Pete's Walks - Alternative Ashridge Walk (part 2)

Picture omitted

Looking back down the path from Aldbury to Tom's Hill

In the centre of Aldbury, opposite the pond, I turned right. After a short distance I took a path on the left to the village allotments, leaving them by a path in the far right corner. I then turned left along a small residential road. Where this turned sharply left, I continued on a path that went half-right, climbing steadily through trees again to reach a road by a hairpin bend. I followed a lane going off from the bend, towards Tom's Hill, where there are a few houses and, most surprisingly, a small industrial unit. I turned left before the first house (thus leaving the Chiltern Way and re-joining the Hertfordshire Way).

Picture omitted

Tom's Hill, where the Chiltern Way and Hertfordshire Way cross

There was now another very pleasant section of walking through mainly beech woods - there were numerous paths here, but I kept right at every junction, in order to keep as close as possible to a fence on my right, with paddocks and fields beyond. I thus followed the fence for about half a mile, passing some impressive specimens of beech tree on the way.

Picture omitted

The woodland path near Tom's Hill

Picture omitted

Ancient pollarded beech tree

The path finally led me to some buildings at Norcott Hill. I turned left along the track past the buildings, which soon became a tarmac lane. Where it turned right past the last house, I went straight on back into the woods on another path. This soon came to a clear area of grass and brackens, but then went straight back into the woods again. The path now stayed very close to another fence, with fields to my right once more. As with many parts of this walk, this section is a good area for seeing deer, and I have twice managed to get very close views of a large Fallow buck here.

A large Fallow buck (photo taken 11/10/07)

The path descends quite steeply, then goes uphill again before descending less steeply to cross a private drive. Looking left here, I saw some Fallow deer - I have seen them here three or four times now.

I have seen Fallow deer on this drive three or four times now

On the other side of the drive the path went uphill through the trees once more (this is another good area for seeing Fallow deer) to reach a road. I turned right along the pavement on the far side, following the road round a sharp bend to the left. I then cut across an area of grass to reach a bend in a private drive, which I followed a short distance uphill through trees. At a junction I continued ahead along the drive, with bungalows on my let and paddocks on my right - I once saw about 80 Fallow deer in these paddocks, and a local resident told me he'd regularly seen over 100 here. At the end of the bungalows I continued ahead on a footpath, with the grounds of a school on my right. Near where they ended, I turned left to follow a hedgerow on my left.

Picture omitted

The path heading away from the school

This went into a small dip and up the other side, switching to the left of the hedgerow in the field corner. Towards the end of this next field, I stopped at a seat in the hedgerow (with views towards Berkhamsted) to eat my lunch. I carried on along the hedgerow through two more fields, descending into a valley and part way up the other side to enter the wood again. The next section I always particularly enjoy, turning right along a path just inside the edge of the wood, following the valley with green fields just a few feet to my right. In places large trees have fallen across the path, and chunks have been sawed out of them to allow walkers to get by. On this particular day I came across a tree that had obviously only fallen recently.

Picture omitted

The path along the edge of the woods, following the valley on the right

Picture omitted

Looking back at a large fallen beech tree across the path

The path eventually met a track, which I followed uphill to the left. Immediately before it ended at a road, I turned left along a path through Berkhamsted Golf Course, although having passed a tee on the left and a green on the right the path soon went back into the trees once more. The path went on for some distance to a junction of paths where I turned half-right, and then went straight on at another junction.

Picture omitted

The path to Frithsden Beeches

 I was soon walking through another area of beech trees, and soon came to Frithsden Beeches, an area of beech wood that has been managed for timber for centuries. To the left of the beeches here is a large open meadow, surrounded by trees and with a small copse near its centre.

Picture omitted

Frithsden Beeches

At the end of Frithsden beeches I followed the edge of the large meadow, turning left in the corner and then turning right to go back into the woods. The next section is always a bit tricky to follow as there are numerous crossing paths and junctions, but I basically kept right at a fork in the path, then pretty much kept straight on (Update 2/7/16: This section is easy to follow now, just follow the signs for 'The Battle of Berkhamsted Common Anniversary Walk'). The path soon went through a more open area with fewer trees, where there is usually a profusion of bracken. Eventually the path joined a larger track, where I went left. Now and again I could hear vehicles on a road to Ashridge House (now a Management College) a little way to my right.

I crossed a drive close to some cottages on my right, and soon had to turn left along an avenue of beech trees with initially a very large enclosure a few yards to my right - this field is another place where I have once or twice seen 80 or more Fallow deer. I should mention that I sometimes see Muntjac deer when I do this walk.

Picture omitted

The avenue of beech trees, with the large enclosure on the right.

Where the enclosure ended, I continued along the avenue of beech trees (this is often photographed for calendars and such like, and is obviously at its best when the trees are in their autumn colours). Where it ended at a road, I crossed over and continued on a wide and rather muddy track, turning right at the next crossroads of tracks. Soon I had a view of another field on my right (the far side of which borders the road I'd just crossed). This field again is somewhere I have seen anything up to a hundred Fallow deer. After about half a mile, the track reached the drive to the monument, with the car park a short way to the left.

Picture omitted

Further along the avenue

Click here to see the same walk, on a very hot day on 1/10/11

Click here to see photos from when I did the walk on 23/09/09, starting at the Pitstone Hill car park and doing it in the opposite (clockwise) direction.