Pete's Walks - The Lynch (Kensworth) to Redbourn

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 Thursday, 28th May 2009. I had just walked the Ver-Colne Valley Walk in two stages over the previous (Bank Holiday) weekend, and did this walk as a sort of 'addendum'. It covers the first six miles of the Ver valley that the official route omits. Or to be more precise, it follows the hillside to the southwest of the valley - there are no real connecting paths through the valley itself, except between Flamstead and Redbourn, and that is not a very nice route in my opinion (possibly the worst section of the entire Chiltern Way!).

I actually started the walk at my home, near the western end of Kensworth, and first walked the mile and a quarter through the village and down Lynch Hill to The Lynch, where the river Ver rises (at least, that is its 'winterbourne' source, in the summer months it doesn't really flow until about Redbourn). If anybody else wanted to do this walk, I would suggest parking at The Lynch (there is a small space for parking at the start of the side road into the hamlet), making it a six-mile walk to Redbourn. I did the walk both ways, so including the extra bit through Kensworth I did 14.8 miles.

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Common Road, Kensworth, near the start of my walk through the village

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The main road through Kensworth descending Lynch Hill

Almost opposite the junction where a lane goes into the hamlet of The Lynch, I took a footpath along a farm track following a hedgerow, with a huge arable field on my right. Incidentally, The Lynch is thought to be named after the mediaeval 'strip lynchets' that were once here on the steep Lynch Hill, not after a gallows.

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The start of the path from The Lynch to Markyate

The track rose gently uphill. After about a third of a mile, where a path came in sharply on the right (my usual route from Kensworth to Markyate), the path went half-left across a corner of a green corn field (the path was barely discernible here) and then continued along another hedgerow. The Ver valley was down to my left, carrying the busy A5, and through a hedge gap I could see the grand house of Markyate Cell. I continued beside the hedgerow through a couple of playing fields to reach the houses of Markyate.

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The path to Markyate

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Markyate - I've no idea what this curved wall with a small garden behind it is.

Coming out of the other side of Markyate, I soon forked left at a path junction (my usual route, and that of the Hertfordshire Way, is to keep right here).  The path ran beside yet another hedgerow on my left, beside another corn field. But after a quarter of a mile or so, the hedgerow ended and soon the path switched to the left of a headland that had the occasional mature tree, relics of a grubbed up hedge. The path here was a wide strip of grass with much clover, next to another corn field. As I walked along I frequently saw three or four Painted Lady butterflies fly up - it's a big story in the press at the moment, due to good winter rains in their breeding grounds in the Atlas mountains of North Africa, an unusually high number of these tiny migrants are flooding into the country.

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The start of the path from Markyate to Flamstead

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The path from Markyate to Flamstead - there were lots of Painted Ladies along here

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The path from Markyate to Flamstead

After some distance, the path went through a hedge and continued beside a small, rather overgrown, corn field on the right. Over a stile, the next field was a huge paddock containing about half a dozen horses. The remains of a stile showed where the paddock had once been divided into two. The path then ran for some distance between a hedge and a fence on the right, beside buttercup-filled meadows. It finally crossed one such meadow, to reach Friendless Lane on the edge of Flamstead.

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Looking back, from near the edge of Flamstead

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Flamstead church, with its' Hertfordshire spike'

As I passed The Spotted Dog, one of the two pubs in the village, I noticed a sign warning visitors with dogs to check with the landlord first as the pub was occupied by a 'Very Great Dane'. Surely, the Spotted Dog should have a Dalmation? Anyway, I presume that was the Great Dane I met being walked a little further on.

My route took me across a small valley,  going through a paddock in the bottom of the valley, with the M1 a short distance to my left. I then went through another meadow, and turned left by a house to reach a drive. I crossed a bridge over the motorway, and took a path that ran parallel to the motorway for a short distance. The path then went half-left following headlands between corn fields. I saw several wildflowers along this stretch that I hadn't seen before this year - Scarlet Pimpernel, Field Pansy (two of my favourites), Woody Nightshade and Cut-leaved Cranesbill ( a harmless plant, unlike its near relation Cut-throat Cranesbill :)).

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Footpath in Flamstead

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Looking back across a valley between Flamstead and Redbourn

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Footpath beside the M1 - there were several wildflowers along here

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Footpath from the M1 to Redbourn

The path entered Redbourn by a school. I continued down a residential street and took the second road on the right. In quarter of a mile this brought me to the large common in the centre of the village. I took a path across the common to reach my destination, Redbourn Museum, where I had started the Ver-Colne Valley Walk on Saturday.

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Footpath from the M1 to Redbourn

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Footpath across the large common in the centre of Redbourn

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Redbourn Museum, and The Cricketers pub

It was about 11.50am when I turned round, the walk so far having taken about 2 hours and 40 minutes. It had been a grey morning, though there had been patches of blue sky behind me. So it was a bit brighter on the way back, though there was still a lot of cloud about. It was very warm, and quite 'muggy'. I wasn't looking forward to the walk up Lynch Hill and through Kensworth, all along quite a busy road, but in the event it passed by quite quickly and painlessly, and I got home about 2.50pm.

Apart from lots of Painted Ladies (there were more along the path into Redbourn, and on the way back I saw several as I walked through Kensworth), I also saw and photographed a couple of day-flying moths, both of which were new to me. I had them identified on the Wild About Britain site as a Silver-ground Carpet and a Silver-Y.