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26th June Berkhamsted – Pride Month Challenge

Event led by Khris
Attendance: 6 men (6 and 3)
Distance: 18.26 mile challenge (9.19 and 9.07) approx.29 km
Time: start 9:09, end 17:20, lunch 35 minutes
Terrain: woodland, footpaths, bridleways, farm tracks and road.
Elevation: start 107m, high 202m, low 85m
Weather: sunny, 18-21°C, partly sunny
Number of sewage work: 0
Number of churches: 4 (including monastery)
Number of golf courses: 2

This was a full day challenge walk to celebrate Pride from the port of Berkhamsted. The walk comprised of the morning and afternoon from historical Berkhamsted Castle or you may call it a figure of eight, 18 miler.

Berkhamsted Castle is steeped in over 950 years of history. It was here that the Anglo-Saxons surrendered to William, Duke of Normandy in December 1066, and he became “The Conqueror”. Within these walls have walked numerous English Kings and Queens, Thomas Becket, Edward the Black Prince and Geoffrey Chaucer.

Morning: We started with a slow descent into Ashridge Estate with it's legendary ancient woodlands which Henry VIII enjoyed in his era for hunting. Harry Potter was filmed on location on the estate, especially at Frithsden Beeches. We had grand views over one of Capability Brown's creations - The Golden Valley. We visited the affluent village of Little Gaddesden which several celebrities have properties (most notably Ronnie Wood from Rolling Stones). We passed through several fields with a soft blue crop - flax (linseed) for the Health market. We arrived at the magnificent Ashridge House (HUT Business College) which was hosting a wedding. Elizabeth I loved this property by all accounts as she was educated here and they are said to be her happiest days. Her father Henry VIII was often out hunting deer, grouse etc.. We then passed through the Alpine Meadow. This place is said to have the largest population of lizards in Hertfordshire - they were hiding !!!

Lunch on the royal grounds at Berkhamsted Castle.

Afternoon: We saunter along the Grand Union Canal southbound. Several locks on route and old Mill houses and a few wooden carvings. Narrow boats in all there splendour. We will ascent toward the prehistoric coastal site of Little Heath on Sea, before arriving in the delightful Gade Valley - which several writers enjoy visiting due to the views and wildlife. The furthest point will be to Water End and it's wild meadow and tranquil chalk stream which is popular with Wagtails. We will then pass through Great Gaddesden and ascent to St. Margarets (Ex Canadian Air Force base). Which is now owned by the Thai Forest Buddhists.  We will then descent into the hamlet of Nettleden before walking along a walled footpath with paranormal activity. Afterwards, we will enter Frithsden an exclusive hamlet with Michelin star restaurant. The walk will continue into Potten End and  Berkhamsted Golf Course before arriving atop Berkhamsted Hill and dropping back to historical Berkhamsted.

Three of us who completed the challenge stopped for a well earned refreshing beverage on the canal at the gay owned 'The Riser" - the service was efficient and friendly.


26th June Berkhamsted - Pride Month 18 mile challenge

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