Ivinghoe Beacon, Bedfordshire-Hertfordshire border

Take a leisurely stroll along the ancient Ridgeway route to be rewarded with stunning panoramic views, says Abigail Hamilton-Thompson  


Situated in the midst of the rolling Chiltern Hills, Ivinghoe Beacon is one of the highest points in this breathtaking Area of Natural Beauty.


Walkers will be mesmerised by the spectacular views over the Vale of Aylesbury into Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, criss-crossed by the dykes and drover’s paths that reveal man’s hand on this landscape. 


The Ridgeway is an ancient path that was once used by travellers, herdsmen and soldiers. It starts here at Ivinghoe Beacon and runs for 87 miles west along the Chiltern’s hill ridges to Overton Hill, near Avebury in Wiltshire. It’s now a national trail, marked with acorn waymarker posts.


From the car park, head onto the road and take the Ridgeway footpath opposite – it runs alongside a fence on the right before ascending Steps Hill. Continue to a road and follow the left-hand path uphill to reach Ivinghoe Beacon. You’ll see Pitstone windmill beneath you and, to the east, the carved chalk lion that prowls on the hillside near Whipsnade Zoo.


Walk along the ridge and then descend into the valley, soon turning right up towards the road. While walking through the open grasslands and rolling chalk downlands, look out for rare butterflies such as the Duke of Burgundy.

Duke of Burgundy butterfly (©Getty images)


Take the footpath to the left, running alongside the road, pass through a car park and take a track on the right on the opposite side of the road at the far end of the next car park. Here you descend into the Ashridge woodland, home to fallow and muntjac deer. When the track begins to ascend, bear right on a path that returns you to the Ridgeway, or for a longer walk follow the track to the Bridgewater monument and National Trust visitor centre.


Credit: Getty