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Sarratt WI - Walk Number Seven

Dawes Common - Rosehall_Bragmans_ Flaunden - Holly Hedges Lane - Woodmans Wood - Windmill Hill - Apostles Pond - Commonwood - George V Field

An interesting walk through mixed woods and farmland. 6 1/2 miles
From the Village Hall walk north up the Green, past The Cricketers, the pond, Alexandra Road and Dawes Lane.  On your left are some intesting flint and brick cottages, one of which used to be a beer house (the one with the filled in archway). Another cottage, Holly Tree Farm, bears an old fire insurance plaque with the word "Union" dated 1714.
Just after a Victorian Postbox on your right turn left along a gravelled drive.
Cross the stile and walk into Dawes Common.
Continue forward for about 30 yards to a path junction where you turn right, through a kissing gate and along a row of gigantic leylandii on your left.
There is a memorian stone to Frederick Ward, a local plantsman, on your right.
Squeeze through a stile and admire the view of the Chess valley. The seat on your right is in memory of Les Dolamore, late husband of Anne, the original W.I. walks leader. Two more squeeze stiles bring you to Moor Lane.
Cross the lane and go over the stiles into a field. Walk diagonally through this field. There are usually some Jacobs sheep in the paddock on your right.
Cross the stile in the corner leading to a farm drive (used by cows and often mucky) and another stile into a field.  The path goes half-right diagonally to the next stile and then along the fence on your left to Rosehall Farm Drive. 
Rosehall is one of the oldest Manors of Sarratt, mentioned in documents in the middle of the 12th Century.  Many visitors have seen the headless ghost who haunts one of the bedrooms.

Turn left along the drive and at the farm take the left folk. Ignore the path on your left a few yards further on and, leaving the farm buildings on your right take the narrow path ahead to a metal stile into a field.

Note the lovely old weather vane of a bragman. 

Walk diagonally across this field to another metal stile onto Bragmans Lane.  Turn left here and walk along the road for about 400 yards to a well-hidden stile in the right-hand hedge.  Cross this and walk diagonally across to Newhouse Farm. 

John Baldwin lived here at the end of the 17th century and had three daughters who were said to be possessed by evil spirits.  When various doctors had failed to cure them the house was registered as a Meeting House in 1704 where their friends and parents  prayed for them, but there is no mention of a cure.

With the farmhouse on your right, emerge onto a road where you turn right past the farmhouse and very soon go left onto a narrow footpath.

Blazing poppies in the field to your right if it is July. 

Another stile leads into an arable field and diagonal path leads to another stile, then along by the hedge to a stile onto the road.  The very pretty village of Flaunden (with a pub) lies up the road to your left.
Go right along the road to the crossroads and cross the road to a path opposite into Lower Plantation.  Proceed uphill, keeping to the right of the bridleway to avoid the worst of the mud.  The path comes out onto the aptly-names Holly Hedges Lane, where you turn right, past the house called Hollow Hedge.  This lovely lane through the wood is called Holly Hedges at this end and becomes Ollieberrie at the Belsize end.
Ignore the paths into the wood on your left until you come, after about quarter of a mile, to one marked Belsize.  Follow this path as far as a post and a fork, where you take the left fork uphill which takes you out of the wood into a field and downhill to Dunny Lane.  Go left along the road to Windmill Hill, where you turn right up the hill towards Chipperfield.
At the top of the hill, where the Common opens out, The Windmill pub is on your left, with a very fine Atlas Cedar almost opposite, planted in 1953 to commemorate the Queen's Coronation.
Opposite the pub there are many paths into the common.  Take the middle path, going slightly south-east (signposted just public footpath).  Ignore the crossing paths (unless you want to explore the common) and this path will take you to Apostles Pond.
Pause for a moment to observe the hundreds of insects enjoying the water - large robust hawker dragonflies guarding their territory, water boatmen, pond skaters, damselflies.

At the pond cross the stile in the hedge south of the pond and walk along a narrow path through open fields to a kissing gate to join the road where it bends. 

With Callipers Cottage on your left walk along the road towards The Cart and Horses.  Ignore Quickmoor Lane on your left and follow the road as it bears right, past Quickmoor Pond on your  left.  Where the common opens out and the road forks, Commonwood House is on your right (pictured left).
Take the left fork and immediately go into the common on your left and walk ahead, almost to the eastern edge of the wood to pick up the circular path at a large oak; this is roughly parallel with the road and emerges at the bottom of the hill. Go left and almost immediately over the stiles on your right into a grazing field. 

Walk up along by the fence, up and over the stiles, straight ahead until you reach the playing field, where you ignore the kissing gate on your right and walk straight ahead alongside the tennis courts and car park to the corners of The Briars. 

Continue forward along George V Way to the main road and the Village Hall is opposite you.