Long Ashridge walk

Today I did a long walk around Ashridge, a slight variation on my Alternative Ashridge Walk, turning it into a ‘figure-of-eight’. I started off from the Monument and followed my usual route towards Ivinghoe Beacon, continuing on over Steps Hill to Pitstone Hill and Aldbury Nowers, then taking the path across the golf course to Aldbury. Instead of continuing towards Tom’s Hill, I took the bridleway back steeply uphill to the Monument, where I stopped and had my lunch.

This circular walk is one that I’ve done many times over the last 20 years or so, and I really wanted to record it for my web site. Unfortunately the weather remained grey and rather dull all morning (it brightened up as I approached Aldbury), so I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to use the photos I took today.

After lunch I took a bridleway leading away from the drive to the Monument (the one I use at the start and end of the Shorter Ashridge Walk I’ve put on my web site). I basically kept straight on, crossing the road to Tom’s Hill and Aldbury, until I rejoined the route of the Alternative Ashridge Walk near Norcott Hill. I then followed the route of that walk, past Northchurch and on to Berkhamsted Golf Club, coming back via Frithsden Beeches. I went a different way for the last few hundred yards, just going round the other two sides of a rectangular block of woodland, which made a pleasant change.

It was sunny in the afternoon – if I’d known how the weather was going to turn out, I’d have done the two halves of the walk in the opposite order, so that I’d be able to photograph the walk I wanted to document in sunny conditions. Never mind! It had been quite frosty when I started out, but where the frost melted the paths became very muddy. There was still some ice in puddles in the late afternoon, though.

I saw three or four groups of Fallow Deer. Birds included a Buzzard, a Jay, a Kestrel and a Green Woodpecker. The walk took a little over six hours – maybe because of the mud, but more likely because I’m not fit!

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