Pete's Walks - Studham, Briden's Camp, Flamstead (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 roughly 14.5 mile circular walk on Sunday, 18th April 2010. It was a basically a shorter version of my 'Studham Common and Redbourn' walk, missing out Redbourn - I have marked the shortcut on the map.

This was another lovely Spring day, though unlike yesterday there were one or two small white clouds in the sky. I found the car park at the top of Studham Common was closed (presumably it's being resurfaced) so I had to use the car park at the bottom of the common, close to the centre of Studham. It was about 9.20am as I started walking, going diagonally uphill across the grassy central section of Studham Common, crossing the road by the closed car park, and continuing along the top of the common.  In the corner I took the familiar path going right, running alongside the edge of Great Bradwin's Wood. At the end of the wood, the path went through a paddock and along a gravel drive to reach Clement's End, opposite the playing fields, Scout hut and Social club.

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Looking back to Studham from Studham Common

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The path beside Great Bradwin's Wood

I turned left along the road, following it as it forked right at a junction. Over the hedge on my right was an enclosure where I have seen alpacas the last few times I've walked past. They were there again today, and the owner has kindly put up some information boards about these interesting relatives of llamas.  A car was parked here, and a lady and two girls were admiring the alpacas.

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Alpacas at Clement's End

I turned left and followed a long hedgerow, turning right in the corner. A new metal kissing gate showed where the path switched to the left of the hedgeline (I'd never been sure if it was here or a few yards further on), and I noticed a new wire fence had been installed around the huge field on my left. The field contained clover, and as I followed its lengthy boundary I also noticed that it contained a sizeable number of cattle on its far side. There were the green shoots of bluebells in the mature hedgerow on my right, but none were yet in flower. It was quite a long walk to the next field corner, where I turned left. Here, the public footpath goes through a gate, follows the other side of the hedge as it turns left, then switches back to the left of the hedge as it turns right. Last year, new fencing meant I'd had to stay on the left of the hedge all the time, but today I saw a stile had been put in, so the official route has been reinstated. I passed close to the cows as I reached a gate in the corner of this huge field (it's usually arable, this was the first time I'd seen cattle in it - the fencing had obviously been installed because of the gaps in the hedges).

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The start of the path from Clement's End to Jockey End

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The path from Clement's End to Jockey End

After passing through part of a sheep pasture, I took a path going left across a large L-shaped pasture - usually there are a few cows here, but today only ponies and donkeys. The path continued round the edge of an arable field, then went right, crossing a meadow to reach a lane near Jockey End.

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Path shortly before the lane into Jockey End

I followed the lane a short distance to the left, then took a path on the right. I was now heading southeast, parallel to Gaddesden Row over to my left. The path followed hedge lines through two or three fields, crossing the Hertfordshire Way at one point, then ran between wooden fences - normally wooden fences indicate paddocks, but the last enclosure had sheep in it which all started baaing and heading towards me as I walked by, obviously hoping I'd come to feed them. After crossing a lane, the path followed a headland between fields, passing a couple of trees (presumably the remnants of a grubbed up hedge), and with a white water tower across the field on my left. I crossed a couple of pastures or paddocks to reach the driveway of a cottage, continuing alongside a hedge on my right. The path then turned half-right, across the parkland around the large house named Golden Parsonage. On reaching a long drive, I went half-left, before turning right along a grassy ride between tall trees, where a long series of horse jumps had been laid out.

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The path through the sheep enclosures)

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Water Tower, Gaddesden Row

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Path through the park around Golden Parsonage

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The horse jumps

After two or three hundred yards the path switched to the left of the trees, following the edge of another large arable field for a few hundred yards - along here I saw my first Bluebells of the year, just a few opened amongst the masses of green leaves, and also my first Speckled Wood butterfly of the year (as well as a Peacock and a Small Tortoiseshell). On eventually reaching the next field corner, I turned left along a farm drive, then right along the minor road running through the hamlet of Briden's Camp.

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The path to Briden's Camp

I took a footpath going left from the end of the hamlet,  straight away meeting a sizable group of walkers and their dogs coming the other way. The path turned half-right, then went left between a tree belt and a young plantation on my right (where I saw another Small Tortoiseshell), before turning right along the far side of a hedgerow. The path now dropped gently downhill, with a view ahead along part of the Gade Valley towards Hemel Hempstead. At the next field corner there was a path junction where I turned left, following another long hedgerow steadily uphill for several hundred yards. There were good views back, over the Gade Valley towards Nettleden.

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Near the start of the path from Briden's Camp

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The path from Briden's Camp

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The path from Briden's Camp, rising back uphill

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Looking back over the Gade valley