Welcome to Hertfordshire Walker

Free access to more than 200 walks in Hertfordshire

Tips

Good boots, a map, and a navigation app are recommended
Good boots, a map, and a navigation app are recommended

Suggestions those new to walking


The list of suggestions below is to help you enjoy our walks to the maximum. They cover what you should take, how to print the pages without using too much paper, and how you can share your own tips and comments after completing the walks.

Finding the start point


When mapping our walks we offer a number of ways for people to find the start point.
  • We usually add the road/lane/street name and village so those with satellite navigation can pop the details into their device.
  • We also add What3Words references to the start/finish points and at various important junctions mentioned along the way, see below for more details.
  • If the walk starts at a pub we give the name of the pub and a link so that walkers can look it up and find the right address.
  • We rarely advise on where to park in case restrictions change after the walks are published.
  • We don’t add postcodes because in some rural areas this can be associated with a particular house.

Choosing the right walk


There are several ways of finding a walk that suits your needs.
  • We have a list of all the walks and their lengths in the left-hand column of the website.
  • There is also a page that lists all the walks on the site.
  • There is a box in the left-hand column of the website where walks are grouped by their length, so you can click on the distance you want to walk to see all the walks in that category.
  • We have a page setting out a selection of flat walks which we put together after a request from one of our regular users.
  • There is a page that lists every pub mentioned on our walks, so you can pick a pub and see which routes pass by.
  • We have an interactive map where the start/finish points for all the walks are marked, so you can zoom in on that map to find one near you.
  • And you can use the search box at the bottom of the website and enter the village or location you would like to visit.

Wheelchairs and pushchairs


The majority of our walks involve sections with narrow footpaths which are often overgrown with brambles and nettles. The routes also involve byways that can be muddy after rain and rock-hard and rutted during dry weather. All our walks cross undulating countryside. Most features stiles, narrow gates, steps, and footbridges.

As mentioned above, we have often been asked which walks would be suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. So we've created a page of flat routes that might be suitable for wheelchair and pushchair users.

There is also a linear section of Walk 80: Panshanger Park long loop would work if you went from the free car park and headed west from point 1 to points 16, 15, then keep heading west along the flat track to 9 before returning the same way (total of 2 miles).

Hertfordshire County Council's Rights of Way team has done a great job replacing old stiles and wooden gates with wider, aluminium gates, but there are still parts of the county‘s network of public footpaths, bridleways, and byways that would be difficult for those attempting the routes with a wheelchair or pushchair. Footbridges and stiles can fall into disrepair and become impassable and the council depends on walkers to alert them when a path is blocked or in need of work. You can also alert the council if you encounter a problem with the rights of way - see our section on reporting faults.

There is a national site that is building a database of routes suitable for wheelchair users.

Tree-friendly printing


If you want to print the walk directions without the pictures you can do so by using the PrintFriendly tool.

PrintFriendly allows you to delete any elements of the walk that you don't need

printer friendly icon
 
The icon, a white printer on a green background (shown on the left), is visible on the website only. It is at the bottom of the page immediately beneath the interactive map.

If you are using the mobile version of the site you can get to the PrintFriendly icon by scrolling down to the bottom of the page then clicking on the 'view web version' link. That will then load the web version on your phone.

You then scroll to the bottom of the page where you will find the green PrintFriendly printer icon under the interactive map.

If you click on it the page will load in PrintFriendly allowing you to delete any elements you don't need before printing.

Back up map


You might want to carry an Ordnance Survey map to check routes
You might want to carry an Ordnance Survey map to check routes
We recommend you always carry a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey (OS) map with you so you can check against our directions and maps. The OS Landranger 166 covers most of the walks on this site. Depending where you are walking, and if you want more detail you might want to take OS 182OS 174, OS 194 and OS 193. Alternatively, for the price of little more than three maps a year, we subscribe to the OS app, which, gives us access to every OS map in the country.

KML and GPX


You can use KML and GPX files with the walks on Hertfordshire Walker Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Our walks can be downloaded free-of-charge to mobile devices
If you prefer to follow our walks on a mobile device you can do so in two ways.

The first is by using GPS. It's a bit like using a sat nav in a car. The route will be transferred to a map and your position will be shown with a marker which will move as you move. It will also prompt you when you are straying away from the route, so you are less likely to get lost.

We offer free GPS downloads for all our routes. Simply pick the walk you want, open it, scroll down to the static map under the walk's 'Directions', then click on either the GPX or KML files to start the download.

Once the file is downloaded to your device you can open it using your preferred GPS tracker. We use both the free Komoot app, the free GPS Tracker, and the paid-for Ordnance Survey (OS) app (mentioned above) to follow and test our routes. There are several free GPS apps which you can download for Android or IOS phones. We have a page setting out how to download and follow our sat nav routes.

Ordnance Survey app


In early 2022 we encountered an intermittent problem downloading GPX files to the paid-for OS app. I have found a work around.
  1. Download and save the GPX file for the walk to your desktop computer
  2. Open the OS page on your desktop device
  3. Open the GPX file for the walk on the OS desktop version
  4. You will see it opens fine
  5. Save the walk on the desktop device
  6. Go to your mobile device
  7. Open the OS app and log in to your account
  8. Find the walk on your OS app
  9. Open it and you will find it works.
I have written to the OS app support team describing the problem. They said they would investigate.

