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The Pitstone Windmill on the Ashridge Estate against a blue cloudy sky with vivid green grass in the foreground.
The Pitstone windmill at Ashridge Estate | © National Trust Images/John Millar
Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire & Berkshire

Bridgewater Monument to Pitstone Windmill circular walk

This walk links two of the best reasons to visit the Ashridge Estate – the Bridgewater Monument and the ancient post mill. The walk features great views across the Chilterns and the Vale of Aylesbury, especially if you get the chance to climb the monument.

Road safety

Please note that this trail does include some walking on the road and may not be suitable for families with young children. Crossing can be difficult in places and there are no verges (see steps 4 and 9).

Total steps: 11

Total steps: 11

Start point

Bridgewater Monument car park. Grid ref: SP97001310. Postcode: HP4 1LX

Step 1

Stand facing the Bridgewater Monument. To the right of the Monument there are two paths. Take the one to the right along Duncombe Terrace, following a well-surfaced path and signs for mobility vehicles. Follow this path for approximately 1 mile (2km) through woodland until fields begin to appear on your left and you pass a house on your right. At the house, go through a gate and turn left onto a track. Continue to follow the track as it bears right, away from the house.

Step 2

After 200m you will come to a footpath marker. Turn left off the track, following the boundary trail, onto a footpath which descends gently down the hill and through a gate emerging into a more open landscape. You'll find fields to your left and chalk grassland to your right. The fields are separated from the grassland by a thin wire fence. Follow the path to the corner of the field in front of you. When you reach the field continue ahead following the fence line, keeping it to your left.

Step 3

When you come to a point where two paths form a crossroads, marked by a signpost, continue ahead in the direction signed Ivinghoe. Pass through the gate into a more defined field and continue ahead following footpath signs and the line of a hedgerow, keeping the hedge to your right. When you arrive at a gate in the corner of the field, go through it and onto a narrow track which seems to be within the hedgerow. Follow this track to the road.

Step 4

When you reach the road, turn left. This is a very busy road with limited visibility. There's a verge on the left side of the road which you can use but it is uneven so take care. Cross the road where you feel comfortable and continue until you come to the National Trust car park, which is near a very tight bend in the road. Cross the car park and go through a gate at the back. You'll now be able to see the Pitstone Windmill very clearly. Follow the path directly towards the windmill.

Step 5

On leaving the windmill, continue across the field to the opposite side from which you entered. When you reach the edge of the field, turn left and follow the field margin to the road.

Step 6

Cross the road and turn left. This is a very busy road. There's a verge on the right side of the road but it is uneven in places. Following the road, you'll eventually come to an opening into a field to your right. Turn in here and then turn immediately left, following a narrow track with bushes on both sides. Follow this track as it bends right. Go over a style and continue ahead on the footpath. The footpath winds uphill through bushes following a road, which you can glimpse to your left, before arriving at the edge of a field. When you arrive at a gate go through into the field. Please make sure that if you have a dog it's on a lead and under control as this field is often used for livestock.

Step 7

With your back to the gate go straight ahead, passing in front of the hill to your right. Keep an eye out to your left for the National Trust’s Pitstone Hill car park. When you meet the track which comes from the car park and goes up the hill, turn right towards the hill. You do not need to climb the hill itself but can take the left fork and walk around the contour, keeping the hill on your right if you prefer. This lower route soon bears right and begins to run parallel to a fence. Follow the fence to its corner where you'll find a signpost.

Step 8

Follow the sign left through the gate and into the field. The path skirts the edge of the field for around 100 yards before bearing left across two fields divided by a rough track. When you reach the treeline beyond these fields, turn left and walk around the edge of the field until you come to the road.

Step 9

Turn right and follow the road until you meet a substantial wall to the left, and a signpost to your right.

Step 10

Turn left following the sign indicating the Bridgewater Monument. Go through a gate into a stable yard. Keeping the stables on your left, cross the yard and continue straight ahead onto a track. Ignoring farm tracks to the right and left, you'll eventually come to a fork marked by footpath signs.

Step 11

Take the right fork following the purple arrow. The path climbs uphill into woodland. Follow this path until you come to another fork. This time take the left option past the 'No Horses' sign. Continue straight ahead through a clearing until you come to a well-surfaced track. Turn right onto the track, which will bring you back to the Bridgewater Monument.

Summer view of the Bridgewater Monument at Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire.
View of the Bridgewater Monument at Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire in summer | © National Trust Images/John Millar

End point

Bridgewater Monument car park. Grid ref: SP97001310. Postcode: HP4 1LX

Trail map

A map of the Bridgewater Monument to Pitstone Windmill circular walk
A map of the Bridgewater Monument to Pitstone Windmill circular walk | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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