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The Red Lion and Water End

There are currently 1 comments and 4 photos online for this walk.

The Red Lion and Water End
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 28 Oct 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star1  The Red Lion and Water End - pub walk in Hertfordshirestar1  The Red Lion and Water End - pub walk in Hertfordshirestar1  The Red Lion and Water End - pub walk in Hertfordshirestar1  The Red Lion and Water End - pub walk in Hertfordshirestar0  The Red Lion and Water End - pub walk in Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire, Water End
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
The Red Lion and Water End
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot  The Red Lion and Water End - pub walk in Hertfordshire boot  The Red Lion and Water End - pub walk in Hertfordshire
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A 3 mile circular pub walk from the Red Lion in Water End, Hertfordshire. The Red Lion combines comfort and style with a relaxed atmosphere in a building that dates back to the early 1700s. The walking route performs a simple loop around the surrounding Chiltern countryside, taking in open arable farmland with extensive views and the various old mills and houses along the pretty River Gade.

The walk includes several steady climbs and descents throughout. The field paths can become very muddy in winter and after periods of rain. You will need to cross over the main A4146 at two points, once at the start of the walk and once half way round. The traffic can be very fast moving so take extreme care at these points and take your time to ensure you are able to cross safely. Whilst most of the land is arable farmland, you will cross one field that is likely to be holding sheep so take particular care with dogs. There are two stiles on route (both of which have wide gates alongside that are normally unlocked) plus a number of single gates to negotiate. Approximate time 1 to 1.5 hours.

Water End is a small village located just north of Hemel Hempstead on the A4146 Leighton Buzzard Road. The walk starts and finishes at the Red Lion pub on Leighton Buzzard Road. Out of courtesy for the other pub customers who are likely to be parking for a shorter period, please use the overflow car park within the pub grounds while you follow the walk. Approximate post code HP1 3BD.

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Walk Sections

Start to Varney's Wood
Start to Varney's Wood

Start point: 51.7813 lat, -0.4924 long
End point: 51.7823 lat, -0.4785 long

From the Red Lion's overflow car park, follow the driveway all the way round behind the pub and into the main car park. Turn right into the side courtyard and here you will find a small gate that leads you out onto the pavement by the main road.

Turn left for a few paces and then you need to cross over to reach the side road opposite, Red Lion Lane. NOTE: this section of the road has a 40mph speed limit but it is often busy so make sure you are aware of traffic coming from all three directions before you cross. Walk along the edge of Red Lion Lane (again taking extreme care of traffic) for just a few yards. Where the lane bends left, fork right onto the signed public bridleway to Stags End.

Follow this grass track with the hedgerow on the left and open crop fields to the right. As you reach the brow of the hill you will be rewarded with expansive views across the rolling Chiltern countryside. The track leads you down to a crossroads of paths at the field corner. You need to go straight on here, but to stay on the designated public footpath you need to walk along the left-hand side of the hedge ahead.

Follow the path (with the hedge on the right) heading uphill. As you draw level with the power lines overhead, you will see a gap in the hedge on the right and a (slightly hidden) waymarker post. Turn right here into the footpath which leads you to the right of a line of oak trees. Keep ahead and the footpath leads you past Varney’s Wood on the left. At about 1 o’clock you may be able to see the buildings within Hemel Hempstead in the distance.

Varney's Wood to Piccotts End
Varney's Wood to Piccotts End

Start point: 51.7823 lat, -0.4785 long
End point: 51.7727 lat, -0.4799 long

At the end of the woods you will come to a single metal gate ahead. Pass through this to enter a pasture, which is likely to be holding sheep. You need to make your way to the bottom right-hand corner of the field, but please follow these instructions to ensure you keep to the (rather convoluted!) line of the public right of way. Turn left, following the fence line on the left, and follow the field edge as it swings right and then left. Where the fence line steps right again, turn right and walk across the centre of the field, heading for a point to the right of the picket-fenced garden where you will find a tall footpath sign. Do not exit the field here, instead turn right and walk downhill away from the house, soon with a hedge on the left. In the field corner you will come to a single gate which leads you out of the pasture.

Keep straight ahead on the grass track with an open crop field on the right and a hedge on the left. At the bottom of this long field, follow the footpath as it dog-legs left then right, heading down between open fields. As you approach the hedge line ahead, the track swings left and continues between hedgerows.

Just a couple of paces before you reach the road, turn right through the gap in the hedge to join the signed public footpath, with the hedge on the left. Just before you reach the field corner, merge left to join the road and continue for a few paces to reach the T-junction with the residential road within Piccotts End.

Piccotts End to Gaddesden Hall
Piccotts End to Gaddesden Hall

Start point: 51.7727 lat, -0.4799 long
End point: 51.775 lat, -0.4897 long

Turn left at the T-junction, following the pavement past the first width restriction. Take the next turning on the right, River Bank, signed as a public footpath to Water End. On the right you will pass the impressive three storey red brick Old Mill House and adjacent mill which retains its overhanging sack hoist. From the 11th century there were many mills working along this stretch of the River Gade. This one, in Piccotts End, was a flour mill, milling grain from the local farms. The building has been rebuilt several times following a fire and other damage and today houses a number of flats.

Keep straight ahead and cross the footbridge over the pretty River Gade – more about the river itself later. You will emerge to the main road. NOTE: This is a fast moving stretch of the road but visibility is good so make sure you wait for a suitable gap before you cross. Cross over and take the small lane directly opposite, signed as a public footpath.

You will pass a pumping station (dating from 1939) and the Engineer’s House on the right. Immediately afterwards, fork right to join the enclosed signed footpath, with a tall wire fence on the right. The path swings right, still following the line of the fence and you will see the pumping station visible within the grounds on the right. The path swings right then left, now with fenced water meadows and sheep pastures on the right.

The path winds its way around the edge of the meadows and then joins the right-hand edge of a large open crop field to continue its journey. Across to the right you will pass a series of large ponds fed by the River Gade. The pools have been used for fish production since 1928 by the firm L Cura and Sons.

You will come to a stile ahead, cross this (or you will probably find the gate alongside unlocked) and keep straight ahead along the right-hand edge of a private lawn meadow. On the right you will pass the beautiful flint and brick building of Gaddesden Hall.

Gaddesden Hall to End
Gaddesden Hall to End

Start point: 51.775 lat, -0.4897 long
End point: 51.7816 lat, -0.4925 long

Gaddesden Hall manor house was first recorded in 1200 as a sub-manor of the nearby Great Gaddesden estate. The house was originally called Southall, but has been known as Gaddesden Hall since the 1600s.

Keep ahead, still with the fence on the right, and in the corner of the meadow cross the stile ahead (again the gate alongside is likely to be unlocked). Immediately after the stile, turn right down the short slope and keep straight ahead along the tarmac drive, passing a garage block on the right.

A little way along on the left, you’ll pass Noake Mill and its adjacent mill house. The mill housed a youth hostel in the 1930s. Immediately after the mill, the drive leads you back over the River Gade. Here you can see the clarity of the river’s water. The Gade rises as a chalk spring in the Chiltern Hills and has played an important role within the area’s commercial success for many years. Aside from driving the various mills and supplying the fish pools, the river was also home to commercial watercress beds until 1947, when the water supply was diverted to supply the growing needs of the town of Hemel Hempstead. Watercress thrived in the chalk river as it stays at a constant cool temperature throughout the year.

At the end of the tarmac drive you will emerge to a T-junction with the main road. Turn left along the pavement and follow this passing a handful of commercial and residential properties. Soon, you will reach the Red Lion on the left for some well-earned hospitality.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


1 responses to "The Red Lion and Water End"

Enjoyable walk from the Red Lion Waterend. Easy to follow route, even where the footpath took unexpected turns. Had done some of this walk before using O/S map, but instructions and particularly the additional information were very useful. Much of the walk is on field edges, so no real problems with mud. Worth stopping to look for water birds at the fish farm . We saw heron, egret, cormorant, dabchick and (best of all) a kingfisher, in just a few minutes. Enjoyed an excellent cup of coffee and croissants at the Red Lion (pity they have stopped doing their coffee for a pound promotion though).

By Davidhead on 2014-11-13 17:43:39

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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4 images to "The Red Lion and Water End"

3728_0Richard1414489054  The Red Lion and Water End - pub walk in Hertfordshire Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
This is a view in section one of the walk. we were rewarded at this point by seeing a deer on the brow of the hill just next to the pylon... walk to the left hand side of the hedge.
3728_1Richard1414489054  The Red Lion and Water End - pub walk in Hertfordshire Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
This is a view of Piccotts End Mill. You can see the course of the mill's water opposite, now a ditch. My guess is that water still flows underground here as there are several man hole covers.
3728_2Richard1414489054  The Red Lion and Water End - pub walk in Hertfordshire Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
A view of the many fish ponds near the end of the walk. They are fed from the River Gade.
3728_0Richard1414489900  The Red Lion and Water End - pub walk in Hertfordshire Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
The lovely brickwork and chimneys of Gadsden Hall.

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