Welcome to Hertfordshire Walker

A growing collection of walks all free to download and enjoy

Walk 131: Frithsden E Loop

Woodland, rolling hills, fairy doors and two pubs

4.9 miles (7.9km) and 600ft of ascent


Great Gaddesden footpath 67 crossing Nettleden Road (point 8)
Great Gaddesden footpath 67 crossing Nettleden Road (point 8)

This is the second walk in our collection that starts and finishes at The Alford Arms in the hamlet of Frithsden. The other, Walk 116: Frithsden NW Loop (5.9 miles), explores the countryside to the west, this one explores the footpaths and byways to the east. It’s a hilly walk, so be prepared for some serious ups and downs, but it’s worth it for the views.

Several sections of this walk cut through woodland which, in late April, have impressive displays of bluebells.

If you have children walking with you they might enjoy looking for the fairy doors attached to fences and trees from point 8 to point 12, see image below.

The fairy doors started as an initiative to keep children busy and get them out in the fresh air during lockdown as part of locally organised ‘wellbeing Wednesdays’. The idea was to place hand-coloured fairy doors around Great Gaddesden village and in the local woods.

All the fairy doors had message on them. According to one of the organisers, “We did this in the hope of cheering up just one person on their walks, and in the hope that those with young children would go out and see our fairy doors and just enjoy the beautiful surroundings”.

From that simple beginning the idea took off with others contributing to the Great Gaddesden fairy door wellbeing project. Look out for them as you enjoy the walk.

One of the many fairy doors attached to fences and posts in Great Gaddesden
One of the many fairy doors attached to fences and posts in Great Gaddesden

Directions


Map for Walk 131: Frithsden E Loop Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors There is an interactive map below these directions
Map for Walk 131: Frithsden E Loop
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors

There is an interactive map below these directions

Those with GPS devices can download GPX or KML files for this walk. We've added What3Words location 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.

The footpath opposite The Alford Arms heading SW and uphill (point 1)
The footpath opposite The Alford Arms heading SW and uphill (point 1)

1: From The Alford Arms in Frithsden (location - https://w3w.co/fish.late.labels) take the footpath on the opposite side of the road, see image above. Follow this path, Nettleden with Potten End footpath 17, as it heads SW climbing for 900m until it reaches a residential road, Frithsden Copse (location - https://w3w.co/gifts.hint.librarian).

The footpath heading SW from Frithsden Copse (point 2)
The footpath heading SW from Frithsden Copse (point 2)

2: Cross Frithsden Copse and continue heading SW for 150m until you reach a footpath junction. Ignore the first turn on your left, which is one of two forks for Nettleden with Potten End bridleway 24. Instead continue to the second left turn (location - https://w3w.co/precautions.loss.either), which is also a fork of Nettleden with Potten End bridleway 24 (see image below). Here you turn left heading E for 60m until you reach Nettleden Road (location - https://w3w.co/treat.taps.wide).

Take the second left turn on Nettleden with Potten End bridleway 24 (point 2)
Take the second left turn on Nettleden with Potten End bridleway 24 (point 2)

3: When you reach Nettleden Road turn right and head SE for 30m looking out for a footpath on your left (location - https://w3w.co/hello.tiles.fairly), see image below.

Nettleden with Potten End bridleway 22 heading SE off Nettleden Road
Nettleden with Potten End bridleway 22 heading SE off Nettleden Road 

Take this path, Nettleden with Potten End bridleway 22, which is also The Hertfordshire Way. Follow it SE for 630m through the woods, across the golf course, and through more woodland until you reach The Common (location - https://w3w.co/gave.extra.useful).

4: Turn left on The Common. and head ENE for 60m before turning right on Hempstead Lane and heading SE for 130m where you will find Martins’ Pond, a pub/restaurant opposite the village pond (location - https://w3w.co/rail.stroke.basis).

From Martins Pond head N with the village pond on your left and along The Green for 120m until you reach The Common, again. Turn right on The Common and head ENE for 170m until you reach a road on your left. Cross the road heading NE to a footpath on the left at the side of an access road (location - https://w3w.co/broken.rock.dozed).

5: This is Nettleden with Potten End footpath 5 which you follow NE for 150m until the path forks. (location - https://w3w.co/banks.liability.tubes), see image below.

Take the left fork and head NE
Take the left fork and head NE

It doesn't matter which fork you take because both end up in the same place, but we took left fork and continued heading NE for 170m looking out for a footpath on the right (location - https://w3w.co/stray.rainy.pulse).

6: Take this path Nettleden with Potten End bridleway 6 and head SE for 80m crossing a path along the way and continuing until you reach a residential road (location - https://w3w.co/fact.rock.divide).

This is Browns Spring. Turn left here and head NE up the road for 130m until you reach the end where you will find a footpath (location - https://w3w.co/visits.record.ashes), see image below.

