What do Washington DC, Auckland, Buenos Aires, Barcelona and Welwyn Garden City have in common? No idea? Well I’ll tell you. They were all designated as ‘Tree Cities of the World‘ by the United Nations this year. In fact it’s the second year running that Welwyn has received the honour.
The Welwyn Hatfield local authority has over 100,000 woodland trees and more than 17,000 street trees and is one of only 11 authorities in the UK to have this honour due to it’s tree management and planning programme. Who would have thought it eh?
When we first booked our current Airbnb back in February we were just looking for a months rental at a reasonable price and fancied somewhere that we hadn’t been to before. We thought our apartment was in a built up area to be honest and were resigned to walks around mainly urban areas. Not a big deal as we can always find places to go and locations to explore but we never expected to be ten minutes from woodland and countryside walks.
Now that I feel completely recovered from the dastardly kidney stone attack we can return to our JWalking roots and get out there again exploring. A short walk to the west is the fabulous Sherrardspark Wood, an area of well managed oaks covering over 200 acres and absolutely jam-packed full of footpaths, bridleways and tracks.
The fact that this incredible wood is right on the edge of the city is difficult to believe as you wander through mighty oaks and along bluebell-bordered paths. All we could hear as we wandered was the beautiful choral song of hundreds of birds who obviously appreciated the wood as much as we did.
Walking for hours we hardly saw another person, the woods are so big and there are so many paths that it’s easy to forget how close you are to civilisation. An absolutely fabulous place to walk and talk and just enjoy the nature (and the celebrated trees of course). Sherrardspark Wood will certainly be seeing the two of us a lot over the coming weeks!
Burnham Green and Tewin
With the walking bit now firmly between our teeth we decided to explore north of the city. Once again just 10 minutes walk saw us outside suburbia and in the middle of wonderful countryside. Not woodland this time but fields and hedgerows criss-crossed with more footpaths and brideways. The area seems to be unbelievably well served by walking trails, perhaps part of the whole garden city setup begun back in the 1920s.
So on a sunny morning we set off north on a 6 or 7 mile hike along well kept footpaths to the quaint little village of Burnham Green and back past Harmer Green and Digswell.
We’ve labelled it the ‘Burnham Green Circuit‘ (for no particular reason other than we wanted to) and already been back to do part of the circular walk in reverse. The open fields and country views in all directions make it a lovely walk either way. Plus there appear to be footpaths leading off at various angles that we may have to explore very soon.
And of course the return always takes us close to, or underneath, the incredibly impressive Digswell Viaduct. Forty arches of 1850s construction with London to Edinburgh trains powering over at regular intervals. We need more viaducts don’t we?
30/04 – 04/05/2021