Ashridge again!


Today I walked round Ashridge and Berkhamsted Common again, pretty much the same walk as I did last Thursday. This time, though, I did it with a friend. It was the first time Tim Bertuchi and I had actually met up, but we’ve been exchanging emails for some time. Like me, Tim is keen on walking long-distance paths and has a web site with journals and photos of his walks. I came across his site  when researching the Hertfordshire Chain Walk.

We met at the car park by the monument at Ashridge, then took my usual more direct up-and-down route to Ivinghoe Beacon (we saw a buzzard being mobbed by crows on the way). Unfortunately it was very hazy and quite misty in places, so the normally very extensive views from the beacon were greatly restricted – we could just about make out the Whipsnade Downs and the Zoo, but Dunstable Downs were hidden in the mist. It was quite atmospheric and interesting, but as Tim hadn’t been there before it was a shame he didn’t get to see the views at their best.

We followed the Ridgeway path over Steps Hill, past Incombe Hole, to Pitstone Hill. Sadly the views were still very restricted – we could only just make out the Beacon in the mist behind us! As always it was then a nice walk through the woods, and then across the golf course – the last short bit into Aldbury was familiar to Tim as he’d walked the Hertfordshire Way.

From Aldbury we followed part of the Chiltern Way uphill to Tom’s Hill, then a bit more of the Hertfordshire Way as we re-entered the woods of Ashridge and Berkhamsted. We stopped and ate lunch as we sat on a fallen tree. Last week I had a surprisingly close view of a large Fallow buck – well, this time we saw one even closer, just a bit further on than last week. It was lying down just behind a tree, so at first we couldn’t see much more than one of its antlers sticking out. As we went on a few paces we, got a better view and took some photos after it stood up – it didn’t run off, but just wandered a little further away from us.

A little further on, our route crossed a private drive and as we reached it I advised Tim to look to the left as I’ve seen deer there a few times in the past. Sure enough, there were a group of hinds not too far along the drive. We continued on our way, soon following the road to Berkhamsted for a short distance, then a private drive past a small estate in Northchurch. After passing a school on the right (no soccer match this time!), we turned left and followed a hedgerow through three or four fields (I saw a few field pansies here – this was the first place I ever saw them, about a year ago).

We then followed a really nice path, just inside the edge of a wood, following the side of a valley for over half a mile. We then turned and headed back towards the monument, at first passing close to part of Berkhamsted Golf Course, and then passing through Frithsden Beeches, an area of impressive old beech trees that has been coppiced over many centuries.

Our route took us through more woodland, now with a lot of bracken under the trees, and along the fine avenue of beeches to cross the Berkhamsted road again. In the large field next to the road we could see a group of deer. After we’d turned right at a path crossroads we reached a point where we got a better view of the deer, and I did a rough count of about 100 deer. This path took us back to the drive to the monument, and we were back at our cars at about 4.10pm, after walking about 14.5 miles.

It was great to meet Tim – we had a good chat about walking and web sites, and numerous other topics. We both agreed we’d like to meet up again sometime for another walk somewhere.

Comments are closed.