Garston to St Albans walk

River Ver, historic St Albans and the Roman town of Verulamium


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date Option Post # Weather
Sun, 24-Mar-24 Sunday Walk – Garston to St Albans 6 sunny
Thu, 15-Dec-22 Thursday Walk Garston to St Albans - River Ver, More Mill, St Albans Cathedral and a Christmas market in its precincts - moved from Wednesday due to RMT rail strike beautifully sunny
Wed, 15-Dec-21 Wednesday Walk Garston to St Albans - Bricket Wood Common, River Ver, Moor Mill, then Ver Valley Walk to St Albans and its Cathedral 6 cloudy and mild
Wed, 16-Dec-20 Wednesday Walk Garston to St Albans - CANCELLED due to restrictions on travel following London's (new) Tier 3 Covid status.
Sat, 11-Jan-20 Garston to St Albans 11 overcast and mild
Wed, 11-Dec-19 Wednesday Walk Garston to St Albans - River Ver, Moor Mill, Verulamium - and St Albans Abbey 7 glorious sunny winter
Wed, 19-Dec-18 Wednesday Walk Garston to St Albans - River Ver, Moor Mill, St Albans Abbey and Verulamium 8 Sunshine
Wed, 20-Dec-17 Wednesday Walk: Garston to St Albans - River Ver, Moor Mill and Verulamium 7 overcast and dull but no rain
Sun, 27-Nov-16 Sunday First Walk - A river valley and historic St Albans 6 Murky start after earlier rain brightening gradually to light cloud with some blue bits by afternoon
Sun, 06-Mar-16 Sunday Walk 1 – A short easy walk to a Cathedral city 3
Sat, 14-Feb-15 Garston to St Albans 10
Sat, 14-Jun-14 Garston to St Albans 2
Sun, 17-Nov-13 Garston to St Albans 1
Sat, 18-Aug-12 Garston to St Albans
Sun, 11-Mar-12 Garston to St Albans
Sat, 17-Dec-11 Garston to St Albans
Sat, 04-Dec-10 Garston to St Albans
Sun, 21-Feb-10 Garston to St Albans
Mon, 31-Aug-09 Garston to St Albans
Sat, 14-Feb-09 Garston to St Albans
Sun, 07-Dec-08 Garston to St Albans
Sun, 24-Feb-08 Garston to St Albans
Sat, 16-Feb-08 Garston to St Albans
Sat, 17-Feb-07 Garston to St Albans
Thu, 28-Dec-06 Garston to St Albans
Book 1 Walk 7 – Garston to St Albans

Length: 14¼ km (8.9 miles). Toughness: 1/10

10:52 Crewe train from Euston, changing at Watford Junction (arr 11:13, dep 11:18 from Platform 11; be quick!) and arriving Garston at 11:23. If you don't trust West Midlands Trains to make this connection you'd have to take the 10:24 Birmingham train, arriving WJ at 10:44. [From south or west London you could take the 10:16 Southern train from Clapham Junction, arriving WJ at 10:58].

There are two stations in St Albans for the return journey. From the main (City) station there are fast Thameslink trains at xx:27 & xx:57 and slower ones at xx:07 & xx:37. If you want to return via Watford Junction, trains from the Abbey station are hourly at xx:41.

Tickets on the two lines are not interchangeable. However, an off-peak single to Garston is now pretty cheap as this line is included in the new fare structure (off-peak single = half price of return), so buying two singles is not as disadvantageous as it used to be. [And it's now cheaper to buy two singles even if you're returning from St Albans Abbey.]

St Albans Every now and again I feel like giving an outing to a classic walk which has become neglected. This one has had regular midweek outings in December but very few on a weekend; its last Sunday posting was 7½ years ago. I thought a procession of walkers into a cathedral city would be particularly appropriate on Palm Sunday, although you'll probably need to acquire a donkey from somewhere if you want to be greeted by cheering crowds waving palm branches.

The suggested place for a pub lunch is the Moor Mill Beefeater, after 6¼ km. There are some watering-holes further along in the next village (Park Street) and of course plenty of refreshment places in St Albans itself. The Cathedral is well worth visiting; if you're too late for its Abbot's Kitchen Café (closes 4pm) there are other places nearby which stay open later.

