- Discover the beautiful ancient woodland of Broxbourne Woods, Hertfordshire’s only National Nature Reserve.
- Explore the brilliant sculpture trail, which charts the history of the forest and how humans have lived here for thousands of years.
- Look out for the beautiful wildlife that calls Broxbourne Woods home.
Hertfordshire is well known for being a beautiful county with plenty of incredible outdoor locations to explore. Even with all the natural beauty, the county has to offer; there’s only one place in the region that has been deemed so important that it has been given the title of National Nature Reserve; Broxbourne Woods.
These incredible public woods span almost six hundred acres in southern Hertfordshire. Many of the trees in the woods have grown and developed over hundreds or possibly thousands of years. There’s even evidence of Bronze Age settlements to be found in the woods.
With its rich history and beautiful surroundings, Broxbourne Woods makes for a fantastic family day out and is one of the best places to go in Hertfordshire. Whether you're looking to stretch your legs or a longer ramble to get back to nature, Broxbourne Woods has plenty of interesting routes to discover and something for everyone.
One of the most popular walking routes in the area is the Broxbourne Woods sculpture trail. This circular route has entrance points near both the west and east car parks in the forest. The route is one kilometre long, has wide paved paths, and regular rest stops. This makes it a top choice for families and those with limited mobility.
On the sculpture trail, you’ll find some brilliant sculptures made using materials from Broxbourne Woods. These sculptures were created to represent the history, culture, and importance of nature to the local area.
Throughout the trail, you’ll come across the life-size sculpture of a Roman soldier, who stands guard near Ermine Street, an important road during Roman times. He’s not the only human carving to be found on the sculpture trail; you’ll also come across a charcoal burner, an important role in producing charcoal from the hornbeam trees that can be found in the forest.
As you make your way down the sculpture trail, look out for the carving of a peasant woman and her child, foraging for berries in the forest. For peasants in the Middle Ages, natural sources like the forest would have been an important part of their diet. Also keep an eye out for the herder, searching for his cattle among the trees; in Saxon times, farmers used the forest as a place to look after their livestock.
The sculptures on the trail also pay homage to their natural surroundings. You can relax in a giant acorn chair, or discover the hornbeam fruit carving on the route. Watch out for the brilliant stag sculpture that can be seen from the bridge on the trail, and the wild boar carving, animals which once roamed free in these forests.
On one of Broxbourne Woods’ great countryside walks in Hertfordshire, you’re also likely to discover some of the amazing wildlife that calls this forest home. Beautiful butterflies can be found in the wildlife reserves, as well as rare birds and even some British reptiles. There are also many different types of tree to be found in the woods, including pine, hornbeam, and oak.
What to know before you go
- While there’s nowhere to grab a bite to eat inside the woods, there are plenty of rest areas with benches that are perfect for a picnic in the forest. There are also a few pubs and restaurants within a short walk of the main forest area, such as the Farmer’s Boy near Bayford and Woodman and Olive on the outskirts of Broxbourne. Within a short drive of the forest, there are plenty of fantastic places to eat in Hertfordshire, in nearby towns and cities such as Hatfield, Broxbourne, and St Albans.
- While some parts of the woods may be inaccessible to wheelchair users and buggies, the sculpture trail has been specifically designed to be accessible and is no less than 1.2 metres wide in any place.
- Broxbourne Woods is located just to the west of the Hertfordshire town of Broxbourne and are around an hour and a half’s drive from Central London.
- There are two car parks near Broxbourne Woods, both of which are free and near the sculpture trail. The west car park is on Brickendon Green, SG13 8NZ. The east car park is on Pembridge Lane, EN10 7QP.
- Looking to get from Liverpool Street to Broxbourne? The woods are accessible by public transport. Greater Anglia Trains run from London Liverpool Street to the nearby train station of Hertford East, where you can get the 308 bus, which takes you within a mile of Broxbourne Woods. Trains are also available to Bayford Station, which is around a 20-minute walk to the woods.