7 of the best walks at National Trust sites in Hertfordshire

Ashridge Forest - Golden Valley (c) Hugh Mothersole, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Ashridge Forest - Golden Valley (c) Hugh Mothersole, Flickr (CC BY 2.0) - Credit: Archant

Herts’ National Trust sites are home to some of our county’s most beautiful scenery and many areas of rich historical intrigue. Here are seven great walks exploring this heritage

George Bernard Shaw's Summer House

- Wheathampstead to Shaw’s Corner Circular

Begin in the pretty village of Wheathampstead and proceed through beautiful Hertfordshire countryside as you discover the heritage of the playwright after whom the highlight of this walk is named.

Over your 7.5-mile route you’ll see the old station platform, Lamer Park and you’ll follow the course of the River Lea as it brings you back to your village starting point.


- In the footsteps of ‘Capability’ Brown

Located on the Ashridge Estate, the Golden Valley is considered some of ‘Capability’ Brown’s finest landscape design work. Views of Ashridge Park and the house are exceptional and there is a good chance you’ll spot numerous deer on your walk.

The full route is 4.5 miles and will take you an hour and a half but if this is too long for you there is a shorter route available that still provides plenty of natural intrigue.

Autumn Reflections

- Morven Park

Head to Potters Bar - a medieval town on the edge of the county - to find this 20-acre expanse of peaceful parkland containing many hints to the history of the area.

There are several variations in length for your walk ranging from one mile all the way up to six miles, giving you great flexibility to explore at your leisure while not missing out on any points of interest.

Victorian shooting lodge

- Ashridge Estate Boundary Trail

At 16 miles in length, this long walk skirting the borders of the estate will take around seven hours, making it a challenging route where a big picnic and snacks are a must. The views are exceptional at times so it is very worth taking a full day to complete the route.

The route is dog-friendly - hopefully your pooch is spritely enough to make the whole route! - but it is recommended they are kept on a lead when deer are nearby.

Berkhamsted Common

- Battle of Berkhamsted Common Trail

Although describing the incident of 1866 as a battle may be a little hyperbolic, this historical event has certainly had as great an impact on public life as any other violent battle.

After landowner Lord Brownlow erected fences on the common to keep out the public, Augustus Smith MP and 120 Irish navvies dismantled the fence, setting the stage for the protection of many other common areas in public use. This two or four-mile route takes you past many of the sites that were pivotal in the battle and will take between an hour and a half and three hours.

The Bridgewater Monument

- Bridgewater Monument to Ivinghoe Beacon

Your five-mile walk between two iconic National Trust attractions should take you around an hour and a half and take you through some of Ashridge Estate’s most stunning scenery including the deep valley of Incombe Hole.

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Although Ivinghoe Beacon is technically in neighbouring Buckinghamshire, the 233m summit provides stunning views back to Hertfordshire and the Chiltern Hills.

Frosted Birch

- Old Copse and Thunderdell Wood

Woodland and wildlife are the stars of this circular walk that takes you for three miles near Aldbury and Ashridge.

The walk is gentle and accessible at all times of the year whether that be during the summer where you’ll be surrounded by wildflowers or as we come closer to spring and snowdrops begin to push their way out of the ground.


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