Book 1 Walk 7 Garston to St. Albans

The bridge is to the right! D.Allen Vivitar 5199

24-Feb-08 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

book1 stalbans garston walk7 swcwalks

Bricket Wood common

01-Jan-10 • JonCombe on Flickr

book1 walk7 swcwalks

River Ver

01-Jan-10 • JonCombe on Flickr

book1 walk7 swcwalks

Near St Albans

01-Jan-10 • JonCombe on Flickr

book1 walk7 swcwalks

2 Duck Houses in our pond

near Garston

14-Feb-15 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

book1 walk7 swcwalks

Ver river swans

near the Dutch farm (for sure!)

14-Feb-15 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

book1 walk7 swcwalks

Moor Mill

dating from the C18th.

14-Feb-15 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

book1 walk7 swcwalks

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.

Updated: Thu, 17-Jan-19

Date # Post
Wed, 19-Dec-18 8

Wednesday Walk Garston to St Albans - River Ver, Moor Mill, St Albans Abbey and Verulamium

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

Your big dollop of mud is just as likely to be through the Ver watermeadows. Some tricky navigation may be required.
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.
My dear Marcus, your comment elevates pedantry to new heights😂. Glad to hear you are getting back to fitness
Good News dear Marcus

Cracking comment PeteB and welcome back Marcus
Hoping to walk

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.
Wed, 20-Dec-17 7

Wednesday Walk: Garston to St Albans - River Ver, Moor Mill and Verulamium

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
Look forward to it.
Many thanks to Marcus for a lovely walk.
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.
Sun, 27-Nov-16 6

Sunday First Walk - A river valley and historic St Albans

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 .
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.
Sun, 06-Mar-16 3

Sunday Walk 1 – A short easy walk to a Cathedral city

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
thanks for posting this walk Sean
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"
Sat, 14-Feb-15 10 Garston to St Albans
Sat, 14-Jun-14 2 Garston to St Albans
Sun, 17-Nov-13 1 Garston to St Albans
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