Having spent a week walking the glorious Ridgeway National Trail a few years ago we’ve always wanted to revisit the Chilterns sections at the end of the route. Having Hank has given us the chance to do just that!!
We pre- booked a Certified Location site at Dagnall Farm, Hertfordshire which was a new CL and seemed a perfect location for all the stuff we wanted to do.
We set off from Swansea early on the Friday evening with a hefty journey ahead. It was early August so with plenty of daylight getting anywhere early wasn’t really too much of an issue, lucky really as Hank is a bit of a plodder!
We had our usual Castle Coombe wildcamp stopover to break up the journey and a thoroughy restful night before heading east again in the morning. By lunchtime we arrived at Abingdon, parked up and ventured out along the River Thames for a walk.
It was a lovely walk along the river, lots of wildlife, beautiful narrow boats and we even met a lurcher who lived with the lock keeper, ah bless! It was a warm day so after a long enough walk for the houndies we headed back to Hank to indulge in a spot of lunch whilst watching the cricket out of the window.
It was time to venture off to the CL at Dagnall farm, get to our pitch, catch the remains of the day and hopefully squeeze in another walk before relaxing for the evening.
Our luck was in at the CL, there was only one other pitch taken so we had a good choice and after checking the sunset/sunrise/shade/sun situation we parked up, plugged in, kettle on and cuppa time!!! It was soon houndie tea time, so after a bowl of crunchies, tuna and chicken for the girls we started to think about our eating arrangements for the evening. Once sorted it was all out for a sunset stroll along a footpath across the fields whilst basking in the last rays of the day, pure vanlife bliss…
Return to the Beacon.
The following day saw us venture not too far from the site to somewhere very special for myself and Claire, Ivinghoe Beacon, the end of the Ridgeway National Trail. We reached this place at the end of our 110 mile walk from Avebury back in 2016. It was an emotional return and somewhere we have wanted to take Tilly and Belle since that glorious day we arrived, hot, sweaty, stinky and tearful back in 2016! It was touch and go getting to the top with Tilly, she’s a 13+ yr old girl who has a bad heart and dodgy arthritis in her back legs but true to form she powered up the hill determind to summit the Beacon!!
Back to Hank after the joys of the Beacon and following some restorative ice cream we set off on another adventure. This time heading just down the road for another lovely park-up in the forest and heathland.
Having enjoyed the Ivinghoe Beacon area it was time to move on so we set a route for Whipsnade Tree Cathedral. It seemed an intriguing place, a cathedral shaped tree planting with some glorious examples of different tree species, apparently! It wasn’t too far away and on reflection our chioce of CL campsite has been great as we haven’t really travelled very far today.
It was a bit of a squeeze getting Hank into the Tree Cathedral car park but with a bit of nifty parking we set off to explore the site.
We left the houndies in Hank as they seemed to be flagging and we really wanted to walk them later back at the CL. Claire and I explored the site, revelled in the huge trees, the layout and the quirky sculptures dotted around.
We’d had a amazing day but it was time to head back to Dagnall Farm to see out the rest of the day, feed the girls, ourselves and settle in for the night.
Sunday morning and over a relaxing breakfast we planned the day, unfortunately our final one here in the Chilterns. It’s back home tomorrow so we are hoping to make the most of our time in this glorious area.
We tried to visit Tring park, no luck with roadworks, diversions and lack of parking so onwards to Wendover woods and even though we have a reasonable walk it was full of screaming kids and the cafe was very pricey!!
Aiming to salvage the day we plumped for the good ole National Trust and as large areas of the countryside in this immediate area are part of the huge National Trust Ashridge estate we made the most of our membership and headed for a final outing of the day to area around the Bridgewater Monument. There looked to be some lovely woodland on the estate so we cross our fingers for a decent walk.
Finally a decent walk and even though Belle did a disappearing act through the undergrowth after some deer, ten minutes later we are all re-united and headed back to Hank for a nice cuppa!
A glorious end to a rather haphazard day, made so much better by the lovely slap up meal we had at the Red Lion Inn just 5 minutes away from Dagnall farm. https://theredliondagnall.co.uk/index.html It was local ales, halloumi and chips all round, BLISS!!!!