Ivinghoe Beacon – From the Bronze Age to a galaxy far, far away.

Situated in the beautiful Chiltern Hills, Ivinghoe Beacon is a prominent hill and landmark in Buckinghamshire, England, in the United Kingdom, standing 233 metres  or 757 feet above sea level.

It’s relatively grand height has meant it has been an important point for humans for thousands of years with evidence of people living here with evidence of an Iron Age fort and Bronze Age activity too.

For over 5,000 years Ivinghoe Beacon has been part of the Ridgeway, one of the oldest continually used long-distance pathways in the world.  It’s height and firm ground gave travellers an ability to more easily cross south-east England and avoid the low levels that could be home to unseen predatory animals or impassable marshes.  It also allowed those en-route to be able to see any potential human threats down in the valleys.

It’s special chalky soil, which is a feature of the Chilterns, supports rich grasslands that provide home to rare plants such as orchids and endangered species such as butterflies.

It is named Invinghoe Beacon as in times gone by it has been home to a beacon that could be lit in the event of such catastrophes such invasions, wars and deaths and by this method an alert could be quickly transmitted across hundreds of miles in hours, if not minutes.

Ivinghoe Beacon seen looking north from The Ridgeway.

Ivinghoe Beacon seen looking north from The Ridgeway.

Ivinghoe might look remote but it is very accessible to NW London and particularly Leavesden (where I live) Studios and so it has appeared in various Harry Potter films as well as a wealth of British shows in the 1960’s.   When i was watching the new Star Wars film I noticed that the moon that the second Death Star had fallen into was actually a lot closer to home!


Star Wars at Invinghoe Beacon passing as the moon Kef Bir

So I went home and quickly found these photos from a year or so ago when they were filming.  One way or the other lots of Star Wars has been filmed around here with the original films being made at Borehamwood about 5 miles away, the prequels at Leavesden with the dreaded Jar Jar Binks living in a forested, watery planet where I go for walks just 4 miles from home and much of the latest trilogy filmed just a few miles away plus an beautiful sequence in the Lake District Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review (No blasters, no bla… I mean spoilers).

Evidently they used CGI to make regular horses look a little alien and for the steep northern edge of the escarpment to be cliffs that drop into a stormy sea in which the ruins of the Death Star sit just out of reach.

If you’re wondering what the view is like from the top of the beacon then this photo from the Marylebone Mountaineer Club gives a little indication.


Though I have been by it many times, I’ve not yet gone up to the top of Ivinghoe Beacon but hopefully one day soon I will do.





About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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2 Responses to Ivinghoe Beacon – From the Bronze Age to a galaxy far, far away.

  1. Pingback: The origins of Stonehenge are further revealed. | Stephen Liddell

  2. Pingback: Walking The Ridgeway, one of the oldest roads in the world | Stephen Liddell

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