8 perfect autumn pub walks in Hertfordshire
Make the most out of autumn with these eight walking routes that take in a variety of Hertfordshire’s terrains and – most importantly – have a cosy pub along the way
1. The Lea Valley Circle
This walk starts in the pretty village of Wheathampstead before heading down Rose Lane, an ancient road surrounded by foliage that will be displaying its hues of orange and brown during the autumn months. Continue north and the trail takes a Roman road past lush fields before heading towards Marshalls Heath which is rich in wildlife including butterflies and moths. Cross over the Lea River by Leasey Bridge, the final stretch back towards Wheathampstead takes walkers through patchwork fields parallel to the river.
The pub: upon arrival back in the village, pay a visit to The Swan on the High Street to satiate you after your walk. Start with a pint of real ale while you peruse the menu and daily changing specials board and when you’re ready, tuck into freshly prepared food.
For a map of the trail, click here.
Absorb the beautiful scenery of the Ver Valley on The Three Burys walk. Referring to the pretty hamlets of Childwickbury, Redbournbury and Gorhambury, the walk, between St Albans and Redbourn, offers picturesque views over fields and farmland. At a moderate eight miles, this walk starts and finishes at the Verulamium Museum in St Albans before travelling north past the pretty Batch Wood – on fire with colour in the autumn – and up through Childwick Green before turning and heading west at Bamville Wood. Travel down Beesonend Lane where the trail takes walkers back towards St Albans at Redbournbury Mill, along the River Ver.
The pub: there are plenty of eateries in St Albans to enjoy after your ramble. Why not try The Six Bells on St Michael’s Street which is located very close by the Verulamium Museum? With a roaring open fire and real ale on tap, you can enjoy the cosy atmosphere that is well deserved after your hike.
Click here for a map of the walk with detailed instructions.
3. Three villages walk: Ashwell, Caldecote, Hinxworth
Take this pretty walking route through a trio of villages starting at The Three Tuns in Ashwell. Pass Newnham Hill – which has mesmerising views over the countryside – and head towards the second village on the trail, Caldecote. The trail takes walkers past the stunning, historic Caldecote Manor before leading towards the third village, Hinxworth. You will pass through fields and kissing gates and the medieval manor, Hinxworth Place, on your way before arriving in Hinxworth. From the village you will walk back to Ashwell through more pretty countryside and over the River Rhee.
The pub: stomachs should be rumbling when you arrive back in Ashwell so head inside the lovely Bushel and Strike, one of our 2016 Food & Drink Awards finalists, for something from the BBQ menu which includes beef brisket with a chilli jam. For a quirky post-meal adventure, discover the history of the bubonic plague that can be explored in the village.
For a map of this walk, click here.
4. Sarratt and the Chess Valley walk
The green in Sarratt is the start of this walk through the Chess Valley. Heading northwest will take walkers through pretty farmland and woodland before arriving in Flaunden. Walk through the village and into the woods at the other side heading towards Latimer. Take in the autumn flora and fauna of Baldwin’s Wood before reaching Latimer and heading east back towards Church End and Sarratt, enjoying the eclectic terrains and wildlife that surround you including woodland, water meadows and cosy cottages.
The pub: The Boot in Sarratt is the perfect post-walk pub to enjoy a satisfying meal and a drink. This 18th century inn serves elevated pub classics such as beer battered haddock and chips, sausage and mash or a generously portioned beef burger.
Click here for a map with walk instructions and landmarks.
5. Shaw’s Corner walk
Enter the world of George Bernard Shaw, influential Irish playwright, who lived in the village of Ayot St Lawrence. This 7.5-mile walk will take you around the landscape that Shaw himself used to tread and even stops off at his eponymous home, Shaw’s Corner. Start in the village of Wheathampstead at the East Lane car park and head north. Cross over the River Lea before heading east a little way next to the water. Walking north through fields and woodland will take you past Lamer House in the pretty Lamer Park, and then up towards Harepark Spring and into Ayot St Lawrence. Here you will find Shaw’s Corner, long time home of George Bernard Shaw, now owned by the National Trust and open for visitors to explore. Once you have your fill at Shaw’s Corner, head south past stunning woodland until reaching the River Lea again which, when followed west, will take you back to Wheathampstead.
The pub: continue your day of tranquillity with a visit to The Cross Keys, a charming pub based in the secluded woods of Hertfordshire, a short drive from Wheathampstead.
Click here for step by step walk instructions.
6. Lilley, Chilterns AONB (long route 5 miles, short route 2 miles)
Starting on East Street in the village of Lilley outside of Hitchin, this walk takes in some hills in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Along East Street, take the Baulk bridleway on your right heading out of the village before going downhill towards the Kingshill Plantation which will be flourishing with autumnal colour. You could take a detour to visit Telegraph Hill for arresting views over Bedfordshire or continue along the Icknield Way. Walkers will pass Galley Hill with ancient excavated graves, before traversing back along Wardswood Lane to the village of Lilley.
The pub: a kilometre from Lilley, in the neighbouring village of Great Offley, is The Red Lion pub, a freehouse surrounded by countryside that serves tasty hot food. Featuring unpretentious pub classics such as steak and ale pie or lamb shank in mint gravy, it’s the perfect spot for a hearty post-walk feed.
Find full walk details here.
7. River Stort walk
The beautiful River Stort, navigated by canal boaters and bursting with wildlife throughout the year, runs through Bishop’s Stortford to Sawbridgeworth, providing a pretty, five-mile ramble that’s perfect to witness the turning of the seasons. Start at the Bishop’s Stortford train station and head in the direction of the town centre but take the footpath along the river just before the Riverside Bridge. As you leave the market town, the riverside route becomes rural, plunging the walker into a kaleidoscope of autumn colour.
The pub: cosy up next to the flickering fire either before or after your walk in The Coach & Horses, one of our favourite real ale pubs in the county. Quirky decorative features paired with open brick fireplaces create an eclectic and cosy place to refuel with a few glasses of real ale and some homemade food.
Full walking instructions here.
8. Ashridge Estate woodland walk
Nestled in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Ashridge Estate is comprised of lush meadowland, cascading countryside and historical wooded patches. Start from the visitor centre and take the woodland path which provides stunning views of the pretty Aldbury village. Along this circular trail, you will pass country cottages, dramatic vistas and Dockey Wood, sprinkled with bluebells in the spring but carpeted with fallen leaves at this time of year. Walkers can choose their own routes that range from 1.5 to 4.5 miles.
The pub: when you’ve finished and worked up an appetite, head to The Greyhound Inn in Aldbury, a perfect country pub boasting high accolades from locals and professional bodies alike. The lunch menu features four sharing platters from the ploughman’s style board with cheese, ham, scotch egg, pickle and crusty bread to the seafood platter of crab paté, king prawns and smoked salmon or maybe a garlic and rosemary infused baked camembert with bread and fig jam. Enjoy a well-earned feast!
For the full walk and other routes on the estate, click here.