Pete's Walks - Kensworth, Hudnall, Dagnall

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 local walk on Monday, 28th December, 2009 (a Bank Holiday, as Boxing Day had fallen on the Saturday).

There was a hard frost last night, meaning the roads were very icy so I didn't want to drive anywhere this morning. For some reason I didn't want to walk too far either, so I chose this 10-mile circular route from my home in Kensworth. I had walked the route just once before, in the Spring of 2005 just after I'd returned to Kensworth and some months before I thought of starting this web site. But all the paths were very familiar, except the one from Little Gaddesden to Dagnall which I'd only walked two or three times before.

I left home very late, about 10.15am, and set off down the Whipsnade Road and across field to Dovehouse Lane. I had to take care in places, not only were the roads icy but there was a lot of ice on the footpaths in places. From the junction of Dovehouse Lane and Buckwood Lane I took the path beside Holywell. Instead of turning left (to Byslips Road and Markyate/Roe End) I continued straight on beyond the edge of Holywell towards Studham. I had a brief chat with a couple coming the other way with their two dogs, mainly about the pheasant shooting that was going on across the fields to my left. As we chatted, a Red Kite flew by, the first time I've seen one at Holywell I think.

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Dovehouse Farm, from the path between the Whipsnade Road and Dovehouse Lane

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Looking towards Byslips Road from the edge of Holywell

The path ended at the minor road from Whipsnade Heath to Studham, but another path started almost opposite. This followed a hedgerow on the right, with occasional glimpses towards Studham church. At the end of this path I followed Valley Road out of Studham, descending a small valley. At the bottom of the valley I took a path going half-right across a ploughed field to reach Common Road, Studham. Across the road (a lane leading down to Dagnall, away to my right) a bridleway led onwards. Beyond a large field there was a very muddy section through the edge of a small wood, where I had to find a way round a large fallen Silver Birch tree.

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A close-up of Studham Church

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View from Valley Road, Studham - I would soon be going half-right across the brown field

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Near the start of the bridleway from Common Road, Studham, to Hudnall

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Large Silver Birch blocking the bridleway

The bridleway then descended quite steeply into the Gade valley, crossing the Hemel Hempstead to Leighton Buzzard road, and rising up the opposite slope. There was a lot of snow and ice on the path at the start of this section of uphill. At the top of the hill, I turned right and followed a path to Little Gaddesden church. I saw my first Fieldfares of the winter here.

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The Bridleway crossing the Gade Valley (it runs to the right of the hedgerow after crossing the road)

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Looking back across the valley towards Whipsnade

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Little Gaddesden church

From the church I continued along a path through paddocks and meadows. I just touched the edge of Little Gaddesden before turning right on the long path that would lead me through Hoo Wood and onwards gently back downhill to Dagnall (which is where the counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire meet).

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Dagnall (and a distant Totternhoe) from near Little Gaddesden church

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The path from the church to Little Gaddesden

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Hoo Wood, between Little Gaddesden and Ringshall

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From the edge of Hoo Wood, looking towards Dagnall

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Looking across to the edge of Whipsnade Zoo - I would later follow a path to the left of the small wood to reach Whipsnade Golf Course

As I reached a farm in Dagnall (the path has recently been rerouted to avoid the farmyard) I spotted a Grey Wagtail. I also passed another couple of walkers coming the other way - this being a Bank Holiday, there were quite a few people out walking. I usually prefer to have the paths to myself, but it was nice to see so many other people enjoying the countryside in my local area.

From Dagnall, I took the usual route (in fact the only route going east) uphill to Whipsnade Golf Course and then along the path beside the Zoo fence. I then returned home along the old lane to Whipsnade and on through Whipsnade Heath.

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Looking back across Dagnall, towards Ivinghoe Beacon (far right)

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Path across Whipsnade Golf Course

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Near the end of the path beside Whipsnade Zoo

It took me almost four hours to walk the ten miles, which was a little slow. It had been chilly but sunny throughout, and despite the mud and ice I'd really enjoyed the walk.