Circular walk from Kensworth

Wednesday 16/07/08

I think of this as my ‘Almost everywhere’ walk, as it visits nearly every neighbouring village to Kensworth.

I set off just after 10am, unusually late for a walk from home. I went down Hollicks Lane to Church End, then followed the path round the huge chalk quarry to reach Dunstable Downs. I followed the top of the downs and descended to the edge of Dunstable, before almost turning back on myself and following a path along the foot of the downs for a mile and a half.

I took a steep path up to the car park on Bison Hill, then turned back along the top of Whipsnade Downs as far as a bridleway on the right. I followed this for half a mile, keeping right at a fork, then took a path and another bridleway to Whipsnade. I walked round the edge of the green beside the Zoo, then took the old lane to Holywell. For once I ignored the path going right alongside the zoo fence (though there are a couple of variations on this walk that go that way) and instead took a second path on the right, on the very edge of Holywell. This path took me across fields to Studham Church. I made my way from there to Studham Common, where I stopped on a bench to eat my lunch.

I continued along the top of the common, and made my way through a wood to reach Beechwood Home farm, where I turned left along a gravel drive to reach the end of Roe End Lane. I followed this for a quarter of a mile, before taking a footpath on the left which took me across fields to Buckwood Road on the edge of Markyate. I turned left and went a short distance along the road, then took a path on the left. This followed field edges, and was rather overgrown in places. It then followed the edge of Dedmansey Wood for about half a mile.

I then took a short path through the edge of a wood to Byslips Road, and continued on another path that took me to Holywell, where I turned right and soon reached Buckwood Road again near its junction with Dovehouse Lane. I followed the lane a short way, then took a path on the left that took me to the Whipsnade Road, where I turned right and was soon back at my home in Kensworth.

The walk took about 5.5 hours. It was a grey and overcast day, but it remained dry and was pretty warm. I saw my first Small Tortoiseshell butterflies of the summer, some Pyramidal Orchids and a lot of Enchanter’s Nightshade, a plant I’ve only recently identified.

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