If the OS app fails to load a GPX file, please try the free Komoot, which works everytime.

The image above shows one of our walks dowloaded to the paid-for OS app. Below are images of one of our walks downloaded to the free versions of Komoot and GPX Viewer.

One of our walks downloaded to the free version of Komoot
One of our walks downloaded to the free version of Komoot

One of our walks downloaded to the free version of GPX Viewer
One of our walks downloaded to the free version of GPX Viewer
If you have downloaded the free Google Earth to your smartphone you can also view our walks using the free KML files, which are also under the static map at the top of the directions. This method offers another view of the walk where you can zoom in to check any junctions you are unsure about, see image below.

Free KML file being used on the free Google Earth
Free KML file being used on the free Google Earth

Viewing web version on mobile


A regular user of Hertfordshire Walker has asked whether it is possible to see the web version of the site on their mobile device. The answer is yes.

The default view for all mobile devices is different from the version you will see on the web. The content is displayed in one column rather than three for easier viewing, see image below.

The mobile version of Hertfordshire Walker
The mobile version of Hertfordshire Walker
However you can still view the web version of the site on any mobile device although large screen tablets are best for this. If you view on a smaller screen mobile device you might want to turn the phone to view in landscape. Here is what you need to do.

If you scroll down to the bottom of any page you will see a green interactive link under the 'HOME' button that reads "View web version", see image below.

Click on the highlighted link to flip between web or mobile view
Click on the highlighted link to flip between web or mobile view

Click on this and the web version will show. Turn your phone on its side (landscape mode) for best view. To revert to mobile version scroll to the bottom of any page and click on the "View mobile version" link.

Smartphone power issues


We always carry a fully charged power bank on all our walks
We always carry a fully charged power bank on all our walks

One of the regular users of Hertfordshire Walker said that they didn't use the free GPS navigation files that come with all our walks because they were worried that doing so would drain their smartphone battery.

I always carry a fully charged power bank and a power connector. Mine is an Xtorm Fuel Series 18W (see image above). It can charge two phones at once and is an essential piece of kit if you are worried that you might end up with a dead phone when you are out walking. My power bank cost about £25.

I don't often have to use it, but when I am doing a 6-10 mile walk and using GPS, taking photographs, recording What3Word location references, and making notes on my phone, it's good to have that extra power in reserve.

What3Words location references


A What3Words location reference on one of our walks
A What3Words location reference on one of our walks
We have added What3Words location references at every major junction on all our walks. What3Words has "divided the world into 3m squares and given each square a unique combination of three words".

What3words references are as accurate as GPS coordinates and can help you ensure that you are in the right place.

Here is an example (location - https://w3w.co/copy.spring.pass). That location is taken from Walk 181 in our collection. If you click on the link you will be taken to a map. Click on the satellite view option (bottom right of the screen), and you will be shown a satellite image of exactly where you should be, see image above. Zoom in or out for clarity. Then click the location button (the circle with a dot in the middle) to see where you are. You can then compare your location with where you should be, then check the directions in our walk to get to the right place.

With our free GPS files, maps, directions and W3W we hope you will never get lost.

Getting lost


Image by Vera Kratochvil released under Public Domain Licence
Image by Vera Kratochvil released under Public Domain Licence
All our routes follow public rights of way or permissive paths. We do not create walks that trespass on private property.

So, if you are following one of our routes and come a cross a sign saying 'private' or 'no entry', please stop. You have gone the wrong way.

Check the directions and W3W references and, better still, the GPS navigation files to get back on track.

Hertfordshire Walker can take no responsibility for people who trespass because they have misread the directions.

Footpath names and numbers


All footpaths in Hertfordshire have names and numbers. These include reference to the parish they are in.

We include those details in the directions for our walks so that ramblers can cross-reference with the Hertfordshire County Council rights of way (ROW) map if they choose.

Please be aware that the signs on the paths sometimes contain the numbers, but not always, and they never contain the parish names.

Posts along the way displaying the ROW signs often have the numbers written on them, which is why we include them in the directions.

The Hertfordshire County Council ROW map




Compass points


It's worth carrying a compass, or a compass app, on our walks
It's worth carrying a compass, or a compass app, on our walks
We add compass points such as ESE (east-south-east) and NNW (north-north-west) to all our walks to try to help those following the routes on traditional maps and using compasses to navigate their way around. The illustration above gives a rough idea of how those points work.

What to wear


We recommend you wear water-resistant boots for our walks. Some of the footpaths cross fields of wheat or rape, which can result in you getting wet after rain or in the early morning. Also, many paths go through long grass, which can be heavy with dew if you are starting the walks early.

We always have three pairs of boots on the go. One pair for the longer and more rugged walks we do, lighter boots for summer walks, and wellies for walks where we expect to get muddy and wet - especially in the winter months.

We also recommend you wear long trousers that dry out quickly, or carry a stick to push back any nettles that encroach on the path.

Keeping hydrated



Carry enough water when you set off for a walk
Carry enough water when you set off for a walk
We have put together some tips on how to stay hydrated when walking in the countryside. Our short guide suggests how often and how much to drink before the walk, along the walk, and atfer the walk.

Insects


There is always the risk of being bitten by an insect when walking in the local countryside. The NHS has issued some simple advice on avoiding insect bites, particularly from ticks. To reduce the risk of being bitten:
  • cover your skin while walking outdoors and tuck your trousers into your socks.
  • use insect repellent on your clothes and skin.
  • stick to paths whenever possible.
  • wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to spot and brush off.

The government has produced a leaflet warning about the dangers of ticks and sharing advice about what to do if you find one on your body. We have embedded the advice below. Click on the 'pop-out' icon on the document to expand to full size.


Livestock


Some of the walks go through fields where livestock graze. At certain times of the year, particularly during the spring and summer, animals may be more frisky. Please take care at all times. And if you have dogs, please obey any warning signs or requests to keep your pets on a lead.

Shaded walks


The yellow route on Walk 56, The Great Wood
The yellow route on Walk 56, The Great Wood
A user of Hertfordshire Walker has suggested we introduce "a rough percentage grading for the proportion of a walk that is in shade".

It's a great idea. The trouble is that a route walked in the early morning will have a different grading than the same walk undertaken in the afternoon; east-facing paths might be in the sun in the morning but in the shade in the afternoon.

We already have a page listing some shaded walks, but here are two suggestions for those wanting to try other walks that avoid too much sun.

1: If you are planning to do one of our walks, take a quick look at the map that is published with the walk directions and check the amount of woodland or hedgerow shown. Heavily wooded maps, where the paths go through the woodland, should offer some shade. Maps such as the one below show little woodland and will be exposed to the sun.

Walk 197: Buntingford East Short Loop has little shade
Walk 197: Buntingford East Short Loop has little shade
For example, Walk 197: Buntingford East Short Loop has little shade, see map above. Even where the map shows woodland, the path is on the south side of the woods and so exposed to the sun. This would not be a great walk during a heat wave. Having done it on a hot August day in 2022 I reckon there would be less than 5% in the shade. On the other hand, the map below shows that all routes will be in the shade.

The three routes for Walk 56: The Great Wood, Northaw
The three routes for Walk 56: The Great Wood, Northaw
The map above shows the three routes for Walk 56: The Great Wood, Northaw, which are almost 100% in the shade. All three routes are excellent for hot days when you want to avoid the sun.

2: Going back to the suggestion of a rough percentage grading for shade, perhaps there could be a crowd-sourced assessment involving all users of Hertfordshire Walker.

If those who complete our walks were to post a comment at the foot of the walk page they would be able to let others know how much shade they experienced. Perhaps something such as: "we started this walk at 9am and estimate that about 45% is in the shade".

By adding a comment you would be helping fellow walkers assess whether the walk offered enough shade for them.

Pubs


Many country pubs have been struggling due to the economy and Covid. As a result, some of those mentioned in these pages may have closed. So please check before setting off on your walk. Unfortunately we are unable to keep tabs on all the pubs in order to update the information.

We have a list of all the pubs mentioned on our walks in the left-hand column of the website and on our ‘Pubs on our walks’ page featured on both the website and the mobile version of the site.

Reporting faults


If you see any overgrown or blocked paths, broken signs, rotten footbridges or any problems with the rights of way (ROW) in any of our walks, please report them directly to Hertfordshire County Council's ROW team.

You might find a public right of way has been ploughed over at certain times of the year. If so, please use the photographs we have added to the walks to identify where the path should run. Alternatively, use our GPS navigation files on a compatible device in order to find the route.

The law states that farmers should "avoid cultivating a cross-field footpath or bridleway", but, if they have to cultivate they must make sure the footpath or bridleway "remains apparent on the ground to at least the minimum width of 1 metre for a footpath or 2 metres for a bridleway, and is not obstructed by crops".

They also must ensure that the public right of way "is restored to at least the minimum width so that it’s reasonably convenient to use within 14 days of first being cultivated for that crop and 24 hours of any subsequent cultivation, unless a longer period has been agreed in advance in writing by the highway authority".

Golf courses


We have added a note to all walks that cross golf courses via public rights of way so that those walkers who want to avoid them can do so. If you are shouted at or abused when crossing a golf course please report the incident to the HCC ROW team and they will look into it.

Leave a comment


We love hearing from people who have enjoyed our walks. Please leave a comment in the box beneath every walk. You might have spotted a mistake in my directions, or you might have a suggestion to make about the route, or some other information to share about the local history or environment. All contributions are welcome. Comments are pre-moderated, so there will be a delay in your comments going live.

Share on social


There are social share buttons on every walk. If you liked the ramble, please consider sharing your experience and letting others know.

About this site


You can find out who is behind this site along with some tips for preparing for the walks by visiting our about page. Information about the content that appears on the site is set out on our copyright page.


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