Aldenham and Letchmore Heath

pic 2

pic 3

A few miles further on, and into the country, I eventually came to the village of Aldenham, which has been used in numerous British movies and TV shows. It was usually in demand as a location because of it's attractive church and it's manor house which has doubled as a farm (which it originally was), a hotel and a riding school in different productions. However I was determined to find the curved dust road used in The Go Karters where we first see Spring after he crashes out of the go kart track, and where is later chased by the cop on the motorcycle. I was sure that the building glimpsed in the background of the first of these scenes was this notorious manor house, and I was right! This road is a tiny lane called The Crescent which curves round the back of some cottages on the village green. Just as it did thirty two years ago, this sleepy little back street still leads nowhere in particular, and has hardly changed in all that time (see pics 2 and 3).

pic 3a

pic 3b

I was also sure that the farm used later in The Go Karters when Spring and the motorcycle cop disturb the animals was somewhere in this area. In the second sequence filmed in The Crescent (where Spring is chased by the cop) I noticed the two buildings in the background, behind the telegraph poles, one of which was tall with three chimney stacks (see pic 3a). This taller building looked remarkably similar to the one seen in the background in the later sequence where the horse is chased out of the farm, past a gate. A quick study of the area soon confirmed my suspicions. The single-storey building was a dairy, while the taller building was called Elm Cottages. The former has now been transformed into the club house of the Aldenham Golf Club, whilst the cottages are still in existence, although minus one their chimney stacks. Sadly the dirt track with the gate which once led onto Church lane which was used for the sequence with the horse is now buried underneath the golf club's car park (see pic 3b), however you can see that this is definately the same building.

pic 3c

pic 3d

Finding this location led me to think about the farm yard itself, where Spring and the cop drove in and out of the building disturbing the animals This must surely have been close at hand and the most obvious place was Church Farm which stood opposite opposite Elm Cottages. As I said above this premises are no longer a farm, and the main building (now called The Manor) and all the smaller out buildings have all been cleverly converted into private dwellings. So the place has changed dramatically (see pics 3c and 3d) and it's impossible to determine exactly where the yard was, but I'm pretty certain it was there somewhere.

pic 4
I waited in Aldenham to see if I could hear the distant buzz of an out-of-control go-kart, but there was no time to hang about as I had a busy schedule.. I next made my way towards the village of Letchmore Heath, but along the road which leads out of Aldenham, where it joins the B462 (the Radlett Road) I was suddenly aware of a sense of deja vu. Stopping to survey the scene soon realised that I had found another part of the chase sequence from The Go Karters, namely the part where the cop rides up onto the pavement in order to cut in front of Spring to stop him (unsuccessfully). Although this has been considerably altered it was still recognisable, and the roofs of the cottages in Aldenham could be seen peeking above the trees just as they had done in 1969. (see pic 4).

pic 5

pic 6

pic 7

pic 8

After passing through the lovely-named Four Want Ways, and past the impressive Aldenham Grange, I soon I found myself in Letchmore Heath. Like Aldenham, this charming village has also featured heavily in other UK shows, most notably The Avengers in an episode called Deads Man's Treasure where it was used as a clue in a car rally-treasure hunt. It is also home to the splendid Piggotts Manor which is now a Hare Krishna temple, Bhativedanta Manor.

In A Happy Haunting the gang and Albert drive past the public house here, The Three Horseshoes towards Aldenham, and this charming Tudor-style pub is much the same as it was back then (see pic 5). Curiously they are then seen driving back along through the village from the other direction, and somehow end up at Knebworth House (to the north of Borehamwood) despite appearing to be driving round in circles! The village green, which is a picturesque scene in summer, has also hardly changed since 1969, and Tiger drives the home-made hovercraft in Tiger Takes Off along the north side (see pic 6), and into the duckpond. This pond caught my attention because it was also used in The Go Karters when Spring on Flora (the go kart) crash-lands He arrives from the direction of Borehamwood headlong into the water (see pic 7), whilst Tiger arrives from a different direction and lands in a tree, after being ejected from her seat. Amazingly the tree is still there, although much older, but the branch she lands on has disappeared (see page 8 - the tree is the second one from the right). As I stood gazing into the murky depths of the water I heard an engine noise behind me, and turned round, half expecting to see Tiger at the wheel of the errant Hovercraft, but it was just a passing milk truck. Oh well, time to move on...

pic 9

pic 10
A mile or so outside Letchmore brings you to Dagger Lane. Once again this unremarkable country road has featured in numerous other shows, used frequently because of its closeness to the studios at Borehamwood but also because it is not a particularly busy road, and was therefore suitable for location filming. Here my destination was the junction with Hogg Lane which was used in The Go Karters again, as the place where the cop first encounters Spring. The gateway from which Spring emerges is actually the entrance to Page's Farm, and is still in existence (see pic 9), as is the field in which he is later chased by the motorcycle cop after they both speed down Hogg Lane (see pic 10). However the gate and entrance to this field is much overgrown and it is inaccessible to anyone at the moment. Sadly the sign which reads "Stop At Major Road Ahead" is nowhere to be seen, but this little corner of Hertfordshire has hardly changed, and it sent a shiver up my spine just being there.

pic 11
Back on the main road between Aldenham and Borehamwood, almost opposite where Dagger Lane joins Aldenham Road are three locations used in the episode Summer Camp. The gravel track and picturesque bridge over which the gang cross at the start and end of the episode is Tykes Water Lake, which is located in the grounds of Haberdashers Aske's School (see pic 11, courtesy of Tony McKay). This is without doubt the most famous of all the film locations in this area and has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows and is particularly remembered from The Avengers 1968/69 season title sequence with Linda Thorson as Tara King. Sadly it is situated on private land, and has been for many years, and is not accessible from the main road, so I was not able to visit it.

pic 12

pic 13
The same is true of Home Farm owned by Mr Giles (George Woodbridge) in the show which adjoins the school grounds, and it is here where the barn used in the sequence with the runaway haystack is located. However it was another part of the farm which was used as the campsite itself and luckily this is adjacent to a public footpath. This path was almost hidden from the road, and I nearly missed it. I lifted my bicycle over the style and proceeded through the long grass, down a slope, and was worried that the land may have altered beyond recognition. However the fields were almost exactly the same as they were in 1969, especially in early summer, with the leafy trees and blue skys (see pics 12 and 13). It was difficult to establish exactly which part was used for the campsite, although it would appear to be along the edge of the back road which leads to Haberdashers School, which curves its way through the fields, lined by trees. The boundary fence here is visible behind where the gang are camping, and the formation of the trees looks the same. However standing in any part of this field took me right back there, and I could almost picture the gang with their donkey and cart, and Albert in those ridiculous shorts, and it would still make a great place to camp today. Thankfully as this was a public area I was not trespassing on private land, so I didn't suffer the same fate as poor Hugh Paddick and Betty Marsden.

Next Page

Previous Page

Back to Deckerland - Main Menu

Back to Home Page