With spring here and the bluebells on their way, it’s time to pack our picnic baskets and explore and enjoy what our surrounding countryside has to offer.

Despite its proximity to London, Watford and the surrounding area have many walking routes through beautiful countryside and charming villages.

Sarratt has a collection of 12 circular walks around the village starting and ending at the Village Hall. These walks are two to six miles long taking one to three hours to complete.

Watford Observer: The Boot pub in SarrattThe Boot pub in Sarratt

The River Chess is a chalk stream that rises in Chesham in Buckinghamshire and runs through the Chess Valley to Rickmansworth. The Chess Valley is part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The scenic river is enjoyed by walkers, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Chipperfield Common is a large woodland area in Chipperfield village with 16 Points of Interest and 1 route. The Common contains a number of significant historical landscape features including ponds, two early Bronze Age burial mounds and a number of historic trees, some of which date back to the 1600s.

The Grand Union Canal Walk runs along the length of the canal which links England's two biggest cities from Little Venice in Paddington into the heart of Birmingham. The canal passes along the western side of Cassiobury park and separates it from Whippendell Woods.

Berkhamsted Castle is steeped in over 950 years of history. Within these walls have walked numerous English Kings and Queens, Thomas Becket, Edward the Black Prince and Geoffrey Chaucer.

Watford Observer: View from Ivinghoe Beacon (picture by Martin Hommel)

Ivinghoe Beacon is where you can admire the far-reaching views over several counties, follow the pathways in spring and summer and you will see lots of wildflowers and butterflies.

The Ivinghoe and Pitstone Hills are designated as a site of special scientific interest for its very special wildlife. The whole area falls within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Watford Observer: Morning light through the mist at Ashridge

Ashridge House is a country estate and stately home in Hertfordshire. It is situated in the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, about 2 miles north of Berkhamsted. It is surrounded by stunning woodland and a golf course.

Bridgewater Monument is a Grade II* listed column in the Ashridge estate in Hertfordshire. There are many beautiful woodland walks all around and some idyllic picnic spots.

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Rickmansworth Aquadrome is a popular area which has a number of attractive walks around the lakes or along the River Colne and Grand Union Canal.

Watford Observer: Leavesden Country park 2019 © Photography by Pete Stevens

Leavesden Country Park has been rated as one of the UK’s best kept secrets according to a national survey.