Pete's Walks - Studham Common and Redbourn (part 1)

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If you are considering walking this route yourself, please see my disclaimer. You may also like to see these notes about the maps.

Google map of the walk

I did this walk on Friday March 6th 2009, repeating a walk I first did about a month ago. Starting at Studham Common the 17-mile circular route took me to the hamlet of Briden's Camp and then on to the edge of the large village of Redbourn, returning via Trowley Bottom, Cheverell's Green and Roe End. The start of the walk follows Walk 2 of my Chiltern Chain Walk, and most of the return from Redbourn is the same as my Kensworth-Redbourn walk. But the majority of this route I'd only walked that once before.

I started walking from the car park on Studham Common (Grid reference TL027156) at about 9.35am - it was a cold but beautiful morning, with clear blue skies and still a touch of frost in a few shaded places. As I walked along the top of the common, sloping down to my left, there was a good view back over the common to Studham itself, and ahead and to my left I could see the bridleway from Roe End that would be my return route, with Dedmansey Wood beyond.

In the corner of the common I turned right, following a hedgerow on my left beside a field showing the first green shoots of some arable crop. Further on I passed Great Bradwin's Wood on my left. At the end of the wood I went through a gate and followed a fence through a small empty paddock, then continued along a gravel drive to reach a road. Opposite me were the village social club, a Scout hut, and some playing fields. I followed the road to the left, soon bearing right at a fork.

The path along the top of Studham Common


The path beside Great Bradwin's Wood


The road (Pedley Hill) from Studham to Little Gaddesden

After about quarter of a mile, I turned left onto another footpath. Again I was following the left edge of an arable field. In the field corner the path turned right, and shortly afterwards switched to the left of the hedgerow. There was now a huge flat arable field on my left, as I followed the broad hedgerow for several hundred yards to the next field corner. I remembered seeing Bluebells in the hedgerow when I walked the Chiltern Chain Walk last Spring.

I then had a bit of a problem. The path goes through a hedge gap a few yards to the left of the field corner, and follows the hedge to the left. There was now a new metal farm gate across the gap, with no footpath sign. I went through the gate and turned left, discovering that there was also a new barbed-wire fence alongside the hedge. I followed the hedge and wire fence, which soon turned left and equally soon then turned right. At this point, the footpath goes through a hedge gap and then turns right along the far side of the hedge. But the new barbed-wire fence blocked the gap (a wooden post with footpath waymarks lay discarded on the ground), so I had no option but to follow the right side of the hedge, rejoining the official route of the footpath by going over a gate in the next field corner (Note: I now think it's easiest just to stay on the left of the hedgerow instead of going through the gap/gate).

The path between Studham and Gaddesden Row

The path continued along the left of a field that is usually a sheep pasture, then goes through a kissing-gate to join a farm track. A short distance along this, I left the route of the Chiltern Chain Walk by turning left. This path crossed a large empty L-shaped pasture, heading for the corner of a wood. It continued through the pasture, with the wood on my right. Over a stile in the corner I turned right, still with the wood on my right. I turned left in the corner of this large ploughed field, then took a footpath going right which took me through a small field of rough grass and on to a road heading into Gaddesden Row.

The path crossing the large L-shaped pasture near Gaddesden Row


The path near Gaddesden Row


I followed the road a few yards to the left, towards the village, then turned right onto another field path. This ran through a few more arable fields, crossing the Hertfordshire Way at one point,  then ran between wooden fences separating several paddocks. I crossed a narrow hedge-lined lane, the footpath continuing on a headland between fields with a large white water tower over to my left. I crossed another empty field and took a short permissive path (that avoided the official path route through a small meadow next to a house) to reach a drive.


The path near Gaddesden Row, just after crossing the Hertfordshire Way


Looking back along the path through the paddocks near Gaddesden Row


Water Tower at Gaddesden Row


Looking back along the path near Gaddesden Row

I went over a stile on the far side, briefly joining the route of the Chiltern Way, and followed the right edge of a meadow - I had a distant view of some Partridges ahead of me here. The path then went half-right across the parkland of a large house called Golden Parsonage - I passed some large trees here that I think are some type of Walnut (Update 8/09/09 - Doh!  A lady called Judith that I met in Markyate told me that they are in fact very old Sweet Chestnuts, and she is correct!). When the path reached the drive from the house, the Chiltern Way followed it towards Water End, but I turned half-left onto a hedge-side path. After a hundred yards or so, I turned right onto a footpath running along a wide grassy ride between hedgerows with many mature trees. As I did so, I noticed two Hares in the field on my left which had been disturbed by a tractor. One ran almost straight towards, and crossed the path a few yards in front of me - I managed to get a poor quality photo, the best I've managed of a Hare so far.

The path across the park around Golden Parsonage


A Hare, seen near Golden Parsonage


The grass ride near Golden Parsonage

There were several horse jumps or fences along the grassy ride.  I spotted another Hare in the field on my right, and another crossed the ride ahead of me (I think it was the second one fleeing from the tractor). I spotted another Partridge, but was again unable to see if it was a Grey or (more probably) Red-legged Partridge. The path then switched to the left of the hedgerow on my left, following it for several hundred yards beside an arable field on my left to reach the drive to a large farm complex. I followed the drive to the left to reach a lane.

The path approaching the farm drive near Briden's camp

Part 2 of this walk

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