||14.0km (8.7 miles), 4 hours. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 7 hours.
||1 out of 10 (more in muddy conditions).
||Explorers 173 (for the first 100m) & 182 or Landranger 166. Garston, map reference TQ 118 999, is in Hertfordshire, 2.5km north of Watford Junction.
This walk, although not the most beautiful in the book, is surprisingly unspoilt by 21st century civilization, despite being close to London and squeezed between Watford and St Albans, the M1 and M25. It highlights come at the very end - the Roman remains at Verulamium, and the Cathedral city of St Albans.
From Garston the walk is through Bricket Wood Common to Lord Knutsford’s park and manor at Munden, passing the impressively converted Netherwylde Farm, to go along the River Colne and River Ver to Moor Mill Inn, a possible early lunchtime stop.
The walk then follows Ver Valley Walk arrows almost all day, up through woods and blackberries, beside lakes, along the River Ver to a mobile home park and on into Park Street, where you find your second option for lunch. Then it’s onwards, at times beside the River Ver and over water meadows.
You then come to the Roman town of Verulamium (which derived its name from the river) on the outskirts of St Albans. While there is little left to see, there's a very pretty city park and a recommended museum.
And so to St Albans Cathedral and its cloisters; and the historic town centre.
Then either back into the Cathedral grounds, down to the Roman walls, to head for the Abbey Station, or through the old town to the City Station.
Bricket Wood Common (near the start) can be very muddy in winter, and the water meadows (shortly after Park Street) can be waterlogged after periods of heavy rain.
||You could call a taxi from your lunchtime stop. You could also take a train from Park Street Railway Station back to Watford Junction. Or, near the end of the walk, as you approach St Albans, you could head straight for Abbey Station without sightseeing in St Albans.
Munden House is owned by Lord Knutsford.
Moor Mill, at Bricket Wood, built in 1762, was a working mill until 1939. A mill has stood on this site for over 1,000 years, known as Moremyll in Norman times. For 500 years it was under the control of the abbots of St Albans and was rebuilt in 1350. Its giant revolving waterwheel has recently been restored.
In its heyday, the River Ver once powered eleven waterwheels and sustained the Hertfordshire watercress industry. Steps are being taken to increase its flow once more.
The Catuvellauni tribe, in the Ver Valley, were defeated by Julius Caesar in 54BC. Boadicea destroyed Verulamium in 61AD while the Roman legions were in North Wales. In 209AD, the Roman Alban was beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to the Roman gods, on the orders of Geta Caesar, son of Emperor Severus, during the latter’s visit to Britain to put down a rebellion.
The large, and impressively situated St Albans Abbey (tel: 01727-860780) and its monastic buildings were completed in 1088 with bricks from the Roman town (dismantled because it had become a hiding place for robber gangs). In 1381 its Great Gateway was besieged during the Peasants’ Revolt; it was later used to imprison the rioters. In 1455, during the War of the Roses, Henry V1 was wounded in the neck by an arrow and took refuge in the Abbey, while drunken Yorkists ransacked the town. The Abbey, now a Cathedral, is open daily until 5.45 pm; outside these hours you can enter for evensong at 5.00 pm weekdays, 4.00 pm Saturdays and 6.30 pm on Sundays.
The excellent Verulamium Museum (entrance 2020: £6, or £7-50 with the Roman Theatre, open 10.00am/Sun 2pm - 5pm) stands in the middle of the site of the Roman city of Verulamium, once one of the largest towns in Roman Britain. The site is now a pleasant city park. Very little remains - a Hypocaust’s mosaic and some city walls. Outside the park is a Roman theatre (mainly earthworks, few walls remain - £2.50 10am-5pm/4pm winter)
Take the train nearest to 10am from Euston Station to Garston, changing at Watford Junction to platform 11. Journey time 32 minutes. Buy a day return to St Albans Abbey.
Trains back from St Albans Abbey Station to Euston via Watford Junction run every 45 minutes (hourly on Sundays). Journey time 40-45 minutes. There are much more frequent trains from St Albans City Station to St Pancras. Journey time 20-35 minutes.
[!] St Albans Abbey tickets are not valid on the faster more frequent trains from St Albans City (to St Pancras). Similarly, St Albans City tickets are not valid on the St Albans Abbey branch line.
The suggested lunchtime stop comes just under halfway into the walk and is the popular Moor Mill (tel. 01727 875557), part of the Beefeater chain of family pub-restaurants. Groups of more than 6 people should try phoning ahead to book - although this establishment never answers the 'phone when you ring. Meals are served all day from noon, with some cheap and cheerful offers in addition to a full main menu. The restaurant’s setting by a mill stream would be ideal – if it wasn’t situated almost underneath the M25 Motorway.
Forty minutes further into the walk, and just over the halfway point, you come to the village of Park Street, which has two remaining pubs, one of which serves food. This is the Overdraught pub (tel: 01727-856030), an unpretentious hostelry which serves basic pub food from noon to 2.00 pm. However, this pub cannot cater for groups and is only suitable for individual walkers or small groups of up to a maximum of 4. Larger numbers should always take lunch earlier at Moor Mill. 90 metres further along the road you come to the Falcon pub (tel: 01727-873208), a watering-hole for beer drinkers, without food.
The suggested tea place is the Cathedral Cafeteria , just inside the Cathedral, which is open daily until 4-30 pm (4 pm on Sundays).
An alternative is Abigails (tel: 01727-8560039), in the Village Arcade in the Cathedral precincts, which is open daily until 5 pm.
Lovers of fine ale might like to call in at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub (tel: 017227 865830), below the Cathedral. It is one of several pubs which lays claim to being the oldest public house in England. This atmospheric pub serves a good range of real ales and guest ales, plus bar snacks and meals all afternoon at weekends.
No major route changes. This edition December 2019.Train travel updated.  Details of Verulamium added. [Older editions]. Some minor changes since last edition of the TO Book - so use the online version