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The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate

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The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate
Author: Claire, Published: 15 Apr 2017 Walk Rating:star1 The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide star1 The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide star1 The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide star1 The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide star1 The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide
Hertfordshire, Hemel Hempstead
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide boot The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide
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0002_sunny_intervals The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide Today's weather
15 °C, Partly cloudy, Wind: 11 mph SSW
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0001_sunny The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide 0017_cloudy_with_light_rain The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide 0009_light_rain_showers The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide

A 5 mile circular pub walk from the Old Chequers in Gaddesden Row, Hertfordshire. The Old Chequers is an independent, family run pub serving delicious fresh food, where walkers and their canine pals are made very welcome. The walking route explores the stunning surrounding Hertfordshire countryside, discovering the picturesque and historic Gaddesden Estate and a stretch of the Chiltern Way. You will enjoy peaceful tracks leading you between rolling fields and pockets of mixed woodland with expansive views throughout. Along the way, you will see some of the estate’s historic buildings including Gaddesden Place and the Golden Parsonage.

The walk is relatively flat for the most part, with just a few gentle slopes. The chalk paths can get very muddy in winter and after periods of rain. There are no stiles on route. The first mile (to Briden’s Camp) has no gates and follows wide chalk tracks, so in dry periods a 2 mile ‘there and back’ version of the route would be suitable for rugged pushchairs and rugged disability buggies. For the remainder of the route, you will need to negotiate a few kissing gates plus some gaps alongside vehicle gates. You will cross a couple of horse paddocks (although the horses barely noticed us when we walked through) and two sheep pastures, so take particular care with dogs at these points. There is a 300 metre stretch along the edge of a country lane which needs care. Allow 2.5 hours.

Gaddesden Row is located in the Chiltern Hills, north of Hemel Hempstead. The walk starts and finishes at the Old Chequers pub which has its own car park. Approximate post code HP2 6HH.

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Walk Sections

Start to Big Wood Crossroads
Start to Big Wood Crossroads

Start point: 51.7995 lat, -0.4681 long
End point: 51.7885 lat, -0.484 long

Standing in the front car park with your back to the pub, turn right along the wide grass verge (passing the pub’s garden on your right). Continue past Holly Cottage on your right and immediately afterwards, turn right onto the public footpath (signed to Briden’s Camp). Follow this short stretch of enclosed track (this can be boggy) which soon emerges to the corner of a crop field. Keep straight ahead with the crop field on your right and a hedgerow on your left.

Follow this field-edge path, through the dip and up the other side. Continue just until you reach a wide gap in the hedge on your left, with a wide field gate visible through this gap. Dog-leg left (through the hedge gap) and then right to join the grass track with a wire fence on your left. When the wire fence on your left ends, continue ahead on the track following the hedgerow on your right.

Simply keep ahead, ignoring any tracks off to the left and right. Later, this main track begins to swing right, passing the woodland known as Big Wood on your right. This woodland is awash with bluebells and their scent in the late spring. At the end of this unmade track, pass through (or alongside) a gateway to reach a crossroads of tracks (with a fingerpost to your left).

Big Wood Crossroads to Gaddesden Place
Big Wood Crossroads to Gaddesden Place

Start point: 51.7885 lat, -0.484 long
End point: 51.79 lat, -0.4959 long

Turn right to join the stone access track, with the woodland on your right and beautiful views across the rolling hills on your left. Continue to the end of this access track, passing a row of terraced cottages on your right to reach a T-junction with the road in Briden’s Camp.

NOTE: This next 300 metre stretch follows the edge of this country lane, so take care of traffic, particularly on the bends. Turn right along the road edge, with the cricket field across to your left. Follow the road as it bends left and then right, passing the entrance for Gaddesden Place Stables on your left. Continue along the road edge for another 100 metres, to reach the entrance for Home Farm Business Centre on your left. Turn left here onto the driveway, signed as Public Footpath 22 to Gaddesden Row.

Follow the driveway ahead, passing through the gap to the right of the large vehicle gate. 50 metres later, ignore the permissive horse path to the left, instead keep ahead for another 40 metres to reach a pair of field gates on your left. Turn left here, passing through the gap or small gate alongside the field gates, to enter a large grass field. With your back to the field gates, walk at about 1 o’clock (signed as Footpath 21 to Gaddesden Place). Follow this grass track through the field centre, with views of the beautiful Victorian Home Farm across to your right.

At the far side of the field, you will reach a bridle gate ahead. NOTE: You will be sharing the next two fields with horses and there are also electric fences around, so take care with children and dogs. Go through the gate and walk diagonally right (about 1 o’clock) to reach a metal gate at the far side (this was marked with two colourful flags when we walked). Use this gate to enter the second paddock and go ahead through the centre, heading just to the right of the woodland that sits at the side of the manor house, Gaddesden Place. You will come to a metal gate at the far side, with the manor house just to your left. Do NOT exit the paddock, but it is worth pausing here to learn more about the manor house.

