Looking for Hertfordshire forest walks? Heartwood Forest near St Albans offers wonderful woodland walks of varying lengths which visitors of all ages will enjoy.
Heartwood Forest: new and ancient woodland in Hertfordshire
Heartwood is a newly planted forest with pockets of ancient woodland – an exciting project created by the Woodland Trust.
Thanks to thousands of volunteers over the last ten years, Heartwood Forest has been transformed from what was predominantly arable land into a 347 hectare site with over half a million newly planted trees. The Woodland Trust has also created new hedgerows to provide an important habitat for wildlife.
Den building heaven
If you’re visiting Heartwood with children, there’s a particular area in the ancient woodland of Langley which is perfect for den building. This shady area was packed with picnicking families during one of our summer visits.
Bluebells at Heartwood Forest
We visited the woodland at the start of May several years ago and were rewarded with carpets of bluebells in Langley Woods.
As well as bluebells, we spotted a variety of other wildflowers including elegant Lords and Ladies, Yellow Archangel and Stitchwort. There were some brilliant mature trees in Langley Wood, we particularly liked a stand of hornbeams which looked like a group of ghostly figures.
There are walking trails for all abilities including paths suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. There are bridleways for horses and bikes are also welcome. Aside from Langley Wood, children will enjoy the 1.5 mile Magical Meander through one of the new woodland areas. Along the way you’ll spot carved wooden creatures, reflecting the range of wildlife at Heartwood.
Heartwood features a community orchard which includes old local varieties of apples and pears plus an arboretum containing all 60 native UK tree species.
In the summer months, you’ll find wildflower meadows with cornflowers (my favourite), oxeye daisies and poppies amid the tall grasses.
There are plenty of events planned by the Woodland Trust to entice visitors to Heartwood including guided walks, children’s activities such as nature detective experiences plus a summer festival.
Where to eat near Heartwood Forest
I’ve heard good reports about the family-run John Bunyan pub which is around 2 miles from Heartwood Forest.
Take a look at my post about family friendly pubs in Hertfordshire for other ideas nearby.
Transport and parking at Heartwood Forest
Heartwood Forest is 4km from St Albans train station (20 minutes from London), otherwise there is a large car park at the forest.
The postcode for Heartwood Forest car park is AL4 9DQ. Further parking (plus toilets) are available in nearby Sandridge village.
More family-friendly walks in Hertfordshire: