Pete's Walks - Kensworth and Dunstable Downs (page 1 of 3)

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 circular walk of about 5.9 miles on Saturday, 2nd February 2019. It was a walk from my home in Kensworth, following one of the numerous variations of a route to Dunstable Downs and back.

There was about three inches of snow on the ground this morning, with clear blue skies to begin with, and I was really looking forward to my first walk in the snow for some years. I started about 10.35am, walking down Hollicks Lane (which starts near the Farmer's Boy pub). After passing Hollicks Lane Farm, I had a pleasant surprise - the footpath that runs parallel with the lane now starts where the OS Map has always said it should start, rather than about 100 yards further along the lane (which has been the case throughout my lifetime, as far as I can remember). A small new development of about three houses has been built here, and the 'missing' section of the footpath has finally been re-instated. I followed the path, that runs behind the hedge on the left of the lane, soon reaching the field corner where I'd expected to join it. The path then dropped steeply down into a valley and then climbed equally steeply up the other side (it's '1-in-7 or steeper' on both sides, again according to the OS Map).

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Hollicks Lane

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The 'new' section of the path beside Hollicks Lane

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Looking left from the path beside Hollicks Lane

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The path beside Hollicks Lane crossing the valley (the lane is 1-in-7 or steeper on either side of the valley)

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The path climbing up the far side of the valley

On eventually reaching a field corner near the top of the slope, I rejoined the lane and followed it a short distance further to reach Church End (the original center of Kensworth). The lane turned right here, but I went more or less straight on to the ancient village church, taking a footpath through the graveyard that passed to the left of the church. The path continued through a field behind the church, cutting across a corner and following the left edge. On reaching a path junction here, I turned left. After maybe a hundred yards I came to another path junction, where I turned right and thus joined the long path round the massive Kensworth Quarry.

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Hollicks Lane again, approaching Church End

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Kensworth church

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The path behind Kensworth Church

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The short path after I turned left

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The path round Kensworth Quarry just after I joined it (by turning right)

I followed the path through trees for a short way, then the Quarry appeared over a fence on my left - it's a chalk quarry, so the layer of snow didn't make much difference to how it looked, it was still a huge white hole. The path dipped slightly down and up again with trees to my right, but as it curved left these ended and the ground sloped down on my right to the southernmost part of Dunstable, across which I could see the start of Blows Downs. As I continued along close to the quarry fence, the snow was maybe up to six inches deep in this more exposed area. After a few hundred yards there were more trees on my right, and the snow was less deep again. I carried on between the quarry fence and the trees for about another three quarters of a mile, until a path junction where I turned right at a yellow-topped post.

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The path round Kensworth Quarry

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Kensworth Quarry

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View right from the path round Kensworth Quarry, looking over the southern edge of Dunstable to Blows Downs

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The path round Kensworth Quarry

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View north over Dunstable

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The path round Kensworth Quarry

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The path round Kensworth Quarry

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The path round Kensworth Quarry

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The path round Kensworth Quarry

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The path round Kensworth Quarry