Pete's Walks - Potten End and Little Gaddesden (page 1 of 2)

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 6.2 mile (almost) circular walk on Saturday, 29th January 2011. 

I had a couple of things to do on Saturday morning, so I decided to do a two-hour walk in the afternoon and then walk on Sunday (in the event I had a really bad night's sleep and didn't bother to go out on Sunday). I intended to start and finish this walk at the small car park in Hudnall, but I found that couldn't get to it because the only road through Hudnall was closed! So I ended up parking in Potten End (after a lengthy detour), which meant I had to walk about half a mile to reach my planned route, and walk the same path back to my car at the end of the walk. I was already a little concerned about whether I would finish the walk before it became too dark to take photographs, and so I shortened my planned rout slightly, missing out Hudnall. I have marked my planned route on the map as 'alternative 1'.

I spotted a Red Kite as I set off from the car park by the village pond in the centre of Potten End at about 2.10pm. I took the bridleway heading northwest (part of the Hertfordshire Way), passing through a wooded area with much holly, close to gardens on my right. Further on the bridleway crossed part of Berkhamstead Golf Course to reach a road (on a side note, the town is spelt Berkhamsted without an 'a', but according to the map the golf club includes an 'a' in its name - and nearby there are two similarly named commons, with and without the 'a'). The bridleway continued on the other side of the road, soon passing a tee on the golf course and then running between beech and birch trees between a fairway on the left and large gardens to the right.

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The path from Potten End

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The path continuing across Berkhamstead Golf Course

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The path continuing on the other side of the first road crossing

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The path beside Berkhamstead Golf Course, shortly before the second road crossing

Across a second road, the bridleway crossed another fairway of the golf course and then continued between trees with fairways a short distance either side. After about half a mile I reached a bridleway crossing, where I went half-right, leaving the Hertfordshire Way but now on a familiar path that I use on my Alternative Ashridge Walk. This led northwards through more woodland to the attractive area of Frithsden Beeches

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The path through Berkhamsted  Golf Course

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Approaching the path junction where I turned half-right for Frithsden Beeches

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The path to Frithsden Beeches

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Frithsden Beeches

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Frithsden Beeches

I normally continue on to the woods of Berhamstead (with an 'a') Common, but today I followed a short path to a small car park on a road that leads to Ashridge House, then continued north along a private drive starting across the road. Entering what was new territory for me, I followed the drive uphill, with large gardens either side. At the top of the hill the road turned left, but a path continued ahead. This initially ran between hedges and fences, with a large field to my right, before entering a huge open pasture sloping down into the Golden Valley ahead of me.

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Private drive near Frithsden Beeches

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The path continuing from the private drive

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The path continuing from the private drive, heading towards the Golden Valley

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Looking left (east) along the Golden Valley

The path descended gradually across this huge pasture, with Ashridge House hidden somewhere in the trees across to my left. On eventually reaching the bottom of the valley, I was back in familiar territory as I took a bridleway going right. This rose gently into the trees on the other side of the valley, turning left at a hairpin bend to reach a road in the long village of Little Gaddesden. I went a short distance right along this road, then took a footpath on the left, the start of a very lengthy path along a valley leading to the village of Nettleden. There were about 18 Fallow Deer on the other side of the valley here.

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Approaching the Golden Valley

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Approaching the Golden Valley

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The bridleway from the Golden Valley, approaching the road in Little Gaddesden

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Fallow Deer near Little Gaddesden