St Paul's Walden - Stagenhoe - Whitwell

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Premier Hertfordshire countryside where the Queen Mother spent much of her childhood, an elegant small church where she was baptised and woods abounding with deer, are visited on this walk. This is prime shooting territory and the path takes us over arable land and the sheltered Hitch Wood to a view over Hitchin and Stevenage.

The ruin of Minsden Chapel is past and likely marks the spot where a medieval village once stood. Then past the Stagenhoe Estate, where Sir Arthur Sullivan wrote The Mikado, down to the clear streams of the Mimram River. The watercress farm is in clear view in all its pure green as we enter the main street of Whitwell.

Whitwell watercress has been sold in London markets since the 18th Century. The old houses echo the activities of yesteryear with a mill, brewery, tannery and straw plaiting school. Finally the return takes us past the horse pastures of The Bury, where a famous woodland garden of Edward Gilbert is sometimes open to the public, then past a grand walled vegetable garden and a house with arched windows up a tree-lined path to the church where we began the day.

England - Central England - Hertfordshire - Countryside

Features

Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Mostly Flat, Pub, River, Stately Home, Wildlife, Woodland
25/03/2015 - mark archer

Super walk with plenty of wildlife en route, including deer and countless hares. The Royal Oak Pub at WPs 6 and 7 is now called the Rusty Gun. This nearly threw me somewhat. At WP12 I got confused with all the private signs and failed to locate the large footpath sign - I think I went across the end of the farmhouse instead of passing to the right of it, anyway I rejoined the route at WP14. My GPS suggested the walk was somewhat longer than 6.3 mls, mind I did take a slight diversion!

02/05/2013 - Martin Sells

I walked this route this morning and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a fairly gentle stroll but there are a couple of inclines to get your heart pumping. A nice shady stretch through Hitch Wood where the Bluebells were out in early May. Five pubs on the route, or within a short detour, for lunch and re-hydration. I can recommend the Strathmore Arms in St Pauls Walden or The Red Lion, Preston, but I haven't tried the Whitwell pubs or The Rusty Gun, St Ipolytts.

01/11/2011 - Richard Keeling

My daughter and I walked this one on 31/10/11. It was a cloudy day but that didn't stop us enjoying the lovely scenery. The pub lunch in Whitwell towards the end was enjoyable too. An excellent walk.

25/07/2011 - Paul Aitken

This is the best walk we've encountered in Hertordshire. Shimmering fields of wheat in the warm July sun, and Hitchwood is a delight. The River Mimram is a bit overstated though. More of a stream really.

20/04/2011 - Henry Guderley

Lovely walk, thoroughly enjoyed it. We made it closer to 7 miles than 6.2, but well worth every yard.

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27.4 Miles