One of my favourite hikes so far is Ivinghoe Beacon, an accessible walk in Buckinghamshire with plenty to see. Just a short drive from London will see you wandering on part of Britain’s oldest road and on a grassy path with stunning views of the Chiltern Hills.
Do you know what Harry Potter, Star Wars and me, Mike, have all got in common? Well, we’ve all in some way been filmed at Ivinghoe Beacon.
Ivinghoe Beacon Itinerary
Ivinghoe Beacon is a prominent hill (233 meters above sea level) with amazing views, but the walk itself is not too strenuous. Most of it is actually fairly flat, which makes it popular with walkers of all abilities.
There are a range of routes of varying lengths that take you off in all directions. But we opted for the Bridgewater Monument North Trail which takes close to 4 hours.
There is a large National Trust car park to park in at the Ashridge Estate, which is super handy.
My Ivinghoe Beacon Experience
I love London, but I do think you have to leave it behind every now and again to truly appreciate it.
So that’s what weekends are for. To get out to the countryside and shake off the city with a good walk.
After my Chess Valley Walk, I’d become quite excited with the idea of a return to the Chilterns and I’d heard that the Ivinghoe Beacon Walk was a good day out.
Our Ivinghoe Beacon Walk started and ended at the Bridgewater monument.
The Bridgewater monument
From the monument, we followed the signs leading into the woodland for the first section of the walk. It was fairly flat and we passed a photogenic old wooden shooting lodge before reaching a small dwelling known as Clipper Down Cottage.
From here there’s a few options. Straight on will get you to the top quicker, but taking the route to the left (as we did) will take you out o the woods and onto a field with views over to Pitstone Hill. Eventually you will pass what’s known as Incombe Hole, a small valley and be near to another landmark called Grim’s Ditch.
Alongside some Bronze Age burial grounds, Income Hole and Grim’s Ditch are some of the things that earn the Ivinghoe Hills area its Site of Special Scientific Interest title.
Incombe Hole to the Ivinghoe Beacon
After Incombe Hole, you will cross over Beacon Road and once over the road, any of the paths will take you to the trig point at the top. Look out for the wildflowers, butterflies and other wildlife along the trail as you climb.
At the top, we discovered that Beacon Hill has great views but doesn’t have a beacon anymore. Instead, there were just two stones on the ground. Legend has it that the hill used to be part of an old signalling network using the tops of prominent hills to send messages during the time of the Vikings, not so needed in modern times!
From the trig point on Beacon Hill you can see the Pitstone Windmill turning in the distance and something far more interesting, the Whipsnade White Lion. The White Lion of was a piece of marketing for Whipsnade Zoo, completed in 1933 and recently restored with 800 tonnes of chalk.
On the way down we wandered through a golf course and ended up passing through the village of Aldbury which conveniently had a proper English pub for a celebratory pint.
Another 20 minutes on from the Greyhound and we were back at the car just as the light started to fade.
The Chilterns are fast becoming my go-to place when I want to escape from London for a bit.
The Ashridge House Estate is in a great area to see a little wildlife, try new walks and take in some beautiful views.
Overall I’d say that Ivinghoe Beacon is an enjoyable walk. It has a well-marked trail, pretty views and the climb is easy enough for most walkers. Plus, with a pub on route you can’t go wrong!
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