Broxbourne Woods Sculpture Trail
If you’re looking for a fun walk for young children in Hertfordshire, the Broxbourne Woods Sculpture Trail near Hertford takes some beating. The walk is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs and is a fairly flat one kilometre circular path. There are nine sculptures dotted along the trail, ranging from life size figures and woodland creatures to carved benches, perfect for enticing reluctant young walkers along the way.
Broxbourne Woods is under an hour from London by train (nearest station Bayford) so it’s a great day out of the capital if you’re looking for a proper rural location without travelling too far.
Broxbourne Woods National Nature Reserve
The Broxbourne Woods Sculpture Trail is shared with cyclists and horse riders and it is part of the much larger Broxbourne Woods National Nature Reserve, the only such reserve in Hertfordshire (by comparison, of the 224 reserves nationwide, Cumbria has 25 and London has 2). If your children are above toddling age and can handle a longer walk, or in the case of our recent visit, bike ride, there is a wide network of pathways through the nature reserve including a 17 kilometre trail which forms a figure of 8. As the trails crisscross the woods, it’s easy to extend your walk or take a shortcut back to one of the two car parks if you don’t have a full day to explore.
The Broxbourne Woods Sculpture Trail weaves through an interesting mix of woodland with deciduous trees such as oak and hornbeam along with evergreen sections of pine. There are some excellent dens in the woods made by industrious little people and a number of ditches and bridges which should pique your children’s imaginations.
The sculptures in Broxbourne Woods
The sculptures were created by Hertfordshire-born artist Daniel Cordell, whose tool of choice for carving is the chainsaw, this information went down very well with my children. The sculptures reflect the history of the area; the Roman road from London to York passed close to Broxbourne Woods so a life-size Roman soldier can be found guarding the woods. Elsewhere a herdsman searches for his cattle as the land was originally used for grazing. One of our favourite sculptures, unlike the rest, is made from metal: a stag made of three separate parts visible as a whole, through the trees from a bridge; but at other angles the creature’s head, torso and back legs separate.
On our previous visit to Broxbourne Woods (October 2016), our boys were particularly taken by a family of carved wild boars: mother and infants. Unfortunately on our more recent visit (October 2018), the little boars had either rotted or been removed, or as we decided grown up, moved on and had a family of their own.
Pubs near Broxbourne Woods
As my older son had completed his 5 mile Beaver hike the night before, we decided to indulge in Sunday lunch at the Farmer’s Boy in nearby Brickendon village after our walk (portions are particularly generous so make sure you’re hungry). If you’d prefer to have a picnic, aside from the woods themselves the village green at Brickendon is a good spot and has an excellent playground which our kids loved.
I’ve put together a list of family friendly pubs across Hertfordshire which has further information on these pubs plus many more in the surrounding area.
Broxbourne Woods parking
There are two car parks, east and west. Visitors with a buggy or wheelchair are recommended to park in the east car park and take the trail anti-clockwise so that you are travelling downhill on the sloping sections.
The Broxbourne woods sculpture trail car park postcode is SG13 8PA but last time we visited our satnav didn’t quite reach either carpark. The west car park is on Brickendon Green (that’s the name of the road), just outside the village of Brickendon while the east car park is where Brickendon Green and Pembridge Lane meet.
Hertfordshire County Council‘s website has further information and a good map of Broxbourne Woods and the surrounding roads which is helpful if your satnav isn’t sure where it’s meant to be taking you.
Public transport to Broxbourne Woods
Bayford rail station (which has a direct service to London Moorgate via Finsbury Park) is just over a mile from the woods. Trains run every 30 minutes.
Other walks in Hertfordshire
For more woodland walk ideas, check out my post on bluebell woods in Hertfordshire. And for another outdoor sculpture experience, I recommend a visit to the Henry Moore Studios and Gardens located between Ware and Bishops Stortford. I’ve also put together a whole blog post about sculpture trails and sculpture parks across the UK.
Have you visited the Broxbourne Woods Sculpture Trail or a similar sculpture trail or park? Let me know in the comments below.
Looking for fun days out in Hertfordshire? I’ve written a guide to the best places to visit in Hertfordshire.
More family-friendly walks in Hertfordshire: