Aldbury to the Beacon and back through Ashridge

From picturesque Aldbury you follow the Ridgeway to Ivinghoe beacon, returning via the Ashridge boundary trail and the Chiltern Way. You can enjoy the contrasts between the two LDPs: airy ridges on the Ridgeway and the patchwork of woods and fields on the Chiltern Way.

Technical sheet No. 27464406

A Aldbury walk posted on 05/10/22 by Chiltern Society. Last update : 15/03/23
Calculated time Calculated time: 5h15[?]
Distance Distance : 15.98 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 234 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 235 m
Highest point Highest point : 237 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 137 m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Chiltern Hills
Location Location : Aldbury
Starting point Starting point : N 51.802494° / W 0.602017°
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View of Ivinghoe Beacon from Pitstone Hill


Start : Aldbury village green (HP23 5RT). Grid ref. SP 964 124

(D/A) From the Southern end of the village green near the stocks take the road (Station Road) past the church signposted for Tring Station. Just beyond the churchyard take the footpath to the right (North-West) across the field signed for the Hertfordshire Way/Ridgeway.

Pass to the right of some stables and look out for a gate on the left. Pass through the gate and walk past a barn. After the barn the path runs between hedges. To your East you should be able to see the Monument poking out above the trees of Ashridge. Look behind you for a fine view of Aldbury and its church.

(1) When you come to a path crossroads take the bridleway to the left (South-West) signposted 'to Ridgeway'. There are fine views ahead of you across the Bulbourne valley to the Chiltern hills above Tring. In 400m you meet the Ridgeway.

(2) Turn right (North-West) on the Ridgeway. We follow the Ridgeway for the next 2.5 miles to its end at Ivinghoe beacon. It is well signposted throughout. (A)

Turn right on to a footpath climbing to the right of the Aldbury Nowers nature reserve (B). The path soon enters a beech wood. Take the Ridgeway to the left up some steps.

(3) Bear left at the top of the steps and pass along the top of the reserve. The path passes back in to woodland and climbs again up a few more steps. You continue to climb steadily through the beech woods for some way. The path eventually levels off just below the top of the ridge and there are some lovely views through the trees. After around 1km you pass through a gate on to the grassy hillside of Pitstone Hill.

(4) Continue straight ahead on a broad path following an ancient track climbing up the side of the hill. As you climb the side of the hill you will see Pitstone church ahead of you beyond the quarry and on a low ridge in the distance, Mentmore Towers.

The path curves to the East and climbs to the top of the ridge. Here you get a great view of the wooded hills of Ashridge and the bare hills leading to Ivinghoe Beacon (C) with the spire of Ivinghoe church in the valley to the North.

After 500m walking along the top of an airy ridge the path curves further right and starts to descend steeply to pass to the right of a rounded hill.

Don't miss the chance of climbing to the top of such a nice little hill so, where the Ridgeway crosses a ditch, bear left to the summit. From the top of the hill, aim for the car park to rejoin the Ridgeway.

(5) Cross the road (Stocks Road) and continue straight ahead along the broad path to the left of a fence. The Ridgeway climbs steeply up the South side of Incombe Hole then swings northward around its head. Do not go through the gate at the head of the valley but keep to the left of the fence.

The Ridgeway passes through the middle of a patch of scrub. Beyond the scrub descend to pass through a gate in the fence on the right. Continue over a low ridge, following the path down to a road.

(6) Cross the road with care - you are on the inside of a sharp bend. Take the broad path on the opposite side heading for the beacon. The precise routing of the Ridgeway varies to help manage erosion, but your target is clear.

(7) At the top of the hill cross a low dyke to reach the trig point and Ridgeway information board. When you have finished looking at the view head due right (East) on the obvious ridge towards Whipsnade (indicated by the chalk lion). Now we have said goodbye to the Ridgeway we will broadly be following the Ashridge boundary trail for the next 3 miles. Pass through the first gate and out on to an open ridge.

(8) The ridge descends and where you meet a fence, turn right (South-East) downhill along the fence (here we take a permissive shortcut to miss a boring bit of the boundary trail). Pass through a gate and continue straight across between open fields and rejoin the boundary trail after 100m. Here turn right (South-West), heading back towards Ashridge on a broad track across open fields.

(9) At the base of the hill you will come to a gate by some trees. Turn left (South-West) through the gate and follow the Boundary Trail along the bottom of the slope. After 200m pass through a gate in to woodland. You walk through deciduous trees at first and then wind through a closely planted conifer plantation.

Initially you are on a broad path parallel to the lines of trees, but midway through the plantation take the fork a quarter-left through the conifers, emerging alongside an open field. Continue in the same direction and climb steps up the steep sided ridge.

(10) Keep straight ahead when you emerge from the trees at the top of the ridge, passing through two kissing gates into Ward’s Hurst Farm. Continue straight ahead to three fields and three gates - the way is clearly marked by large green footpath signs on each gate - until the path meets the edge of the wood.

Follow the edge of the wood through several more gates until you pass behind a grassy mound covering a reservoir. Turn right past the reservoir and after passing a house look out for a gate in the fence on your left.

(11) Pass through the gate and head half right across the field aiming for a kissing gate in the hedge about 50m to the left of the exit gate. Turn right along the pavement by the B4506 road and walk along it for 200m. Note the pretty estate cottages on your right.

Where the pavement ends, just before Beacon Road, cross the B4506 road and continue along the verge on the other side.

Take the footpath on the left (South-East) signposted for Little Gaddesden. Initially the path follows a hedge on the left with a mix of heath and woodland on the right. You soon see the big gardens of the houses of Little Gaddesden on your left. Where you meet a gravelled then tarmacked road keep straight ahead along it, passing between gardens and after 400m you reach the point where the Chiltern Way (D) crosses.

If you want to visit the pub in Little Gaddesden, turn left up the steps and you reach the Bridgewater Arms in 200m.

(12) Our route continues on the Chiltern Way to the right downhill, passing between high hedges, continuing straight ahead after the gardens and meeting the golf course at the top of a short slope. Keep straight ahead across the fairway and in to the trees. The path runs between laurel hedges for 100m.

Cross straight ahead across a gravel drive and a crossing road to join the road to the club house. Continue until you near the car park. For the next 2.5 miles you follow the Chiltern Way.

(13) As the road curves to the left near the club house, keep straight ahead on the waymarked footpath to the right of the road. The footpath runs to the right of the club house and crosses the valley to the left of the practise green. Aim to the left of the broad track you can see entering the trees at the top of the slope ahead of you.

The footpath (Chiltern Way) runs to the left of the barns and houses in the wood at the top of the slope. The path joins a road by the pond in front of Old Park Lodge.

Follow this road for 400m. You soon cross the broad avenue of Prince's Riding with the tower of Ashridge College to your left and the Monument in the distance to your right. Keep straight ahead on a broad track where the tarmac road curves right towards the B4506 road.

(14) After 100m the broad track curves slightly right. Here bear left away from the main track at a Waymark post. Follow a smaller footpath heading South and gradually approaching the edge of the wood. You cross right over a low bank - probably the remains of an old hedge line.

Follow this bank as it descends through the wood along the west side of an open field. At the bottom of the slope you meet a well made crossing bridleway. Turn right (West) on to this path.

(15) Cross over the B4506 road and continue straight ahead on this path for 800m to pass a cottage (Old Copse Lodge) and meet a confusion of crossing tracks.Keep straight ahead across the road to the cottage. Ignore the paths to the left and right. Shortly after the cottage the path starts to descend. You get a view ahead of you to the woods above Aldbury Nowers. Continue in the same direction.

The path descends steeply at first then curves to the left to descend a little more gently along the hillside. Continue on the bridleway across a crossing footpath - your route now runs half-right down a gully.

Cross straight over the Tom's Hill road and follow the Chiltern Way to your left. You soon reach the edge of the village. Head down the road ahead of you, looking for a footpath to the right after 70m.

