Herts Embraced 1.3: Bovingdon to Hockeridge Bottom

1:30, eating lunch at a pub.  I am well into the Chilterns now.

Crossing Bovingdon Churchyard still following the Hertfordshire Way, the route soon led out across the vast expanse of the Little Heath Golf Course. It needs care, but the route can be followed. Then the A41 is crossed for the first time, to Bourne End.  From here the path turns west, and into the hills.

After crossing back over the A41, the route drops down to the county border at Bottom Farm. Then it climbs again.  I began to realise that I added wide loops to the route just for the sake of keeping on or as close as possible to the county border. It makes for an interesting walk most of the time, but in the hills it adds ups and downs. Picturesque ones though.

The dogs at Harriotts End Farm so vocal in their criticism of my passing, did have a point:  the farm track west of the farm is not a public right of way, so the route should be diverted. I descended to Hockeridge Bottom, which valley bottom marks the county border, but found no linking path, so as it was past 1, I crossed into Buckinghamshire to find a pub (The Golden Eagle in Ashley Green – to be recommended). When I have finished filling my belly I will wobble back down to the Bottom and follow the border path along and out to the next objective.

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Herts Embraced 1.2 – Chorleywood to Bovingdon

10:30: Bovingdon.

A very pleasant morning’s walk so far, and very little road walking. Across the Common and through the Chorleywood House Estate down to the Chess, drowsing in the sun.  (Not too hot yet either.)  For most of this stretch, the Chess marks the county border.  Some of the paths are familiar, but there are whole new stretches.

Climbing from the Chess is a series of bridleways to Flaunden, then narrow cut-through paths until just outside Bovingdon I met the Hertfordshire Way for the first time on this journey, leading to the village.

The village pond is dried up – no wonder after this summer.  I am currently resting a moment in the four and a half acres of the churchyard of St Lawrence’s Church, before setting off for Bourne End.

The Chess
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Herts Embraced 1.1 – Chorleywood start

Chorleywood Station, 7:30 start.  An array of commuters wondering why an otherwise outwardly respectable character amongst them is dressed roughly for as if for hillwalking with compass and Explorer map and walking boots.

Down to Shire Lane, the county border, and the first step on the Hertfordshire Border Walk.

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Herts Embraced: a walk around Hertfordshire

The Herts Embraced walk begins in the morning.  The adventure is to walk the whole border of Hertfordshire clockwise, on the principles I have outlined before. It is daunting in the heat we have been having, but I am hopeful of cooler days.  I am counting on nothing though, and I am aware of being drained by the last week, when I was away in Germany, roasted under a hotter sun.  The last walk I did to re-open a multi-day route was in October, when the cooler weather was kinder, but the daylight was shorter.  This will be a new one, at a different scale and with longer days.

As before I am inviting donations to the Stroke Association (see below).

The walk starts early by Chorleywood Station, where Shire Lane marks the county border.  From there, I head north, up and across the Common, to the Chess and north through Bovingdon to Bourne End, following close to or on the county border.  From Bourne End the route (with the county border) heads west into the Chilterns and the Tring Salient, and I aim for Hastoe and the county top, which is at the county border a couple of hundred yards west of the village.

From there the mapped route runs north along the boundary, past Tring to Long Marston, but how far it will take me on the first day, I cannot tell – it depends on unexplored terrain and how much I still have left in me.  The next day, Friday, there will be more to be done (although I have been reminded of certain civic duties to be performed that might curtail my walk.)

This is not a route to be cleared in a few days but over a series of sequential expeditions which I want to complete this summer.  The idea is to test the route, verify that it can be done and record and circumvent problem stretches. Ultimately it will provide a challenge route for others – the Hertfordshire Border Walk – and a series of day-walks around our county.

Finally – the route is around the real county, the Hertfordshire, not the local government area which borrows its name.  I may be a councillor, trying to ensure sound local government, but I am not beholden to local government and I recognise that home is a place, not a bureaucracy.  I am doing this to embrace a county, not to find the edge of bureaucratic interference.

The Stroke Association

Please donate to the Stroke Association: click here.

The draft route

(See also the Hertfordshire Border Walk project page.)


The route spreads over a wide are and a series of maps is needed to complete it.  It might be done with standard Landranger maps, though the additional detail of an Explorer map can be very helpful.

In the Explorer, 1:50 000 series:

In the Landranger, 1:25 000 series: