Walk 1122 - printer friendly version
St Albans to Childwick Green Walk
Author - Donald Morton
Length - 4.0 miles / 6.5 km
Ascent - 200 feet / 61 metres
Grade - easy
Start - OS grid reference TL142091
Lat 51.768938 + Long -0.34640693
Postcode AL3 6ED (approx. location only)
This Hertfordshire walk starts from Toulmin Drive (Grid Ref TL142091) which is on the edge of St Albans and can be reached by turning up Green Lane from Batchwood Drive; it is the first left. Park on the grassy side of Toulmin Drive and start the walk opposite Lawrence Road by going directly across the grass to reach a finger post (currently post with no finger) by a wide hedge gap. Go through the gap and continue straight on by a ridge across the golf course, down over the drive, which leads to 18th Century Batchwood Hall, and up continuing the same line on a raised path. Wiggle slightly left to keep to the left of bushes and where these end follow waymarks straight on across more golf course to reach a hedge. Keep this on the left to skirt the most outlying part of the course until a lane is reached; there is a good view of St Albans Abbey away to the left.
The lane is part of the Hertfordshire Way, the 170 mile walk round the County, which you now follow for a couple of miles to Childwick Green. Turn right on the lane (it is one way so there should be no traffic behind you) and after it swings right turn left up Public Bridleway 2. After a short enclosed stretch it turns right and runs between a field and the golf course, and then across an open field to enter an enclosed path with woods on the left and the old iron boundary fence and the fields of Childwick Bury on the right. This arrives at a tarmac drive where you go straight on through the parkland of the big house, one time residence of the Maple family, owners of the furniture emporium in London, and later of Stanley Kubrick, film director.
The back of the house comes into view as you walk forward but a rather more elegant view is gained by looking back as you pass the main gates. Having passed the lodge you arrive at the village of Childwick Green, an ancient settlement which was almost entirely rebuilt for his tenants by Sir John Maple in the late 19th Century - the brick and timber house on the right is a survivor from earlier times. And the church designed by Sir Gilbert Scott - Albert Memorial, St Pancras Station, Foreign Office - was built by an earlier owner, Henry Joseph Toulmin. Turn right just before the brick and timber house and walk down the drive flanked by rhododendrons and azaleas. At the A1081 (Grid Ref TL 144 107) turn right along the pavement to Hawkwick where you leave the Hertfordshire Way by turning right on Public Bridleway1.
This leads along a gravel track through a PYO fruit farm. Where the gravel track ends fork right to reach a bridle gate to the right of a house. From here an enclosed path leads past woods and fields to emerge on a school playing field. Turn right and follow the field edge. At the end of the playing field continue left round the edge. Do not take the first obvious path to the right into woods - this can be seen leading quickly to the wood edge - but wait for the second which branches off at a distinct right angle bend in the field edge. It is a fairly wide path which passes to the left of a waymark. When you start to see daylight through the trees to the left, look for a narrower path going left through the trees. It is unsigned but fairly clear as a more compacted strip through the leaf litter. This leads out to the greensward bordering Toulmin Drive where you started.