Pete's Walks- Alternative Ashridge walk (page 1 of 6)

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, 2nd July 2016.  It was a repeat of what I call my 'Alternative Ashridge walk', as I think it is a nice alternative to the National Trust's Ashridge Estate Boundary Trail which covers roughly the same ground. It is a walk that I gradually developed over many years, being basically a merger of two shorter walks that I used to do as long ago as the 1980s plus extensions that take it out towards Northchurch and Berkhamsted. I used to do this walk fairly frequently, once or twice a year, but have just been surprised to find that the last time I did it was in October 2011.

I parked fairly close to the end of the drive to the Bridgewater Monument (Grid Reference SP 972131) and started walking at the rather late time of 10.45am. I walked across the grass to the Monument (which commemorates the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, who was the chief mover behind the creation of the canal system and who lived at Ashridge House) and then turned right, onto a level track heading into the woods. After a hundred yards or so I took a path going half-left from the track (which goes most of the way to Ivinghoe Beacon, and which I would rejoin a bit later on). The path was soon dropping gently downhill, the descent becoming steeper when the path merged with a bridleway that came in sharply from my left. At the bottom of the slope the bridleway continued between hedges either side, soon passing a very large Ash tree.

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The Bridgewater Monument, Ashridge

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The start of the track from the Monument to Ivinghoe Beacon

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The path going half-left from the track to the monument

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The bridleway continuing downhill

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I always look out for this impressive old ash tree, just after the bridleway levels out

Just after a corn field opened out on my right, I turned right and followed a path across the field to a gap in the far hedgerow. The path then turned half-left as it crossed another corn field, where I spotted four Fallow deer close to the hedgerow over to my left. I then crossed the drive to Duncombe Farm, over to my right, and continued along a long straight path climbing gradually uphill through a grassy field (it was empty today, sometimes there are sheep or cattle here). The path then ran beside a wood on my left, with the field to my right now just tall grass. I spotted some Meadow Brown butterflies here, and then my first Ringlets of the year. In a corner of the field, the path entered the wood, dropping slightly downhill then climbing quite steeply until I reached the track from the Monument again, where I turned left.

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The start of the path towards the drive to Duncombe Farm (the track from the Monument runs through the darker trees above the valley on the right) - I would soon be following the visible path through the green field on the left

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The path continuing towards the drive to Duncombe Farm (the farm is just out of shot, to the right)

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Four Fallow deer, on the edge of the same field shown in the previous photo (the lighter coloured one with white spots is quite unusual for this part of the Chilterns)

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The path continuing the other side of the drive to Duncombe Farm

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The path continuing the other side of the drive to Duncombe Farm

I continued along the track, and after a quarter of a mile or so I passed the kennels on top of Clipper Down. A little further on I passed a junction where a path I often use goes half-left to descend to the foot of Steps Hill. After about another half-mile the track ended when it reached the road from Ringshall to Ivinghoe Beacon. I crossed over and turned left, soon entering some Beech trees beside the road beyond which I came to the car park for Ivinghoe Beacon.

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Back on the track from the Monument to Ivinghoe Beacon

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The track from the Monument to Ivinghoe Beacon, approaching the kennels on Clipper Down

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The track from the Monument to Ivinghoe Beacon (just after where a path forks left to go to the foot of Steps Hill)

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Looking left from the track from the Monument to Ivinghoe Beacon

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Looking towards the Dunstable and Whipsnade Downs, after crossing the road at the end of the track from the Monument. The White Lion is at Whipsnade Zoo.

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The path beside the Ringshall-Ivinghoe Beacon road