boxmoor and head towards Berkhamsted. There’s lots of ducks and wildlife to spot on route too!

The various moors and meadows owned by The Box Moor Trust offer a variety of different  environments, including watermeadows, woods, pastures, chalk streams and recreational land of which the majority are open access – perfect for a muddy walk, just remember to bring your wellies! More info here.

Ashridge Estate - Limited parking to avoid overcrowding. The visitor centre, toilets and café remain closed.
Ashridge is filled with walks, including some buggy and wheelchair friendly options but it is also great for just wandering through the beautiful woodland, finding and building dens and also spotting some winter wildlife. More info here.

Ashridge House Gardens

Why not explore the beautiful private gardens at Ashridge House, the perfect setting for your local walk. The 190 acres of historical landscaped gardens are now open everyday from 9am - 3pm along with the Courtyard Café. Tickets for the gardens are available to purchase from the Courtyard Café and are £5 per adult, children are free of charge, dogs on leads are welcome too! Last entry time to the gardens is 2pm. Please note during the restrictions, the Café service will be takeaway only and toilets will not be available. More info here.

Ivinghoe Beacon
233m above sea level, Ivinghoe Beacon is a beautiful spot to see our stunning local countryside with views for miles around. There are also lots of historical points along the walk from remains of an Iron Age hill fort to Bronze Age burial mounds so is perfect for a mini history lesson for the kids too! More info here.

Berkhamsted Castle
Here you will find the substantial remains of a strong and important motte-and-bailey castle dating from the 11th to 15th centuries, with surrounding walls, ditches and earthworks. There is a one way system in place around the walls so that social distancing can be observed. Open daily from 10am – 6pm. More info here.

Dunstable Downs - Limited parking to avoid overcrowding. The visitor centre remains closed.
Although the visitor centre is now closed as a precaution due to coronavirus, the downs themselves are still open as usual. A renowned spot for kite flying, Dunstable Downs is a great day out to perfect your kite flying skills alongside spectacular views. There are also lots of walks and trails to keep everyone busy if the kite flying fails! More info here.

Whipsnade Tree Cathedral
Whipsnade Tree Cathedral is just that - trees, hedges and shrubs planted in the form of a medieval cathedral. It was made to commemorate fallen soldiers and offers a unique space to explore and reflect. More info here.

Tring Reservoirs
The Tring Reservoirs Nature Reserve is home to a variety of wildlife and is one of the best birdwatching spots in southern England. More info here.

Tring Park

With the second largest area of unimproved chalk grassland in the county, Tring Park is one of Hertfordshire's most important habitats for wildlife. With. waymarked walks to guide you through the park and plenty of wide open space, it's great for all the family. More info here.

Wendover Woods - open but facilities are limited. Please check the visitor information for updates
Explore the beautiful Chilterns landscape at Wendover Woods with stunning views across the Chiltern Hills. There's something for everyone with a wide range of activities and walks including a cycle trail, Gruffalo Orienteering trail, Shaun the Sheep Farmageddon Glow Trail, a fitness trail assault course and a brand new play trail which runs in an approximately 1 mile loop from the Visitor Hub and includes play features along the way. More info here.

Of course there are lots of other local parks and open spaces for you to explore including Verulamium Park in St Albans or Cassiobury Park in Watford, among others. However the most important thing is that we all stay safe so please do follow Government guidelines regarding your own personal and family health.

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