Pete's Walks - Alternative Ashridge Walk again (page 1 of 2)

If you are considering walking this route yourself, please see my disclaimer. You may also like to see these notes about the maps.

Google map of the walk

I did this 15.5 mile circular walk around Ashridge on Wednesday, 23rd September, 2009. It was yet another repeat of one of my favourite local walks, my 'Alternative Ashridge Walk', but this time starting at the Pitstone Hill car park and doing it in the opposite (clockwise) direction.

As you will see from the photographs, it was a very grey and gloomy day. I started walking at about 9.35am, following the Ridgeway National Trail as it made its way up Steps Hill. From there I chose to follow a path parallel to the Ridgeway, rejoining that route just before crossing a road and arriving at Ivinghoe Beacon.

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Start of the walk, across the road from the Pitstone Hill car park, looking towards Ivinghoe Beacon (left) and Steps Hill

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Ivinghoe Beacon, from the path from Steps Hill

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A gloomy view of the Vale of Aylesbury from Ivinghoe Beacon

From the top of the Beacon, I turned back towards the road, and followed the path to the car park. From there I followed the road a little further, before taking the track on the right that goes all the way to the Bridgewater Monument in the centre of Ashridge.

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This is taken from where the track to the Bridgewater Monument leaves the Ringshall road, looking back towards the distant Dunstable Downs

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Near the start of the track to the Bridgewater Monument

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The track to the Monument, just after the kennels on Clipper Down (and just before I left the track)

On this walk, I leave the track from the Beacon to the Monument a few hundred yards after passing the kennels on Clipper Down. The path descends through trees and then more gently across a huge pasture (sometimes with cattle in it, but sheep today) - I assume this valley is Duncombe, from the name of the farm in it. There is a nice view ahead as you cross the pasture, looking along the steep wooded slopes of Ashridge towards Aldbury. Of course the view was not at its best in the grey and murky conditions I had today. Beyond the drive to the farm, I crossed a couple of fields and then turned left on a bridleway that headed back uphill through the trees. When it levelled off and turned slightly right, I continued ahead on a footpath, soon returning to the main track I'd been on earlier, just before it arrived at the monument.

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Looking towards Aldbury, from the path through the valley that I presume is called Duncombe

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The bridleway heading back up towards the Monument

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The Bridgewater Monument, Ashridge - I think it's the photographer that's leaning, not the tower!

I went about a quarter of a mile down the long drive to the Monument, and turned right on to a long and attractive bridleway through the trees. After a few hundred yards I saw my first Fallow deer of the day, a large buck that was lying down only a short distance from the bridleway - he just eyed me cautiously as I went by. A little further on I passed a large field on the left where deer are often to be seen - today there must have been at least 80. Another couple appeared on the bridleway ahead of me. I would have another four sightings of deer during the walk.

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Bridleway through Ashridge

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A large Fallow buck (almost in focus!)

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There were at least 80 Fallow deer in this field

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Two more Fallow Deer appeared on the bridleway ahead of me

I turned left at a bridleway crossroads to reach the Ringshall-Northchurch road. On the other side I followed the old Avenue of beech trees, and continued on in the same direction to pass part of  Frithsden and eventually reach Frithsden Beeches.

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The bridleway to the Ringshall-Northchurch road

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The start of the avenue of beech trees on the other side of the Ringshall-Northchurch road

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Heading towards Frithsden - there were masses of Wood Sorrel along this path in the Spring