Pete's Walks - Pitstone Hill, Dagnall, Ashridge (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 14 miles on Sunday, 7th January 2018. It was a slight variation of a walk I originally did in September 2009), and which I repeated just a couple of months ago. When I first walked this route, I did it specifically to include a couple of paths I'd never walked before. Neither of those paths proved to be particularly pleasant, so this time I used a couple of alternate paths instead - I think the change has turned a good walk into a very good walk.

I parked at the Pitstone Hill car park (grid reference SP 954148) and started walking about 9.45am, crossing the lane and following the Ridgeway national trail towards Steps Hill. After maybe a third of a mile I went straight on at a path crossroads, the Ridgeway now gradually steepening and eventually curving left around the head of Incombe Hole to reach the top of Steps Hill. Shortly after passing a gate on my right, I took the middle of three paths over the grassy top of the hill, going half-left (the Ridgeway went straight on). This path soon turned right, running across the scrub-covered hillside. On going through a gate I rejoined the Ridgeway, as I continued straight on through more scrubby downland, turning left when I reached a path junction just yards from the road that snakes round Ivinghoe Beacon. Across the road I turned left and went up to the top of the first and larger of the two 'hillocks' behind Ivinghoe Beacon. At its top, where there are the remains of a tumulus (ancient burial mound), I turned right and followed a path that after a couple of hundred yards or so merged with the main path from the road crossing, which I followed to the top of Ivinghoe Beacon.

Picture omitted

The Ridgeway heading towards Steps Hill

Picture omitted

Looking left from the Ridgeway as it approaches Steps Hill (the big house is Mentmore Towers)

Picture omitted

Incombe Hole, from the top of Steps Hill

Picture omitted

The path on top of Steps Hill

Picture omitted

The path from Steps Hill to Ivinghoe Beacon

Picture omitted

The first 'hillock' before Ivinghoe Beacon

Picture omitted

From the first 'hillock' looking over the minor second 'hillock' to Ivinghoe Beacon

Picture omitted

View from the summit of Ivinghoe Beacon

After taking the usual photographs, I turned right and followed the grassy ridge from Ivinghoe Beacon to Gallows Hill. Despite the cold conditions, this was as enjoyable as usual with fine views in almost every direction. I continued almost to the prominent burial mound near the end of the ridge, turning right onto a track just before it (this was where I first varied from the route I've walked previously). At the bottom of the slope I turned right, initially with a tall hedgerow on my left and then continuing across a headland between two green arable fields, with the Beacon and its hillocks over to my right. After going through a gate, I continued through an area of grass at the bottom of a steep slope (leading up to the car park for Ivinghoe Beacon) a short way, then turned left at a path junction and followed a path leading to a gate and a wood.

Picture omitted

The path from Ivinghoe Beacon to Gallows Hill

Picture omitted

The path from Ivinghoe Beacon to Gallows Hill

Picture omitted

The path down from Gallows Hill, with what becomes the Gade Valley in the background

Picture omitted

The path after I turned right at the foot of Gallows Hill

Picture omitted

Approaching the wood on the way to Ward's Hurst Farm

The path continued through the mainly deciduous wood for a few hundred yards, then went through an area of tall conifers planted close together in straight lines. On the other side of these, I emerged close to an edge of the wood on my left and soon after the path went up a steep flight of 'steps'. At the top of the slope I emerged from the wood, and went a short way along an edge of a sheep pasture to reach the yard round Ward's Hurst Farm.

Picture omitted

The wood on the way to Ward's Hurst Farm

Picture omitted

The wood on the way to Ward's Hurst Farm

Picture omitted

The wood on the way to Ward's Hurst Farm

Picture omitted

The steep flight of steps along the path to Ward's Hurst Farm