Keeping up the preparations for our Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge (next Saturday!) we went, last weekend, to walk part of The Ridgeway.
The Ridgeway is thought to be Britain’s oldest road, following the route used since prehistoric times by travellers, soldiers and herdsmen. It is 87 miles (139 km) long and runs from Avebury in Wiltshire to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire.
We joined it near one end, at Tring Station, and walked the 8 miles to the small town of Wendover. The weather was dull, but dry, when we left the house, however by the time we parked at Tring Station it was raining. The forecast had said ‘showers’, which suggests to me that short periods of rain would be interspersed with dry bright spells, but this ‘shower’ lasted for almost the whole walk. The photos I took don’t do justice to the views over the Chilterns, sadly. If you could just imagine them with blue skies and sunshine, they will be much better. 🙂
Our walk started beside some fields and through some woodland, climbing steadily, until we came to a foot bridge built specially to carry The Ridgeway over the A41.
The gentle climb continued and the views of the Chilterns and the Vale of Aylesbury were wide and sweeping (and would have been wider and more sweeping without the rain!). A freight train was travelling north from London – you can just see the coloured containers in the centre of the photo –
We walked along the edges of cornfields –
Through some more woodland and then we were in Tring Park. Tring Park is part of the estate which belonged to the Rothschilds, a well known international banking family, from 1872. In addition to the lovely house (now a School for the Performing Arts) there were beautiful gardens and carriage drives and a large collection of animals. Emus, rheas, zebras and kangaroos roamed the parkland and in a specially built Zoological Museum there were many stuffed animals. Sadly all that has gone now (the stuffed animals form part of the collections of the Natural History Museum), but the Woodland Trust is trying to restore some of the woodland and drives back to their former glory. Trees have been cleared so that the view can be admired again and a lovely wooden bench has been installed so that you can sit and enjoy it (preferably on a sunny day rather than our damp day).
We walked on through steep treelined paths
..before coming out, into sunshine, near this lovely church in Wendover.
You can see how wet the ground had been by the steam rising off the road!
The lychgate is lovely
We walked into Wendover town, past the clock tower
and then a short distance to a Chocolaterie, where we ordered cake and drinks. I had a mocha drink (can’t go into a Chocolaterie and not have something chocolatey!) and this rather delicious walnut and coffee cake with raspberry coulis, which I think I deserved after my walk.
Another time I would like to walk more of The Ridgeway, hopefully on a brighter day when the views will be better.