I’m not sure why I haven’t managed to write a review of Ivinghoe Beacon before. We drive past it all the time and have visited plenty of times. That said, the last time I actually visited here before today I was 5 months pregnant with Smallest Child. If you don’t know where it is, it’s right on the border of Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire between Dunstable and Ivinghoe.
The area is used to graze sheep, although they can be elusive at times. They do, however, like to leave reminders of their existence ALL over the place. Worht bearing in mind with smaller kids.
Ivinghoe Beacon is part of the Ashridge Estate. You can find my review of the main estate here, of Ling Ride here and the Dockey Wood Bluebells here. Being a beacon it’s exposed and hilly. This is not an easy walk, and it isn’t pushchair friendly. When it’s windy, it’s very windy up at the top. Even on a relatively calm day it can be breezy enough up here to fly a kite. On a clear day the views from Ivinghoe Beacon are incredible. You can see across Bucks, Beds and Herts. It has to offer one of the best panoramic views in our area in my opinion.
Walks around Ivinghoe Beacon
This is a fantastic family walk and the Ridgeway National Trail goes right through the heart of it. Ivinghoe Beacon is also the end point of the three peaks challenge. There’s so much wildlife to see – lots of very vocal birds, including Red Kites which are basically flying beneath you in places, tons of butterflies, bees etc. All the things kids like to spot. Oh, and don’t forget the MASSIVE LION ON THE SIDE OF A NEARBY HILL. This is actually the Whipsnade Zoo chalk lion and Smallest Child thought it was brilliant.
Don’t get me wrong. Whilst this is a lovely walk, it is not an easy walk in places. There are also some sections that made me a little bit nervous with Smallest Child. Ivinghoe Beacon, and the surrounding landscape, has got some incredibly steep slopes. If someone were to start running down these slopes I genuinely don’t think you’d stop until you collapsed in a heap at the bottom. I don’t recommend going off the worn paths!! It’s also probably better for the wildlife and flowers if you don’t.
No matter what route you choose to access the beacon, you will be walking up hill for a significant amount of time. Some routes are steeper than others though. We’ve approached from the car park side (walking left out of the car park). That’s pretty steep. We’ve also done from the B489 lay-by side. We took the Ridgeway path signposted to the right of the lay-by as you look at Ivinghoe Beacon. That way was STEEP. You could also take the chalk path to your left which appears like it might be a more gentle, but longer climb. The same applies if you leave the main car park from the right hand corner (looking at the beacon). We didn’t do that walk but from the top of Ivinghoe Beacon it looks much longer but more gentle. Don’t forget, what comes up must come down, so there will be downhill sections as well.
Social distancing information at Ivinghoe Beacon
There is a ton of space, but as I’ve mentioned you really do want to stick to the worn paths as much as possible. That said, those paths are several meters wide throughout the entire beacon and you can easily step to the side if a large group were trying to get past. The same cannot be said of some of the footpaths up to the beacon. Depending which path you take, these can be extremely narrow and it would be very difficult for people to pass you. There are also gates and stiles in places.
Our Ivinghoe Beacon Review
The photos in this review don’t really demonstrate how high up Ivinghoe Beacon is, and how much climbing you will have to do. Smallest Child managed it, but she was clearly getting tired by the end. It’s a killer on the old calves!! The views are so beautiful that it’s absolutely worth it though.
Ivinghoe Beacon is free to visit.
Parking / How to get there
There is a free National Trust car park – Off Beacon Road, Ringshall HP4 1NF
There is also a lay-by on the B489 near the turning for Ivinghoe Aston that gives access to the beacon.
There is an ice cream van quite often in the main car park. There are plenty of places to have a picnic though.
Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with our three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Facebook