Pete's Walks - Deacon Hill and Pegsdon (page 1 of 2)

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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

I did this short circular walk of about 3.6 miles on Saturday, 30th May 2015.  I'm still suffering from post-viral fatigue or something, and didn't feel up to a longer walk, so I chose to do a short walk in one of my favourite parts of the Chilterns and combine it with a look for Burnt-tip Orchids at the Knocking Hoe nature reserve. I'd never seen these beautiful orchids before, nor had I visited the reserve (although I'd walked past it at least three times)

I parked in the small car park along the B655 almost a mile east of Pegsdon and close to Deacon Hill, grid reference TL 133301 (WARNING: another car had been broken into when I returned). Starting walking at about 11.40am, I headed off along a hedge-lined track going southwest from the car park. The map shows that this track is part of the route of the ancient Icknield Way, and it is also used by the modern-day long-distance path of the same name. I soon saw some Hedgerow Cranesbill beside the track, and saw my first butterfly of the walk, a Common Blue. After about a third of a mile, I went through a gateway on the right and followed a path up the steep grassy slope of Deacon Hill. In amongst the bushes at the top of the hill I found the trig column, from where I started to admire the far-reaching views.

The Icknield Way going southwest from the Deacon Hill car park

 

The Icknield Way going southwest from the Deacon Hill car park

 

The path up Deacon Hill

 

A view from the top of Deacon Hill - I was a little disappointed, the trig column was painted a fetching shade of pink last time I was here!

 

Another view from Deacon Hill

 

I turned left, and started to follow the path that runs along the top of Deacon Hill and on to Pegsdon Hill - I always enjoy paths on chalk downland like this, but this has to be one of my favourite paths in all of the Chilterns, because of the great views and because I always see so much wildlife along it. The path isn't actually shown on the OS map (though my map may be out of date) but it's straightforward to follow, with a steep hillside sloping down on the right. I soon spotted my first Small Heath butterfly of the year. The path went through a gate in the shelter of some trees, then continued along the scrub-covered hillside. It descended very slightly as it passed the end of a steep-sided valley on my right, before going up quite steeply for a short distance. It then went round the end of a larger valley, called Barn Hole, passing through another gate and coming to a path junction where I went right..

 

The path along the top of Deacon Hill

 

The path continuing towards Pegsdon Hill

 

The path continuing towards Pegsdon Hill.

 

Looking right from the path, along a side valley to a bigger valley called Barn Hole

 

The path going round the head of Barn Hole

 

The path ran along the edge of Barn Hole, and soon started descending towards the village of Pegsdon. Looking to my right, I could see across Barn Hole and back to Deacon Hill, with its 'lynchets', old farming terraces. It was a long and very enjoyable stretch of downhill walking, with views ahead over lower-lying parts of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. I could also see the Knocking Hoe nature reserve, overtopped by an ancient burial mound on the skyline.

 

The start of the path from Pegsdon Hill going down to Pegsdon

 

Looking along Barn Hole from the path going down to Pegsdon

 

Close-up shot looking back across Barn Hole to Deacon Hill

 

The path going down to Pegsdon

 

The path going down to Pegsdon

 

From the same spot, a close-up shot of the Knocking Hoe nature reserve and the Knocking Hoe burial mound on the skyline

 

From the same spot, looking back to Pegsdon Hill. Barn Hole on the right, the side valley I saw earlier on the left

 

Part 2 of this walk

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