Ivinghoe Beacon and the Ashridge Estate
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This is a great walk with open chalk hills, woodland, stunning views and giving a step back into ancient history. Most of the area is owned by the National Trust and the farmers are adopting conservation techniques. It also means that the whole area including the footpaths is well maintained.
Being mainly chalk, there is little surface water, although in wet weather it can be muddy and slippery. Beacon Hill has an Iron Age hill-fort, apparently occupied around 600BC. This is a splendid example of the genre. On the (un-named) hill immediately to the south of Beacon Hill is a much older (probably Bronze Age) burial mound and there are two more on Beacon Hill itself.
There are the flora and fauna of chalkland. There are sometimes roe deer to be seen in the woodland. The edible dormouse, given this name because the Romans were partial to eating it, still survives in this area. In the summer the small light blue butterflies can often be seen.
This walk is not long but it is hilly and can be quite tiring. It also has some steep sections, especially the descent between Waymarks 16 and 17. However, the rewards of the varied countryside and the magnificent views make it excellent.
For further research the following web sites are useful… www.nationaltrust.org.uk has an interesting archeological section. The Chilterns AONB website has fascinating reading about Ivinghoe Common which you cross between Waymarks 14 and 15.
England - Central England - Buckinghamshire - Chilterns
Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Flowers, Great Views, Hills or Fells, National Trust, Wildlife, Woodland
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