In normal circumstances ground conditions in spring ought to be better than December, but after the recent monsoons don't be too surprised if you come across some muddy woodland paths and squelchy meadows. Note that if the riverside path into St Albans is still blocked you'll have to follow a diversion; this is covered in the directions on the L=1.7 page.

  • 24-Mar-24

    Did anyone else survive this walk. I'm on 16.37 train . The valley flooding was quite a problem. 6 started, how many finished?

  • 24-Mar-24

    6 today.

    The walk was fine to lunch and beyond. Mud mostly minimal. Firm surfaces, except for occasional patches, All was fine The walk wasn’t living up to its “Ghastly to St Awful”reputation at all. Until……..

    Lunch was at a Beefeater in a wetlands, again quite fine, maybe a little slow with the service. An uninspiring range of drinks but hey ho! A kindly benefactor proffered crisps. Everyone happy. All fine until….

    Off we plodded through a more muddy bit to Park Street, then back onto the Ver Trail. And that’s where the trouble began…..

    The trail got progressively wetter and wetter until it wasn’t trail it was marsh. Like deep over-the- ankles water as far as the eye could see. (Well, as far as the distant gate anyway).

    Somehow 3 wellywearers got across. Then a fourth managed to tuft-jump a way through. This left 2 who just couldn’t make it. And not for want of trying. That section is near impassable. Do not attempt without wellies. (I’m tempted to say without waders). I’ll never complain about wet socks again. Not now I know what wet socks are. :( The back two abandoned the walk there and retired to the Overdraught for more beer. Then to Park Street station for an earlier than planned return to London.

    Still, at least it was sunny and, on the way back to the Overdraught we spotted an egret and a huge fox.

  • 24-Mar-24

    Well, overall it was enjoyable. However wouldnt ask to walk through marshland as an option. It was pretty filthy at times.

    I needed six fairycakes on the train journey from the shop at St Albans City station to help me.

    And no pints all day.

  • 24-Mar-24

    The pub couldn't provide any draught beer or hot water for tea, but the food came, I thought, surprisingly quickly, though cutlery with which to consume it appeared rather later. Prices were low by London standards.

    The Roman name for St Albans was Verulanium. The river through it is still called the Ver. We saw several signs describing work to improve its ecology. Locals told us that water had been released from upstream, to ease these developments by lowering the water level. That, combined with recent rains, is what has waterlogged the area. It's not a permanent situation, but while it persists, wellingtons are certainly recommended.

  • 25-Mar-24

    And to cap it all, while we were trying to get across, 3 bears pedalled past in a giant swan. We thought they might lend a paw, but did they stop? No.

  • 25-Mar-24

    I spoke with a local dog walker after I had finished by careful walking and 'hopping' in the marshes.

    He said that this is walkable by going to, and then staying nearer to the river, which was higher than the official route. So after leaving Park Street village and entering the country go to this higher area, not the marshy area as it is now.

    Good walk, I thought, which can be repeated earlier rather than later. Some people have mis-nomered it Ghastly to St Albans, when this is not really accurate.

  • 25-Mar-24

    If the local authorities have deliberately contributed to the flooded meadow it does seem odd that they haven't publicised a diversion or laid a boardwalk over the worst bits. The OS map doesn't show any useful alternative right of way going in that direction and the waymarkers confirm that it's on the route of the River Ver Trail, Abbey River Walks and the Abbey Line Trail, and no doubt a few other published walks. You'd think that locals would be agitating for a proper solution.

    Moontiger and I looked at our wet feet and bloodied fingers from the barbed wire and decided that the SWC would appreciate a diligent inspection of the Overdraught Inn before scuttling off to Park Street station.

Monday evening update on rail strikes: the RMT rail strikes either side of Thursday are on. Network Rail's advice is not to travel unless strictly necessary. A SWC walk is never, ever strictly necessary. West Midlands Trains are hoping to run the services posted below, but expect some cancellations and or delays. As much as I like this pre-Christmas walk I cannot risk being delayed or stuck in St Albans, as I have an important engagement back in London early evening on Thursday - so I won't be attempting today's walk myself, to my disappointment. But I am leaving the post up in case any of our regular mid-week walkers want to take a chance on the trains and a cancelled service or two won't cause them problems.

