Pitstone Hill and Wigginton


Sorry I’m a bit late – Happy Christmas!

Today I did a circular walk from the car park at Pitstone Hill, on the borders of Herts and Bucks. From the car park, I actually walked away from Pitstone Hill, going north in the direction of Steps Hill, before turning right on a path that rose steadily across the steep escarpment of the Chilterns. Near the top I joined the main track between Ashridge and Ivinghoe Beacon. I went right here, but only for a short distance before turning right on a path just before the kennels. This path, which was new to me, went steadily downhill through a large empty pasture. Near the bottom of the slope it joined a track between hedges, which soon reached the drve to Duncombe Farm.

I turned left along the drive, then went right where a footpath crossed. Back on familiar territory, I followed the path across two fields, then turned left on a bridleway that entered the woods of Ashridge and again rose steadily up the Chiltern escarpment. Near the top of the slope, instead of taking my normal route and forking left on a footpath, I took the right fork, and followed the bridleway as it contoured along the escarpment, passing a couple of cottages in the trees, with the Bridgewater Monument just a short distance to my right. I saw som Fallow deer here – three large bucks with impressive antlers.

A bit further on, I reached the main path heading down from the Monument to Aldbury. Almost at once I saw a flock of small birds in the trees and bushes, including Long-tailed tits and a Goldcrest. When I got down to Aldbury, I took the usual photo of the stocks and village pond, then turned right. I soon turned right again to pass through the village allotments, and took the usual path back uphill through the woods again to a bend in a road. Here I took the drive to the small industrial estate at Tom’s Hill, and beyond that continued on downhill on a bridleway (I was following the route of the Chiltern Way now).

Emerging from the trees at a gate, I turned left and followed the familiar route of the Chiltern Way across three fields to a farm (where I noticed a paddock with a few Alpacas in it). I continued onwards,soon crossing a footbridge over a railway line, then turning right along a lane to reach Cow Roast. I followed a good track on the other side of the old A40, then went under a bridge beneath the new dual carriageway A40. Across a field and a large paddock I reached a wood. Here I left the route of the Chiltern Way and walked straight through the wood, then continued on a clear path through three or four empty pastures or meadows to reach the village of Wigginton.

I walked through the village to reach the route of the Ridgeway, which I’d follow all the way back to Pitstone Hill. I followed a field boundary through some small fields, crossed a lane, then continued through a couple more fields before crossing the A40 dual carriageway on a quite spectacular footbridge. I carried on to reach Tring Station, and after a short road walk took a path going left. The Ridgeway soon turned left again at a crossroads of bridleways – there were high hedges each side of the bridleway and I came acros a small flock of Fieldfares along here. I passed the Aldbury Nowers nature reserve (good for butterflies) and then followed the clear path through the woods, contouring round a hillside. Finally the path went through a kissing gate and emerged onto the grassy slopes of Pitstone Hill. I followed the path as it gently climbed to the top of the hill, following the line of an earthwork called Grim’s Ditch. I then just had to walk down the other side of the hill, over a small hillock and down to the car park.

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