Chalk Places to Visit in Hertfordshire
Brief notes about
publicly-accessible Chalk-related sites and features of interest, including
Information correct at time of publication, but you are advised to check public accessibility and safety details before visiting these places.
Aldbury Nowers, near Tring
Chalk escarpment with views of Vale of Aylesbury and Tring Gap; beech hanger woodland SSSI linked with chalk grassland SSSI at Pitstone Hill (Bucks); managed as Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust reserve; access to Ridgeway National Trail; owned by National Trust; part of Chilterns AONB.
grid reference: SP950130;
Almshoe Bury, near Stevenage
Seasonal stream feeding chalk bedrock swallow hole, within (partly) dry valley; footpath access; a designated RIGS.
grid reference: TL207246
Alpine Meadow, Berkhamsted
Upper Chalk hillside overlooking Tring Gap; small grassland SSSI managed by Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust.
grid reference: SP989102
Ashwell Quarry, near Baldock
Former chalk pit developed in Lower Chalk Melbourn Rock and Plenus Marls horizon, showing vegetation succession with scrub and chalk grassland flora; a designated RIGS; nearby Arbury Banks Iron Age hillfort on chalk hill.
grid references: Quarry TL253395; Arbury Banks TL261387
Ashwell Springs, near Baldock
Springs associated with Lower Chalk Totternhoe Stone horizon; rare invertebrates including planarians (flatworms) of possible Ice Age origin; water bottled and sold as Ashwell Springs, with website with hydrological information; water piped to Fordham’s brewery, closed 1966; source of River Rhee/Cam.
grid reference: TL253397
Barkway Chalk Pit
Exposure of two Chalk rafts (containing Chalk Rock and Red Marl) separated by Anglian Lowestoft Till with deglacially-induced faulting; disused quarry; a designated RIGS; a Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust reserve.
grid reference: TL381366
Dry valley with Chalk grassland; small Local Nature Reserve managed by Three Rivers District Council
grid reference: TQ038971
Hill End Pit, Hitch Wood, St Paul’s Walden
Exposure of Chalk Rock horizon of the Turonian Upper Chalk, with impressive ammonite fauna recorded; small area of chalk grassland, with rare snail Azeca goodalli; disused quarry; denotified SSSI; a designated RIGS; a Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust reserve managed in conjunction with North Herts District Council.
grid reference: TL198239
Hitchin Railway Cutting
Exposure of the Middle Chalk and Melbourn Rock, with notable fossil brachiopod and bivalve fauna recorded; denotified SSSI; a designated RIGS.
grid reference: TL196295
Lemsford Springs, near Welwyn Garden City
River Lee chalk stream with old watercress beds last exploited 1966; managed by Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, with reserve leaflet.
grid reference: TL222123
Long Deans, Hemel Hempstead
Chalk grassland managed by Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust.
grid reference: TL 073048
Martins Way Roundabout, Stevenage
Exposure of solution pipes in Chalk in road cutting; a designated RIGS.
grid reference: TL244262
Chalk springline is source of River Purwell chalk stream; a Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust reserve with alder carr and meadow as well as fen present.
grid reference: TL205291
Northaw Great Wood, Cuffley
London Clay plateau over Chalk bedrock producing seasonal stream and swallow-holes in north part of Wood; a Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council Country Park; SSSI designated for hornbeam woodland.
grid reference: TQ285044
Oughtonhead Common, near Hitchin
Chalk springs; a geological SSSI with Pleistocene interglacial tufa; a designated RIGS; Local Nature Reserve and Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust reserve.
grid reference: TL166304
Reed Chalk Pit, near Barkway
Exposure of Middle Chalk Rock horizon, including the Reed Marl band, yielding notable ammonite fauna; evidence of glacial thrusting; disused quarry; denotified SSSI; a designated RIGS; managed as Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust reserve.
grid reference: TL359370
Artificial bell-shaped cave beneath street carved in chalk rock showing mediaeval carvings, possibly associated with Knights Templar.
grid reference: TL35954075
Royston Bypass Cutting
Road cutting exposing Middle Chalk (T.lata Zone).
grid reference: TL371412
Royston Chalk Pit
Exposure of Chalk; disused quarry; a designated RIGS; Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust reserve.
grid reference: TL363403
Scott’s Grotto, Ware
18th century decorated underground grotto [in former chalk mine] cut 67ft into the Chalk.
grid reference: TL356138
Therfield Heath, near Royston
Chalk escarpment with dry valleys; a chalk grassland SSSI and Local Nature Reserve with rare pasque flowers; Icknield Way prehistoric road; Neolithic and Bronze Age burial mounds; golf course and playing fields.
grid reference: circa TL345402
Middle Chalk escarpment capped by clay-with-flints; chalk grassland and adjacent beech woodland designated as Tring Woodlands SSSI; landscaped 18th century parkland with avenues and buildings; Park owned by Dacorum District Council and managed by the Woodland Trust; adjacent Rothschild Zoological Museum; link with Ridgeway National Trail.
grid reference: SP928105
Upper Ver Valley, Redbourn
Chilterns chalk river with seasonal regime (a winterbourne) north of Redbourn; old watercress beds south of Redbourn; included in Herts Countryside Management Service circular walk leaflet.
grid reference: TL1112 Redbourn
Water End Swallow Holes, near Hatfield
Series of 15 permanent swallow holes where two streams including Mimshall Brook drain from the Tertiary London Clay and sink through into the underlying Chalk; a geological SSSI; link with Gobions Woodland Trust nature reserve.
grid reference: TQ230043
Weston Hills, near Baldock
Chalk hills with dry valleys; chalk grassland and beech woods County Wildlife Site; candidate Local nature Reserve; Neolithic henge monument site identified from cropmarks; A505 road cutting with engineering issues and archaeology to be published in East Anglian Archaeology report; gallows site on Gibbett Hill said to be linked with folktale of local giant Jack o’ Legs.
grid reference: circa TL251321
Windmill Hill, Hitchin
Chalk hill with views of escarpment towards Hexton.
OS grid reference: TL188291
Museums in the project area with geological displays and specimens including Chalk fossils:
Ashwell Village Museum, Swan Street - display includes Chalk fossils; activities have included SPAB workshop on making chalk lump bricks
Hitchin Museum, Paynes Park - no geology on display but big Chalk collection in storage
Letchworth Museum and Art Gallery, Broadway - Chalk specimens in storage; small geology display
St Albans Museum, Hatfield Road - large collection not currently on display
Ware Museum, High Street - small geology display