Book 1 Walk 7 - Garston to St Albans

Length: 14.0 km (8.7 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10
London Euston: 10-23 hrs West Midlands service to Birmingham New Street
Arrive Watford Junction: 10-37 hrs Change trains
Leave Watford Junction: 10-45 hrs West Midlands service from Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey
Arrive Garston: 10-50 hrs
Return (services may wind down earlier than usual due to rail strike the next day: suggest you try to leave St Albans no later than 18-00 hrs).

St Albans Abbey to Euston, changing at Watford Junction: 16-07, 16-51, 17-36 and 18-22 hrs
St Albans City to St Pancras (and beyond): 5 fast trains an hour, plus 5 stopping services
Rail ticket If planning to return from St Albans Abbey station, buy a day return to St Albans Abbey.
If you prefer to return from the large"inter-city" station which is St Albans City, with its frequent fast services back to London, and beyond as far as Brighton, you will need to purchase separate singles for your two journeys today.
For many a year we have posted this walk just before Christmas, to enjoy the Christmas market which has hopefully returned this year after Covid to the Cathedral's precincts: some years we have also been fortunate enough to have caught a carol service in the Cathedral.
Leaving Garston we first have to tackle Bricket Wood Common which can be very muddy. Exiting the wood we pass through the Munden Estate before embarking along a long, undulating track, to cross the River Colne and later the River Ver before arriving at Moor Mill, our lunch stop, sited snug below the M25 Motorway !
After lunch, we make for the village of Park Street via some lakes, before crossing water meadows and along field edges to the outskirt of the city. We now walk beside the River Ver to eventually come out in the city, not far from the Abbey railway station for those who want to return home early. But the recommendation is to continue uphill for the short distance to St Alban's Cathedral: do visit inside either before or after exploring the Christmas market in the Cathedral's precincts. It's cafeteria, if still open, is your tea stop. Back down the hill, for those heading for the Abbey railway station, you pass Ye Olde Flying Cocks pub, a must for lovers of real ale. The last leg of the walk through Verulamium Park, now probably in the dark, makes for a pleasant ending to today's adventure.
Walk Directions are here: L=1.7
  • 15-Dec-22

    Did anyone make it beyond Euston today? The posted train and most others were cancelled and the departure boards were blank. Two of us opted for a stroll/teeter across the snow and ice from Finsbury Park to Muswell Hill. It was beautifully sunny , there were some nice views and impressive snowmen.

  • 15-Dec-22

    I am really sorry the planned walk didn’t work out, Sandy, but glad you managed to salvage the day and get a snowy walk in the sun. For the record, if you had got the tube to Totteridge you could have enjoyed a winter wonderland, but you can do that on Saturday if the snow lasts (he said, plugging his walk…). But the Parkland Walk is nice too (if that is where you went).

    I had intended to come, but I am getting over a cold and decided to add an extra day to my “social isolation” period. I set out to go to Eynsford instead. I too had transport issues. My train from London Bridge to Swanley was first 7 minutes late, then eventually 17, and I was just congratulating myself that I would at least be in time for the train to Eynsford half an hour after the one I would have got, when that was cancelled. But my story had a happy ending. I got a fast train to Otford with minutes to spare, and walked thence to Eynsford and Lullingstone via Romney Street. Snow all the way and gorgeous sunshine, but nothing like as much snow as we have had in Totteridge…. Totteridge really does seem to be tops for snow at present….

Book 1, Walk 7 - Garston to St Albans

Length: 14 km (8.7 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10 (a bit more when Bricket Common is slubberdub)
London Euston: 10-24 hrs West Midlands service to Northampton
Arrive Watford Junction: 10-39 hrs Change trains
Leave Watford Junction: 11-00 hrs West Midlands service from Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey
Arrive Garston: 11-05 hrs

