Sunday 27th February 2011
The Ridgeway ends at Ivinghoe Beacon. That’s very nice and all, but it’s in the middle of nowhere, with no useful public transport, so the most practical way around this is to do a circular walk from Tring.
We hopped off the train and were met with the usual signposting that told us how much further we had to walk.
We’d chosen to do the walk on Sunday due to a favourable weather forecast: not too hot, but at least it would be dry. And so of course, about ten minutes after we got going, it started raining and continued all afternoon. It was also windy, and we felt the cold.
On such a grey day, the chalk pit at Folly Farm really stood out. It didn’t come out very well on my phone camera, but it was almost sea-green.
After crossing the yellow road, we weren’t disappointed by any lack of – you’ve guessed it – friendly signs, making us feel most welcome once again.
Despite the weather, we saw loads of people out and about. Some of them were presumably taking part in a regular Sunday running club, but there were also loads of walkers. Maybe they too were fooled by the weather forecast. It was exceedingly muddy under foot, as illustrated by these woods near the top of the hill.
Up on Ivinghoe Beacon itself it was uncomfortably windy, with torrential rain. Totally appalling weather, but there were still loads of people out walking, and it seemed like everyone was walking up to the top of the beacon, touching the trig point just so they could say they’d been there, and then walking straight back down the hill again. We did so too, as demonstrated here by Ilmari.
The next part of our route followed the Icknield Way trail, ascending through some woods towards Ward’s Hurst Farm, taking a right turn towards Beacon Road, and then continuing down through the woods where we finally arrived at the Bridgewater Monument. You can climb up inside it between April and October so it’s closed at the moment, but there are toilets there, and also a National Trust shop selling tea and cakes, perfect for a cold day. We then descended to the village of Aldbury, where we had another hot drink at the Valiant Trooper pub, after which we headed back to Tring Station.
I highly recommend doing this walk in nicer weather. Looking around online, there are plenty of photos taken in the same places on beautiful sunny days, and it looks lovely.