(16) Take the first footpath on your right running between hedges and fences. This brings you to a gate at the top of a field of allotments. Do not go through the gate but turn right on the path along the top. After 60m, turn left through a second gate. Pause to enjoy the view over the village. Walk down the centre of the allotments. You soon join a narrow street which emerges in to Trooper Road. Turn right to return to the village green. (D/A)

We hope you have enjoyed your walk. Please remember to rate the walk and add comments. We are interested in how we could improve the instructions or the route and would like to hear about any issues with paths on the walk.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 140 m - Aldbury village green
1 : km 0.78 - alt. 163 m - Path crossroads
2 : km 1.24 - alt. 149 m - Ridgeway
3 : km 1.95 - alt. 182 m - Steps
4 : km 2.82 - alt. 199 m - Pitstone Hill
5 : km 4.13 - alt. 185 m - Stocks Road
6 : km 5.81 - alt. 208 m - Road
7 : km 6.36 - alt. 219 m - Ivinghoe Beacon
8 : km 7.15 - alt. 189 m - Open ridge
9 : km 8.04 - alt. 170 m - Base of the hill - Gate
10 : km 9.29 - alt. 233 m - Top of the ridge
11 : km 10.52 - alt. 218 m - Gate
12 : km 11.92 - alt. 188 m - Chiltern Way
13 : km 12.56 - alt. 198 m - Club house
14 : km 13.44 - alt. 199 m - Waymark post
15 : km 14.27 - alt. 195 m - B4506
16 : km 15.48 - alt. 149 m - Footpath - Hedges and fences
D/A : km 15.98 - alt. 140 m - Aldbury village green

Useful Information

Start : Aldbury village green (HP23 5RT). Grid ref. SP 964 124

Terrain : From picturesque Aldbury you follow the Ridgeway to Ivinghoe beacon, returning via the Ashridge boundary trail and the Chiltern Way. Terrain: Good, well waymarked footpaths, bridleways and lanes. Total ascent 310m

Parking: Parking in Aldbury - on street or by the playing fields.

Local transport: Train to Tring Station (500m from the route at waypoint (3)). From the station, cross the road and turn right on Station Road towards Aldbury. Cross Northfield Road and continue at the side of Station Road for 100m. Turn left on to a bridleway climbing away from the road. After 200m you meet the Ridgeway and turn left.

Food & drink: Pubs (Greyhound, Valiant Trooper), Musette Cafe in Aldbury, The Bridgewater Arms, Little Gaddesden

Find more walks and events at Chiltern Society here.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

(A) The Ridgeway has been described as Britain’s oldest road and is thought to have connected the Dorset coast to the Wash. It is now an 87 mile National Trail which runs from Overton Hill near Marlborough to Ivinghoe Beacon.

(B) Aldbury Nowers Nature Reserve An SSSI managed by the Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust. The site is made up of two areas of hillside, linked by the Ridgeway. In the warm south facing slopes you will find many of the flower species typical of unimproved chalk grassland (milkwort, rock rose, clustered bellflower, lady's bedstraw) and if you are lucky see one of the rare butterfly species (Duke of Burgundy, green hairstreak, Essex, dingy and grizzled Skippers).If you walk this way on a warm summer evening you may even see glow worms!

(C) Ivinghoe Beacon. Is a late bronze or early iron age hillfort. It stands at the end of a ridge so there is a great view. To the South-West look back over Pitstone to the hills above Tring. Moving clockwise you can see Pitstone Windmill and Ivinghoe church. Across the vale of Aylesbury on the ridge you can see Mentmore towers. In the distance to the north is Leighton Buzzard. Further round a couple of miles away is the grand church of Edlesborough on its mound with the hills above Totternhoe beyond. Next you can see Dunstable Downs with the gliding club below. Finally, to the East you should just be able to make out the white lion of Whipsnade cut in to the hillside. You will often see people flying model gliders from the Beacon. These days they are joined by red kites who easily outperform the best pilots. When you have finished looking at the view (and taken a selfie) head due east on the obvious ridge towards Whipsnade.

(D) Chiltern Way. The Chiltern Way is a 134 mile circular route around the Chilterns created by the Chiltern Society for the Millenium. Further information can be found on the

Opinions and comments


Global average : 5/5
Number of opinions : 1
Clarity of route description : 5/5
Clarity of route map : 5/5
Walk interest : 5/5

on Mon 24 Oct 2022 14:43:48 CEST

Global average : 5 / 5

Date of walk : 24/10/22
Clarity of route description : ★★★★★ Very good
Clarity of route map : ★★★★★ Very good
Walk interest : ★★★★★ Very good

This is a superb walk taking in the best parts of the North Eastern end of the Chilterns, starting and finishing in the lovely village of Aldbury. Good at any time of the year but late spring and autumn would be the best times in my opinion. Avoid weekends if possible as it's quite a popular area. Great description too - you could do it without a map.

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