Hitchin has some incredible countryside to explore just a short walk from your front door. We live in Walsworth on the north side of Hitchin not too far from the Millstream. We also have an 8 month old daughter called Sofia who we are slowly introducing to this countryside. Our favourite walks are local ones where we can take her in a sling.
The walk out across Purwell meadows is a great short walk, it is close to home but in summer has cows grazing in the fields and as you walk further, following the River Purwell, you can see horses and if lucky then some less common birds such as Kingfishers. The whole area now has a number of trails and if feeling adventurous then can continue to to The Greenway and out to Willian and The Fox pub for a much earned drink and some food.
Walk Round Town
This might seem a daft one but the walk to town and around is actually a highlight of the day. It is very much buggy central during the weekdays but does allow for meeting up and for Sofia to spend some time with other babies via White House Cafe, Baby Rhyme Time at the library and The Secret Garden amongst others. It is also where you can fuel up on caffeine via the many Coffee shops. The town is a old market town and has some great spaces around the church where Sofia can see ducks and geese. There are also many independent shops to meander around for a few hours.
Out towards the west of Hitchin surrounding the West Mill estate and Oughtonhead is the common, a series of nature walks along the river Oughton. It is managed by the Herts Wildlife Trust and is a great morning walk around the west side of Hitchin and is part of the Hitchin Hoop, a 13 mile walk around Hitchin. There is also a very nice cafe to relax in enroute and is open during the summer months.
This is an amazing path that is also worth considering cycling round. Another 13 mile loop which you can start from Purwell and loops round Letchworth taking in Standalone Farm and some lovely countryside which surrounds the garden city. It’s definitely worth breaking this route in to a number of walks unless cycling as this is a whole day out.
There is no defined route here and requires some exploration but I’d suggest starting behind Tesco on a path that runs behind Cambridge road and up to Windmill Hill and then down in town. The view from Windmill hill over Hitchin is lovely and with some further exploration you can follow a number of paths the length and breadth of Hitchin. You just need to explore.
Charlton & Beyond
Charlton is a small village outside of Hitchin. There are two routes to Charlton but the best walk is over the foot bridge near the 3 Moorhens just up the hill from The Priory. The path stretches through farmland and down in to Charlton which is also the source of the famous River Hiz. There are many paths and trails around here including a much longer walk up to Preston. There is also a good community pub here called The Red Lion.
You don’t need to stop there, a short drive away are many other walks you can try. There are likely to many to name here but favourites include walks around Hitch woods which have a special feel during spring and bluebell season; also walks out near Great Offley and also Pirton offer some great country pubs as markers for your walk start and end.