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Great Gaddesden is a large rural parish stretching from the north eastern boundary of Hemel Hempstead to the county boundary with Bedfordshire, a distance of some four miles. Widely dispersed within the parish, which is three miles in width and has a population of less than a thousand, are the villages of Great Gaddesden and Gaddesden Row and the hamlets of Bridens Camp, Water End and St Margarets.

The Parish is unique in that all of the land within the parish is devoted to either agriculture or forestry, much of the land being accessible for recreation by way of the many footpaths and bridleways, and under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme at Water End. The River Gade is an important feature of the parish, all of which lies within the Chiltern Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.