Heartwood Forest

6th April

And so the encirclement of Luton is complete! As I type this it occurs to me, that sentence has probably never been used before.

To be honest, I’d hoped that last week we’d achieved this but, as I examined our routes, it became clear there was a tiny section across the East Coast railway line that broke my chain of walks. So we’re back to finish what we’ve started. I have planned a walk from Heartwood Forest. It’s the start of the bluebell season…at least that’s how I explain the walk to Sue.

In 10-15 years’ time Heartwood Forest will be a glorious wooded paradise, north of St Albans. At the moment, it’s a work in progress and the young saplings, only just planted, give it the appearance of scrub-land and merge seemlessly into Nomansland Common as we walk north from the car park. Tales about the Common abound. Even its name is evocative. Local legend suggests that, 400 years ago, Lady Katherine Ferrers terrorised this part of Hertfordshire as the ‘Wiked Lady‘ highway woman and died on the Common having been shot whilst holding up a stage coach. Today, the only women on horses are enjoying an early morning amble across the Common.

As we cross the Harpenden Road we discover we need to re-route northwards towards Harpenden before walking down to The Ver. This section of the river is becoming a familiar walk for us (here and here). We turn for home, through Batch Wood and across the all important East Coast railway line. Langley Wood in Heartwood Forest will be a riot of bluebells in a few weeks time. Today you get a hint of the display that is to come but we’re too early for the main event.

We’re back at the car by lunchtime. Now, at last, I can claim to have walked right around Luton…I suppose that’s some sort of achievement! Given the backdrop of this obsession, it was still an enjoyable 10.2 mile Saturday morning walk.

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Heartwood Forest picture gallery (more pictures on Flickr):

Distance: 10.2 miles ; Difficulty: Easy

Postcode for Satnav: AL4 9DQ

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Heartwood Forest walk profile

Heartwood Forest walk profile

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