St Albans is awkwardly sandwiched between the M25, M1, Luton Airport and rail connections north…and yet it’s still possible to leave it all behind. This is an easy walk along quiet lanes, crossing three secluded country estates…and all within a couple of miles of the busiest motorways in Europe.
30 years ago a local estate agent laughed when we suggested we’d like to buy a house around here. Not that I hold a grudge, you understand! It’s just that I’ve always rather resented St Albans and its rather superior relationship with the rest of Hertfordshire. Today, in search of a local walk, I put my prejudices to one side and park up in the car park of the Verulamium Museum.
We walk north past Batchwood Hall (and its posh golf club) and on to Childwickbury Manor, the home of Stanley Cubrick. Childwickbury itself is rather quaint, a collection of estate houses seemingly stuck in the 1930s. Looping back we return by way of Beesonend Lane and the Redbournbury Estate. The weather has been overcast and by now fine rain hangs apologetically in the air. Neither of us have coats but it doesn’t matter, it’s still really warm. The final stretch takes us past Shafford Mill, the Gorhambury Estate and some timeless views across the meadows towards the Cathedral, no difficulty imaging yourself on a medieval pilgrimage here. An 8.4 mile walk and however much I dream, confirmation that I’ll only ever be a visitor around here!
Redbournbury picture gallery (more pictures on Flickr):
Distance: 8.4 miles ; Difficulty: Easy
Postcode for Satnav: AL3 4SW