St Albans Abbey to Euston, changing at Watford Junction: 15-07, 16-06, 16-52, 17-37, 18-37 and 19-17 hrs
St Albans City to London St Pancras: 6 fast trains an hour plus stopping services
Rail ticket: if you are returning from the Abbey station, buy a day return to St Albans Abbey. If you are planning to return from the City station, you will need separate singles today.
We traditionally post this walk just before Christmas, as at walk-end it is a nice to visit the Cathedral - and the Christmas Market in its precincts (if it hasn't been cancelled this year).
As for the walk, it is surprisingly rural given much of its route is squeezed in between two motorways. Yes - in places you can hear traffic noise, depending on the wind's direction, but it seldom spoils ones enjoyment of this walk. Setting out from Garston, we soon walk through Bricket Wood Common, which at any time of year can be squelchy, and after periods of heavy rain - muddy. But this leg does not last long, and we are soon walking through the grounds of Munden House before we head along a long, undulating bridleway to Netherwylde Farm. We then cross the river Colne then a field and continue along a long field edge to Moor Mill, and the river Ver. I suggest we stop here for lunch at the Moor Mill (Inn), part of the Beefeater chain of family pub-restaurants - it is better than you might think, and perfectly adequate for a SWC lunch stop. After lunch we will spend a few minutes feeding the ducks from the twenty pence food dispensers - harmless fun !
The afternoon leg has us crossing a pedestrian bridge over the M25 before an undulating woodland section with lakes down below takes us towards the village of Park Street - with its two pubs, for anyone who did not fancy Moor Mill. We then continue over water meadows - which can be squelchy - to follow the River Ver on the Ver Valley walk towards St Albans - and its Cathedral. After visiting the Cathedral and taking tea, if you wish you can stay on to attend Choral Evensong at 5 pm - a delightful short service. We then say goodbye to the Cathedral and head down towards the Fighting Cocks pub - a must for lovers of real ale - then it's through Verulamium Park, with its lakes and Roman ruins. We leave the park just after the sports centre to cross an A road by lights - to head up a short section of access road to St Albans Abbey railway station. Directions to the alternative, St Albans City railway station are included in the Walk Directions - with link below.
Walk Directions are here: L=1.7
  • 05-Dec-21

    The tearoom at the cathedral serves great teas and cakes (closes 4pm). Usually at 5pm there is a 30 minute Evensong (check their website), which cannot be heard in a better setting or with better acoustics. Worth hanging around for while visiting the cathedral, a true historic monument with the oldest parts dating from the 11th C.

  • 06-Dec-21

    Thank you P Rainey for you mentioning Evensong in the Cathedral. Yes - it should take place today at 5 pm - and a treat for churchgoers and non-churchgoers who appreciate fine music.

  • 15-Dec-21

    4 off different trains met at Watford Junction, 1 was an hour ahead, and 1 an hour behind who joined us at lunch, so that made 6 for today's walk to St Albans. Where were the rest of you ? You missed a lovely, Christmas walk.

    It was unseasonably mild, and whilst it would have been nice to swap a few degrees for just a glimpse of the sun, we had no reason to complain as it was dry. So that is cloudy and mild .

    Last weekend Mr M Tiger had a pop at the mud on his Sunday walk. Just as well he was not with us today, as mud levels all day were high; surprisingly so, given we had not had that much rain recently. Having squelched and slid through Bricket Wood Common we continued on our way to Moor Mill, where 3 of us had a good value two-course lunch at the Beefeater, with our fourth companion joining us for a beer.

    After lunch I stayed behind the others, to take time over my coffee, but mainly because I was book checking, which is easier when alone. I was meant to re-join my companions in the St Albans Cathedral caff, but when crossing the soggy Ver Valley Meadows I slipped and tweaked a groin muscle. By the time I reached the outskirts of St Albans I was hobbling and down to a snails pace, and decided to head straight for the Abbey Station: I would not have made it up the hill to the Cathedral. Whilst I was disappointed not to meet up with my walking companions, and enjoy a visit to the Cathedral, I consoled myself over the fact I had visited the Cathedral recently - on 06 November, at the end of our Harpenden to St Albans walk. But I hope my colleagues enjoyed their visit today. Do post a comment if you retired post Cathedral caff to Ye Olde Fighting Cocks for a tincture, or maybe you stayed on for Evensong ?

Book 1, Walk 7 - Garston to St Albans
Sat, 11-Jan-20 : Garston to St Albans 11
CW1 Walk #7 - Garston to St Albans
Length: 14km (8.7 miles). Toughness 1/10.

Catch the 10:03 train from London Euston, arrives Garston 10:36. (Change Watford Junction arr. 10:26, dep 10:31)

Return: Either St Albans Abbey to Euston, changing at Watford Junction: 16:19, 17:07 17:54 18:37... or St Albans City to Blackfriars. xx:07, xx:22, xx:37, xx:52, St Albans City to London Bridge xx:27, xx:57

Rail ticket: buy a day return to St Albans Abbey. If returning from the City station you will probably have to buy an additional ticket.

