The remarkable Chilterns AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) forms the breathtaking backdrop to this month’s rural circuit, which commences and concludes in the pretty Hertfordshire hamlet of Frithsden. Leading across agricultural land, down country lanes, through wonderful stretches of woodland, and even past the county’s only vineyard, before arriving back at the Alford Arms in the heart of Frithsden, wayfarers will indulge in a real taste of the Hertfordshire countryside here…

Great British Life: The Alford Arms is the walk’s starting point (C) The Alford Arms The Alford Arms is the walk’s starting point (C) The Alford Arms


● Leave the Alford Arms’ car park via the vehicle entrance, turning right along the road. Immediately after passing the pub’s front, turn right onto a small village lane signed as the ‘Icknield Way’.

● Keep straight ahead on this lane, climbing steadily between properties. Keep an eye out for any traffic which may be travelling past you here.

● A little further along you'll pass Frithsden Vineyard on your right. Here, the lane begins to climb towards some trees. At the top of the incline you'll pass the entrance for ‘Highridge Farm’ on your left. Here, take a moment to enjoy your first sweeping view of the rolling Chiltern Hills!

● Ahead of you (a little to the left) you’ll catch a glimpse of a white building within the trees. This is Ashridge House.

Great British Life: Frithsden (C) Vanessa PaisleyFrithsden (C) Vanessa Paisley

● Keep straight ahead on the narrow footpath between hedgerows. At a fork in the path, keep left, staying on the main path as it descends fairly steeply between impressive tall flint and brick walls. This track, (‘Roman Lane’), was an old access drive to Ashridge House. Follow the track under the bridge to emerge beside Nettleden Farm. Keep ahead along this lane to reach a t-junction.

● Cross the road and turn left for a few metres, taking care of any oncoming traffic, before turning right to join the public footpath signed to ‘St Margarets’.

● Pass through the staggered barrier and follow the path as it climbs between hedgerows.

● The path will lead you through a number of tunnels of ancient trees. At the top of the incline the path will level off. Here, keep ahead on the path, passing a campsite on your left.

● Continue straight through the woodland to emerge to a gravel driveway. Keep ahead on this, passing a property to your right. You'll emerge at another t-junction.

Great British Life: Nettleden (C) @chilternphotographyNettleden (C) @chilternphotography

● Turn left to pass the entrance to Amaravati Buddhist Monastery on your left.

● Immediately after the monastery entrance on the left, look for a small track to the right. Do not take the track itself, but look for a wooden gate set within the hedge to the right. Pass through this.

● Follow the fenced footpath which runs around the outside of a horse paddock, before following the path gently downhill.

● Pass through a kissing gate to enter a large open field, continuing ahead through it. In the far corner pass through another kissing gate and keep left to enter the next field.

● Cross diagonally to reach the opposite corner where you'll see a choice of two kissing gates. Take the right-hand one into a section of the church graveyard, before passing through the gate into the main churchyard (on your left). Follow the stone path which runs to the left of the church.

● Follow this path past the front of the church, turn left to pass the war memorial and leave the churchyard via a gate.

● You will join a tarmac drive, with the village school on your left. Follow the drive until it reaches the main road. Cross, and turn right for just a few paces. Ignore the stile on your left, and take the track immediately after (a footpath for ‘Nettleden Road’).

● Keep left and join the narrow fenced footpath ahead, emerging to the corner of a large crop field. Keep ahead along the left-hand boundary. In the corner you'll arrive at a junction of paths.

● Turn left through a kissing gate into the ‘Water End’ water meadows, part of the Gaddesden Estate. Walk across the centre, heading for the wooden footbridge. Do not cross the bridge!

● With the footbridge in front of you, turn right onto the path alongside the river (on your left) heading for the telegraph pole. A bridge will lead you over a stream and alongside the telegraph pole you'll see a waymarker for the ‘Chiltern Way’ footpath.

● Follow this, bearing right away from the power lines, and stay on the grass path through the water meadows. In the far right corner pass through a pair of gates to reach ‘Nettleden Road’. Turn right along the grass verge and after just a short distance cross over to turn left through the wooden kissing gate to join the path to ‘Potten End Hill.’

● Follow the path ahead as it inclines to reach the woodland ahead ‘Heizdin's Wood,’ entering the wood and following the path as it leads through its centre. Continue until you reach a footpath post on your right.

● Fork to the right, leaving the main track to join a smaller path heading down. Follow this path (marked with yellow arrows) until you emerge into an open field.

● Keep straight ahead on the stone path through the centre of the crops. Take a moment here to enjoy the glorious views ahead and down the valley to the right!

● Stay on the main path as it descends steadily heading for the buildings of Crossways Farm ahead. At a fenced paddock, turn left, before turning right at the corner to join a fenced path with the paddock now on your right.

● You’ll soon emerge at a t-junction where you’ll need to turn left, and stick to the grass verge.

● Pass Folly's Farm sanctuary for donkeys on your left, and follow the road as it bends to the right, and then left.

● After the left-hand bend, turn right into the smaller side road signed to ‘Frithsden’. Follow for a short distance until you arrive back at the Alford Arms where today’s circuit concludes.


Steps, stats & stiles: At just under 6 km (3.7 miles) long, this month's route takes an average of 1 hour 45 minutes to complete at a steady pace, without any stops. It is strongly recommended, however, that ramblers build in some additional time to allow for various stops to admire their surroundings, or do a spot of bird watching. This circular route contains a mixture of terrains, including tarmac roads, gravel, and open landscape. Walkers should ensure that they are wearing appropriate footwear.

Make a day of it: You caught a glimpse of it whilst completing today’s circuit, so why not make a beeline to Ashridge Estate for some further exploration? Managed today by the National Trust, Ashridge Estate is a 5,000 acre area of the Chilterns Hills. The estate has beech and oak woodlands, commons and chalk downlands, each supporting a rich variety of wildlife. The best way to explore the Ashridge Estate is on foot or by bike. Miles of footpaths and bridleways give you plenty of space to explore!

Discover more at:

Refreshments: We simply couldn't recommend anywhere better positioned to fuel up pre-walk, or reward yourself upon completion of this month’s circuit, than the Alford Arms - situated in the heart of Frithsden, and providing the perfect start and end point to this route. Settle into this award-winning (and oh-so-aesthetically-pleasing!) pub where you’ll enjoy an ever-changing menu bursting with seasonal and local ingredients, alongside a great selection of wines, spirits, and beers!

Book a table ahead on the heated terrace, or within the restaurant if it's a particularly chilly day. This friendly pub gem always keeps its bar tables free for walk-ins, and what’s more, your four-legged family member is very welcome to join you in the bar, or on the terrace!

To make a booking, or simply find out more about the Alford Arms, visit their website at:

Route followed: For this month’s route we followed the ‘Alford Arms and the Chiltern Hills Circular’ map on the AllTrails app.