12 August 2012: Hemel Hempstead, Grand Union Canal, Chiltern Way, Bovingdon

Nine of us met at Euston, fighting the tide of marathon fans to get on the train, and headed out to Hertfordshire for this Hemel Hempstead circular walk. It was a beautiful day and remained warm and sunny throughout.

We walked briefly by the Grand Union Canal then struck up towards the Chiltern Way. This led across gently rolling countryside with open views over woods and valleys, then forward to walk on several field paths through feed crops.

We reached Bovingdon after about 1 3/4 hours and found seats in the pleasant churchyard to picnic. A very short walk brought us to the village pub where we paused again.

We then left the village and walked up to the Hertfordshire Way. We continued along this shady lane for some way then turned back towards the canal. We took paths across a golf course and gently descended through leafy lanes.

We cut though the ancient lane at Winkwell to the canal where we found the Three Horseshoes (1535) which was an excellent waterside tea stop.

From here it is about a 40 minute walk along the canal back to the station. There are lots of waterside plants and flowers, waterfowl, a lock and a narrowboat marina plus several information boards for more detail.

This walk is 6.5 miles. It was downloaded from the internet but several of us also had maps. The instructions were reasonably clear and there were only two  places that were momentarily puzzling. The walk quiz was to plot the walk on the map as we went which several members did; I think Don was the winner.

To summarise:the walk roams by the canal, though woods, lanes and also open fields where there are beautiful views of the valleys. There is a slight ascent to the Chiltern Way and then descent through the golf course but no major hills. A good shorter walk with easy transport: 4 trains an hour. We arrived at 11 and caught the 16.15 to return.


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