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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Saturday Walk - The Return of the Rule of Six: Sundon Hills, Sharpenhoe Clappers and Hillfort - Harlington to Flitwick or Circular (Bedfordshire Chilterns)

Please note that on 'my' walks, punters are expected to give me their contact details for track-and-trace purposes at the start, and that walkers are expected to immediately split into groups of six or fewer and to stay in those sub-groups all day. If you find that beyond your abilities, please do not come on this walk!

Length: 24.5 km (15.2 mi), Ascent/Descent: 254/272m [shortcuts possible, see route map and pdf] 
or 17.3 km/10.7 mi with 267m ascent to Harlington. The routes split just after lunch in Pulloxhill.
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours, Toughness: 5 out of 10; or ca. 4 hours and 3/10.
Take the Thameslink service from Brighton to Bedford (selected stops: East Croydon 08.51, London Bridge 09.05, Blackfriars 09.12, Farringdon 09.16, St. Pancras 09.21, West Hampstead 09.29), arrive Harlington 10.05. Return trains: xx.00, xx.16, xx.30 and xx.46 (from Harlington: 4 mins later). 
Buy a Flitwick return  (same price as a Harlington return).  
The central attraction of this North Chiltern walk in Central Bedfordshire are the Sundon Hills, steep rolling downlands affording fantastic views over the surrounding plain, out north to the Greensand Ridge, and east to the classic steep chalk escarpment of Sharpenhoe Clappers, which is passed through as well. At Sharpenhoe one of the largest Neolithic hill fort sites in the South East is walked through, with good views east to Barton Hills, followed by a steep descent into the plain below. Further fine views of Pegsdon Hills further east along the Chilterns follow from the route through rolling grassy fields to the quiet hill top lunch destination of Pulloxhill. The afternoon route is less energetic, but not without interest, and leads through the gently rolling plain to the finish through ancient Flitwick Wood  into the centre of Flitwick. 
Lunch: The Cross Keys (01525 712 442) in Pulloxhill (12.2 km/7.6 mi) for the main walk and the circular walk, or The Chequers (01525 712 967, food to 15.00) or The Bell (01525 712 967), both in Westoning and for the main walk only (16.5 km/10.2 mi w/o Shortcut I, 13.4 km with it).

Tea: plenty of options en route to and in Flitwick and two in Harlington; check page 2 of the pdf for details.

For  walk directions, map, photos, height profile and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.230


Anonymous said...

Ah, the warm and inclusive welcome for which the SWC is justly renowned......

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the title of an Enid Blyton novel...

Anonymous said...

The childish 'warm and inclusive' comment: SWC people are far warmer and more welcoming than the average Rambler, in my experience. Start some conversations. Dazzle us.

Thomas G said...

The Swack is Back, and so is the dreaded anonymous grovelling and sniping, no surprise there! Who'd be a Walk Poster with an opinion?

As for the substance of the comment by Anonymous on Saturday at 23.10 hours:

If the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is consistently to be found near the bottom of the tables across Europe for Covid infections and preventable deaths, then - in my opinion - that has a lot to do with its plentihood of citizens (almost) all taking liberties with (at least some of) the rules and restrictions, judging by themselves that they are allowed breaking them. And looking back over the time between the SWC re-start in June and now Lockdown II, my judgement would be that the SWC has been as much part of the problem as part of the solution.

From selected walk posters 'trusting' that punters will break up into small groups quickly "because that is what always happens in the SWC" (it doesn't), to trusting sub-groups to be taking contact details amongst themselves (they don't), to walkers happily mixing and mingling between sub-groups and often exceeding group sizes of six, hardly anone can say they've followed spirit and word of the law at all times.

So, with (at least) 4 more months of a tier system or lockdown looming, to me it seems important to get off to a decent start, to reinforce the message that the SWC wants to be seen to be following the law at all times. Otherwise the whole of the SWC walk posting process may cease to exist under Covid.

So, personally I will try to make sure that the SWC stays within the spirit and letter of the law, where I have some influence. You don't like that? There will be other walks posted by other people, some of whom - so I'm told - are less bothered...

Anonymous said...

I have no experience of Ramblers groups, but I have always found SWC to be welcoming. I was (tongue in cheek) voicing my annoyance at being finger-wagged in BLOCK CAPITALS when the case for keeping safe can be better made by encouragement than by judgmental hectoring. Having said that, I very much appreciate the work put in by walk posters, and the necessity to abide by the rules, and if my flippancy has upset anyone, I apologise.

Anonymous said...

”SWC posting process may cease to exist”...WOW!!

Thomas G said...

BLOCK Capitals removed

Anonymous said...

What about a Wednesday walk? I’m going spare walking round my garden!
Signed. Captain Tom.

Thomas G said...

According to the Wednesday walk poster, they will start next week. couple more loops around the garden...

Thomas G said...

10 off the train (incl. 2 first timers), with one car driver waiting, so 11 at the start, ever so neatly (for Rule of 6 purposes) splitting into 6 picnickers and 5 pub lunchers. The lunchers overtook the picnickers when they had a 'take a layer off'-break (it was very sunny) and we got to Pulloxhill exactly on time for the pre-booked sitting in their extremely impressive garden marquee (thanks to RJ for the booking). The pub Covid-protocol was absolutely meticulous and was well followed by all customers: top marks. Food was pretty good and those drinks... Some had 'puddings' as well, so all in we had 75 minutes at the Cross Keys! How much have we missed pub lunches?!
The glorious views of the morning from the Sundon Hills and the Sharpenhoe Clappers were now followed by fine views of those hills and us lunchers eventually caught up (at distance) with one of the picnickers and a late starter (he had missed the train, taken the shortcut and lunched in Westoning at The Chequers, and was full of praise for food and Covid-protocol there as well).
We reached Flitwick just as it was getting dark, found that the pub by the station was not allowing drinks to be consumed outside without a substantial meal, so went for the 16.46 train instead.
Random stuff:
I hear 1 of the picnickers walked the short circular walk back to Harlington.
We saw deer just 50m away on two occasions.
There was copious mud, especially but not exclusively around gates and along fenced paths.
w=sunny n=12