Ashridge and Ivinghoe Beacon


I didn’t sleep well and then overslept by 30-40 minutes, so I altered my plans and instead of driving for an hour or so to do a walk in Oxfordshire I did a local walk instead. I drove the 15 minutes or so to the Monument at Ashridge, and did a 12-mile circular walk from there, including Ivinghoe Beacon.

The walk was essentially a shortened version of the Ashridge Estate Boundary Trail. I basically followed that route in an anti-clockwise direction, but took a few shortcuts that reduced it to about 12 miles rather than 16. Very early on on the walk I saw a Muntjac deer, and a short distance further saw two Fallow deer in a field by the Ringshall-Berkhamsted road – I was a bit disappointed, as sometimes there are large numbers of deer here.

I followed paths through beech woods, and then a nice stretch alongisde the wide grassy expanse of Northchurch Common. I used part of the Chiltern Way to cut off a bit of the Ashridge Estate Boundary Trail, and saw some more Fallow deer here, close to Ashridge Golf Course. Lost in a daydream, I stayed on the Chiltern Way for about 1/4 mile longer than I intended, before realising my mistake and turning round.

I followed more paths through the beech woods, then from near Ringshall took a path across sheep pastures to a farm where five paths meet. I continued on back into the woods, going steeply down a slope where a flight of wooden steps has been installed recently, part of some improvements made to the Icknield Way. Just before entering a dark area of coniferous trees I saw and heard three buzzards overhead.

Beyond the woods, I took field paths to reach the eastern end of Galley Hill, and then followed the grassy ridge over that hill and on to Ivinghoe Beacon. I was glad to have the cold east wind behind me on this 1/2 mile section. There were nice views either side, though they were limited in the grey and mirky conditions. I sat behind the Ordnance Survey column on top of the Beacon to get some shelter as I ate my lunch. I then walked down from the Beacon to the car park, then followed the road a short distance before going down the long track that follows the top of the escarpment through the beech woods back to the Monument.

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