Ivinghoe Beacon

The weather had stayed fine so Debbie and I decided to take a walk up to the top of Ivinghoe Beacon in the Chilterns.  We were going to approach from the South and parked in the free car parking space for Pitstone Windmill on the B488.  We crossed the road from there and turned left towards the village of Ivinghoe.  Not far down the B488 we took a right on to an enclosed path which soon brought us into fields full of sheep and lambs, and just as the sun really shone through.  I was just in my Rab short-sleeved baselayer, and I really did not need anything more than that.  Which is fortunate, because Debbie had decided she wanted to use my Rab jacket today.  We kept left until the left-hand boundary turned away, at which point we continued straight on to a stile at the far end of the field, crossed that and turned left.

The green Chilterns

The green Chilterns

We could see our route from here, and could clearly see Ivinghoe Beacon.  We kept on gradually left and joined the Ridegway Path.  I recognised where we were from when I took on the Chilterns 3 Peaks before heading off to Peru.

We turned left on to the Ridgeway, taking note of the warning signs about how the land was previously used for military training, and followed a broad green track as it climbed steadily.  Towards the top the path kept to the left of a gate and contoured around the rim of the very interesting Incombe Hole before entering hawthorn scrub.

Incombe Hole

Incombe Hole

I was thinking that the steep climb from the bottom of Incombe Hole would provide some excellent running training, so I may well be back here soon.  In the meantime I was enjoying the expansive views of the Chilterns and all the shades of green.

The route ahead

The route ahead

We emerged from the hawthorns, continued on the grassy path downhill, turning right and heading uphill again, before finally going downhill once more and eventually crossing a road where the Ridgeway joins with the Icknield Way Trail, then took the left-hand of two tracks to begin the not too steep climb to the summit.  We found a group with remote controlled gliders at the top and were able to enjoy watching some of the gliders in flight, apparently using the lift generated by the wind blowing up the hill.  There were some very clear views from the top of the hill, as you might expect of a summit which formed part of a national network of beacon fires,

Whipsnade chalk lion

Whipsnade chalk lion

including that of the Whipsnade chalk lion in the side of a hill, the Vale of Aylesbury, the Chiltern escarpment from Dunstable Downs to Coombe Hill, and across to the slopes of Ashridge Park.  It is interesting at the summit because the Ridgeway marker sits at 233 metres, while the trig point next to it sits at 231 metres.

The Ridgeway marker and the lower trig point

The Ridgeway marker and the lower trig point

We left the summit to the West, taking a very steep path down to the bottom (which seemed a lot harder than the climb to the top had been) to meet up with the B489, and we turned left along that to bring us back to the B488.  We turned left again to bring us back to the car parking space and then went into the field behind it to take a look at Pitstone Windmill.  It was closed on the day but we were able to look around the outside of a structure which was built in 1627.  It is a post-mill, which means the whole structure turns on a central post, to face into the wind, which explains the big red cartwheel on its tail.

It's the Big Red Cartwheel

It’s the Big Red Cartwheel

It was a very pleasant end to an enjoyable walk in the sunny countryside.

You can see more of my photos from the walk here.

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