At Easter, our local churches organise a walk to the cathedral. The routes from each village congregate on the great Abbey Church crowning the hill in St Albans. I should gather these together in a map, though routes may vary from year to year, but I will start with the route I know from Croxley Green.
This spring weekend is a bright and glorious one. You can never tell in April, but on a hot day, it is hard with a large group of mixed walking experience. This is not hill country by any means, and the route scouts the edge of the Chilterns, not plunging through the middle. It also follows made paths and roads for the most part: if you have a large group, they should not be squeezing through narrow, nettle-clad paths or deep mud. The way is a lovely one though all the way.
The usual route from Croxley follows up the Green to the green lane at the top of the village and follows it down and through the woods to the Grand Union Canal, and the canal towpath takes us north. There is a mixture of the ancient and the modern in the walk, which is unavoidable in a county such as this, developed yet preserving its rich farmland and woods wherever it can. Part of the canal follows a natural route through the Chilterns followed by the Romans, but we turn off it before reaching into the hills, at Hunton Bridge and into a modern town.
For all that Abbots Langley has become to house the thousands who wish to live here, there are paths to follow in the quieter parts and out again, and out the route emerges at the ‘tin tabernacle’ in Bedmond (one of only two still open for worship in the county; the other being a large corrugated iron church at Cockernhoe (and which can be seen on the Hertfordshire Border Walk).
The road directly from here to St Albans is quiet and largely pavementless, but a direct route to the city. In time there is an escape from the road back onto a path, which leads through an outer suburb and into Verulam Park. From there is follows the line of the wall of Verulamium, still impressive after a millennium and a half of abandonment, and follows the last footsteps of St Alban up the hill to the Cathedral.
There are other villages which make the same journey, and at sometime I will see if I can follow their routes too.