The Hertfordshire Border Walk is a county boundary path that has been developed as a project of the Association of British Counties, and the development page is hosted here on WildþingUK. The first “Herts Embraced” walk was completed by Rupert Barnes on 7 October 2018.
The route follows closely around Hertfordshire’s county border as far as is practical, and in several places actually runs on the boundary itself, trespassing over the border but briefly on occasion. The route takes in a variety of scenery, including the suburban landscape in the south of the county where it meets Middlesex, “Metro-Land”, canal towpaths, riverbanks, farms, woods and the open heaths in the north of the county.
The route allows for excursions from the path to explore places of interest, and innumerable villages and their country pubs.
The total length as drawn is 172 miles, plus a substantial diversion currently needed as a key section of path is closed until further notice. This length is no doubt because the route is a bit fussy on occasion as it keeps close to the border. The route can be walked in either direction and from any point, but as an “official” start and end point we are showing it running clockwise from and to Chorleywood railway station: this is an easy access point by the county boundary (on Shire Lane) and was the actual start and finish point on the first walk.
The shares a path on occasion with a number of waymarked routes, including in several places the Hertfordshire Way. The latter is another worthy route but not a border route. It visits the county’s secular and ecclesiastical capitals, Hertford and St Albans, but these would be long diversions off the boundary and so must be left of the border walk.
The first walk: ‘Herts Embraced’
Rupert Barnes began walking the Hertfordshire Border Walk on 8 August 2018 with a 26-mile stretch from Chorleywood to Long Marston, resuming two days later to continue to Markyate, then picking up at weekends. He completed it arriving back in Chorleywood on 7 October 2018.
Follow progress of the ‘Herts Embraced’ walk on this blog.
The path was initially developed for the Association of British Counties by WildþingUK, but a great deal of work was put in long before by members of the Friends of the Hertfordshire Way to develop their eponymous path, several sections of which now form part also of the Hertfordshire Border Path.
The route as actually walked, or as planned, is shown on the map below in blue. Part of the route, from Royston to Bishop’s Stortford, is also taken by the Hertfordshire Way though by different path until Patmore Heath, and that version of this stretch is shown in purple for comparison. Also shown in purple, in the south-west corner, is a diversion currently necessary because a section of Old Shire Lane south of Chorleywood is currently closed for the HS2 works; it is due to be reinstated perhaps by the end of 2019.
I have made refinements as I have walked the ‘Herts Embraced’ walk and seen what paths are actually walkable. The two miles along the A505 towards Royston, which I did walk, have been shifted too (following my observations on the original walk.
The route spreads over a wide are and a series of maps is needed to complete it. It might be done with standard Landranger maps, though the additional detail of an Explorer map can be very helpful.
In the Explorer, 1:50 000 series:
- Ordnance Survey Explorer 172 (Chiltern Hills East)
- Ordnance Survey Explorer 181 (Chiltern Hills North)
- Ordnance Survey Explorer 182 (St Albans and Hatfield)
- Ordnance Survey Explorer 193 (Luton and Stevenage)
- Ordnance Survey Explorer 194 (Hertford and Bishop’s Stortford)
- Ordnance Survey Explorer 173 (London North)
In the Landranger, 1:25 000 series: