Autumn walks in Hertfordshire

Autumn walks Hertfordshire

Best Autumn walks Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire has some incredible scenery and autumn is a brilliant season in which to experience it. We have lived in county for seven years and this selection of autumn walks in Hertfordshire has slowly grown as we have explored the region. Some of the walks I detail below are through ancient stretches of woodland, while others follow the course of a meandering river or a village farm track.

All of these autumn walks Hertfordshire have been tried and tested with our young children. Most are fine for buggies and wheelchairs – I’ve detailed this in the notes. We live in East Hertfordshire so most of the walks are on that side of the county. Looking for pub walks in Hertfordshire? I have included pub recommendations for most of these walks – again they are ones we have visited with our kids.

Autumn walks near London

If you’re looking for autumn walks near London, quite a few of the suggestions which follow are reachable by train from London in less than an hour. Although Hertfordshire is close to London, once you get off the beaten track it feels like a million miles away: fresh air, country pubs and lots of open spaces to explore. I’ve detailed below which Hertfordshire autumn walks are reachable by train.

Broxbourne woods and sculpture trail

Stag sculpture Broxbourne Woods

Stag sculpture in Broxbourne Woods: one of the best Hertfordshire autumn walks for toddlers

  • Near Broxbourne and Hoddesdon
  • Distance:  trails ranging from 1km to 18.5km (see here for more details)
  • Buggy friendly
  • Car park postcode: EN10 7QP
  • Find out more from the Herts site
  • Refreshments: we had a huge Sunday lunch at the Farmer’s Boy in Brickendon which is walking distance from the woods.
  • 1.5 miles from Bayford rail station (30 minutes journey to Finsbury Park)
Broxbourne sculpture trail is one of the best autumn walks in Hertfordshire for toddlers.  If you have young children who need a bit of gentle encouragement to go for a walk (rather than be carried along on one), this is the ideal place. Park at the east car park and follow the undulating trail which winds its way for one kilometre through mixed woodland with around eight sculptures, reflecting local history, to spot along the route.
Mostly carved from wood by brilliant sculptor Dan Cordell, they include a Roman soldier representing the troops who once marched along nearby Ermine Street, a Roman road linking London with York and a family of wild boar foraging among the leaves as they would once have done in this area. There is a mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees including pine and hornbeam so this is a great walk for any time of year. There’s plenty of den building opportunities and the paths are sufficiently well maintained for it to be suitable for both buggies and wheelchairs.

Mardley Heath autumn walk near Welwyn Garden City

Tree with exposed roots, Mardley Heath Autumn walk Hertfordshire

The brilliant monster tree at Mardley Heath in Hertfordshire

  • Near Welwyn Garden City
  • Distance: various
  • Buggy friendly: partly (can be muddy in places)
  • Car park postcode: AL6 0TP
  • Read our full review of Mardley Heath
  • Refreshments: we like the Horns pub at nearby Datchworth and the pricier but excellent White Horse at Burnham Green.

If, like our kids, yours enjoy hurtling at breakneck speed on their bikes, Mardley Heath is a great place to visit. A former quarry, this nature reserve has some excellent woodland paths with slopes which nature seems to have designed especially for kids on bikes to zoom over. We found it was very sheltered when we visited in the rain so it’s a good option if your children need to burn some energy on days when the weather is less than perfect.

Mardley Heath offers a varied landscape of old gravel pits, oak and beech woods, ponds and heathland. There’s a huge beech tree with exposed roots which children enjoy hiding in and a varied network of paths allowing visitors to explore different parts of the nature reserve. The only downside of this woodland for me is the faint background hum of the A1.

Waterford Heath near Hertford

River with willow trees overhanging

The River Beane at Waterford Heath (as you can see from the children in the water, this is a summer photo!)

  • Near Hertford
  • Distance: various
  • Buggy friendly: on the heath but not in the woods
  • Car park postcode: SG14 3LU
  • Find out more from the Wildlife Trust
  • Refreshments: there are plenty of options in nearby Hertford including our favourite restaurant Lussmanns. Otherwise, if you’re after a rural pub, you can’t go wrong with the Grandison in the neighbouring village of Bramfield.

This Hertfordshire circular walk (which can be shortened depending on time and energy levels) offers a really varied landscape. Starting at the carpark, you’ll enter woodland first and then drop down onto the heathland, from there you walk along the river and under a railway bridge before reaching a small residential area and then picking up the path along the river again (the section of river on the far side of Vicarage Road is great for paddling in summertime).

The heathland has abundant blackberries in late summer and its a good place for young children who want to ride bikes.

Panshanger Park walks near Hertford

wooden bench overlooking countryside at panshanger park in hertfordshire

Perfect for an autumn walk in Hertfordshire: Panshanger Park

  • Near Hertford
  • Distance: about 1km circular walk through the woods next to the car park or longer walks through the parkland
  • Buggy friendly: yes
  • Car park postcode: SG14 2WN
  • Find out more from the Wildlife Trust
  • Refreshments: I’ve yet to try it, but I’ve heard good things about the White Horse at nearby Hertingfordbury
  • One mile from Hertford North rail station

We visit this lovely spot all through the year. In spring it produces an amazing display of bluebells; in summer it’s perfect for picnics and blackberry picking; the mix of oak and beech make it a stunning spectacle now that autumn is here while in winter it feels relatively sheltered from the elements. There’s a circular path which runs through the woodland for probably a kilometre but it’s hard to judge as there are so many fallen tree trunks, stumps and ready-made dens that you’ll find yourselves stopping every five minutes to play.

Panshanger Park has a large wetland area accessed down through the fields which is really beautiful (great dragonflies in summer). There are bird hides and pockets of woodland next to the water. Some of the fields are grazed by cattle but there are paths which avoid intruding on their plot. If your legs are up for a decent walk, head out across the fields in search of the Panshanger Great Oak which is over 400 years old. There is a car park closer to the oak but you can only park there on certain occasions or by appointment.

