CPRE Hertfordshire - Walk this Way

Liz Hamilton, chairman of CPRE Hertfordshire, sets off on the first leg of the Hertfordshire Way Walk...

ON a cold January morning five of us met in Kings Langley to begin the CPRE Hertfordshire 2012 Hertfordshire Way Walk. By starting with Leg 8, we plan to progress beyond the Lea Valley before the Olympics.

From the Gade Valley we climbed steadily, past the former Ovaltine Egg Farm, then on to Bedmond, the birthplace of Nicholas Breakspear, who became England’s only Pope in 1154.

We reached the tranquil woodland of Bricket Wood Common with the noise of the M25, the A405, and the M1, and Garston (the most urban section of the leg) behind us. Beyond the Common lies a hidden gem. The parkland south of Munden House, with its scattered mature trees, looked splendid in the winter sunshine.

The Way continues over the River Colne, past Wall Hall and on to the little village of Aldenham, where we took a much-needed lunch stop. The walls of St John’s Church contain pieces of Hertfordshire puddingstone.At the delightful village of Letchmore Heath, the most southerly point of the Way, we were less than 15 miles from Westminster. After admiring the cottages clustered around the village green, the war memorial and a trio of vintage cars parked outside the pub, we were off on the final stretch of the leg.

The Way slips between Radlett to the north and Borehamwood to the south while always retaining its rural tranquillity. Before reaching our destination in Shenley Park we enjoyed far-reaching views across the county.

Much of the Way in the south of Hertfordshire runs through Green Belt. Next month I shall look at how important this protection is in the county.

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Background and Guide

The Way was developed by The Friends of The Hertfordshire Way, from an earlier Ramblers’ Association initiative to create a circular walk around the county. By 1998, when the first guide to the Way was published, it had become a walk of 166 miles divided into 14 legs. Two later legs extended the Way to 194 miles.

The guide to the walk is ‘The Hertfordshire Way: A waymarked long-distance footpath’, edited by Bert Richardson (ISBN 1903747619).

The route described runs anti-clockwise and it’s probably easier to walk in that direction. The latest (2009) edition of the guide includes a number of corrections and alterations. The legs, all between 11 and 15 miles, could be divided into shorter sections.

The Way is also shown on recently-published Ordnance Survey Landranger and Explorer maps. The Friends of The Hertfordshire Way maintain its distinctive green and white waymarking signs; visit www.fhw.org.uk for recent changes and other news of the route.

Help us stand up for Hertfordshire’s countryside by sponsoring our intrepid group of walkers at www.cpreherts.org.uk

Why you should Plan YOUR Place

WHY get involved in planning? That’s one of the questions being asked at the very successful free events CPRE Hertfordshire is putting on around the county in partnership with the Hertfordshire Association of Parish and Town Councils (HAPTC). Also covered are Planning Myths, How to Affect Planning Decisions and the District Council’s position on Plan-making.

Speakers include: Jed Griffiths, a specialist on environmental planning issues; Bill Pryce, chairman of St Stephen Parish Council and vice chairman of HAPTC; Steve Baker, RTPI member and planning manager at CPRE Hertfordshire and district planning officers.

If you would like to find out how you can get involved in shaping the place where you live, there are still three evening events happening in March: on Tuesday 6 in Letchworth, Monday 12 in Rickmansworth and Thursday 15 in Hemel Hempstead. For full details/to book a place visit www.cpreherts.org.uk or call 01438 717587.

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