Ivinghoe Beacon is a landmark atop a hill in the Chilterns, which in turn is in Buckinghamshire in England. Last year, while visiting family, I decided I wanted to go on this 8+ mile hike. I needed my husband to drive me there because I wasn’t on the car insurance so he had no choice but to tag along. The day started with a full English breakfast at a local pub as we figured we’d need all the energy we could get. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
The day was gorgeous. It was one of those amazing days sandwiched between rainy and cold days, as is often the case in Spring and early Summer in England. We were alone for most of the trail, with the occasional hiker either passing us or going in the opposite direction. Only at the two major landmarks of the hike, Ivinghoe Beacon itself, and the Ashbridge Estate did we encounter groups of people. Ivinghoe Beacon is accessible by a short walk uphill from a car park so it’s only natural that it would have more people than anywhere on the trail, and the Ashbridge Estate grounds are popular in Summer so crowds are a given.
I fell in love with the English countryside when I first laid eyes on it over a decade ago but this walk solidified that love. The entire trail was stunning; there was everything from forest to panoramic views, incredible hilltop vistas, paths through cultivated fields, kissing gates, and even sheep. Lots of sheep and a couple of cows, all just roaming free. There is a part of the trail that involves climbing a long flight of stairs through the middle of the woods. The ground was covered in white flowers and I caught the smell of something familiar. It was wild garlic! I didn’t even know there was wild garlic! This garlic is not a bulb but rather the leaves are eaten in salads. I really wish I had been able to collect some and eaten them later, but I didn’t think about it until we were too far ahead to turn back.
I don’t remember exactly how long the hike took us but I do know that it was not as hard work as I thought. It was a long hike but the scenery made it very well worth it. I think it was during this hike that I decided I wanted to hike the length of Hadrian’s Wall, but that’s a story for another time.