Ver Valley walks win award

Elizabeth Hamilton, Andrew Motion and Sue Freerson

Elizabeth Hamilton, Andrew Motion and Sue Freerson - Credit: Archant

A series of walks which allows the whole 18 miles of the Ver Valley to be explored strode ahead of all 34 nominations in a prestigious county award scheme.

The Ver Valley Society won the first rural environment award in the CPRE Rural Living Awards for creating eight round walks based on the Ver and the River Ver pathway over the past decade.

The walks allow residents and visitors to explore the Ver Valley on way-marked paths and bridleways from Markyate to Bricket Wood where it joins the Colne.

The Ver Valley Walks took several years of hard work by teams of volunteers to come to fruition. Before the eight leaflets were printed, routes had to be worked out, path surfaces improved and waymarks made clear.

Each leaflet has clear maps and information about historical buildings, archaeological features and what wildlife can be seen. Eight carved benches have been set up along the valley at scenic stops.

Announcing the award at the ceremony at County Hall, CPRE judge Anthony Oliver, who lives in Fishpool Street, St Albans, said the walks ticked all the boxes for a first-class contribution to rural living and would inspire people of all ages to get out into the Ver Valley and enjoy it.

He added that as far as the CPRE knew, the project was unique in the UK in creating a series of connecting walks along a whole river valley.

Most Read

The award was accepted from CPRE national president and former Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion, by Sue Frearson on behalf of the Ver Valley Society committee.

She paid special tribute to Andy Webb, chairman for the past 10 years, who had inspired the walks and had driven through, researched and written much of the information in the leaflets.

Andy commented: “I am overwhelmed by this award – it wasn’t just me. Many people have helped in this project.

“It is wonderful to be recognised in this way but our prime aim is to safeguard the Ver as a chalk stream into the future and make sure this scarce and undervalued environment is preserved and enhanced for future generations to appreciate.”

The walk guides can be download from

n Highly commended in the rural environment category was the Old Station Platform in Wheathampstead which was described as “an excellent outdoor museum”.