(Was scheduled for Sat 16 Nov last year - but postponed due to RMT industrial action.)

  • 12-Jan-20

    7 alighted from the Euston train at Watford Junction to just miss the connection to Garston. 5 waited 40 minutes for the next train to meet up with the 2 who had walked on to Garston and we later on caught up at lunch with 3 who had travelled via a different route to Watford. Thus 10 on an overcast and mild day.

  • 12-Jan-20

    There was actually four of us at Garston at the appointed time - one newbie who saw the walk posted on the meet-up website. We made good progress to the Mill, and the newbie, being a local gave us much interesting commentary on the various sites / pubs along the way. The beefeater was very good for lunch and served us quickly. The mud was present but not too bad actually and we all stayed dry on a fairly sunny afternoon. Four of us went on to look around the Abbey and one only (!) went on to tea at Abigails and had a beautiful walnut and banana cake! lovely day out!

  • Anonymous


Change in walk

On checking Elsa's new walk, Harpenden to St Albans, last weekend it transpired to be longer than we originally thought, making it impratical for a mid-week winter's day. So, with some sense of disappointment, we have deferred its inaugural Wednesday posting until Spring 2020. In its place is an old favourite, also ending in St Albans, for those (like me) who like to visit the Abbey at Christmas - enjoy !

Book 1, Walk 7 - Garston to St Albans

Length: 14 km (8.7 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10

London Euston: 10-24 hrs. West Midlands service to Rugely Trent Valley
Arrive Watford Junction: 10-39 hrs . Change trains
Leave Watford Junction: 11-09 hrs service to St Albans Abbey
Arrive Garston: 11-14 hrs


St Albans Abbey to Euston, changing at Watford Junction: 16-07, 16-54 and 17-45 hrs

St Albans City to St Pancras: 6 fast trains an hour, plus 7 stopping trains an hour.

Rail ticket

Buy a day return to St Albans Abbey. Note: If you intend to return to London from the City station, you should buy separate single tickets.

The start of today's walk, through Bricket Wood Common, is usually muddy at this time of year, but you should soon be through this mud-fest and out into the Munden Estate, where you start your walk through open country to Moor Mill, where we stop for lunch at Moor Mill Inn.

After lunch we feed the ducks in the River Ver at Moor Mill before setting off on the afternoon leg of the walk on the Ver Valley Walk to the village of Park Street. Then it's over water meadows and beside the River most of the way to St Albans. We head up to St Albans Abbey, where a visit is recommended - either just to tour this cathedral or take tea in its very acceptable cafeteria, or both. We might also be lucky to catch a carol service in progress. Otherwise, your recommended tea stop is the nearby Abigails or down the slope towards Verulamium Park to Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub - recommended for lovers of real ale.

The Abbey precinct's Christmas Fair should be in full swing by now, usually worth a visit before you head for one of the City's two railway stations for your journey home.
Your walk directions are here: L=1.7

  • Anonymous

    ok, just giving you the heads up: I cannot see a 10.24 from Euston to St Albans Abbey.


    option 1: 10.21 St Pancrass to St Albans City arr 10.41; walk c. 35 min to St Albans Abbey, start of walk.

    option 2: 10.49 Euston-11.03 Watford (dir Rugely...); dep Watford 11.09-arr St Alb Abbey 11.25

    Marcus, if you see this in time, please post the option here

  • 11-Dec-19

    Thanks Anonymous, but according to my journey planner, the train times in my posting are correct.

    We start today's walk in Garston - not St Albans.

  • Anonymous

    I still fail to see it and that’s probably just me.

    I ll take the 10.49 Euston-Watford arr 11.03, dep 11.09 (as posted) arrive Garston 11.14

  • Anonymous

    well at least we met up allright, me after a quick transfer in Watford, you after a very generous transfer. great day

  • 12-Dec-19

    Despite some confusion over train times, 7 of us met up on the platform at Watford Junction station for the short journey to Garston.

