Cuts and Alleyways: A Nostalgic St Albans Walk – Part 2




My Walk around St Albans continues

My nostalgic  St Albans walk continued: (Labels are left off these pictures as they were set as a challenge on a St Albans Website…. please contact me at if you wish to have further details.

Maybe it is because I didn’t grow very tall!………….. but I have always been fascinated by small gates and doors and there are still so many of these to spy whilst wandering around St Albans.






One of the quirks of St Albans I remember as an imaginative child is these steps below.  I used to conjure up all sorts of stories about where they led  and I was delighted to see that what appear to be scallop shells are still in the nearby wall.  I wonder when they were put there?  Maybe by pilgrims to the Abbey?  I know to look out for them en route during my 150 mile “Gratitude Walk” from Winchester to Canterbury in the Autumn.

a-st-albans-walk-steps-near -the-abbeyscallop-shells-near-st-albans-abbey

This area of St Albans really is so special.  It has little changed since my childhood.  I love the garden/graveyard in Romeland, a shady little spot, somewhat secluded but surrounded by majestic historic buildings.  I feel so privileged to think that this is the City in which I grew up.  I think I took so much of its beauty and history for granted when I was younger.  To me it was just the place in which I lived.    I remember cycling “up the town” as a teenager buying an orange juice and bag of crisps and just lazing on the grass in front of the Abbey reading my copy of “Jackie” magazine.  It always seemed sunny – just like today – probably because I only went cycling in the sunshine!.

st-albans-near-the abbey



Of all the ancient houses in St Albans this one below was always one of my favourites.  I think it is the blankness of the front door tempting one to wonder what is inside and also the thought of climbing up the steps without a handrail.





And, (of course!)………. the “Growing Stone” is still here too.  The story told by my granddad to my dad of how much the stone had grown since he was a boy; recounted by my Dad down to me and passed on by me to my own son.  I wonder how much more it will have grown if my son has children of his own!



One of the things I love about St Albans, which despite new buildings, still remains, is the way in which the countryside makes its way into the City (I find Exeter and Dorchester similar).  In Dorchester it is the River Frome;  here it is the River Ver.



I passed it several times on my walk and of course whilst passing through “The Lake”.   There is some really lovely old footage of this area on the BFInstitute website here..




Part 3 of my walk looks further at the cuts and alleyways of St Albans, but in the meantime I will leave with a question.  I wonder whether anyone can work out from the background architecture  which Church Choir this is?




For further walks in the St Albans area please see:

“Cuts and Alleys: A Nostalgic St Albans Walk, Part 1”

“Cuts and Alleys: A Nostalgic St Albans Walk, Part 3”

“The Alban Way – A Good Winter Walk for Muddy Days


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