Gaddesden Place to Marsh Wood
Gaddesden Place to Marsh Wood

Start point: 51.79 lat, -0.4959 long
End point: 51.794 lat, -0.4938 long

Gaddesden Place, today owned by Charles Moir, is used as a private house and also as the headquarters for Moir’s firm of software developers. Built in 1768 for the Hasley family, it was the first work of the architect James Wyatt, later responsible for the famous Pantheon in London and buried in Westminster Abbey. The house has been used as a location for many TV dramas, commercials and films including episodes of Lewis, Foyle’s War, Hustle, Jeeves and Wooster, Little Britain and Spooks.

Still within the horse paddock, turn right and follow the paddock edge (with a wire fence on your left) down to the bottom corner. Go through the bridle gate ahead to enter the large grass pasture (which may be holding sheep). If you glance to your left here, you will see a village with a stone church nestled in the valley bottom. This is Great Gaddesden, alongside the River Gade, and gives you an idea of the beautiful views that the manor house enjoys.

Walk straight ahead on the grass track, heading gently uphill and passing under the minor power lines. You have now joined the Chiltern Way. As you approach the top of the pasture, with the power lines still on your right, swing right under the power lines (passing a beautiful old fallen tree on your right). Follow the grass track which leads you through a wide wooden gate to enter Marsh Wood.

Marsh Wood to Gaddesden Row
Marsh Wood to Gaddesden Row

Start point: 51.794 lat, -0.4938 long
End point: 51.8053 lat, -0.4787 long

Follow the wide track ahead into the woodland, going ahead at the crossroads and passing the rear of the buildings at Home Farm on your right. At the far side of the wood you will emerge via a gateway to reach a staggered junction with a stone vehicle track. Go straight ahead to merge onto this stone track and follow it between hedgerows, trees and crop fields. Soon, another of the beautiful historic buildings within Gaddesden Estate comes into view ahead, the red brick Golden Parsonage.

It is worth pausing here, to understand the history of the Gaddesden Estate. The Hasley family were documented as the tenant farmers for this land (then owned by a Priory) back in 1520. In 1544, soon after the dissolution of the monasteries, the Hasley family bought the land from the crown. The family continued to farm the area and built the Golden Parsonage as the family home in the early 1700s. When the family felt that the Golden Parsonage had become outdated, they commissioned and moved into Gaddesden Place in 1768. The Parsonage was converted to a school and stayed that way for 60 years. Gaddesden Place remained the principal mansion house until Sir Thomas Halsey returned to the Golden Parsonage in 1950. Members of the Hasley family still reside in the Golden Parsonage and it is from here that they care for the estate.

Before you reach the Golden Parsonage, you will come to a gateway with a fingerpost on your right. Pass through the gateway and then immediately fork left on the path heading diagonally across the field. This grass path leads you to a kissing gate at the edge of a sheep pasture. Go through the gate and continue in the same direction, passing just to the left of the collection of old trees sitting in the centre of the field. At the far side, exit via a kissing gate and continue on a narrow, fenced path to reach the corner of a grass area.

Turn left, following the left-hand edge of this grass area (with trees and a hedgerow on your left). You will come to a T-junction with a vehicle driveway, with the gate for a pretty black and white property, The Lane House, on your left. Turn right, following the drive away from the house, and continue to reach a T-junction with the road, Gaddesden Row.

Gaddesden Row to End
Gaddesden Row to End

Start point: 51.8053 lat, -0.4787 long
End point: 51.7996 lat, -0.4682 long

Cross over the road with care and go ahead into the access drive (signed as a byway to Ballingdon Bottom). Pass the school on your left and continue ahead to join the pretty green track, lined with hedgerows. At the first crossroads, you will see a yellow-topped waymarker post. Here we leave the Chiltern Way.

Turn right and follow the track with a crop field on your left and a tree line on your right (Note: the official right of way actually runs to the right of the tree line, but this track is the accepted permissive route). At the end of the field, pass through the large hedge gap ahead to reach a junction with a quiet country lane. Turn right along the lane, taking care of traffic, for just 60 metres and then turn left onto the bridleway.

Follow this bridleway with a woodland on your right and fenced horse paddocks on your left. You are now heading into the Upperwood Farm Stud, so you will notice the horses in the surrounding paddocks are thoroughbred racehorses. You will reach a junction of tracks, with a circular horse-walker on your left. Turn right here and follow the farm driveway, passing through (or alongside) the entrance gates (noting the carved owl on the left-hand gatepost). When we walked (in April), the paddock on the left had many mares with adorable young foals. At the end of the drive you will reach the road, Gaddesden Row. Turn left along this for just a few metres and you will come to the Old Chequers on your right for some well-earned hospitality.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


1 comments for "The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate"

Very good clear directions an easy walk

By spongegrease on 07 Jul 2017

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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3 gallery images for "The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate"

7847_0Richard1492282485 The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 15 Apr 2017
The pictures do not do justice to this very picturesque walk. With views of the rolling hills of Hertfordshire, lovely hedgerows, dense woodlands and green pastures.
7847_1Richard1492282486 The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 15 Apr 2017
The fields near the Golden Parsonage were full of dandelions.
7847_2Richard1492282486 The Old Chequers and Gaddesden Estate Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 15 Apr 2017
These lovely boys galloped over to see us as we neared the end of our walk.

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