Watton at Stone circular walk

Farm track in Hertfordshire

Autumn walks Hertfordshire: a farm track in Watton at Stone

  • In the village of Watton at Stone
  • Distance: approximately 3.5 kilometres with various options to extend the walk
  • Buggy friendly: yes (except after heavy rain when there’s one section you might need to lift a buggy over)
  • Arrive by train (every half hour from Finsbury Park) or park on the Hight Street using postcode SG14 3SB
  • Find out more about walking in Watton at Stone
  • Refreshments: the Bull at Watton is a great pub for lunch or coffee and has a small play area for children. There are toilets at the community centre in the village.

If you’re looking for a peaceful autumn walk in Hertfordshire with a rural village to explore, all within an hour of London by train, Watton at Stone is a great bet. I’ve written a whole post about an easy (mostly buggy friendly) walk of about 3.5 kilometres which can be done straight from the train station or from the High Street, depending on whether you’re arriving by train or car. There are longer walks available along the River Beane or into Bramfield Woods, depending on how much time and the age and ability of those walking.

The circular walk is mostly on quiet lanes and farm tracks with the option of footpaths across the many fields. It takes in the stone church of St Andrew and St Mary, the village green and passes pockets of woodland as well as plenty of blackberry picking opportunities. There’s also a play area next to the community centre and toilet facilities.

Ashridge Estate

  • Near Berkhamsted
  • Distance: lots of footpaths and cycle tracks to choose from ranging in length
  • Buggy friendly: yes
  • Car park postcode: HP4 1LT
  • Find out more from the National Trust
  • Refreshments: there’s a café and toilets on the Estate.

Ashridge Estate is probably the most famous place for an autumn walk in Hertfordshire. There’s 2,000 hectares to explore at this National Trust Estate. With a mix of woodland and meadows spread over flat and undulating countryside, its a great place to walk or cycle. You’ll also find a monument to climb and a café to refuel in. We find Ashridge makes a great midway point for meeting up with extended family. And the National Trust’s brilliant facilities (mobility scooters for hire, baby changing facilities and toilets) make it a great destination for all ages.

Heartwood Forest near St Albans

Child in wooden den at Heartwood Forest in Hertfordshire

Exploring a den in Heartwood Forest in Hertfordshire

  • Near St Albans
  • Distance: lots of footpaths and cycle tracks to choose from ranging in length from one mile
  • Buggy friendly: yes
  • Car park postcode: AL4 9DQ
  • Read our full review of Heartwood Forest

This newly planted forest with pockets of ancient woodland is an impressive project created by the Woodland Trust. A lot of thought has gone into the creation of this woodland, plenty of it with children in mind. There are areas where den building is encouraged and there’s even a special walk called the Magical Meander where visitors can spot carved wooden creatures, reflecting the range of wildlife at Heartwood. This is a brilliant place for an autumn walk in Hertfordshire.

Post Wood in Ware

woodland in Hertfordshire

Carpeted with leaves in autumn: Post Wood in Ware

This is a lovely stretch of ancient woodland in Hertfordshire, within walking distance of Ware town centre. Although sections of the footpath through Post Woods are steep, it’s a lovely place to bring small children as it’s not too big. In autumn the ground in carpeted with beech leaves. My boys love cycling through the woods here and playing on fallen trees. And for some reason we see more squirrels here than anywhere else.

  • In Ware
  • Distance: there’s a meandering path of about one kilometre or you can start from the railway station and walk along the river for a two kilometre stroll.
  • Buggy friendly: yes (but some sections are quite steep)
  • Car park postcode: SG12 9PD (Presdales Recreation ground car park: it might be full if there’s a sporting event on)
  • One mile from Ware railway station
  • Find out more from Ware tourism

Sherrardspark Woods near Welwyn

Autumn at Sherrards Park Woods in Hertfordshire

One of our favourite Hertfordshire autumn walks: Sherrardspark Woods

This popular woodland, close to Welwyn Garden City, is stunning in autumn. Sherrardspark woods feature mature oaks, hornbeam and birch trees which create wonderful colours. There’s a network of pathways through the forest which are used by walkers of all ages, plenty of dogs and cyclists and also some horse riders as there is a riding stables opposite the car park.

There’s a small stream running through one section of the wood – perfect for toddlers to splash in. There are also several rope swings, plenty of den building opportunities and lots of great trees to climb. Our six year old discovered a particularly pleasing section of the wood where he ride his bike down slopes and over small jumps.

  • Welwyn Garden City
  • Distance: there are plenty of options for all ages ranging from a few kilometres up to a 20 kilometre circular route.
  • Buggy friendly: yes (park at Campus Park West for best level routes with a buggy or wheelchair, AL8 6BX)
  • Car park postcode: AL6 9AJ (left-hand turn onto Rectory Road before Red Lion pub)
  • Find out more: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

Looking for other Hertfordshire woodland walk ideas with your children? Check out my post on bluebell woods in Hertfordshire, these places are just as good in Autumn!

Need refreshments? I’ve put together an extensive list of tried and tested pubs in Hertfordshire which are great for families.

Do you have any recommendations for Autumn walks in Hertfordshire? Let me know in the comments below.

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2 Comments

  1. pigeonpairandme
    17th November 2017 / 12:38 pm

    I’d love to see the wild boars in Broxbourne! Sounds as though there are some lovely walks in your area. Great pics of all the beautiful Autumn trees.

    • 17th November 2017 / 1:50 pm

      The Broxbourne sculpture trail is lovely! I think I took all those photos at the start of autumn last year as it still looks rather green!

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