Friday, 31 October 2014

Ashridge Estate and Ivinghoe Beacon, Chilterns.

It's taken 10 years to perfect my favourite walk in the Chilterns and this is it. 

A one hour drive from Harringay and you get to a slightly wild ridge walk complete with sheep. In spring the bluebells of Ashridge estate are a bonus, later the beech trees Autumn colours are your reward. You'll certainly see buzzards, usually deer and red kite too. 

It's a 7 mile circular walk, if you cut off the detour to Ivinghoe Beacon, you can cut it down to 5 miles. 

How to Get There
Park up in the picturesque village of Aldbury with duck pond and stocks. Up the M1, at junction 5 head off and up the A41 towards Aylesbury, take the Tring turning and follow signs to Tring station and then onwards to Aldbury.

Drinking and Eating 
There is one of those village shops that sells everything, where you can stock up on picnic treats. We usually stop for a pint at the end at the Greyhound pub, which also serves food. 

The Walk 
Ordnance Survey Explorer map 181 Chiltern Hills North is the one to use. 

Take the narrow path (to the left of the Greyhound pub) which runs along the back of the village, cross the football pitch and go left along the path on the other side of the pitch, shortly you take another path right, a tunnel of pollarded trees up to the golf course, straight on and left and right through the white markers up to the wood. This is when the loveliness starts. Not long into the wood you take the path on the right, the steps begin to take you up to the ridge. 

and then you just keep going 

until you hit a car park and road, cross this and straight on again towards Ivinghoe Hills 

Once you've walked up Ivinghoe Hills, you continue left to Ivinghoe Beacon (missed off the map above) 

Looking back at the walk from Ivinghoe Hills. 
and then retrace your steps, but continue along the Hills and through the woods of the Ashridge Estate. 

You can keep going at the same level, in which case you'll eventually come to a monument and National Trust Cafe and there is a path back down into the village. If the bluebells are out this may be the more rewarding route. But it can be a bit trudgey so we've taken to slipping back down into the valley, as on the map above. 

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