National Trust Official Website
Follow this link to learn about this walk I printed off. Having said that… I would make a couple of tweaks to their instructions as shown below in my blog post.
We put in the postcode for the Ashridge Estate and found ourselves at the National Trust site with great ease. Despite being the first Sunday in January and extremely cold, we really struggled to find parking. The place was packed. So, we ended up on muddy grass, which did prove a wee bit of a challenge to move off from at the end of our adventure. Unfortunately, the slope was up to the road and going against us, but a little perseverance and we were fine. Next time I will park on the other side of the road, where the slope flows down to the road. If you are in a 4-wheel drive I am sure you would have been fine!
Small CAFÉ/FREE Toilets
As we walked the long drive up to the Monument, we found a lovely wooden cabin that housed a small gift shop, café, and toilets.
So the intention was to hike from the Ridgewater Monument to Ivinghoe Beacon, but due to tired little legs, we did half the route.
Having never been to this area before, I literally followed the instructions on the National Trust to the letter. Having now done many a hike that their site suggests, I’ve always been pleasantly pleased to say their instructions are very easy to follow.
However, the first instruction is to follow the path right of the Monument. There are two paths to the Monument’s right. One that goes directly straight on, the other is labeled Mobility Path and veers off at about a 2 O’clock angle from the monument. As the instructions made no effort to name the path as the mobility path, we took the other. This was not what the instructions intended.
Wrong Right Path
So after about a mile, we realised that nothing that we saw was matching the description and so cross-referencing our Google Maps Terrain Map to the printed instructions we realised we were half a mile to the left of the intended path, so managed to cross country track through other public right’s of ways to meet up with our intended route.
You can see our path on the Strava Map below.
Reaching the Ivinghoe Beacon Car Park
Once we’d met up with the path we continued to follow it until we came out onto Beacon Road and the carpark listed at number 12.
At this point, we stopped for a wee rest (my 7-year-old had tired legs) a snack and then retraced our steps, but this time followed the Mobility Path and directions in reverse all the way back to the Bridgewater Monument where we had parked.
One of the cool things I spotted, was that the area (even on the paths we started off wrongly following) had many mountain biking cycling tracks. Which given the warmer weather we will be investigating I am sure.
The Mobility Path
The true path/route that the National Trust advises was more like walking down a lane. Nice and wide and I am sure in the summer when the ground is hard, it would be super easy to push prams or wheelchairs along. There are some hills but nothing too strenuous. However, on the first weekend of January after some rain early in the week and the hordes of people in the area, the route was quite boggy. At the end of the day, it was only Mud, and my partner and I coped fine, but our girls had mud all over their legs up to their knees. So I’ll be buying some gaiters for them next time as I am also hoping this will prevent the multiple boot emptying of stones we had to do!
30/40 Minutes From Milton Keynes
Living in North Milton Keynes, the journey was about half an hour, we hiked 6.18 miles in around 2 hours with stoppages and a slow ambling pace and then came back again, so it could be done as a nice morning hike at adult walking pace.
Have You Walked This Route?
If you go on a journey of discovery having read this post and decided to investigate for yourselves, please be sweet and leave us a comment about how you got on, I’d love to know 🙂