WembleyWonderful Tips #91: Weekend Family Walks

The WembleyWonderful family (well, parents to be very honest) love a good country walks; and the recent mild and reasonably dry weather has been the perfect opportunity to pack a picnic, put our walking boots on and restart our Sunday morning outings. They are plenty of lovely areas to explore nearby North West London, so I thought I’d share the walks we’ve done and the ones we’re planning next.

One word of warnings though: most walks are indicated in miles and miles are not km!!! The 1.6x factor makes a HUGE difference, so be careful.

Our walking bible since we moved to London (in… hum… 2000) is Christopher Sommerville’s “Walks in the County Near London , republished in 2012 and still quite relevant now. Although this is only a book, without GPS-tracking app hence the chance to get lost, the walks are truly charming. We did many walks in Kent when we lived South of the river; and since moving North we’ve done:

  • “Berkhamstead Common, Ahsridge House & Frithsden Beeches” (6 1/2 miles), largely in woodland , which I love as it offers more variety than fields.
  • Harlington, Bunyan’s Oak & Sharpenhoe Clappers (8 miles), a bit further away from London but directly off the M1. Perfect now for the opportunity to pick blackberries ! (and make Mr WembleyWonderful absolutely mad…)
  • Bayford, Brickendon, Newgate Street & Little Berkhamsted (7 miles), a wonderful opportunity to explore Hertfordshire’s countryside (and get lost in a cow field but let’s not mention this…).

We also recently discovered the iFootpath website and app . The website is free and describes all the walks. For £1.99 you can also get the app with GPS-tracking – i.e. not more getting lost in a middle of a private land with a dog running after you; and no more children asking constantly “are we there yet”, as you can track your progress live, bliss! And the good news is that there are plenty of walks nearby, much more reasonable in distance than Mr Sommerville’s! So for the moment we’ve done:

  • “The Old Orchard and Colne Valley “(4.5 miles), which has the HUGE advantage of starting at the Old Orchard pub, where the food is delicious. It is also the opportunity to explore the Colne valley’s lakes and the Grand Union Canal .
  • “Ruislip and Ruislip Woods” ( 4 miles), absolutely lovely as mainly through woodland . Also a great opportunity to discover Ruislip and its lido.
  • “The Ver and Verulanium” (3 miles), a great opportunity to explore St Alban’s great history .

As for the ones we’re planning next, there is plenty of choice but for the moment we’ll stick to below 5 miles – it seems that the older the kids are getting, the less they want to walk!!! So possible options include “Brookmans and Gobions Wood”, “The Cock Inn and Chess Valley”,”Bathworth Lake and the Grand Union Canal”… I’ll keep you posted!