Pete's Walks - Ashridge and Ivinghoe Beacon (page 2 of 4)

I passed Coldharbour Farm on my left, and went straight ahead along its drive, once more back into the woods of the Ashridge Estate. Just before reaching Woodyard Cottages I turned left onto a bridleway. This soon passed a cottage garden on my right, then bore slightly right to reach the edge of a huge pasture completely surrounded by woods - it is dotted with mature trees, so was obviously once  part of the park around the nearby Ashridge House. The bridleway continued along the fence of this huge pasture (in fact there are paths either side of a row of beech trees here).

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The drive from Coldharbour Farm, heading to Woodyard Cottages

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The bridleway near Woodyard Cottages

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The bridleway continuing alongside a huge pasture enclosed by the woods of Ashridge

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The bridleway continuing alongside a huge pasture enclosed by the woods of Ashridge (there are mature trees scattered in this pasture, so I presume it was once parkland for the nearby Ashridge House)

At the corner of the huge pasture, I turned right on a path that initially ran close to another edge of the pasture. When the fence of the pasture turned slightly right, I followed a path straight on through more woods - this was possibly the muddiest section of the walk. After a few hundred yards I reached a corner of a surfaced drive, which I followed straight on. After a few yards I crossed Prince's Riding, a broad swathe of grass running for over a mile between Ashridge House and the Bridgewater Monument, away to my left.

Ashridge House, now home to a Business School, is on the site of an Augustinian Priory, founded in 1276 by the Earl of Cornwall. In 1290, Edward I held a parliament here, and after the dissolution of the monasteries it was a private residence of Elizabeth I when she was a princess she was arrested here under suspicion of treason against her sister Mary in 1552. The estate was in the hands of the Egerton family, the Dukes and Earls of Bridgewater, from 1604 to 1848. They built the current neo-gothic fantasy in the early 1800s at the time, the county boundary between Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire ran through the dining room! The 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, who commissioned the building before his death in 1803, was the main mover behind the creation of much of the canal network in this country (as previously mentioned, the monument at the other end of Prince's Riding was erected in his honour).

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Start of the path along the western side of the huge pasture

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The path continuing towards Ashridge golf course

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The drive to the work sheds at Ashridge golf course

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Close-up shot looking right along Prince's Riding to Ashridge House, now a Business School

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Close-up shot looking left along Prince's Riding, back to the Bridgewater Monument where I started

The drive continued past a green of the Ashridge golf course, and ended by some work sheds that I presume are associated with the course. A path continued past the sheds, then crossed a fairway towards the left corner of the impressive clubhouse. A marker post indicate where the path continued a few yards through trees to reach a drive from the clubhouse. I continued ahead along the drive to its end, then at a T- junction with another drive, I went half-right, where a path led initially between garden fences. I crossed another fairway, and the path dropped slightly to a path crossroads by more garden fences, where I turned left (I'd come from the opposite direction and turned to what was now my right on Walk 2 which I did a couple of days ago). The path continued for some distance through a narrow belt of trees, with fairways just to my left and garden fences on my right.

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The path past the work sheds on Ashridge golf course

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Path between the gardens, just north of the golf clubhouse

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The path through the trees beside a fairway of the Ashridge golf course

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The path through the trees beside a fairway of the Ashridge golf course

At the end of the path I crossed back over the Northchurch-Ringshall road (the latter village was a little way to my right). A bridleway led straight on into the main section of the Ashridge Woods. After a few hundred yards I came to a bridleway crossroads where I turned right. After about a hundred yards I turned left, this path turning right after about another hundred yards. It then ran close to a large grass car park on my left, with beech trees on my right. I stopped for lunch on a tree trunk here, then continued along the path for a few more yards to reach Beacon Road, Ringshall (it runs from the village to Ivinghoe Beacon, some distance to my left).

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The footpath back across the Northchurch-Ringshall road, and back into the woods of Ashridge again.

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Further along the same path

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The path to Beacon Road, Ringshall