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Walk 2399 - printer friendly version

The Chilterns above Tring (short version) Walk

Author - Donald Morton

Length - 8.0 miles / 13 km

Ascent - 900 feet / 273 metres

Grade - easy/mod

Start - OS grid reference SP971131
Lat 51.808115 + Long -0.59301566
Postcode HP4 1LX (approx. location only)

The description of this walk starts from the car park at the Bridgewater Monument (Grid ref SP971131) on the National Trust Ashridge Estate. If the car park is full there is lots more extra parking on hardstandings off to the left of the drive down to the Monument. It is also possible to start from Tring Station coming by train - or car at weekends when the station car park, busy and £ 5 during the week, is "at the moment" free - see below. Turn right when you come out of the station or carpark.

Walk to The Monument. This is an 1832 memorial to the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, a pioneer of canal building, which may be ascended weekend afternoons in season. Turn right along the track marked Mobility Vehicles Trail. Follow this broad obvious track for some 2km ignoring all paths left and right; by way of confirmation you pass over a bridge, pass a wooden house on the left and, quite a bit further on, a log seat with a view over the cream painted Duncombe Farm and the valley and hills beyond. Not too long after this you reach a crossing footpath. Turn left and go down through the woods - bluebells in season - and then up a short rise to come out into a field through a metal kissing gate. Go through a second gate and down the field with woods on the right, Duncombe Farm towards the left and Aldbury ahead. When the edge of the woods swings right go straight on to a gate on the far side of the field by the Farm entrance. Turn right down the tarmac lane and follow this to a T junction (Grid ref SP961139).

Turn right and walk a couple of hundred yards - beware traffic - to a footpath opposite a bungalow. Turn left onto the footpath to follow the field edge, hedge on left, as it curves round to the right so that you are facing the prominent silhouette of Pitstone Hill. Where the field edge bends sharp left, continue walking straight on across the field, maybe not very well restored after ploughing but signed, and aiming to the left of Pitstone Hill. At a track carry straight on over the next field now aiming for two low trees on the other side. When you reach these, bend right to follow the field edge to a metal gate by a finger post. Go through, cross the Ridgeway, and keeping to the left of Pitstone Hill, straight on; path marked by posts. From here there is a panoramic view of the Vale of Aylesbury and over to the right Ivinghoe Beacon (821ft) starting point of the Ridgeway 84 miles to Wiltshire, and the original Icknield Way 100 miles to Norfolk. Nestling below the Beacon is the village of Ivinghoe with its prominent 13th Century church. Just before the second post turn left to reach a cross track. Turn right on this and go down a cleft to arrive at a fence. Ignore the gate in the fence and turn left to follow the fence along the side of the hill - can be slippy if wet. The ponds over to the right are chalk pits, part of the now defunct and removed Castle cement works; they always have an interesting colour and in sun light are a vivid duck egg blue - chalk particles in the water, light refraction and all that stuff. At the end of the fence turn right through a bridle gate and down an enclosed path; ignore a path on the left, and at the end go through a metal barrier, do a right/left dog leg and come out at a road.

Turn left and go along road to the entrance to Park Hill Farm. Turn right here and follow Public Restricted Byway 62 (so says the finger post) straight down to the Grand Union Canal. Turn left along the tow path. The tow path is part of the Grand Union Canal Walk 145 miles from London to Birmingham. You join it where the canal runs through a rather dark and gloomy cutting at the Tring Summit, after it has climbed up from the Vale of Aylesbury by a series of locks: from now on it is downhill to London. Walk along the towpath through the cutting. Leave the tow path at Bridge 135, and turn left to pass Tring Station.

Continue past Northfield Road and about 100yds further on turn left up a concrete drive (signed Ridgeway but still part of the Hertfordshire Way). Where the drive turns left continue straight on a grass track to go through a bridle gate. Here the Ridgeway goes left. Leave it by going straight on along an enclosed bridleway. Continue on this, ignoring tracks to left and right until you come to a crossing footpath, where turn right to follow the finger post pointing to Aldbury 600m or 0.4 miles. Going down the enclosed footpath Aldbury church is straight ahead. Go through a metal kissing gate, over a track, through a second metal kissing gate, down by a large modern barn, through a wooden kissing gate, along a made pebble path, through a gate across a field and onto a road.

Turn left past the church to arrive in the centre of Aldbury, which has two pubs and tea rooms for refreshment, a village shop, many fine old cottages and larger buildings, a duck pond on the green and village stocks and whipping post. All in all it is one of the prettiest villages in Hertfordshire and often the choice of film producers. The largest house in the parish is Stocks, once the home of Playboy executive Victor Lownes, a training camp for Playboy Bunny Girls, scene of parties for the 'A' list and reputed to have the largest jacuzzi in the country; it has subsequently had varied uses but before that it was for 200 years the home of country gentry and then a Catholic school. Leave Aldbury on Toms Hill Road signposted to Berkhamsted and Gaddesden. Just past Aldbury Club turn left up a gravel track signed the Hertfordshire Way back along the way you have come and, going forward, to the Monument and Tearoom. You might need the latter because it is uphill and quite steep all the way back to the starting point. Just follow the track, with glimpses to the left of Stocks, ignoring any paths to left or right until you come out at the Monument, which comes into view surprisingly late. The NT approved licensed tea room is on the right as you walk to the car park.

Walk 2399 Route Map

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