It turns out that Little Gaddesden has more than it’s fair share of the rich and famous; Motty (John Motson), Mark Webber, Luther Blissett, Tim Sherwood, Adrian Scarborough, Roger Bolton, Fiona Bruce and Ronnie Wood all live here…not bad for tiny village hidden away at the back end of Hemel and Berkhamsted. That being said, there’s no sign of any of them as we park up as usual, opposite the Bridgewater Arms. Sue mutters something about sensible people still being in bed…it is 8-30am!
The cold morning air is heavy with a dank fog and the forecast had not been promising. We walk south through the village, past the memorial cross to Lady Adelaide Brownlow, placed ostentatiously outside the manor house in the village, and head off across the fields to Nettleden. By the time we arrive at Nettleden the weak morning sun has mostly burnt off the mist and the outlook is starting to look promising. Turning right out of Nettleden we walk up a sunken path, built by the aforementioned Brownlow family to prevent the view from their main drive being spoilt by poor people going to work. Known locally as Spooky Lane (apparently haunted by a monk from the local monastery) we bravely push on to Frithsden and Berkhamsted golf course beyond. By the time we reach the golf course the skies are deep blue and, in the sun, it’s beautifully warm.
We take a brief diversion on Berkhamsted Common to view the trenches dug by The Inns of Courts Officer Training Corps, ‘The Devils Own’, stationed at Berkhamsted during WW1. Honestly, it’s a bit disappointing but it provides a well needed break. The walk back takes us past Ashridge College, formerly the Brownlow’s family home but now a business school, and arrive back at Little Gaddesden by midday. A 9.2 mile walk that’s taken us 3 1/2 hrs and still no sign of Motty!
(Postcode for Satnav HP4 1PD)
Nettleden picture gallery