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Chilterns Walk
Dunstable Downs Circular

Region - Chilterns

County/Area - Bedfordshire

Author - Barry Mackie

Length - 4.0 miles / 6.5 km    Ascent - 500 feet / 152 metres

Time - 2 hours 30 minutes    Grade - easy

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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Dunstable Downs Circular
Click image to visit gallery of 6 images.

Dunstable Downs lies to the southwest of Dunstable and is part of the Chiltern Hills. These begin in the Thames Valley in Oxfordshire stretching for 40 miles in a North Easterly direction through Buckingham, Bedfordshire, and ending at Hitchin in Hertfordshire. This is a popular place for visitors and has ample free parking. There is also a Visitor Centre where you can buy refreshments.

Turn off the B4541 at the car park adjacent to the Visitor Centre (grid ref TL 008197). Take one of the defined paths next to the Centre and head north for nearly a mile along the top of the grass slope until you reach the Five Knolls. This is the prominent hill at the end of the first section of the walk, which in clear weather is easily visible from the centre.

At the Five Knolls turn west and carefully make your way down the steep slope, until you reach the path, adjacent to the Vale of Aylesbury, at the foot of the Downs. Head south and stay on this path, which gradually veers in a south westerly direction, through open ground and scrubland for approximately 2 miles, until you reach the B4540 (Grid ref. SP 997186) at the foot of Bison Hill.

Turn left on the road, and then left again a few yards later to pick up the bridleway which will lead you up the slope to the top of Bison Hill. At the top of the hill follow the bridleway in a north easterly direction through a large field, scrubland and finally onto open land until you reach your start point at the Visitor Centre.

Other walks nearby

Walk 3089 Dunstable Downs & Totternhoe from Robertson Cornereasy/mod8.8 miles
Walk 3124 Five Knolls & Totternhoe from Robertson Cornereasy/mod6.0 miles
Walk 3125 Whipsnade & Codling Bank from Robertson Cornereasy4.3 miles
Walk 3409 The Three Counties Topsmod/hard17.0 miles
Walk 1833 Great Gaddesden from Jockey End easy5.2 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

Walking in the Chilterns

Walking in the ChilternsA guidebook to 35 walks in the Chiltern Hills of southern England. These chalk hills and ancient woodlands stretch from Reading and the Thames valley through Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire to Luton. Walking in the Chilterns - an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - for walkers of all abilities, with walks from 4 to 12 miles long.
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NavigationThis pocket handbook to navigation will help you master the necessary map and compass skills for mountain walking. Chapters include map scales, symbols and contours, grid references, map reading, bearings, route planning and night and bad-weather navigation, as well as navigating with a GPS.
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Further Information

Walk Location Map

Walk location map

Chilterns Walking

The Chilterns lie only a few miles to the north west of London and yet they are a beautiful, unspoilt corner of England. The gently rolling hills are swathed in woodland and chalk downland and in quiet valleys attractive villages with their traditional brick and flint cottages nestle around medieval churches. The most dramatic feature of the area is the chalk escarpment, a ridge running south west to north east, which rises up steeply from the Vale of Aylesbury and slopes gently south east towards London. This underlying chalk geology gives rise to clear chalk streams which are home to valuable wildlife. More Information

Walk grading - Learn how each walk is assessed and select a walk to suit your ability and experience by going to Walk Grading Details.

Accommodation Nearby

Lime Cottages
12.6 miles / 20.2 km away

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