You don't need a car to get to this lovely Chilterns walk as it follows the old drovers trails as they moved livestock along ancient sunken lanes that criss-cross the area.
Starting from Tring station, you have a choice of a four or six mile circular route through an area that supports an amazing diversity of birdlife; red kites, goldcrest and the lesser-spotted woodpecker. Wild fallow deer are a common sight too, badgers and the rarely found dormouse. But spring brings out the beautiful bluebells that can be enjoyed in the Ashridge Woodland, a National Trust estate.
Refreshments aplenty along the route at Ashridge and Aldbury.
Tring station on the London Midland line from Birmingham and London Euston.
The Chilterns nr Ivinghoe Beacon
Google map: bit.ly/11b7JNX
Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild bought the Waddesdon Estate - originally nothing but farmland - in 1874 as he wanted a country retreat built in the style of a Loire châteaux to entertain his friends. Cue Saturday to Monday house parties of note, with guests enjoying all the mod cons of running water, central heating and electricity.
At this time of year however, the gardens really come into their own with beautiful vistas now opened up across the Chiltern hills. A series of light installations by Bruce Munro, made up of thousands of CD's compliment the already extensive collection of sculptures that dot the garden. There is plenty of walking to be had in the grounds, and a combination of formal and informal layouts that seem to show off the winter colours and open up the vista.
The Jolly Cricketers set in the heart of Seer Green village in the Chilterns is constantly recommended by the locals (the fish and chips a particular favourite) and won a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide 2012. The award (named after Bibendum the famous ‘Michelin Man’) singles this pub out as “an inspectors’ favourite, offering good food at moderate prices."
A fitting tribute to the worlds greatest story-teller Roald Dahl who lived and wrote his stories in the heart of the Chilterns. He used everyday locations around his village, Great Missenden to great effect in many of his wonderful stories. There is a family-friendly walking trail to spot local literary landmarks that is worth exploring after a visit to the Museum and Story Centre on the High Street.
Side Pocket, Ridgeway, Jack O'Legs, Colley's Santa's Little Helper and Tringle Bells are just some of the beers brewed at Tring Brewery by Ben and his team. A successful business that goes from strength to strength, helped by enthusiastic drinkers up and down the Chilterns. Visit the shop which is open six days a week to chose your Christmas tipple.
The Chilterns are famous for the beech woodlands and this has to be one of the best places to enjoy the autumn colour splash. This time of year, you can get into the leafy canopy at the GoApe centre, or perhaps something at ground level with amazing mountain-biking on the nearby Aston Hill for those who crave a greater downhill adrenaline rush.
And if this isn't enough, there are walks including the popular firecrest trail, and for families, a busy adventure playground.
It may sound busy, but the woods are big enough to quickly absorb everyone, so a walk or just somewhere to sit and enjoy the views is possible.
Often seen circling overhead are the gliders and red kites, maybe enjoying the lovely views across the vale to Hale Wood.
What's not to like?
Aston Clinton, Halton, Wendover and Aylesbury are the nearest towns or villages.
From Wendover, take the B4009 towards Tring, take the right hand turn approximately 1 mile north of RAF Halton, signposted Wendover Woods and St Leonards. The main entrance to the woods is found on the right.
From the A41, take the Wendover exit (also signed Dunstable) and take the B4009 towards Aston Clinton. Take the first left towards Wendover. After approx 1/2 mile, take a left signposted Wendover Woods and St Leonards. The main entrance to the woods is found on the right.
OS Grid Reference: SP890090
Google map: bit.ly/RAO3KN
It's the only museum that has a dodo, the stars of a flea circus and finches that Charles Darwin collected. The Victorian showcases full of stuffed animals are charming and children love exploring and endlessly going back to the collection of dogs and butterflies.
The downhill’s just get better and better and the new ‘Surface to Air’ trail will be ready soon at the Aston Hill mountain bike trails. If you are a beginner, or more experienced downhiller, this must be the best play park to cut or hone your teeth on. There isn't a posh trail centre, more amazing trails in a friendly helpful atmosphere all set within the fab Wendover Woods, which also has more gentle off-road cycling options.
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