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24 September 2014

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    You are in: Beds, Herts and Bucks > Nature > Walks > From a river to the Romans and beyond > Stage 1
    The Abbey through the wall
    Layers of time: St Albans Abbey as seen through the Roman Wall

    From a river to the Romans .... and beyond!

    The River Ver is not just a chalk stream. It is liquid history. From the Romans, to the Abbey builders to the present day - it's been in the area longer than anything else and so ties the history of the area together.

    Walk details:
    Start point: Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre, Holywell Hill, St Albans
    Countryside Management office: 01727 848168
    Ordnance Survey: Landranger 166 - map ref:151065
    Distance: approx 3km (1.8 miles)
    Time: approx 1 hour 15 minutes
    Extra info:
    To see what the symbols mean, please visit the key
    Parking facilitiesdisabled accesswildlife interestplant interesthistorical interesttoilet facilities
    disabled toiletfood availableviewscircular walkfossil evidence
    More info:
    Where the city of St Albans now stands has been an important settlement area for thousands of years. There is evidence of Iron Age dwelling in the area before the Romans arrived. Then after both the Saxons and medieval times, the settlement moved up to and beyond where the Abbey is now.

    But the one thing that is constant is the River Ver. Its course may have changed slightly but it remains, despite our prodigious use of water that often threatens it.

    It is also the single most important resource that made the area so important and has been used for many things over the centuries. If the river hadn't been there, then St Albans probably wouldn't have had such a rich and varied history.

    This walk looks at the River Ver, why it is where it is, the wildlife it supports and the impact that human habitation has had on it, diverting its course to fit in with their needs. It also looks at how the underlying rocks, chalk and flint have shaped a city, and kept St Albans as a major centre of communication throughout history.


    Getting there:
    By bus:
    The 321 and 724 run past the entrance to Westminster Lodge.
    By train: The St Albans Abbey Station is 0.5 km from the start. You can get to this station from Watford Junction but please note that the main St Albans City station is about 2 km away.
    By car: Drive to start point. (see map) The car park is free for up to three hours and £1.00 after that for as long as you like.

    Walk conditions
    Most of this walk is along man-made concrete paths and pavements although there are opportunities to go off-road and explore on the grass which can become muddy after rain. There are two short hills of a fairly low gradient and a steeper hill which you only have to walk down. If you choose to take the optional trail down to Sopwell, the river bank paths can be narrow and muddy and not always suitable for prams and wheelchairs.

    Health and Safety information
    BBC Beds, Herts and Bucks would like to thank the following for all their help in producing this Walk Through Time:
    Mike Dodds, Open University consultant
    Andy Hardstaff, Countryside Management Service
    Dr John Catt, Hertfordshire Geological Society
    Andy Webb, Ver Valley Society
    Brian Adams, St Albans Museums
    Michelle Henley, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust
    You are in: Beds, Herts and Bucks > Nature > Walks > From a river to the Romans and beyond > Stage 1
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    Audio Listen to the whole WALK THROUGH TIME BROADCAST from BBC Three Counties Radio

    Audio Listen to Alan Titchmarsh on BBC Three Counties Radio

    Audio Listen to Dr John Catt talk about Hertfordshire Puddingstone

    Audio Listen to Dr John Catt talk about Hertfordshire Puddingstone

    Audio Listen to Dr John Catt talk about chalk rock

    Audio Listen to Andy Webb from the Ver Valley Society

    Audio Listen to Brian Adams talk about the Roman Wall and Verulamium

    Audio Listen to Brian Adams talk about mills in St Albans

     Realplayer required

    Graphic British Isles: A Natural History - local events
    Graphic Walk Picture Gallery 1
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    Graphic Hertfordshire Countryside Management Service
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    Graphic Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust
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    Graphic St Albans District Council Tourism
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