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Walk 116: Frithsden North-West Loop

5.9 miles (9.5 km) with 176m total ascent

Great Gaddesden bridleway 10 mentioned in point 4 below Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Great Gaddesden bridleway 10 mentioned in point 4
This is an excellent walk which mixes woodland, hills, valleys, cute hamlets, and open views across the undulating Hertfordshire countryside. It starts and ends at a pub that serves lovely food and superb beer. The route passes through Frithsden Beeches. Be prepared for several ups and downs; you need to be able to climb hills for this walk. And it can be muddy in places, so if you are worried about slipping you might want to take a stick.


Note: This walk crosses over a golf course

Map for Walk 116: Frithsden NW Loop Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors There is an interactive map at the end of these directions with KML and GPX data
Map for Walk 116: Frithsden North-West Loop
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors

There is an interactive map below the directions
Those with GPS devices can download GPX or KML files for this walk. We've added What3Words references for those who use that system. If you print these walks you might want to use the green PrintFriendly icon at the bottom of these directions to delete elements such as photographs.

Park along the lane outside The Alford Arms, but please check whether any parking restrictions have been introduced since this walk was written. (Location https://w3w.co/harp.land.rails).

Spooky Lane and Devil's Bridge - see point 1 below
1: Head NNE and uphill along Roman Road for 380m until the lane becomes a track. Here you continue NNE along a track known as Spooky Lane that runs between walls and under Devil's Bridge. Continue heading NNE for 360m until you reach Nettledon Road.

2: Turn left and head WNW along Nettledon Road for 50m looking out for a footpath on the right. Take this path, Nettledon with Potten End footpath 9, and head N for 590m at which point your path crosses a parish boundary and becomes Great Gaddesden footpath 76. Continue heading NNE for 310m until you reach a lane called St Margarets.

3: Turn left on the lane and pass the Amaravati Bhuddist Monastery on the left. Follow the lane NW for 690m until it becomes a track. Continue NW along this byway, Little Gaddesden BOAT 9 (byway open to all traffic) for 1.4km until you reach a bridleway on the left (location - https://w3w.co/relegate.angle.sticks)

4: Take this track, Great Gaddesden bridleway 10, and walk downhill for 920m as the bridleway heads SW, then bends SSE and then bends SW again before it reaches Nettleden Road, Little Gaddesden.

Footpath 7 continues between low brick walls to a metal gate - see point 5

At the metal gate continue following footpath 7 downhill Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
At the metal gate continue diagonally left and downhill on footpath 7

5: Turn right and head NW for 130m along Nettleden Road looking out for a footpath on the left. Take this path, Little Gaddesden footpath 7 and head SSW through the woodland following the path as it cuts between some low brick edging before reaching a metal gate (see images above). Here you continue SSW following Little Gaddesden footpath 7 downhill through the woodland to a clearing. At this point continue heading SSW and uphill, still on Little Gaddesden footpath 7, for 1.1km to Hillingdon Road.

Footpath 33 entering Frithsden Beeches Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Footpath 33 entering Frithsden Beeches - see point 6 below
6: Cross Hillingdon Road and take Northchurch bridleway 49 which heads S out of the lay-by (location - https://w3w.co/patch.directors.longingly).  Follow this bridleway as it turns SSE and heads uphill through the woods for 100m at which point it bends to the left at a clearing. Continue for 120m keeping the woodland on your left and the field on your right until you cross a paved track. Cross this track and continue heading S for 220m on Northchurch bridleway 49 through the woodland until you enter Frithsden Beeches.

Footpath 33 through Frithsden Beeches Image by Hertfordshire Walker released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Footpath 33 through Frithsden Beeches
7: Continue heading S through the woodland for 220m until you reach a junction in the track. Continue heading SSE, then SSW, now on Northchurch footpath 54, for another 270m until you reach another junction in the track.

8: Turn left here on the Hertfordshire Way, which is also Northchurch bridleway 33, and head SE through woodland and across a golf course for 600m to the point where the track splits (location - https://w3w.co/booklets.kiosk.lives). You take the left fork and continue on Northchurch bridleway 33 across the golf course fairway for 170m until you reach a lane (location - https://w3w.co/chains.tricycle.reporting).

9: Cross the lane and continue heading SE now along Nettledon with Potten End bridleway 24 for 650m ignoring the first junction on the left. Continue to the second footpath junction on your left (location - https://w3w.co/wiped.talent.verse).

10: Turn left here and head NE along Nettledon with Potten End footpath 17 for 900m back to The Alford Arms.

Interactive map


  1. A wonderful walk! Walked today with a friend who lives nearby but had never walked the area, and we were not disappointed - a little out of breath maybe, with the hills, but the effort required was well worth it! Spooky Lane is just amazing, the countryside fabulous and the woodlands wonderful. A lovely route, with great, easy to follow instructions - thank you x

    1. Hi Cathy,
      Glad you enjoyed it. We have done that walk a few times and it never disappoints.
      Thanks for the feedback.

  2. Enjoyed the work but managed to get really lost at stage 5. When you emerge from the woodland it isn't immediately obvious which path to take. Best advice is to ignore paths into woodland or the one following the valley floor. Head uphill on grassland with wood on your right and you will eventually reach a metal gate and the welcome sign saying footpath 7.

    1. Sorry you got lost. That is a difficult stretch to describe, which is why I added pictures, What3Words, and GPS files. I hope it didn't spoil your walk.

  3. Hi Dave you do say it’s an up and down walk and I knew it would be having walked a previous walk from The Alford Arms. Great stretch past the monastery, the the amazing Beech Trees.. Thanks yet again. IR.

    1. Hi Ian, Yes, this walk certainly get's the muscles and heart working. We love it. And we usually try to fit in a visit to the excellent Alford Arms after the walk. Glad you liked it.

  4. Hi I totally agree, I asked if I could park in their car park and returned for refreshments 🤣😂

    1. I usually park in the lane. Nice to know they were helpful regarding parking.

  5. How long does this walk take please?

    1. It's really hard to say without knowing how fit you are and how fast you walk. The walk is 5.9 miles long. The average walking speed is between 2.5 to 4 mph. So let's guess you walk about 3 miles per hour, then it will take you about 2 hours. If you walk slower it will be longer, and if you stop to admire the view, even longer. Sorry I can't be more specific. I suggest you allow 3 hours to be on the safe side. I hope you enjoy the walk.


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