Pete's Walks - Kensworth, Great Gaddesden, Dagnall (page 1 of 3)

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 of about 14.2 miles on Monday, 17th August, 2009.

I intended to do a walk near Stevenage today, but when I tried to start my car the battery was completely flat - I wasn't too surprised as it's already happened a couple of times recently (I've arranged to have it sorted out on Thursday when I have the car MOT'd and serviced). So I immediately switched to my backup plan, which was to repeat (yet again!) my Kensworth - Nettleden - Little Gaddesden walk. But as I was approaching Jockey End, I decided I didn't just want to repeat a walk I'd done numerous times before. A moments thought made me realise that I could alter the route quite easily to incorporate a long path from Hudnall past Little Gaddesden to Dagnall that I had only walked once before (about four years ago), and so that is what I did. From Dagnall I'd return to Kensworth along the route I use on my Kensworth-Ivinghoe Beacon walk. So as the start and finish of this walk were on familiar routes that I've described umpteen times before, I'll concentrate this report on the middle section.

I left home about 9.15, and set off along the very familiar route along the Whipsnade Road, across fields to Dovehouse Lane and on to Holywell. From there I followed the usual path to Byslips Road, and made my way through the edge of Byslips Wood to reach the 'public highway' between Roe End and Studham Common.

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The start of the path from the Whipsnade Road to Dovehouse Lane (coincidentally there was another Dovehouse Lane on the walk near Stevenage that I'd originally meant to do today!)

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The path from Holywell to Byslips Road

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The 'public highway' heading to Studham Common

I walked up the side of Studham Common and continued past Great Bradwin's Wood to reach Clement's End, Studham. After a short road walk, I was back onto field paths that led me to the edge of Jockey End, the main part of Gaddesden Row. From there I continued on through Hoo Wood to reach Great Gaddesden, nestling in the Gade valley.

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Looking across Studham Common towards Studham

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Field path between Clement's End and Jockey End

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Approaching Hoo Wood, between Gaddesden Row and Great Gaddesden

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Great Gaddesden in the Gade valley, from the far side of Hoo Wood,

From Great Gaddesden, I took the usual path up the other side of the valley towards the Buddhist monastery. Initially I had to cross a large pasture containing about five cows and a couple of calves. I had to shoo a couple of cows out of the way, as they blocked the exit from the field - I remember I had the same problem (with a far larger number of cows) last year, I think the problem was the cows had been recently separated from their calves which they could see in the next field. At the top of the hill, by the monastery, I deviated from my original route, and instead of continuing on to Nettleden I turned right along St Margaret's Lane.

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Path from Great Gaddesden to the Buddhist monastery and St Margaret's Lane

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St Margaret's Lane

I followed the lane for about a mile and a quarter, the first half mile being part of the Hertfordshire Way before it took a path going right. The path was initially surfaced as it passed the farm of the same name, but later on became a hedge-lined track before being surfaced again as it passed a few scattered dwellings in Hudnall. There were occasional views over the top of the Gade valley to my right, especially near the end of the lane as I passed part of Hudnall Common. Earlier, I  passed a point on the map intriguingly named 'Covetous Corner'.

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St Margaret's Lane

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Looking right from St Margaret's Lane, over Hudnall Common and the Gade Valley

At the end of the lane, I crossed a minor road and continued down a private drive, passing a few more of the houses of Hudnall. A short path past a small paddock brought me to a familiar path junction on the edge of the village. If I'd stuck to my original route, I'd have turned right here, crossing the Gade valley on a path that would take me back to Studham. My Kensworth-Ivinghoe Beacon route comes that way, and continues diagonally across fields to Little Gaddesden. But today I continued straight on, following a hedgerow path that I'd only used once before.

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Private drive in Hudnall

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Path junction on the edge of Hudnall. I usually take the path on the left past the tree to reach Little Gaddesden, but today I continued ahead along the hedgerow.

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Looking right from the same point - there is a path just out of shot on the right, which crosses the Gade valley to reach Studham. That is the way I'd have gone if I'd stuck to walking my Kensworth-Nettleden-Little Gaddesden route.

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Following the hedgerow path towards Little Gaddesden church