    We were blessed with a glorious sunny winter 's-day for today's walk, in relatively mild temperatures. It was muddy underfoot all morning but having the sun out more than compensated for the inconvenience of the mud. 5 of us dined at the Moor Mill, where we enjoyed good value from our £ 5 a head meals. Our 2 sandwichers joined us for a drink before we all set off together on the afternoon leg of the walk, after the obligatory feeding of the ducks from the twenty pence dispenser. The sun briefly disappeared and it became chilly for a while before the sun reappeared. By the lakes outside the mobile home park, just before Park Street, we encountered two magnificent swans, preening themselves on the lakeside bank, with their two grown up cygnets in tow, still cream and grey in colour in their multiple layers of feathers - a lovely sight.

    Onwards then over muddy fields and beside muddy field edges, then the River Ver again, as we headed into St Albans, enjoying the last of the day's sun - and daylight. Two headed straight for the Abbey station, leaving five of us to visit the Abbey. Tea in its cafeteria was taken by four of us, with my fellow male colleague being tempted by Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. A brisk walk through Verulamium Park, and we were at the Abbey Railway station for our journey home.

    I believe we all enjoyed this lovely winter's day walk - a most welcomed respite from the General Election.

Book 1, Walk 7 - Garston to St Albans

Length: 14 km (8.7 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10

London Euston: 10-24 hrs Milton Keynes service
Arrive Watford Junction: 10-39 hrs Change trains. Have a coffee
Leave Watford Junction: 11-09 hrs St Albans Abbey service
Arrive Garston: 11-14 hrs

[ The 10-49 hrs Birmingham New Street service out of Euston allows a 6 minute change time at Watford Junction, which is a bit tight if the London train is not spot on time.]

Return: Either St Albans Abbey to Euston, changing at Watford Junction: 16-07, 16-54 and 17-45 hrs
St Albans City to St Pancras: Thamselink fast services at 01, 13, 18 and 27 mins past the hour, and stopping service at 35 mins past the hour.

Rail ticket: buy a day return to St Albans Abbey. If returning from the City station you will probably have to buy an additional ticket.

Not too ghastly a walk, with a Christmas Market in the Abbey's precincts, and you might catch a carol service in the Abbey

This usually makes for a pleasant and easy pre-Christmas walk. Shortly after the start you are likely to encounter a good dollop of mud in Bricket Wood Common but with care and some slopping around you should make it safely through and out the other side. Then it is along the drive of Mundon House and through its grounds to come out onto a bridleway which you follow for a mile or so before you head along field edges and cross a vast field to the lunch pub - the Moor Mill. At this time of year this popular pub-restaurant gets booked up, so I have made a booking for SWC walkers. For a pub chain the food is usually much better than the pre-digested fare often encountered at similar establishments.
After lunch you head along the Ver Valley walk through light woodland on a hilly section (the only hilly bit today) as you make for the village of Park Street. Then you have to negotiate some water meadows and walk along a field edge beside the River Ver to come out onto a residential street which you follow gently uphill for a while - with a fine view of the Abbey directly ahead of you - before you return to the river to follow it all the way to St Albans. A short walk uphill brings you to the Abbey cum Cathedral. In its precincts you should find a Christmas Fair in full swing. Inside the Abbey its cafe serves as your tea stop today. After exploring the Abbey (recommended) your final journey of the day depends on which of St Albans' railway stations you wish to return home from. Personally I prefer the walk back downhill from the Abbey to Ye Olde Flying Cocks pub (recommended for its choice of fine ales). Then through Verulamium Park to St Albans Abbey station. Allow at least 20 mins from the Abbey to this diddy railway station. Allow slightly longer if you walk through the town and make for St Albans City station for trains to St Pancras.
Your walk Directons are here: L=1.7

  • 05-Dec-18

    Your big dollop of mud is just as likely to be through the Ver watermeadows. Some tricky navigation may be required.

  • 05-Dec-18

    Thanks Peteb

    But the Ver watermeadows are likely to be soggy and squelchy - not muddy. Important to get this right, Peteb !

    And shock horror - I am hoping to first SWC walk since early June.

