Pete's Walks - Caddington and Blows Downs

If you are considering walking this route yourself, please see my disclaimer. You may also like to see these notes about the maps.

Google map of the walk (today I walked the northern half)

I did this very roughly 6-mile walk on Saturday, 25th September 2010.  It was the first (northern) half of my 'Caddington figure-of-eight walk' but walked in the opposite (anti-clockwise) direction. My left leg is still playing up, so I only wanted to walk for around 2 hours.

I started walking about 9.40am, starting from the village green in the centre of Caddington near the church. I walked through the churchyard and was immediately out onto a field path. The skies were blue and cloudless, but when after 100 yards or so the path switched to the left of the hedgeline, I found that there was a very strong and cold northwesterly wind - I needed to stop and put my windproof top on. The path soon crossed a large ploughed field and followed the edge of Badgerdell Wood for a while before turning left through the wood.

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Start of the path out of Caddington

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The path continuing towards Badgerdell Wood

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The path beside Badgerdell Wood

Just beyond the wood I joined a bridleway running between old hedgerows, gradually descending towards the Luton-Dunstable conurbation. There was a lot of road noise now, with the M1 just to my right and the Luton-Dunstable Relief Road ahead of me. After about half a mile, towards the bottom of the slope, I took a path on the left and crossed through two ole meadows. After carefully crossing the Relief Road, I continued through a more overgrown meadow, then followed an old lane for about a third of a mile. I re-crossed the Relief Road near its western end, and made my way up to the top of Blows Downs (there were some Clustered Bellflowers near the top of the hill).

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Old meadow beside the M1 and the Luton-Dunstable Relief Road

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Overgrown meadow north of the Relief Road

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Looking back from near the top of the path up the eastern end of Blows Downs

It was then a very pleasant promenade as I made my way westwards along the top of Blows Downs, with parts of Dunstable spread out below me to the right. Surprisingly, I didn't meet any body along here at all, and only saw some dog walkers at the foot of the hill as I reached the corner where the Downs turn southwards. I did meet a lady with two friendly old Alsatians as I followed the Downs southwards - there were numerous Harebells along this section. The sun was now ahead of me, making photography a bit tricky - this was unusual, as for some reason I usually seem to walk towards the sun at the start of my walks.

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The path along the top of Blows Downs

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The path along the top of Blows Downs

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The path along the top of Blows Downs - looking west across Dunstable to the start of Dunstable Downs

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Looking out across Dunstable from Blows Downs

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The path along the top of Blows Downs

From near the southern end of Blows Downs I took a footpath that soon crossed the long tarmac drive to Zouches farm. The path continued beside a long hedgerow, then reached a field where I normally walk round two sides as there is no sign of the path across the field. But today the field was ploughed, so I followed some footsteps across on the correct right-of-way. The path then crossed a large meadow, before following more hedgerows back to the centre of Caddington.

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Field path between the drive to Zouches Farm and Caddington

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The path back to Caddington

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The path back to Caddington

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The path back to Caddington

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Near the end of the path back to Caddington

The walk took about two and a quarter hours, just what I wanted given the state of my left leg. I really enjoyed it, it was the first time I'd walked the route in that direction (except for the Blows Downs section). Everything looked fine in the bright Autumn sunshine, and I regretted that I couldn't carry on and walk further (but my leg was aching slightly when I got back to Caddington, so I had to be sensible).

I'll see how my leg feels before I decide on when and where I'll walk again.