The footpath mentioned in point 6 above
The footpath mentioned in point 6 above

7: Take this path, Nettleden with Potten End footpath 32, and continue heading NE for 190m until you reach a footpath junction.

Turn left on Nettleden with Potten End footpath 31 and head NE for 380m until the footpath bends to the left and heads NW for 130m to a junction in the track (location - https://w3w.co/finds.curry.office), see image below.

The junction mentioned in point 7 where you turn right
The junction mentioned in point 7 where you turn right

8: Turn right here, still on Nettleden with Potten End footpath 31, and head NNE for 55m at which point the track you are on becomes Great Gaddesden footpath 67, see image below. 

* Tell any children walking with you to start looking out for fairy doors from this point onwards.

A walker standing at the start of Great Gaddesden footpath 67 (point 8)
A walker standing at the start of Great Gaddesden footpath 67 (point 8)

Continue heading NNE for 280m until you reach Nettleden Road (location - https://w3w.co/shaped.boat.brave).

Cross Nettleden Road and continue uphill towards the woodland
Cross Nettleden Road and continue uphill towards the woodland

Cross the Nettleden Road (see image above) and continue on Great Gaddesden footpath 67, now heading N and uphill for 280m until you reach Highpark Wood (location - https://w3w.co/filer.launch.case).

9: When you enter Highpark Wood continue straight and uphill heading NNE along Great Gaddesden footpath 67 for 90m until you reach a junction (location - https://w3w.co/settle.punch.loudly). Here Great Gaddesden footpath 67 bends to the right (see image below - follow the direction of the yellow arrow).

At the junction follow Great Gaddesden footpath 67 as it bends to the right
At the junction follow Great Gaddesden footpath 67 as it bends to the right

Continues through Highpark Wood heading ENE for 570m before emerging from the woodland (see image below).

The path after emerging from Highpark Wood
The path emerging from Highpark Wood

Continue heading downhill for another 110m to a junction with a gate on your right, see image below (location - https://w3w.co/composers.towns.tubes).

Turn left at the gate, don’t go through it
Turn left at the gate and head NNW

* At this point you could take a short detour through the gate to visit the watercress beds on your right.

10: Turn left at the gate, now on Great Gaddesden footpath 68, and follow it NNW for 520m until you reach Piper’s Hill (location - https://w3w.co/behave.mental.putty).

11: Turn right on Piper’s Hill and then turn left on Church Meadow and up to St John the Baptist church.

Turn right at the front of the church and follow the path round the right side of the church and up to a path leading through the churchyard to Great Gaddesden footpath 1 (location - https://w3w.co/paints.vital.debate), see image below.

The gate leading to Great Gaddesden footpath 1
The gate leading to Great Gaddesden footpath 1

Follow Great Gaddesden footpath 1 NW and uphill for 270m until it becomes Great Gaddesden footpath 78 and continues uphill heading WNW for 470m until it reaches St Margarets (location - https://w3w.co/continued.stack.lentil).

12: Here you turn left for 10m and take the footpath on your right just before a house. This is Great Gaddesden footpath 76 (location - https://w3w.co/form.thorax.corrupted).

Follow this footpath SSW, with the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery on your right, and continue for 330m until you reach the end of the monastery’s grounds (location - https://w3w.co/fries.trendy.shares). At this point the path becomes Nettleden with Potten End footpath 9 and continues heading S for 640m until you reach Nettleden Road in Nettleden (location - https://w3w.co/walks.rooms.flock).

13: Here you turn left and head E for 20m before taking a track on your right called Roman Road (location - https://w3w.co/since.lung.nails).

This road, or more accurately a track which goes through a steep cutting, is also known locally as Spooky Lane which goes under Devil’s Bridge and is said to be haunted, see image below.

Devil’s Bridge along Spooky Lane
Devil’s Bridge along Spooky Lane (Roman Road)

Head S up Roman Road / Spooky Lane, a steep climb, for 350m before the track heads downhill for 420m to The Alford Arms and the starting point.

* If you are spooked by the local superstitions you can take Nettleden with Potten End footpath 8 which runs parallel to Roman Road and end up in the same place further down this route. The entrance to footpath 8 is on the left at the start of Roman Road just before the cutting. It rejoins Roman Road just beyond Devil’s Bridge (location - https://w3w.co/diner.wallet.market). When footpath 8 rejoins Roman Road turn left and continue heading S for 500m to the starting point.

If you enjoy this walk we have another that starts and finishes in Frithsden. It is Walk 116: Frithsden NW Loop (5.9 miles).

This walk was inspired by our occasional walking companions Sophie and Mike who introduced us to Frithsden and this part of Hertfordshire, and who accompanied us when we tested this walk before publishing.

Interactive map