  • 05-Dec-18

    My dear Marcus, your comment elevates pedantry to new heights😂. Glad to hear you are getting back to fitness



  • 10-Dec-18

    Good News dear Marcus


  • 11-Dec-18

    Cracking comment PeteB and welcome back Marcus

  • 17-Dec-18

    Hoping to walk


  • 19-Dec-18

    Sunshine after the overnight rain was enough on its own to ensure that this would be a cheerful outing for the 8 of us who turned up, but “Ghastly to St Albans” is also a perfectly pleasant little walk, much nicer than a glance at the map would suggest. True, you cross a motorway and a trunk road but there is also a nice wood at the beginning and some pleasant river meadow stretches. We even saw a heron on the outskirts of St Albans who showed no great rush to get out of our way.

    There was a further encounter with wildfowl outside the lunch pub where a flock of Aylesbury Ducks (which I would have previously described as “geese”) paddled up to us in the hope we would put 20ps into the duck food dispenser. We did, three times, and the food was gobbled up. Top marks to the two ducks who worked out the best place to stand was right by the dispenser to catch the pellets we dropped. They have probably done this before.

    Earlier, entering the lunch pub, we got told off by a man in a car for not taking our boots off. This man turned out to be totally unconnected to the pub, whose staff were happy for us to wear boots on their stone floor. It was a chain pub and service was a bit slow and the food a bit ordinary, but it filled us up and we left a 10% tip. Apparently this was the first tip they had had all day, which is a bit sad in this festive season.

    One of the group left mid afternoon to get a train from Park Street. Another went straight to the station on arrival in St Albans and another went to the pub. Four of us went to the very atmospheric abbey and after a look round found its (temporary) refectory already closed at 4.20pm. Emerging into the High Street we found ourselves in possibly the last settlement of any size in Britain that does not have a coffee shop on every corner. I was more assiduous in seeking tea than my fellows, however, and finally found a well-hidden Costa Coffee, where I am penning these lines in splendid solitude over a nice cuppa. I hope to get the 5.45 train.

    Oh, and by the way: a bit of slippy mud and some large puddles, especially after lunch, but no squelchy or boggy ground.

Book 1, Walk 7 - Garston to St Albans

Length: 14 km (8.7 miles)
Toughness: 1 out of 10 (more when muddy)

London Euston: 09-54 hrs Northampton service
Arrive Watford Junction: 10-09 hrs
Leave Watford Junction: 10-24 hrs St Albans Abbey Service
Arrive Garston: 10-29 hrs

Return: St Albans Abbey to London Euston, via Watford Junction: 15-22, 16-07, 16-54 and 17-42 hrs.

Rail ticket: but a day return to St Albans Abbey.

SWC Wags call this walk "Ghastly to St Albans" and whingers bemoan the traffic noise (verily, the walk is sited between two motorways). Add in some serious mud at the start of the walk as you try to negotiate Bricket Wood Common, and you might wonder why anyone would want to venture out on this walk.
But the walk does have some redeeming features which I like and methinks the Festive Season is the best time of the year to give it a spin: there is usually a good Christmas fair in the precincts of St Albans Abbey and if you are lucky you might catch a carol service in the Abbey. Even if not, a visit to the Abbey at walk end is de rigueur - and it has a very good cafe for your tea stop.
Having walked through Bricket Wood Common you pass Munden House and head along quiet tracks and over fields to Moor Mill for an early(ish) lunch at a Beefeater pub-restaurant, sitting snugly under the M25 motorway. You then head for Park Street via the only hilly bit today, on the Ver Valley walk passing some lakes en route. Onwards then over water meadows and a leg beside the River Ver and on into St Albans.
After visiting the Abbey you head downhill into Verulamium Park, on the way passing an excellent pub for beer lovers, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. It's then a pleasant walk through the Park to St Albans Abbey railway station for your journey home.
Recommended - but whingers should stay away.
Walk Directions here: L=1.7
  • Anonymous

    Look forward to it.

  • Anonymous

    Many thanks to Marcus for a lovely walk.

  • 21-Dec-17

    7 of us on a very mild day which started overcast and dull but no rain until late in the day, and with a brief, pleasant spell of sunshine in early afternoon. Mud levels were better than expected all day and Bricket Wood Common for once was not waterlogged and mega-muddy.

    Our cheerful party made it to Moor Mill where four enjoyed a good lunch, despite the venue being pre-booked for Christmas lunch parties. Those of us who continued independently of the lunchers (in my case book checking) all met up in St Albans Abbey, for tea, before some visited the Cathedral and then the Christmas market. Alas, no carol service today - but the group just about forgave me for not arranging this. One then set off for the City station, leaving the rest of us to head down through Verulamium Park to the Abbey station for an on-time train to Watford Junction where a quick connection had us back in Euston in next to no time.

