Thursday, 2 April 2015

Dunstable Downs - Bedfordshire Historic County Top

Walk Summary
Last two hills of the day,  Ivinghoe Beacon (left) and Clipper Down (right)
from Town Farm evening before the walk.
An excellent walk today with Gina. To be honest for me that is why it was an excellent walk. As a bonus we managed 1 Historic County Top, 2 HuMPs 3 trig points and managed just over 10 miles in warm spring sunshine swapping between well defined paths along the Icknield and Chilterns Way.
We managed a point to point walk by catching the 61 bus service from The Green, Ivinghoe to Dunstable. This did involve a short walk to Ivinghoe from our van  to catch the bus to Dunstable but did mean we finished at the van parked on Town Farm camp site at the end of the walk.
First part of the walk along West Street from the Quadrant Shopping Centre was unplanned due to us missing our stop at the top of Whipsnade Road. It did however give us a chance to warm up rather than straight in to the ascent up to the bronze age burial mounds of Five Knolls. From here it was a walk along The Icknield Way along the top of the western escarpment of the Chiltern Hills to the Historic County Top of Bedfordshire just past Robertson's Corner memorial on the B4541 out of Dunstable near the Chilterns Gateway Centre. We could actually have driven to this but have found we have completed a number of drive ups for many of the 9 Historic County Tops we have visited in the last year and to be honest feels a bit of a cheat to me and does not really inspire Gina or help me explain what I see in peak bagging.
Picking up the Chiltern Way around Whipsnade Zoo we had a glimpse of various animals through the perimeter fence before descending to the Bedfordshire/Buckinghamshire border and enjoying our lunch near Dagnall.
Refreshed and refuelled the walk up the other side along Hog Hall Lane to Clipper Down, seemed a lot easier than it would have been had we not stopped. This was the second and last peak of the day.
Having visited both HuMPs and peaks all that remained was the return leg to Town Farm along Beacon Road via Ivinghoe Beacon, the 3rd and final trig point.
Although this hill had the steepest ascent of the day and very steep descent to Beacon Road near the B489 Tring Road junction it does not actually qualify as a proper hill due to it's lack of prominence against the adjacent Clipper Down. 
The proximity of Beacon Road to both these final summits meant we could have also driven very close and avoided the days walk. But what would be the point of that.
Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 02 April 2015
Walkers - Steve Smith, Gina Smith

Accommodation - Town Farm, Ivinghoe
Start Point - Quadrant Shopping Centre, Dunstable (GR - TL 01961 21904)
Start Time - 11:12
Finish Point 
Town Farm, Ivinghoe (GR - SP 95061 16568)
Finish Time - 16:16
Duration - 5hrs 04mins
Average pace - 1.99mph
Distance Walked - 10.06 miles
Height Ascended - 317.42metres

Peaks visited
Nuttalls (254E - 444E&W)
Hewitts (179E - 317E&W)
Marilyns (176E - 334E&W)
Deweys (181E - 422E&W)
HuMPs (444E - 809E&W)
Dunstable Downs (123W - 150E&W)
Clipper Down (124W - 151E&W)
Historic County Top (49E - 63E&W)
Dunstable Downs (33E - 37E&W)
E: England. 
E&W:England & Wales

GPX can be downloaded from
More Photographs
Close up of White Lion on Dunstable Down escarpment near Whipsnade Zoo
Click on photograph to view slide-show