Linking many of the county's towns and villages this unique walk travels through much of the best of Hertfordshire's countryside, covering 170 miles in an anti-clockwise circular route. The Hertfordshire Way has its origins as one of a number of long distance paths created to celebrate 60 years of the Ramblers' Association. The path was first opened in 1998 and now has a dedicated organisation to develop and maintain it; this is the 'Friends of Hertfordshire Way' society. The route is comprehensively waymarked making navigation relatively straightforward, providing you have the guidebook. The walk is conveniently divided into 14 legs or day stages with distances of between 10 and 15 miles.
Although Hertfordshire is one of England's smallest counties it is rich in contrasts and interest. In the north east there are wide open panoramas over low hills and rich farm lands as seen in the area around Barkway. Standing on Therfield Heath you can look down onto the flat plains of Cambridgeshire. Then you can enter the steep wooded escarpments of the Chilterns, visit the many ancient and fine market towns, or the Cathedral city of St Albans and the countless picture postcard villages nestling in the intimate landscape of farmland and woods. There are a number of country estates in Hertfordshire, including Hatfield House, Knebworth House and Ashridge House and the Way passes through the beautiful parkland of some of these estates. The River Lea (sometimes spelt Lee), a tributary of the Thames, has its source just north of Luton and flows through Hertfordshire.
The recommended walking stages for the Hertfordshire Way each allow a good but comfortable days walking. They also have the advantage of beginning and ending at locations with accommodation and reasonable access to public transport. You can, of course, break the full circuit into several shorter walking breaks taken at different times, or plan your own itinerary. Overnight stops for the full Hertfordshire Way circuit are: Royston (at the beginning and the end); Wallington; Willian (Letchlade); Codicote; St Albans; Markyate; Tring; Kings Langley; Shenley; Cuffley; Hertford; Widford; Bishop's Stortford; Hare Street.
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