Short Local Walk

I’ve had a nasty head cold and one or two other minor complaints, so I haven’t walked since Monday.  This morning I just did a two-hour local walk from home. Before setting out I put two heavy books into my rucksack, increasing its weight from 12 to 19lbs. I want to start building up the weight I carry, so that I eventually might be able to do some long-distance paths carrying all my gear. I need to be careful though, as the last thing I want to do is to damage my back again!

I turned right and headed up Common Road. Just past Old Green End farm I turned left onto a footpath. This crossed two fields and entered the woods of Whipsnade Heath. At a path junction I turned right, following the path through the wood and passing an enormous old beech tree. The path turned left by an old iron fence and soon came to the road to Dunstable Downs. I took the bridleway almost opposite – sometimes this can be almost impassably muddy, but after the recent hot and dry weather it was fine today. It ran between hedges for several hundred yards to a junction not far from the Old Hunter’s Lodge in Whipsnade.

I turned right onto another bridleway. This ran past the Sallowspring Caravan Park on my left, then passed through a small area of woodland (where there was a lot of Enchanter’s Nightshade, as there was elsewhere in the wood today) and continued to reach the huge meadow on Whipsnade Downs. I turned right and went through the kissing gate in the corner, then turned left and followed the fence surrounding the meadow downhill. I could hear some singing coming from near the visitor centre on Dunstable Downs to my right – it sounded like African singing.

I turned left and followed the fence along the bottom of the huge meadow, admiring the view out over the Vale of Aylesbury. After a while the path starts to descend gradually, and I followed it all the way to the bottom of Bison Hill. I could have turned left on a crossing path, but wanted to try carrying the heavier weight in my rucksack up the very steep path that is parallel to the road up Bison Hill. Despite the very warm weather today, I had no problems with this short but steep ascent. From near the car park on Bison Hill, I followed another bridleway back to Whipsnade.

I  followed the curving edge of the huge irregular shaped green in Whipsnade alongside the edge of the zoo. I crossed the old lane to Holywell, and continued across the green, heading uphill. I then took the footpath through the churchyard – I toyed with the idea of extending the walk out to Studham and back, but decided I didn’t want to risk hurting my back and stuck to my original plan of only walking for a couple of hours. So I followed the path across two fields, crossed the road to Studham, and followed the path beside another field to reach Holywell.

I turned left along the residential street, and after a couple of hundred yards turned left onto a footpath. This was soon running parallel to Buckwood Lane, with the garden fences of Holywell on my right. After a few hundred yards it joined the lane, and a few yards further on I turned left into Dovehouse Lane. Just for a change, I decided to follow the lane all the way to the other end where it meets Common Road in Kensworth (I usually turn left onto a footpath that links with the Whipsnade Road). I turned left and followed the road back to my home.

This was a very pleasant two-hour walk on a very warm and sunny morning. Surprisingly, the only other people I met where a couple walking there dog on the Downs. My neck and shoulders were a bit stiff when I got home, which was to be expected, but (touch wood!) my back feels OK at the moment.

Comments are closed.