Grims Dyke – Bentley Priory Walk – 03.01.2011

The first walk of the year – it was cold but it was sunny and not snowing!   This walk tackled part of the London Loop,  which took us near the “Grim’s Dyke”.  The Anglo-Saxon’s were responsible for the name  “Grim” not as we understand it now – being depressed – as they named the dyke “Masked One” after the God of War – Woden!! But this intriguing earthwork has been in existence for thousands of years – even before the Anglo-Saxon’s and it’s real purpose still remaining a mystery!

Little did we know it but this little section of the Grims Dyke actually forms part of the The Ridgeway National Trail, as it spreads from Hampshire and this little section being the end of the Dyke!    Looks like we have plenty more walking to do!  Although walking along through the woods, I am unsure if we came across the dyke or not,  as  it seemed very elusive to me.  We were slightly distracted by Gilberts lake….

From 2011 – 03.01.2011 – Grims Dyke – Bentley Priory walk

Although from the photo above, it does not seem to be a lake at all!  Some trees and marshy ground.   The loop had taken us around what once had been a “lake”, and we could even see the what looked “fake” rocks which seemed like they had once been where perhaps part of some waterfall.  Once we had completed going around the lake, we even discovered where perhaps there once had been a place to moor boats – unfortunately this was completely in disrepair.   So who was Gilbert?  Sir W S Gilbert of Gilbert & Sullivan fame.

The lake, is part of the Grims Dyke Gardens – Which was once owned by Gilbert who lived there from 1890 to 1911.   We decided to steer off route to take a look at the house and gardens – which by the way are open the public should you wish to look – however the house is now a hotel!    But since this is open the public I am able to put a photo up here as it will should not be open to any copyright issues 🙂 (I hope!!)

From 2011 – 03.01.2011 – Grims Dyke – Bentley Priory walk

Gilbert kept some unusual animals including  a Lynx, Lemurs and even some Monkeys!! Despite not venturing futher into the back of the gardens – apparently his secret monkey house can be seen here!!   The hotel still stages Gilbert & Sullivan Operas to this day! The gardens look like a quite a place to visit during the summer months.   Even now the house is still used in both TV and Film – and at one point it was well used by Hammer Horror movies! oooo Scary!!!!!!!!!

We decided not to walk through the  front gardens as they just looked too lovely to walk through, particularly with our muddy boots!  the lawns just looked too immaculate….  We followed a leafy path through the wooded area – and much too our surprise we discovered the woods had giant redwoods – which we would normally associate with Canada!  (actually they weren’t that giant but they were still very big!)

From 2011 – 03.01.2011 – Grims Dyke – Bentley Priory walk

As we continued through the wood, it was then we felt that perhaps we weren’t on the London Loop any more, particularly as the signs had run out a little while before (but then again that was not unusual in our experience!!).   We hastily made a decision to head towards a sign that was in the distance – this turned out to be part of the Harrow Weald Nature Trail.    We then heard traffic and headed towards the road – but our walk was not over…

We found ourselves abandoning all hopes of rediscovering the London Loop – and joined the “Bentley Priory” circular walk.  Although part of our walk was road walking, we eventually found the entrance to the Priory.  Hidden behind a metal gate – incidentally the London Loop actually went this way!  We only walked part of the Bentley Priory as our morning walk was short and we were still getting in to the swing of walking again!

This nature reserve which is approximately 87 hectares in size and sits behind Bentley Priory house which was built in 1775 as a Stately Home – however, the area was originally  a monastic settlement in 13th Century!  There is lot more to say on this nature reserve but I will save that more another day when I will return!

From 2011 – 03.01.2011 – Grims Dyke – Bentley Priory walk

It was at this point we decided to end our walk for the morning and get some lunch! Please feel free to look at the photos for the whole walk

2011 – 03.01.2011 – Grims Dyke – Bentley Priory walk

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2 responses to “Grims Dyke – Bentley Priory Walk – 03.01.2011

  1. Pingback: Stanmore – Borehamwood Walk – 15.07.2012 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

  2. Pingback: Stanmore – Harrow Walk – 25.01.2015 | Karen's Sponsored Walks

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