    An enjoyable day's walking in very nice company - and not one complaint all day at the traffic noise !

    This wee-diddy of a walk deserves more postings.

Book 1 Walk 7 – Garston to St Albans

Length: 14km (8.7 miles) Toughness: 1 out of 10

09:54 Crewe train from Euston changing at Watford Junction (arr 10:09; dep 10:20) arriving Garston at 10:25.

There are four return trains an hour from St Albans City to St Pancras (fast at xx:23 and xx:53, and slower at xx:08 and xx:38). Return trains from St Albans Abbey to Euston are at xx:30, changing at Watford Junction.

Buy a Super Off-Peak Day Return to St Albans City, which is valid for both the outward and the return journey, so long as it is not marked ‘Thameslink Only’.

For the most part this pleasant walk follows the Ver Valley to the remains of the Roman town of Verulamium and the historic city of St Albans and its cathedral. The short journey time and relatively early start to the walk should leave plenty of time for exploring St Albans in the afternoon.

More information, including details of lunch and tea stops and the walk directions can be found on the Walk 7 main page .
  • David Colver

    6 on this walk. Murky start after earlier rain brightening gradually to light cloud with some blue bits by afternoon .

    I've heard SWC regulars say rude things about this walk. Ghastly to St Albans, some call it. I've never understood why. It has forests, parkland, some impressive houses, many horses, friendly ducks, several mills, lakes, quite a bit of river, a monastery and a cathedral, all packed into just 8.7 miles. It also takes only 34 minutes to get to and less than that to get back. To cap it all St Albans was having the first day of its Advent fair, with a brass band doing a stirring rendition of the Dambusters March, stalls offering different kinds of food and drink, many people plainly enjoying themselves, and the whole thing very much less cheesy than these things usually are. About the only drawback is road noise, because with that short travel time one is never far from civilisation.

    Our group fragmented fairly quickly. I took lunch at Moor Mill, which met expectations of the Beefeater chain exactly. Another consumed sandwiches nearby. It was probably too early for most, who likely pressed on to a later stop, but that wasn't the Falcon in Park Street, as I looked in there and no walkers had been seen all day.

    Satisfactory tea in a nearly empty Cathedral Cafe by 1515 and on a 1620 train.

    The walk directions and post recommend buying a return ticket to St Albans City but neither the machine nor the human at Euston were willing to sell one from that station. They would offer Garston or St Albans Abbey.

Book 1 Walk 7 – Garston to St Albans
Length: 14.0 km (8.7 miles). Toughness: 1/10

10:54 Northampton train from Euston, changing at Watford Junction (arr 11:14, dep 11:20) and arriving Garston at 11:25. The most flexible ticket is a day return to St Albans stations, which allows you to return from either station.

From the main (City) station in St Albans there are fast trains to St Pancras at 29 & 59 minutes past, but note that these aren't continuing through London this Sunday because of engineering works. Trains back from the Abbey station are hourly at 28 minutes past and go to Watford Junction, where you change for Euston.

I remember this undemanding Book 1 walk as a pleasant winter outing through woods, meadows, parkland and river valleys, though admittedly when I did it many years ago it helped that the ground was frozen rather than waterlogged (so be prepared for some muddy stretches). The walk finishes in the interesting city of St Albans with its Roman walls and imposing Abbey, now a Cathedral. There's much to admire inside, not least a full-size replica of a 14thC astronomical clock.

The suggested lunch stop is the the Moor Mill Inn, a Beefeater pub-restaurant, after 6 km. As it's Mother's Day its restaurant may well be fully booked but you should be able to get served in the bar area. If this doesn't work out you might have to push on to St Albans, judging by the discouraging comments on the walk's Feedback page about the pubs in the next village, Park Street. There are of course plenty of refreshment places at the end of the walk, with the Cathedral Cafeteria being convenient if you're visiting.

You'll need to bring Book 1 or print the directions from the Walk 7 page. T=1.07
  • Anonymous

    thanks for posting this walk Sean

  • 20-Mar-16

    Someone who went on this told me there was just 3 doing the walk. The stretch through the valley which can be very muddy was "not too bad"