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24 September 2014
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    HISTORY
    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
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    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
    Acknowledgements
    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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    © Crown copyright. All rights reserved. BBC licence number 100019855, 2004

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    WATCH/LISTEN TO WALKS

    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

    SEE ALSO
    Graphic British Isles: A Natural History - local events
    Graphic Walk Picture Gallery 1
    Graphic Walk Picture Gallery 2
    Graphic Walk Picture Gallery 3
    Graphic Sopwell Trail Gallery
    Sopwell Trail
    More about St Albans Abbey
    Download wallpapers
    Send an e-card
    On bbc.co.uk
    Graphic BBC Berkshire Walk Through Time
    Graphic BBC Cambridgeshire Walk Through Time
    Graphic BBC Essex Walk Through Time
    Graphic BBC Science and Nature
    BBC History
    Dawn Gallery
    Habitats
    Look around wildlife
    Wildlife Articles
    Wildfacts
    Rest of the web
    Graphic Hertfordshire Countryside Management Service
    Graphic Hertfordshire Geological Society
    Graphic Ver Valley Society
    Graphic Verulamium Website
    Graphic Verulamium Museum
    Graphic Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust
    Graphic St Albans attractions
    Graphic St Albans District Council Tourism
    Graphic British Geological Survey
    Graphic Bat Conservation Trust
    Graphic English Nature
    Graphic Defra
    Graphic Froglife
    Graphic RSPB
    Graphic The National Trust
    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites
    On Science & Nature
    Fox illustration, on Science & Nature
    More walks through time and amazing wildlife.
    Find another walk
    Explore wildlife habitats
    The TV series:
    British Isles, a Natural History
    Visit Open2.net's Natural History section
    Snail
    Get more from your walk,
    with the Open University.
    bullet point Get active - the Great Snail Hunt
    bullet point What does that mean? - a natural history glossary
    bullet point Get into nature - the science you need to know
    bullet point How do they know that? - explore nature's secrets
    bullet point Become a Landscape Detective - Free Leaflets!

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    e-mail: bedfordshire@bbc.co.uk hertfordshire@bbc.co.uk buckinghamshire@bbc.co.uk


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