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|The Prae Wood Arms and Verulamium Park|
|Author: Pub Walker, Published: 15 Jun 2016||Walk rating : Rating:|
|Hertfordshire, St Albans|
|A 7 mile circular pub walk from The Prae Wood Arms in St Albans, Hertfordshire. The Prae Wood Arms is a lovely spacious pub, with a tempting menu made from fresh, local produce. The walking route leads you through the beautiful meadows of the Gorhambury Estate before touring Verulamium Park, the former site of the Roman town that pre-dates St Albans. You will have chance to visit the Verulamium Museum and St Albans Cathedral along the way, whilst enjoying impressive Roman remains and the idyllic chalk stream, the River Ver. |
The walk has several gentle climbs and descents throughout. The majority of the route follows surfaced driveways and paths, with just a one-mile stretch along unmade woodland and grass paths within the park (which can get a bit soft or muddy). There are no stiles, steps, kissing gates or livestock on route, just a handful of single pedestrian gates. With this in mind the route would be suitable for a rugged pushchair. The paths through Gorhambury Estate (at the start and end of the route) are permissive paths that are open from 8am to 6pm for the majority of the year. These paths are closed every Saturday from 1 September to 31 January (whilst private game shoots take place) and also on a few days for special events (check www.gorhamburyestate.co.uk for any planned closures). When the estate paths are closed, the walk can still be completed by using the alternative route on the pavements alongside the main road. Allow 3.5 hours.
The walk starts and finishes at The Prae Wood Arms pub on the A5183 Redbourn Road. The pub has its own large car park. Approximate post code AL3 6JZ. If you are coming by bus, the Pre Hotel bus stops (on the A5183) are directly outside the pub. If you are coming by train, St Albans Abbey rail station is just a few minutes’ walk from Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre (Waypoint 5) so you can adjust the walk to start and finish there.
|Start to Hertfordshire Way|
Start point: 51.7607 lat, -0.3631 long
From The Prae Wood Arms, head back along the vehicle entrance drive. As you walk, you will have your first glimpse of the cathedral in St Albans, which we will be visiting later on this walk. You will come to the T-junction with the main A5183 Redbourn Road, at which point you have two choices:
|Hertfordshire Way to St Michael's Street|
Start point: 51.7614 lat, -0.3697 long
Turn left along the tarmac avenue, Gorhambury Drive, which is lined with a collection of mature trees. Follow this drive for about a mile, taking time to enjoy your peaceful surroundings. Now is also a good time to understand the history of the estate…
|St Michael's Street to Lake Junction|
Start point: 51.7536 lat, -0.3563 long
Follow the right-hand pavement along St Michael’s Street, with a beautiful old flint wall running on your right. Where the main road swings left, bear right into a side road (passing a school on your right and the original entrance for Verulamium Museum on your left). Follow the access lane which swings left to reach the current entrance for the museum on your left.
|Lake Junction to Cathedral|
Start point: 51.7528 lat, -0.3509 long
Turn right and follow the path with the River Ver running on your left and the lakes running on your right. At the end of the lake you will come to another T-junction. We will be turning left here, but first it is worth turning right for a few paces to see the pretty section of the River Ver as it runs down the stepped weir.
|Cathedral to Leisure Centre|
Start point: 51.7501 lat, -0.3428 long
When you have finished exploring, stand with your back to the cathedral, facing the path from which you came. Take the path to the left of this (at about 11 o’clock) which follows the line of a flint wall running on your left. In the bottom corner, turn left onto a narrow path passing a primary school on your left. At the end you will reach a junction with Grove Road. Cross over to the far pavement, turn right along this and follow it to a T-junction with the main road (A5183).
|Leisure Centre to London Gate|
Start point: 51.7459 lat, -0.3435 long
Follow this surfaced walkway, crossing several zebra crossings over the entrances for the leisure centre car parks on your left. Beyond the last zebra crossing, continue ahead along the surfaced path which continues with parkland on your right and the athletics track on your left. Just after the athletics track, keep left at the fork and you will come to a crossroads within the heart of the park.
|London Gate to Museum|
Start point: 51.7474 lat, -0.352 long
Continue along the surfaced path (a shared cycleway and walkway) with a beautiful section of old Roman wall running on your right. These boundary walls around the town are 2 miles long and more than 2 metres thick.
|Museum to End|
Start point: 51.7527 lat, -0.3551 long
From this point (assuming you began your journey at The Prae Wood Arms), you will be retracing your steps back to the start point. Turn left along the pavement and follow it as it swings right, passing the old entrance door for the museum. Swap to the left-hand pavement and turn left at the T-junction. You will come to the T-junction with the A4147 Bluehouse Hill. As with the outward leg, you have two choices for the return (depending if the permissive paths through Gorhambury Estate are open – see introductory paragraphs for details).
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author pubwalker and may not be reproduced without permission.
The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.
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|Image by: Pub Walker |
Uploaded: 27 May 2016
We saw these lovely cows (behind strong fences) on the homeward leg of the walk.
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My wife and I did your Petworth and Shimmings Valley walk yesterday. It was absolutely beautiful and enhanced by the wonderful weather. Your instructions were the clearest I have ever used for walking.
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Very enjoyable and well described route. Views over the river from the warren were stunning.
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Even on a cold windy day with it trying to snow this was still an excellent walk. We managed it with our 2 children of 5 yrs and one in a all terain pram (a defo no no with a normal pram). Will be doing this one again in the summer.
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Did this walk this morning with our three little girls and we all love it. Great day outdoor!