Pete's Walks - Hudnall, Ashridge, Dagnall (page 1 of 3)

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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 8.9 mile circular walk on Sunday, 28th April 2013. I still seemed to be weak after the virus I had a couple of months ago, so I aimed to do a shorter walk than usual, one that would take about 3 hours. This route was a new one for me, although the vast majority was on paths that I'd walked many times before. The only new section was right at the end, where I went downhill and then back uphill again on Hudnall Common.

I had a very late start (especially considering this was such a local walk) and didn't start walking until 11.15am. From the small car park on Hudnall Common (grid reference TL 006127), I followed the edge of the common beside the lane southeast-wards (in the direction of Great Gaddesden) for about a hundred yards before turning right into a wood. The bridleway here had clearly been resurfaced fairly recently, I remember the initial section occasionally being very muddy in the past. Beyond the wood the bridleway continued round the edge of some pastures, between a fence and a hedge. It turned left and then right, to reach a stableyard. Through a swing gate a path continued between walls to a courtyard that opened onto the road that runs through Little Gaddesden.

Near the start of the bridleway from Hudnall Common to Little Gaddesden


The bridleway from Hudnall to Little Gaddesden


Looking southeast from the bridleway to Little Gaddesden, towards Nettleden

A few yards to the left and across the road, a permissive path or bridleway went down a track descending through trees. This turned to the right and continued to the bottom of the slope, where it emerged from the trees in the Golden Valley (close to Ashridge House, which was hidden behind the trees on the other side of this small valley). I turned right, and followed the bottom of the valley - there was a wide stretch of grass here, with wooded slopes either side. On reaching a drive to Ashridge House, I followed it right for a short distance. Ignoring a broad track on the left, I took a path forking left a few yards further on (not shown as a public path on the OS map, but part of the Ashridge Estate Boundary Trail). This continued through the trees, where I was delighted to see my first Wood Sorrel of the year. It then passed some garden boundaries on the right, continuing between garden fences and part of the Ashridge golf course on my left.

The permissive bridleway (I think) leading down from Little Gaddesden to the Golden Valley


The Golden Valley - Ashridge House is a short distance away in the trees on the left.


The Golden Valley


The path near the golf course


The path near the golf course


The path near the golf course

I crossed the Ringshall-Northchurch road and continued on a long and very pleasant path through the woods of Ashridge. This was a broad grassy track, so I'd wrongly thought it was a bridleway (I'm fairly sure there were signs saying it could be used by horse riders). It was a familiar route for me anyway, one I've walked many times before, but as usual it was delightful to be among the trees of Ashridge. After about a mile the path, narrower now, came very near to a road on the right (from Ringshall to Ivinghoe Beacon). At a path junction I went right and crossed the road, continuing down the drive to Ward's Hurst Farm opposite.

The footpath across the Ringshall-Northchurch road, in the woods of Ashridge


Continuing northwest along the same footpath


Continuing northwest along the same footpath


The same footpath - the white sign on the right edge of the photo is at the start of the drive to Ward's Hurst Farm


The drive to Ward's Hurst Farm

Several of the many paths that meet here were re-directed through the farmyard a couple of years ago so don't currently match the OS maps. I turned left as soon as I reached the farmyard, then right to walk through the farmyard in the same direction as I'd been on along the drive.  Beyond the farm it was straightforward to go straight on and follow the long and attractive path that descends to Hog Hall and to Dagnall. There were lots of sheep with their lambs in the pastures, and then the beech-covered embankment on my left had numerous primroses, including some I spotted growing in a tree stump.

View from near Ward's Hurst Farm, looking towards Dagnall


The path from Ward's Hurst Farm to Dagnall


Primroses growing in a tree stump

Part 2 of this walk

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