Pete's Walks - Alternative Ashridge Walk (page 1 of 4)

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 circular walk of about 15.5 miles on Saturday, 1st October, 2011. This was a repeat of my 'Alternative Ashridge Walk' (an alternative to the Ashridge Estate Boundary Trail), one of my favourite local walks which I hadn't done for about 18 months. I had planned to do a slightly longer walk further afield (from Christmas Common or Watlington Hill), but got up rather late due to a poor night's sleep and opted to do a local walk instead - this was probably just as well, as it turned out to be a ridiculously hot day for October and I was very tired at the end of the walk.

It was about 9.35am as I started walking from the car park by the Bridgewater Monument at Ashridge. The car park was already almost full and there were already large number of cars parked on either side of the half-mile drive to the monument. There were dozens of people about with rucksacks and boots on, and some signs showed that a sponsored walk was in progress on behalf of the 'Friends of Tring School'. They'd chosen a good day for it (or possibly not!), as it was forecast to be one of the hottest October days ever (temperatures up to 26-27C). I quickly tried to leave the hordes behind, setting off on the track that goes north towards Ivinghoe Beacon but leaving it after only a hundred yards or so on a path going half-left through the woods. The path was soon descending the steep Chiltern escarpment, here clothed in the woods of Ashridge, and after a short while joined a bridleway that continued to the foot of the slope.

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The Bridgewater Monument, Ashridge

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Start of the track from the monument to Ivinghoe Beacon

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The path that forks left just after the start of the track to the Beacon

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The bridleway that continues down the steep slope

I then turned right on a footpath that crossed a couple of fields to reach the drive to Duncombe Farm, to my right. The path then continued through a large empty pasture, climbing steadily uphill and continuing along the edge of a wood on my left.  Further on, the path re-entered the woods of Ashridge, going down a short dip before climbing quite steeply to rejoin the track from the Monument to Iviinghoe Beacon. As I turned left along the track, I soon came across many people who were obviously on the sponsored walk. However, they all turned left shortly after the kennels on Clipper Down, while I continued on to the end of the track.

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The start of the path towards Dunscombe Farm

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The path from near Duncombe Farm , heading towards Duncombe Terrace

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Looking back towards Aldbury, which I'd visit later on (Duncombe Farm on the left)

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Looking out to the Vale of Aylesbury, from the track to Ivinghoe Beacon

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The track to Ivinghoe Beacon

The track ended on the Ivinghoe Beacon to Ringshall road, where I crossed over and turned left, following a path close to the road through a small area of trees to reach the car park for the Beacon. A path continued from the far side of the car park, still parallel to the road, with the Beacon now clearly visible ahead. I turned left to climb up the first of the two subsidiary 'hillocks' or 'humps' (topped by an ancient burial mound or tumulus), where I spotted a Red Admiral, then went over the smaller hillock and up to the top of Ivinghoe Beacon. On such a gorgeous day the views all round were pretty good.

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Looking northeast to Dunstable Downs, from where the track ends on the Ringshall road

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The path on the far side of the Ringshall road

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Looking towards Ivinghoe Beacon from near the car park

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The path up the first 'hump' or hillock - there is a tumulus at the top

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Looking towards Ivinghoe Beacon from the first 'hump'

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Dunstable Downs from Ivinghoe Beacon

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Whipsnade Zoo from Ivinghoe Beacon

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Vale of Aylesbury from Ivinghoe Beacon