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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.

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Saturday, 23 February 2019

Saturday Walk - Sundon Hills, Sharpenhoe Clappers and Hillfort: Harlington to Flitwick or Circular (Bedfordshire Chilterns)

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 Three Bridges to Bedford (selected  stops: East Croydon 09.21, London Bridge 09.35, Blackfriars 09.42, Farringdon 09.46, St. Pancras 09.52, West Hampstead 09.59), arrive Harlington 10.35. Return trains: xx.00 and xx.30 (from Harlington: xx.04 and xx.34).
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 Filippo’s at 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

1 comment:

Thomas G said...

At London Bridge it was foggy, at St Pancras sunny, at St Alban's foggy again, then a little foggy further north, but when the train broke through the Sundon Hills into the plain, it was sunny. You could practically see the last remnants of the fog being burnt off, and so it stayed: w=gloriously-sunny-and-warm all day.
16 assembled on the platform, one was already on the overbridge, half-way to the exit, looking in, one other had travelled down from his new home in Northamptonshire and was waiting at the exit, 2 first-timers were too shy (presumably) to join the customary SWC-huddle and had already walked across to the exit, so n=20 in total. All walked the full walk, as far as I could see.
Fewer than half had a sit-down pub lunch (outside in the sun), most of the picnickers (having had their nourishment on some randomn pub benches placed on a sloping hillside with great views) joined briefly for a drink though. In the p.m., 5 faster walkers strode away, the other 15 stayed more or less together until Steppingley. There 9 of us entered The French Horn for imbibements. Those 9 were later to be found on the 17.30 train.
From the weather follows: glorious views from the Sundon Hills and the Clappers, dry paths, dry pastures, effortless walking.
Else: plenty of chat and one or other looking a little sunburnt at the end...